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Quoting for coatings - Inspections - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Quoting for coatings - Inspections - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
January 9, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Eugene Zukowski with Jobba, John Kenney from Cotney Consulting Group and Joe Sorrentino from The Sherwin Williams Company. You can read the interview below,  listen to the podcast or watch the webinar.

Karen Edwards: Hello, and welcome to CoatingsTalk, from CoatingsCoffeeShop. My name's Karen Edwards, and today's topic is all about inspections and how they can be a valuable source of information and opportunity for your business. And we've brought together the experts, including Eugene Zukowski from Jobba, John Kenney from Cotney Consulting Group and Joe Sorrentino from Sherwin-Williams.

Before we get started, though, I just want to go over a few housekeeping items. This webinar is being recorded. It will be available usually within 24 hours on our website for you to share with coworkers, friends, others in the industry who may be interested in learning more about this topic. And we do have the chat open, so be sure to drop a chat in there. Let us know where you're from. And as we go along, feel free to drop any questions or comments. We will have a Q&A period at the end, but we would love to see you engaged during the conversation and chatting with each other. So, that being said, let me move on to... Moving on to introductions. Eugene, would you get us started by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Eugene Zukowski: Sure. My name's Eugene Zukowski. I'm with Jobba Trade Technologies. I am the senior product specialist here. I've been working with contractors on the IT side for 15 years. I'm here at Jobba for, this will be my seventh year, specifically with roofing contractors here at Jobba.

Karen Edwards: Thank you, Eugene. We're glad to have you here today. John, introduce yourself, please.

John Kenney: Great to be here to talk to everybody again today. I'm John Kenney. I'm currently Chief Executive Officer at Cotney Consulting, and I was 45 years as a contractor on the contracting side of our business. And now, what I do is I work as a consultant back to contractors in the roofing industry in the training and operational field and understanding how technology works in their business. So, always look forward to being here, and, once again, thank you for having me on.

Karen Edwards: Absolutely. And, Joe, please tell us a little bit about your background.

Joe Sorrentino: Well, good morning, good afternoon, everyone. Yeah, I've been considered a roofing brat since 1977, working in various capacities as regional and national technical managers, business development for a roofing and facilities consulting firm, as well as a distributor and working with contractors on fluid-applied systems. My first fluid-applied application occurred in Atlanta in 1985, and as I've mentioned, I've been around the industry for a little while, so I look forward to sharing some information with the group today. And thank you for allowing me this opportunity.

Karen Edwards: Absolutely. We're glad that you all are here. As you can see, we have a lot of experience on this webinar today, so looking forward to diving in. So, let's talk, get started talking, about the important practice of inspections. Joe?

Joe Sorrentino: So, my experience goes back, as I mentioned, to when 98%, 95% of the industry in roofing was built-up roofs. And Owens Corning, although not offering labor and material warranties, had a disciplined program of actually taking 12 by 12 roof cuts out of per 100 squares of roof area installed on every one of the installations. In 1982, formerly, Owens Corning went against the labor and material competitive situation with single-ply systems, and a formal program from that perspective, from my experiences, occurred. John, from your end, what do you see?

John Kenney: Well, going back always, like anybody that's been around me a long time knows that there's nothing I like better than good old roofing history. So, coming into the industry, Barrett Roofing Systems, which was your coal tar king back in... going into the 1800s and the 1900s, they actually were the first one to really formalize roof inspections, and that was around 1910-ish. A great thing about it was, then, they actually partnered with the roofing contractor and the owner, kind of what we're going to be talking about today, but they were the first to do that, where they were on your roof on a daily basis. So it wasn't just a preliminary kind of where the roof consulting groups in that go today about wanting to have monitors and stuff on your roof. They actually brought that concept into light all the way back 110 years ago. So, what we're doing today, like we always say when I'm out there giving that history of roofing presentation, what we're doing today all comes back from those original roots. So I think it's always exciting that we learn from the past, take best practices, and always move forward.

Karen Edwards: Wow. So, one of the questions that we talked about as a group earlier this week was, how do you view inspections within your company? Do you view it as a cost or as an investment? So, hopefully, the conversation that we're going to have throughout the next 30, 45 minutes or so will help you decide how you would like to view inspections within your company. Okay, so, why do inspections? Eugene, why don't you get us started a little bit in talking about documentation and warranties?

