Ensuring business resilience in the ‘new normal’

When contractors are busy on the job, using online tools and services from manufacturers can help with efficiency on-site
When contractors are busy on the job, using online tools and services from manufacturers can help with efficiency on-site

Many contractors will have had a challenging time over the last few months, but as we all adjust to the ‘new normal’, how can they ensure their business remains resilient now and in the future? In this article, Stuart Nicholson from Marley discusses areas which contractors can look at to support their business, no matter what economic environment they are working in.

Business resilience is influenced by so many factors, some within a business owner’s control and some not. For many contractors, the past few months will have been a real test of how resilient their company is. Now, as we all work and live in a changed society, there is an opportunity to take stock and look at what actions can be taken to build greater resilience for the short and long-term.

Product selection
Choice of product can be as important as quality of workmanship or service when it comes to ensuring happy customers and ultimately, business growth. A business’ reputation is built on a number of factors, but for contractors, being able to rely on products can offer reassurance and enable them to get on with the job in hand.

One area to be considered is sourcing a complete roof system from one manufacturer. Not only does this provide the benefit of efficiencies from only having to deal with one supplier, but in the case of Marley’s full roof system, there is also the reassurance of a 15-year guarantee. This is an additional benefit for customers, but it also means the contractor has protection too.

Customer pipeline
As homeowners have spent so much time in their homes over the last few months, many may be more aware of improvements they would like to make. In particular, their four walls may suddenly seem a lot smaller with the family on top of one another for weeks on end, so there may be a desire to extend. With the relaxation to the planning laws, this is something which is more achievable for many homeowners, too.

With this in mind, contractors may want to focus on their customer pipeline by ensuring their website and social media channels are up-to-date with examples of projects that may be relevant for homeowners looking to extend or improve their properties.

Safety on-site
Of course, safety relating to COVID-19 is crucial on-site, so social distancing and regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds are a must, but as many roofers are on-site during the summer, it is also important not to neglect sun safety. Here are some simple sun safety precautions to follow on-site:   

  • Keep a shirt or jacket on and opt for tightly woven fabrics which help to form a barrier to the sun’s harmful rays
  • Do not leave exposed skin unprotected. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 25 and remember to reapply regularly. Make sure you also use an SPF lip balm
  • Always wear a hard hat, preferably with a brim and flap that will cover the ears and the back of the neck
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  • Check your skin regularly for unusual spots and moles, or changes to them.

Future skills
The future of a business relies on the skills in the team. For many contractors, this means investing in apprentices to develop roofers with the same level of skill, customer service and passion as themselves. In challenging times, it is understandable that some may need to focus on the bottom line, but the benefits of taking on an apprentice can stand a business in good stead long-term, and can also help growth as more jobs can be completed by having an extra pair of hands on-site.

Support from manufacturers
Technology has become more crucial than ever during the last few months. Many manufacturers have continued to invest in online and digital services, to not only help users access support out-of-hours, but to also develop their knowledge and get up-to-speed with some of the latest topics and innovations. 

When contractors are busy on the job, using online tools and services from manufacturers can help with efficiency on-site. For example, Marley offers an app version of its Sitework Guide, so roofing details and other information can be checked and guidance easily found while on the job.

Resilience does not come easily. However, with an eye on a few areas of operations and making the most of the benefits offered through the supply chain, contractors can help strengthen their business over the short, medium and long-term, and navigate whatever challenges may come their way.