The problem with replacement roofing in my market,” says Brett Hall, co-owner of Hall Roofing in Arlington, Texas, “is that we've made it a commodity.”
That is, homeowners buy a re-roof based on price rather than on the quality of the job —a common problem in most markets. However, commodity status isn't good enough for Hall, who has five crews in the field installing asphalt shingles, steel shingles, and standing-seam roofs.
Repositioning When Hall Roofing started growing fast, Hall and his family, who had until then run the entire company, decided to make their operation the gold standard of roofing contractors. That meant hitting the code books — all of them: local, manufacturer, Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer Association (ARMA), and International Residential Building Code. It was in becoming code experts that Hall realized he could make his company a destination contractor. This status enabled him to increase margins.
“The ARMA code book is the best closing tool in existence,” Hall says, “and code worthiness is the ultimate sales tool.”
Code Book as Sales Tool Hurricanes and other weather-related disasters in the region have made homeowners increasingly aware of the need to conform to code. Informed customers, Hall says, are part of what makes it possible for him to discuss code issues. He shares his code knowledge — from flashing details to drip edge to the shingles themselves —on his sales call, then in the follow-up materials. He even copies and pastes code language and drawings from the ARMA book (which he says is an authoritative resource that he keeps in PDF format on his computer) into estimates. This allows him to position himself as a roofer who can guarentee a job fully conforming to code.
Keeping Code, Earning Referrals “Code worthiness to me is about caring what you're putting on a customer's house. The fact that the other guy doesn't care [or doesn't know enough to care] drives customers my way, and I'm able to sell jobs at a higher price.”
Furthermore, Hall says he makes a personal connection with his customers by sharing his desire for gold-standard integrity in his workmanship, which leads to referrals. —Mark Clement is a freelance writer and former contractor.