Eugene Zukowski: Well, the big reason why we want to do inspections, obviously, is for the information. It's going to help everybody involved, the customer, us, the manufacturer. It's going to help everybody. But another part of not just the inspections part of it is all the documentation that's involved that you have to keep track of when your customer has a warranty on their roofing system. I mean, there's the paperwork, the date filed, the stipulations and having all of that information in a single place when you need it is very, very key in order to be able to do inspection. Like your warranty documentation, for example, it'll tell you how often an inspection's even required on the roof after it's installed. I know a lot of people are even surprised to know that after they get a new roofing system, that they have to have any type of inspections as part of the warranty. So having a place to keep that documentation when needed on file and ready to go is very key to that process.

Karen Edwards: Excellent. John?

John Kenney: Yeah, so looking at this from that overview point of how inspections fall into the success of being a contractor, so, any contractor out there tries to live by the three golden rules of roofing, and that is safety should always be first, quality should be second and production third. And I hear a lot, "Well, production's got to be up there." Well, I will tell you, if you do safety first, you get your quality in order, your production falls in line without a lot of effort in comparison to try to do it in another order.

So now we're here talking about inspections. Inspections fall into quality. Now, we do inspections for safety, but we're not here to talk about safety policies in that today, but I think what you need to do as a contractor is look at how inspections are going to work into your company. So there's a couple ways to look at that. Should never ever want to do a final inspection with any manufacturer that you have not done your own internal quality control inspections first. When you get to that final inspection, it should be basically a handshake, and everybody, maybe you fix one item, two items and you move on.

So, how do you do that? You've got to implement that quality control and quality assurance portion of your company. And how you do that is put together how you're going to audit yourself. And this is going to be real easy when we get into how it works in the software and exactly what you're going to do for your inspections going through the project. There's more than one. You should be doing many internal inspections throughout that project. And then, when you get to the end, you have that final inspection.

So, your project planning portion comes in, just what we talked about, how you're going to plan that project and how many inspections or quality control inspections it requires on your part, and that's usually based by size or difficulty of the project. Some may be one. Some may be 10. Depends on that. But the big thing is looking at why inspections, do them, they're also protecting you as a roofing contractor legally. And as much as we like to stay out of trouble in our industry, we always end up getting into trouble, by no fault of our own a lot of times. But when you have all this properly documented, that is also protecting you on the legal side as well.

Karen Edwards: That's a really, really good point, yeah, because there's more that's going on that roof besides just the roofing crew and the roof workers. So, thank you, John. So, let's talk... Joe, do you have anything to add there about why we should be doing inspections?

Joe Sorrentino: I would love to share and commend John for bringing up safety first, because I think that's the critical part to this. Like everything else, we need to be as prepared as possible, but we also have to kind of expect the unexpected at times. And I think one thing that inspections in general, be it coatings or any roofing application, once, as a contractor, as an ally with that owner to protect their assets inside their facility with a roof of any type, that inspections allow you to be very responsive, rather than reactive, when a major roof issue comes up, because that's typically when the meter of emotion, ego, and excuses get to a high point.

And the more disciplined inspections are done prior to installation to prepare a crew, as well as the owner as to the expectations that go on, are critical to the success of a project. And inspections from a standpoint of a manufacturer, their documentation, what it is, as John mentioned, from a legality point of view, a way to legally divest yourself from emotion when an owner has a roofing system that you've been involved with and includes a manufacturer's warranty. And when we have to rely on that document's words, as opposed to what's happened in between, therein lies the problem. And that's why inspections are critical before, during and after.

And my feeling from a manufacturer's point of view is, we get involved as manufacturers from our company's process, and in some cases, we have a dedicated technical team that make disciplined inspections for a very short period of time. We have the ability, as John mentioned, to have proactive, not reactive, proactive installers doing that inspection to make sure, as John said, that little list, punch list, is a minimal issue that may have occurred in between the completion of the crew and when the inspection actually takes place for all of the documentation to work.

So, it's very important to be clear, concise and consistent in how you do an inspection and compartmentalize prior and during and after, because prior, it's critical to understand what's happening inside the building before you get up on top of the roof, and more importantly, a lot of documentation that may be in files needs to be asked of those building owners before the inspection initially to consider any type of roof system that's being designed either by the owner, through their facility's engineers, through a designer, be it consultant or an architect, or be a contractor. So, I think as we go through this presentation, hopefully, that will help set the stage. Thank you.

