It’s certainly no secret that technology is having a major impact on almost every facet of commercial real estate.
The sector that may be benefitting the most, however, might be roofing.
With a continued dearth of laborers in the industry and high demand for projects, roofing technology is essential for more efficient and powerful work—from lead generation through job completion.
Here, we’ll look at the biggest advancements and trends in roofing technology that you should keep an eye on in 2020 to make sure you’re outpacing the competition.
Roofing Technology Trends to Watch in 2020
1. More powerful ways to generate leads.
First and foremost, where there are leads, there’s business to be had.
For commercial roofing companies, the most difficult part is finding viable leads on a regular basis.
Now, however, there are more efficient, more powerful ways to generate highly targeted commercial roofing leads—for new construction, general repairs, renovations, storm damage, and on.
Aside from the standards—your website, marketing, referrals, and word-of-mouth—roofers can now use lead generation platforms like Reonomy to search and identify properties based on many granular building-level, sales, and owner characteristics.
In any county nationwide, the Reonomy platform can be used to run a quick search for multi family and commercial buildings of a specific size and age.
Building-focused search filters include:
- Number of units
- Building Area Square Footage
- Year Built
- Year Renovated
Additionally, sales history can be added to a search to find brand new property owners or owners with large portfolios of similarly sized buildings.
Use cases include:
- Finding old buildings in need of renovations.
- Finding recent buyers looking to upgrade or build.
- Finding recently storm-damaged buildings in need of immediate repair.
After identifying properties of interest, the platform can be used to see who the owners of each property are, LLC or individuals, along with their phone number, email and mailing address.
Exporting abilities allow you to export an entire list of search filters with the contact information of property owners included.
Finding leads with this level of targeting in a matter of minutes (if not seconds) gives commercial roofers an incredibly efficient lead generation process, while allowing for direct contact with decision-makers.
It also allows contractors to quickly put together a list of storm damage leads and get in touch with owners in immediate need of work.
2. Time-saving mobile apps.
For a group as agile as on-the-go as roofers, the mobile revolution is extremely helpful when it comes to the paperwork and other minor tasks necessary for the job.
Instead of having to physically visit the roof of a building or spend long evenings filling out paperwork and building estimates to send to contacts, mobile apps allow roofers to do the following on the go:
- Measure building roofs.
- Share images and videos of a building across the company.
- Build and share roof reports.
- Send estimates to clients.
- Create and send invoices to clients.
- Generate leads.
- Find an owner’s contact information on-demand.
JobFlex is a mobile app that allows commercial roofers to build estimates and create invoices on the spot.
You can also access Reonomy’s web platform on your mobile phone to find owners as we mentioned above, or, search a specific property address to find the contact information of an owner on-demand.
In the case that a contractor spots a storm-damaged property while driving to another job, they can pull up Reonomy to search that property and get the phone number of the owner.
3. Software, everywhere.
Many of the aforementioned mobile apps are part of a bigger story, as well.
Having so many software tools available is one thing, but now roofers can essentially interconnect their entire ecosystem of software tools across desktop and mobile so that their operations—both internal and client-facing—are primed for efficiency.
Having a CRM is an absolute essential for any commercial roofer. CRMs like Salesforce, AccuLynx, Contractor’s Cloud, or JobNimbus can easily be connected to QuickBooks, EagleView, and a number of other tools.
While a roofer’s CRM will be the heart of their systems, they can connect other platforms so that lead management, building measurements, project management, estimate creation and send, job task management, invoicing, payroll, receiving payments, and more are all intertwined.
Even apps like DroneDeploy can be integrated with Salesforce to create custom workflows.
All of these platforms can connect and communicate with one another so that each step of creating and completing jobs is seamless and easy. Not only do individual processes become faster, but the lag time in between different tasks is minimal.
With the ability to connect all of your roofing software and mobile apps, your company can become much more operationally efficient.
Most importantly, with the right software, you can spend more time scaling your business and connecting with property owners.
4. Drones on the rise.
Another roofing technology trend to note is that drones are becoming more and more common amongst roofers themselves, not just those using them for building inspections.
With respect to local regulations, of course, commercial roofers can use drones to analyze and see buildings in ways previously not possible.
High-resolution drone images can be used alongside apps like EZ3D for measuring the roof on a building.
Some roofers even use drone images for high-quality website and marketing images.
You can build your website and all of your marketing collateral using 4K aerial “before and after” pictures of projects you’ve completed.
You might even take an image of a project and share it with other local property owners via social media, or through a targeted mailer or email campaign.
Drones are mostly “set it, and forget it,” use-cases as well. Flights can be pre-programmed, where the drone will then take over, run its course, take photos, and land. The automation makes for great time-savings for roofers.
Not only that, but in the case of smaller commercial buildings or multi family properties, drones prevent the need for roofers to physically climb on a roof to take measurements, leading to less accident and injury risk.
5. New, innovative, stronger commercial roof types.
Energy and storm damage are leading the charge when it comes to advancements and trends in commercial roof types.
There is an ever-rising focus on incorporating sustainable energy into the building and renovation of roofs—common now is to have solar or PV panels installed at the time of new roof installations.
Amongst the more innovative commercial roof types being adopted, however, are those that minimize the energy needed to heat and cool buildings of various sizes.
Interesting examples include “cool roofs” and “green roofs.”
“Cool roofs” are those that keep heat out of buildings due to high solar reflectance. In other words, these roofs are made with materials that can absorb and reflect infrared and ultra violet wavelengths from the sun.
These roofs are usually white or other very light colors, as the typical roof color of black can significantly raise the temperature of a building on its own.
They’re also made with a certain elasticity, so they can expand as they absorb high levels of heat, without any damaging effects in returning to original size.
Cool roofs absorb more heat, allowing buildings to use much less energy to keep themselves cool, and by extension, reducing emissions and pollution.
“Green roofs” look a bit prettier than the typical commercial roof, but serve a similar purpose than that of cool roofs—only doing so in a much different way.
These roofs are also sometimes referred to as “vegetated roofs,” or “living roofs,” because they quite literally include soil and vegetation atop a building, with waterproofing layers built underneath.
Green roofs are amongst the most aesthetically pleasing eco-friendly commercial roof types available today.
The benefits of green roofs include:
- The ability to absorb rainwater that would normally make its way through the mostly cement/paved streets of urban areas.
- Providing shade and high levels of insulation to save on energy-use, much like cool roofs.
- Lasting longer than conventional roofs—according to the GSA, green roofs are expected to last twice as long.
Another large part of the eco-friendly initiative in roofing includes moving towards roof types that require maintenance as opposed to replacements, therefore reducing waste from tear-offs.
A Need for More Strength
Lastly, as the severity of storms seems to continuously get stronger and stronger, the need for storm-resistant roofs has become more prominent.
The hurricanes of the last few years, as well as recent wildfires have led to a need for much better wind and fire resistance, for example, especially for shingles and other residential property roofing types.
Even Tesla’s new solar roof glass is promoted to be much stronger than the traditional roofing tile.
These innovations, and many more, are likely to continue and become the norm over the course of 2020.
A Roofer’s Delight
Roofing technology is nothing to sniff at.
The industry has seen a ton of innovation despite a shortage of necessary hands involved.
2019 showed us a lot of positive movement in the industry, now leaving roofing companies with optimized means of finding new business, winning that business, and completing jobs beginning to end.