So you’re stuck in a Catch-22: To obtain new contracts you need the latest technologies. To get the latest technologies you need to make capital investments. But to make capital investments you need new contracts…
What do you do?
The best news first: the economy actually is recovering and there really are new contracts to be won. While it is true that housing starts are nowhere near their pre-crisis levels, it is also true that construction spending increased 8.3% since last year and new permits for five-unit and larger projects racked up a solid 25% year-over-year gain.
So there’s money out there. If you want your share of it you’ll need to differentiate yourself. Adopting the two hottest trends might be the most cost-effective capital investments you can make this year:
First, there’s color. Consumers are more aware of the aesthetic impact their roof has upon their property than ever before. And generally speaking, they want their new roof to contribute to a serene and elegant “island in the storm” ambiance. Color Maven Kate Smith of Sensational Color explained to PRWeb, “Having all five of our senses continually bombarded in daily life has created a deep desire for a home environment that conveys harmony and calm. We get that sense of silence and contentment in the tones of deep gray, smoky plum and even muted teal. These are the…shades we’ll see gaining in popularity.”
Second, there’s environmental sustainability, the demand for which seems to be accelerating and expanding into a permanent feature of the roofing industry. Consumers considering a purchase designed to last decades want to know that they are installing something as energy efficient as possible, made of environmentally benign materials, and completely recyclable after it wears out. Many traditional materials have been modified to meet these criteria while new ones, especially ones finished with metal, are beginning to make inroads even in the suburban market. And environmental trends that might have seemed like outliers only a few years ago, such as vegetative roofs supporting entire ecosystems of grasses and wildlife, are on your customer’s mind today.
All well and good – but where can you get the capital for the training, tools and equipment you’ll need to meet these complex demands?
One possible source is your accounts receivable.
If you’re like most roofing companies, a significant portion of your receivables are due from general contractors with the rest due from property owners. And right now you need every bid those contractors bring to you, and every recommendation you can get from those owners.
Somehow it can seem like asking for money you’re owed might distract these people from bringing you new business. But the fact is, the longer you leave these accounts open, the more likely it is you won’t get paid at all. An account 90 days overdue is already at risk, and once it’s 180 days old you’ve only got a one-in-three chance of getting paid.
You need your capital AND you need those relationships. One solution is to engage a collection service that has the same business values you do. When done properly and professionally, collections handled by a third party can not only settle delinquent accounts – including accounts you thought were lost – but can preserve and even enhance your business relationships.
And it can do this for a manageable, fixed fee – often as low as $12 per outstanding account. You pay only the fee; when your debtor pays the bill you get 100% of it. Suddenly you’re not caught in that Catch-22 anymore. You get paid, and you’ve got the capital you need to close your first “smoky plum” or “vegetative roof” contract!