Karen Edwards: Yes, thank you, Joe. You guys had such great comments there. I really picked up on removing emotions. It's factual. It's documented. And safety and legal, all very important considerations. So, now that we understand the why, let's talk about the different practices for key stakeholders, because that's a thing. Different people are going to expect different things from their inspection. And Joe, can you get us started off on that?

Joe Sorrentino: Sure. I mean, this is a scenario that I just ended with, which is, we have a team. We have product selection, an owner with interest, possibly a third-party entity and a successful installer. And those are our four components that we look at in this slide. A manufacturer's best practices can only be what I had mentioned before, to be clear, consistent and concise, no opinions, no excuses. Have your documents completed. Make sure if you're doing interim inspections that if you're going to relay something to the office, that you're relaying it to the point of contact on the roof, typically the foreman of the project.

The one that gets left out the most, which is why we become so litigious, are the owner's obligations, which, in reality, unless it becomes a serious roof issue, it's literally out of sight, out of mind. And in some cases, because a lot of other trades utilize a roof as a construction floor, there's no clear understanding as to what needs to be done after an HVAC crew or a lightning protection cable system installation or whatever other personality shows up on it. That is the owner's obligation. And unless the installer is diligent about asking that in that interview process, if you will, of pre-inspection, will you understand how to deal with that as you go through the project?

Consultants and designers, when we're specifically talking about coatings, typically best practices there are to be able to do adhesion pull tests prior, to be making sure that there's no moisture within an existing roof system if a coating system is being installed for long-term performance. And really, then, the inspection process becomes an owner obligation as to do they want a third party to come and observe beyond what the manufacturer says in their warranty term, because within that 10, 15, 20 lifetime warranty, there's words that say it is the owner's obligation to maintain, look at that roof on a periodic basis. And candidly, the good practice that everybody typically looks at in roofing is, you should look at your roof at least twice a year, and an owner should look at their roof after every atypical weather condition within their area, be it high winds, high rains, be it excessive trades that need to be done because of some other work being done.

Once again, if a contractor is diligent about inspections, they may not see it as it's done, but they'll see it long before they're being called about an issue. And then, that is also the owner's cost that they have to decide on by bringing in a third party.

Karen Edwards: Thank you.

Joe Sorrentino: From a contractor's implementation, I think that's key for John to be able to share.

Karen Edwards: Yeah, John, please.

John Kenney: Sure. So, we're talking about coatings in particular, but putting in a good inspection system in place in your company works regardless of the system. So, we'll detail down what I'm talking about. You want to have a standard operating procedure for this, no differently than having a standard operating procedure for anything else in your company, because you're going to do it the same way. Follow best practices in your company, and you're going to come out with the best results.

So, coatings is... At first, like any other system, it kind of incorporated people thinking about paints and all kinds of crazy things. But there's coatings, there's maintenance products and there's liquid-applied systems, which are systems, so we have all these things gathered into one item. So what's the first thing you got to do as a contractor, regardless what happens above the line we just talked about here? You've got to go out and do your initial inspection, right? So let's look at new construction for an example, because you absolutely could be putting a liquid-applied system on a new construction job, so you want to make sure you're inspecting a substrate, that you don't have low spots, steel's not wrong, all the things that come in. The same as if you're doing another type of roof system over top of a new construction, you want to have your checklist for that. Before you even start the project, that's an initial inspection.

Now let's talk about a reroof, a roofover. I've said this 1,000 times throughout my career, every roof system has its place, but not every roof system's meant for every place. So as a professional, which if you're on here today, I know you're a professional, and I find very few people in the industry that do not want to strive to be a professional in our industry, those are the ones that we want to promote out and work with. Well, we're looking at this from that standpoint. You got to make the decision, let's say existing roof, is it suitable to receive a coating maintenance product or liquid? Is it have to be a tear-off? Is that the best solution for it?

So, regardless, you have to be able to have something in your processes where you're actually going to be able to tell yourself as a contractor first what's best to do. Now, just because someone else is telling you to do it and it's not right as a professional, you've got to speak up to yourself and your client and let them know why this is the best choice and not the best choice. So that starts it. So I think from a contractor's implementation, the best place to start is right at day one deciding whether the roof is suitable for what type of system that's being looked at.

