Each industry has their own idea of what the “professional way” to run a business looks like. However, there is no question that across every industry, meeting those “professional” standards helps bring in profits and keep companies afloat. So, why is it so important to do things the professional way and how can a business figure out what that means for them?
The Hard Truth
As the president of a roofing, siding, window and door company with over 29 years of experience in the industry, I see through the lens of someone on the inside and know how many contractors are running things behind the scenes. In fact, many homeowners would be uncomfortable with the decision to make home improvements if they knew how many companies were operating.
Recently, I reviewed some statistics for a GAF speaking event that reveal how difficult it is for a roofing contractor to make it past the first five years. In the U.S., 67% of all small businesses break even or lose money each year, and one half of all small businesses fail within the first five years. The statistics are much worse for contractors, where only 36.4% are making it to their fifth year, and only one out of 25 roofing companies make it to year 10.
I believe the reason that most of these contractors are failing early on is a lack of understanding of the business side of the business (the numbers), combined with a lack of solid processes, procedures and professionalism.
The Secret Ingredients of Success
The structure, processes and procedures that a company puts in place can make or break them, and most contractors don’t make the effort to really think about what will be best for both them and the customer. For example, at Roofing & More, we decided to bypass the newer, automated ways to deliver quotes and email bids. When contractors email bids, communication issues arise. There are unrealized expectations that become apparent later in the project. And there’s a lack of vision of how a contractor will handle the unwanted surprises when completing a construction project. This all leads to dissatisfaction for the homeowners and for the contractors. It is not enough to give customers the lowest quote and keep internal costs low. We must be efficient, effective and have sustainable business practices that help us stick to our mission and core values in any season or economy.
To me, that is the “professional way” and how we have remained in business for so long.
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