Several areas of concern in the roofing industry have resulted in a negative reputation for many companies and the industry at large. With high costs for repairs, inaccurate and dangerous inspection methods, and a lack of preventative maintenance, traditional ways of doing business often do not make the customer’s best interests a priority. However, a new breed of roofers is using drone technology to build greater trust and provide more value to customers.
The old ways aren’t working
Traditional methods for inspecting roof conditions are cumbersome, and frequently involve manual surveys, requiring a person to physically climb the roof and take note of problem areas. These types of inspections are time-consuming and costly. One study published in 2014 by Moore & Wagner found that residential roofing is a major ongoing source of fatalities, and companies occasionally do not take precautions or adhere to safety standards, which contributes to the negative perception.
Since manual inspections are costly and dangerous for roofers, they do not occur regularly. Lack of maintenance, especially preventative, is a common roofing problem according to Buildings, and only leads to neglect and other types of damage. Without accurate assessments and preventative maintenance to address problems upfront, property owners can incur larger repair costs, leading to distrust between roofers and their customers.
A change in the industry
A new breed of roofers focuses on building trust and providing more value to their customers. They are working diligently to become trusted partners, delivering improved transparency and high-level customer service. By making strategic investments rather than cutting costs, they are adding value to their relationships with their customers.
These roofing companies are making a major investment in drone technology or unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Drones are a much safer and more comprehensive method to complete roof assessments and ultimately provide customers with quality, proactive service.
Drones are a smart investment
Today’s drones can perform a roof assessment quickly and accurately, providing real-time data and extensive details. These drones eliminate human error, including bias from an adjuster or inspector, delivering a more transparent and comprehensive analysis of roof conditions with the highest accuracy possible. This systematic, proven approach to inspections puts the customer first with trustworthy information and reliable reports, which leads to a much higher degree of assurance when making decisions and addressing repairs.
Drones enable preventative maintenance and pre-loss inspections
All too often, roofers only interact with their customers at a low point — such as after a storm damages their roof or after a major leak is discovered. Drones offer roofers the option to offer preventative services instead of just servicing customers when they are already suffering major property damage and loss.
Drone flights are quick and easy to complete, and newer generations offer thermal capabilities that can identify issues not easily seen, such as water that has penetrated the roof, before they become major problems for property owners. When conducting drone inspections before property damage or loss, they provide a benefit to customers by increasing home value and lowering insurance premiums based on accurate conditions.
Drones prioritize safety
By using drones, companies no longer have to rely on workers climbing roofs to complete manual inspections. Instead, workers can deploy the drone from the ground and, within minutes, have all the information they need to evaluate conditions based on the data reaped from the drone’s flight. Roofers can gather a full assessment of conditions without risking the safety of their employees by eliminating the need to climb and inspect. And because drones enable more opportunities for preventative maintenance, the buildings that take advantage of them will offer a safer environment for property owners and tenants.
Drones help attract top talent
For the past year, 90% of contractors have been dealing with skilled labor shortages, and the demand for commercial construction is expected to grow over the next 12 months according to the National Roofing Contractors Association. The labor shortage has made it difficult for roofers to take full advantage of the growth projected in the industry, so companies need every advantage they can get to attract and hire skilled workers.
With autonomous drones, companies do not have to worry about rounding out teams during a labor shortage and can instead focus on attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry. Because drones streamline inspections and all but eliminate the manual component, roofers can tailor their teams accordingly. With drones handling inspections, employees can focus on more strategic tasks to help grow the business, increasing productivity for the entire team.
Some roofers are already finding that regularly deploying drones in their roof assessments, helps attract better job candidates. “Look, [drone technology] is going to grow your business, and it’s also going to make it easier to hire people,” said Chad Conley, executive vice president of Complete Roofing. “We’ve got people looking at us now, and one of the things that attracted them is we’re doing all inspections with the drone. This is a roofing company that’s going somewhere.”
Nathan Stump is the director of product marketing at Kespry, where he ensures the company’s insurance, aggregates, mining, and construction solutions align with industry requirements and deliver value to customers through Kespry’s drone-based analytics platform. Contact him at [email protected].