Karen Edwards: Yeah, thanks. If you saw Jeff, Harvey, thank you for sending that chat to us, that he feels that one of the keys with inspections is it allows you to provide that building owner with the proper roof system for the roof. Especially with fluid-applied, like you said, John, it might not be a fit for it. And then, you have the information and the documentation and the data that you can share with that owner as to why they might need a tear-off or why it might not be a good fit for that. So, let's talk about-

John Kenney: Before you get into the software, I just want to say, Jeff, I did not have my chat open, but see, that just goes back to what I said, professionals in the industry think alike. So, very good that you came up with that and put that in there. Thank you.

Karen Edwards: Yes, thank you very much. So, yeah.

Joe Sorrentino: May I add one segment in addition to those statements, please?

Karen Edwards: Oh, absolutely.

Joe Sorrentino: Especially since we're talking about coatings, because, as we know, there are benefits and there are features to the various technologies, based on that roof's serviceability of other trades, geographical location, installation time period, based on budgets and feasibility for installations. Without those answers, it's very hard to pick the proper technology, and that gets back to that proper, as John mentioned, and I'll reinforce again, that initial inspection and digging deep on that inside-the-office interview before getting up on the roof. Thank you for letting me share that.

Karen Edwards: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, all very important points. So let's move on to the technology. Eugene, talk to us a little bit about that.

Eugene Zukowski: Yeah, I mean, when we're talking about a technology, obviously, reading Jeff's statement, I read it about 15 minutes ago, I felt like I want to talk to him after this call immediately, but that's exactly it. I mean, you want technology... When we're talking about technology, everyone's just thinking about a certain platform, but there's really multiple pieces to it, because, just like any tool that you're going to buy, you need that tool to be able to deliver and you need to know how to use that tool. So, to me, what tool you choose, obviously, I love Jobba, I'm here, I think it's a great tool that's going to help you with these things, but we need to consider some things like people, "Who is going to use the software? Are we able to train them in order to be able to use that software, or the tool, to be able to collect that information? What processes in place are there? Is it hard to capture the data? Can we customize our reporting process or our data gathering in order to be able to work with different scenarios?"

Like when John was talking a little bit earlier, he mentioned, you never want to do a final inspection with the manufacturer. I'm almost like, in my head, and I wasn't a good student, I'm like, "Open-book test. John is telling us to take an open-book test." But there's a lot to that, thinking, "Well, what is the open-book test?" So you want to be able to have a tool that's going to help you adapt based on the situation that you're in. So, is your tool customizable to the processes that you guys [inaudible 00:22:22] have?

And then lastly, that goal of data retention, as Jeff is saying here, like he mentioned, I couldn't have put it any better, you need to be able to back up what you're telling people with that data, "Did my inspection...? Can I capture all the information that I need, and then, can I get that information out to people when I need to be able to get it out to them?" So when you're looking at technology, to me, it's not just about a tool or a platform. You want to be able to answer those questions for yourself, "Do I have the people? Can I get them trained? Can I work with the situations that I'm working in process? And then, can I get the data, and can I get it out very easily?"

Karen Edwards: Excellent. So, John, now that we've talked about the technology, let's move into other tools. We have collaboration. We've got service trucks. You did this for years and years, so talk to us a little bit about that.

John Kenney: Yeah, so, I think collaboration's really simple in this point. It is having partnerships, which is what we're here to talk about, that you're actually working with your manufacturer. And, honestly, I don't see how you can survive in today's industry without utilizing technology, and I say this all the time. And I know, being, as Karen, as you are, part of RT3, we got into this study about technology, where it fits best into your business. Of course, you're starting out. You're not going to have all the technology. But when you get into really moving yourself into that professionalism, you want to be able to have the technology to be able to collaborate between your owner and your manufacturer and the people within your own company.

Now, when we talk about service trucks and materials, this is pretty simple in my mind, but it is done so wrong, is like, give you a great example. I can't tell you how many pictures that I see and have over the years and have been sent to me... Just, simplest example of this is a roof cement patch on top of a single-ply EPDM or TPO roof, or vice versa, some kind of an EPDM patch trying to go over top of gravel with cement.

So, what I mean by that is, when you do these inspections, you're going to have to do some destructive testing somewhere along the line to be able to get your core cuts and so forth, so make sure that you have all the proper materials, and it doesn't take a lot. And some materials work multiple systems. Have your service trucks loaded with the equipment, whether it is... I know Joe's getting into rooftop tools here in one second. But whatever you may need should be on that truck out there when you're doing these inspections. If you're using a drone and that's the trained drone person in your company, then you want to make sure you have everything outfitted so you're not wasting anyone's time when it comes to doing these inspections, which is going to cost your company money.

