Construction is an industry in transition with giant leaps made in areas of technology in recent years. Many manual tasks, including work requiring ladders and hardware, are being replaced by routines of a vastly different nature. Much of what used to be done using conventional tools, is now being accomplished with innovative software solutions. Mobile apps like iRoofing are transforming ways of how to sell roofs. Now, while many contractors and workers are experiencing reduction in their work schedules due to the viral pandemic, using time wisely has never been more critical. Technology gives builders, including roofing professionals, opportunities to do traditional tasks from afar while effectively maintaining social distancing. Now is an opportune time for roofing contractors to lay a foundation for the busy days ahead, when this “fog” has lifted.
How are Building Occupations changing?
As software solutions and even robotics enter the workplace in droves, some occupations are going away and new skill sets are replacing them. But, construction still continues to lag behind other industries in adapting to technology. Conventional ways of doing things are still more prevalent than they need to be. McKinsey Global Institute, a leading research company focused on changes in the global economy and the workforce studied labor-construction productivity growth.
Growth in labor productivity for construction businesses was only 1% over the past 20 years. In manufacturing, labor productivity grew 3.6% and the overall productivity for the total world economy was 2.8%.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute
But now, like never before, the construction industry must find more ways to adapt to technology. With mobile applications for performing roof measurements, estimates and powerful sales presentations remotely, contractors can advance their bidding and closing activities, while out of necessity during COVID-19, virtually eliminating face-to-face, on-site meetings with property owners.
A Look Back at Construction Technology
Some may remember back to the 1960’s and 70’s when IBM introduced Computer-Aided Design which took on the acronym CAD. It did not take long for engineers and architects to realize the cost benefits of using CAD. Before long it was being utilized in the design of tools, machinery, drafting and building plans. But beyond its use by architects, construction professionals had little exposure to, nor use for the technology. Nevertheless, a cascade of industrial applications for construction, affecting everyone in the industry was to follow. Now, contractors have do-it-yourself, mobile roofing technology. It not only aids in social distancing, but with iRoofing contractors can do an unlimited number of roof reports and estimates at a fixed monthly or annual fee. This enables workers to spend what may otherwise be idle time in self quarantine getting ahead on roof bids instead. Roofing contractors no longer need to use a 3rd-party to do overhead measurements and pay those vendors for each and every report. Now, with technology in the palm of their hand they can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the course of a year while bidding more roof jobs and closing more sales from their office, their home, or anywhere else.
In the late 1950’s, Russia and the United States launched satellites into space. These early satellites, like those of today, circle the Earth in low orbit, just far enough away to escape our planet’s gravitational pull. These small spacecraft send back data that can be turned into imagery illuminating us about worldwide weather patterns and environmental impacts. All of the early data sent back to scientists from space had industrial value in regard to agriculture and natural resources. Since the first satellite—Russia’s Sputnik—8,378 satellites have been launched into space. Today approximately 5,000 satellites revolve around the Earth and about 2,000 are operational.
Then in July 1972, we began sending satellites into space specifically to acquire images of Earth. The first of its kind was called the Earth Resources Technology Satellite and it was the precursor to the data from space that is so widely used today, such as Apple Maps and Google Maps.
Innovators like iRoofing have licensed the access to these images from space. They have integrated roof measurement and roof part labeling tools in ways that makes it remarkably simple for anyone to use. Today, thousands of successful roofing companies are using this technology to benefit their business by saving time, advancing safety, and making more money.
Ladderless, Paperless, Remote... How to Sell Roofs has really changed
Today, roofing contractors are improving their business efficiency and driving more revenue through remote sales thanks to technology. Now they’re able to zero-in on just about any property and accurately measure a roof; a gutter system; a new driveway; or even a swimming pool site. Then they can quickly generate a job estimate; integrate material specifications and digital samples; simulate a finished product; and send orders electronically to a materials distributor.
What once took hours to do, involving workmen, trucks, phones, fax machines, and typewriters is now done with no trucks, no ladders, no paperwork, no on-site crew, and little fuel consumption. Until it’s time to install the job, only one piece of hardware is needed — a portable phone or tablet, wielded by a single person sitting in his or her office, home or swinging in a hammock.
Technology - A Big Selling Point as Working from Afar becomes Standard Operating Procedure
Half the tasks once necessary to complete a roofing job are now performed off-site. Face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers are still essential, but for now, traditional contact with customers has been all but shut down due to coronavirus. Plus, homeowners and commercial clients who fall into the Millennial or Gen Z generations, and many others at the latter end of the Baby Boomers, neither expect nor want the inconvenience of unnecessary visits from service providers. Likewise, a company’s effective use of technology is becoming a significant selling point– an indicator of competency and catalyst to brand trust. Where there is greater brand trust and confidence, there is less need for a contractor to undercut their pricing. Technology has afforded them higher brand value through a progressive identity and professionalism.
Since its founding in 2011, iRoofing has learned a lot about the challenges and opportunities that building professionals face every day. After the company built its business application, designed especially for those in the construction industry, iRoofing’s mobile app has proven to bring efficiency and cost-savings to thousands of contractors, their distributors and manufacturers. Never did the creators of iRoofing foresee the importance of roofing technology under the conditions we are all under, today. But, because do-it-yourself, mobile roofing technology allows contractors to comply with almost every predicate of social distancing, there is no better time than now to adapt and survive this dramatic blow to public well-being and the economy.
For more tips on how to sell roofs remotely, read The Ultimate Guide on How to Sell Roofs from Afar.