Karen Edwards: Yeah. And Joe, you were sharing with us the other day about the importance of having the right tools, because you can't always believe what your customer tells you is on their roof, right?

Joe Sorrentino: Exactly. And there are different generic terms that come across and the trust but verify. And so, in a positive way, and a different way to say that is, in an overall general statement, if you're going to be eventually getting on a roof to do an inspection, as John mentioned, having the right materials to take care of certain things that need to be done, having the right materials to do adhesion pull tests, based on what you have in place. And so, in all fairness to an owner, what if four of the five roof areas are all accurate as far as substrates being a mod bit, but let's say the fifth roof is not a mod bit, it's an EPDM? Do you have to come back again? Well, no. If you have the right tool kit to be able to take advantage of the materials, based on what you see and have to do, your life will be a lot easier, and you will be more effective and efficient to avoid any types of issues.

I think the other key element to this is, there are a lot of tools. We have infrared. I briefly talked about that from a standpoint of analysis of existing roof systems. We have a lot of different destructive and non-destructive tools. But our biggest assets and the tools are the people, and those people that are asked to do this at times... And in former lives, based on the conditions on the roof, a young individual says to me, "Sure, I can take care of that myself." I said, "Well, that's all well and good, but I think we should have two people on that project." And the bottom line when they came back, yeah, it was a lot safer, and most importantly, they were able to tell me about it and get the job done.

So, I think it's key when a lot of people think only one person because of all the technology. You cannot rely on an owner if something happens on the roof to your most precious asset, which is that individual that's up there, so I think that's a key part for safety. The tools, there's so many things available, but the key is being prepared to work on the various substrates, be it single-ply, built-up, mod bit and have those tools available with you when you first go out.

Karen Edwards: I like the buddy system, definitely.

John Kenney: Though, Karen, before we move on, if I could, I want to throw something in there, because this, again, could be a whole nother webinar for another day, but I want everybody to realize the two roofs, right? We talked about that, knowing what's on your roof, when it was suitable.

Many places of the country, driven by either insurance reasons, or also in building codes, when... And, again, this goes back. If roofing... If its coating is strictly for maintenance and there's not systems and system warranties tied to it, it's not as technical tough for this, but you're finding now that if there's two roofs on there, coating systems are being considered a third roof. So, again, as a roofing contractor, these are why you have to be aware of all this to make sure that you're doing it correctly and following codes and that. Won't get into the insurance-driven end of it, but there are roof systems that are being rejected for insurance purposes because they're considering them third roof. Not saying that's right, wrong or indifferent, but that's what's happening.

So, again, you as a contractor have the right tools and know what's out there on that building, you're more educated to then go talk to your owner and explain to them their positives and negatives of a roof system going down.

Karen Edwards: Joe, did you have anything to add?

Joe Sorrentino: I think, amen, John, very, very, very important. And I think the other part is, you don't apologize, you ask permission. If an owner has asked you to come inspect their existing roof for a coating system, which is what we're discussing, one of those initial things that needs to be discussed in that room is, "Have core cuts been done? Do you have something we can see to verify? And if not, and if I have to, I need permission from you to do that destructive test before I do it." And that is, to me, one of the most critical things to do, because if you do core into that roof and they think there's two and there's actually three, well, you have other issues, in all fairness, that need to be addressed at that point in time. Fair statement, John?

John Kenney: Fair statement.

Karen Edwards: Definitely. Wow. Okay. So now, we've talked about the importance of it. We've talked about the why. We've talked about the different stakeholders and the tools. But all throughout this process, what we're doing is we're gathering data, right? So, I want to talk a little bit on this slide about gathering and understanding and using that data. So, let's go there, Eugene.

Eugene Zukowski: Yeah, this is a great topic. Because that's exactly it, Karen. You called it out. What we're really doing here is gathering data. And when we're talking about data, I know a lot of people are thinking in their head pictures, things like that. And that's true. We are definitely gathering pictures. But what we're also really building, for us and our customer, is a history, what this property has looked like over a period of time, what actions were done and things like that. But we're also gathering documents and managing that information. So we're gathering a lot of information about our customers. And if we think about a normal project, you've got the customer, you've got the property, you've got who we dealt with, maybe we used a sub, maybe we didn't, maybe there's a certain manufacturer that we used, and that manufacturer's warranty, I need to keep track of something as simple as, what was the lot number on the coatings bucket that we installed on the roof?

There's a ton of information that comes into this, not only through the sales process, the installation process and the inspection process, but it's all a lot of data that we need to keep and put it somewhere. So I think gathering and storing your data, obviously, in an organized fashion, and whatever tool you choose should help you do all of that, and keep it into one system. So it's not just about capturing. It is, "Can I use it when I need it? Is it easy to find when somebody on my staff or a customer calls or somebody needs that information at...?" what John's saying, we have an issue that comes up and we want that information quickly.

So it's really about gathering that information. I think if you really sit back and understanding how much you're capturing as a contractor, I think it's really important when you really break it down. Yeah, there's a lot more data here than just inspection pictures. I mean, there's also, let's say core cuts, for example. Where exactly on the roof did I cut that core? What did it look like before? I mean, there's just a ton of information. You want your tool to help you be able to do all of that, capture it, store it, organize it and obviously, give it to you quickly and easily.

Karen Edwards: Absolutely. John, I'd like you to talk a little bit about analyzing the data.

John Kenney: Sure. So, the first thing I'd like to let everybody know is do not get yourself into analysis paralysis, okay? That's the biggest mistake.

Eugene Zukowski: Aw, man, that's my favorite saying, John.

John Kenney: Yeah, that's it, the biggest mistake I see roofing contractors make. Data's very important. I'm a data-driven person, but you don't need 1,000 key points to look at any given time, because it's meaningless at that point. So, when you're analyzing data, there's a couple reasons. One is, your customer's also going to be analyzing some of this data that you're going to be providing them, say, on that initial inspection, or you're trying to sell a roof system through an initial inspection report.

So, one thing I want you to remember, and I know this drives me crazy, if anybody out there's gone to... Modern doctors' offices would have the computer portals. That's where you get all your information. It's on a portal. When you go on there, there's that official report that, honestly, I have no idea what it means. I'd have to go Google every word, and then there's that little one called notes. So, what you want to be able to do is, you may want to analyze a lot of that technical data that's on that report, but you want to get it to your customer that they're analyzing the noted version that makes the most sense. You got to remember, you're not communicating with a professional chemist in the field or anything else. So keep yourself of mind in that.

So, what else can you gather as a roofing contractor from this? So, all your initial inspections, you should be able to pull data out of that. Some simple KPIs you're looking at that you track very easily in a system is, "What roofs were you most successful on? What systems did you sell on these type of roofs? What areas were they in?" Those are the things that matter for your sales side.

Now, your QC inspection reports, you want to have that. You want to keep that simple, though. Grade your crews. You do want to grade your crews. I used a simple A, B, C, D, right? Very simple. It doesn't have to be [inaudible 00:34:22]. You look at it that way, 90, 80 to 90. Decide what in your QC plan is how you're going to grade them. So, how is that important? Well, you're going to also know which crews are most suitable in doing the best quality control and moving with the right type of systems. Now, that leads you up to what crews are giving you the best final inspections. You want to track how you're doing with the manufacturer.

So, what does that all do for you? You can then use that, and I'm not going to get too deep in this. Joe's going to give us some better on the customers, what he shares with them. But when you share that with your customer, let them know that you do quality control reports and you've got a 85 to 90% quality control rating in-house prior to getting that final inspection, or whatever it may be. And they're going to say, "Well, yeah, right. How do we know that? It's like a Google review." "No, here, because I have the data. Let me show you how I'm tracking my crews." I'm telling you, a lot of people don't use the data that comes out of these inspections. And the reports and the quality control and the manufacturer report, use them as your sales tool. You really have a lot sitting there besides running your business off the data.

Eugene Zukowski: And that's interesting, John. The KPIs and the way you break it out, it's really... Yeah, you don't want analysis paralysis because you've got too much information. But even your KPIs, it sounds like they each are a little bit custom. So I think whatever tool you're using, that key KPI needs to be able to bring that information to you easily, because that's a lot of information that you're capturing. How do you dig through all of that? And again, I'm just going to talk about Jobba briefly. We're integrated with Power BI, so all of that data is already built into a business analytics tool for our customers, so they could take that data, slice it, dice it and build those KPIs very easily in the system.

Karen Edwards: Excellent.

John Kenney: And that's so important for an owner, a project manager, whoever's got to see data. You really only want to see what you need to see to tell you that you're going down the right path, or you're getting a KPI coming out that's telling you, "We're leaning too far to one side. We need to make a correction." That's the importance of data, from a company management standpoint.

Karen Edwards: Now, let's talk a little bit about sharing that data with the customers. And Joe, I know you have some thoughts you'd like to share on that.

Joe Sorrentino: Yeah, I think this is a great opportunity to share it, from two perspectives. Let's look at it from the way I've been speaking about making that initial inspection on a property owner who has a portfolio of multitude of buildings, locally or around the country. And in their portfolio, they have an understanding of their specific roof systems and what's in place. And your firm has been diligently and progressively working, and proactively working, on the living documents that you've been utilizing for your existing customers that have similar substrates. When you can pull and gather the data that shows the fact that you were able to resolve and do these issues for previous customers and that's why you're the right pick for them, that's a pretty powerful statement.

Now I'll share it from another perspective. Being someone billing an owner for consulting fees, walking into a meeting and having that owner look across the table at you and say, "We spent $11 million on you last year," and they also say, "We're going to continue to spend for you, because with working with you over the last 12 years, we've increased our useful service life of our roofs around the country from 12 to 24 years." So, diligence on all parts saves big dollars for everybody, and that sure is a good point to be able to take for other future clients. So, that's what I thought I'd share with y'all. Thank you for that opportunity.

Karen Edwards: Absolutely. That's great, great information. So, let's move on, then, to talk a little bit about how you can use that data to enhance your business. I think that's a good segue into it, Joe, what you just shared, about they've seen the investment they've made in the contractor's company, how that has helped extend the life of their roof. So, there's a lot of opportunity in here, I think, to use this data to enhance your own business. Eugene.

Eugene Zukowski: Yes, absolutely. We want to do a lot of things when it comes to this, and we've been really focusing this webinar towards manufacturer-specific type of inspections, but inspections, you should have a really good range of different types of inspections that we're doing. I mean, you should have goals to have a certain amount of your customers under a maintenance program, regardless of what is happening, or annual maintenance. Maintenance, to me, is a very key cornerstone to a healthy contractor. And John, I'm going to kind of lean on you towards this a little bit. When we're setting goals for different types of inspections and processes in that area, what's a healthy mix, in your opinion?

John Kenney: Well, I think just drilling down on what's so important after you get the roof down and that is having your maintenance inspections and what may... for the owner, is, I think contractors lose setting up actual, "When is it going to happen? Who's going to do it, and when's a reminder coming out?" And if they're even doing that internally, they're forgetting about the client. You should always be notifying the client that you're going to be doing these things, and then, what the results were afterwards, because that's a partnership. So, you got to, first of all, decide what you're going to do in your business on these inspections and what your goal should be.

Now, from a QC standpoint, when you first start these out, doing these inspections internally, you got to basically grade your crews, and you got to come up with a... When I've done this over the years, I got to basically say, "Look, I feel that if I've got eight crews out there, we're running about 80% on quality," whatever it may be. I'm just making these numbers up, "So we're a B right now. That's where we stand." And some companies can do it, and they may be a D. It's okay. You got to be honest with yourself.

So, what realistically is your goal? Let's just look at that for a moment. Everybody wants to get to 100% quality, or 100% efficiency, whatever it may be. You're never going to get there. So, what I mean is, you're going to get up to maybe 90%. So you got to set realistic goals, because the cost to go from 90 or 95 to 100, it's almost like a grading system, it's not really a value-add into getting there. So, that is a goal to set for your internal QCs, "How are we going to get to these, and where am I going to work with these crews for setting up training and all the other things?"

But, if you don't have that in some sort of a software, that's what I'm saying, we went to before, let's just say you're trying to track this in Excel or in a Word document. Yeah, that's the way it used to be done. And it was real great when Excel came out, because it was better than going back through your legal pads in a manila file folder and trying to figure things out. But that's where it comes important. But, like I said, I think the biggest thing, we do it and forget about it, and that's where software's so important, because it can remind us when things need to be done, and it can tell us where we're at in our progress of our goals by tracking it.

Eugene Zukowski: I completely agree with that. And then, when they're setting up all of those goals, we want to track them and move towards them. We always want to be getting better. But I also think inspection data, John, can also help contractors help their customers outside of these areas. Let's say we've got a customer and we've done some inspections and we found issues on the roof. Maybe one of the goals that we can work with our customer, "Hey, you maybe not have the budget to replace this right now, but let's get you watertight and get you moving forward," maybe even setting up goals with our customers, because we have that data easily accessible where we can share it with them and work towards repairing the roof. Is that a good business model too?

John Kenney: Yeah. So, you're actually talking about having a portal or an open setup where you can actually, you’re your client to be able to see what's important to them. Again, it comes back to not having analysis paralysis, give them what they need. But yeah, I mean, anybody on here that's been to any kind of seminars or listened to other people, but it is true. We are not as much in the service end or coding end or anything that we're looking for with a client. They're really looking for us to manage their data and help them make their decisions. So they want to know what they're spending on emergency repairs, what they're spending on maintenance, what they're spending on reroofs, what they're spending on coating systems, whatever that may be. And that's where software comes in.

So, I hate to say it, they expect you to be that grade-A quality, top-quality roofer. That's a given to them. That's where their mentality's at, rightfully so. They're saying, "If you're a professional roofing contractor, I absolutely expect that you're going to give me a professional result on whatever you do for me, but where's your value-add?" Well, that's where contractors can come in using software correctly as that big value-add. You're managing their data, so you're solving someone's problem and you're making them look better in their job and helping them make decisions for budgeting and planning and looking ahead in their own company, which is setting their goals. So when you get that down and learn how to do that and work with the software with your client and give them access to that, you're golden, I'm telling you. That has put you ahead of 90% of your competition, because a lot of people that are even on software still don't do this correctly.

Eugene Zukowski: Thanks, John.

Karen Edwards: Well said. Well said. Yeah. Yeah, having those tools that set you apart and that really help a contractor become that ally and help them understand, "What should I address first? How can I plan this out over the next year or two?" And making them look good, that's always key, right? So, that's kind of like creating a partnership with the building owner and the contractor. And we've got an entire slide here. We're going to talk about, why are partnerships important? And Joe, can you lead us off on this one?

Joe Sorrentino: Sure. And I've enjoyed listening to this and participating. And I think here, what's important is to focus on coatings. Attending Roof Coating Manufacturers Association, we know that there are some 1,800 manufacturers, God bless America, of things called roof coatings. So, it's very important to align yourself culturally and strategically with a manufacturer.

I mean, the interview process on an inspection of understanding how much the owner knows about the roof when you're there for that inspection before you get on the roof is as important as before you start quoting product and projects of a manufacturer's product. Do they have a technical staff? Are they committed to the industry, or do they want to sell product? Culturally, there's companies that can exist and not get themselves in trouble on either end of the spectrum. What's important is to be honest with yourself and interview those firms and understand if there's products that are available in that market that are different than what everybody's saying is the best product around that you should make sure it fits for your company. And I think that's the most critical part in utilizing coatings in any way, shape, or form, because you really want an ally and a partner with you in the event that the owner gets emotional and the team is now manufacturer and contractor trying to make it equitable for everybody.

So, that, to me, is one of the most important things. It's not what the product is. It's, "Do I have the right alignment for the various technologies of coatings that are utilized in the area of business that I participate in? What products do I feel fit for my company? Where can I align? Is it feasible? Is it readily available?" Maybe it's the best product, but the people aren't really the ones that you can work with. I mean, those are important things to decide before you start building your database so you don't have to reset, as they say in today's world. So, that's my main [inaudible 00:47:16].

Karen Edwards: Joe, if you... While you were talking, Andrea, thank you for your question, asked if we have recommended manufacturers. And while we don't recommend specific manufacturers, I think you spoke to a few things right there about choosing who your partner's going to be. And it was Joe, and John, you may have spoken to this a little bit too, about, when you're deciding what manufacturer's product to use, what are some best practices and what should you be looking for when you're choosing a manufacturer?

Joe Sorrentino: I would say that from a manufacturer's point of view, they better be registered and following ISO practices, which forces them to allow a third party to come in and make sure that there are consistencies not only in the production of the product, but also the processes that are involved to take care of those who pay all of our bills, which is the building owner. And the biggest conundrum is that customers pay all of our bills, but on another hand, people want to say the customer's always right. Well, that's the conundrum, because they're not always right. And in order to have it as factual as you can, emotion needs to be out of it, and you need to have that proper alignment.

And really, the power of networking and understanding in your area if a generic technology of silicone or water-based acrylic or PMMA or polyurea or polyurethane... the key is, there's associations, RCMA, Roof Coating Manufacturers Association. You can go to local affiliate contractor meetings and listen to the manufacturers that participate. And usually, if you look at who's sponsoring in your local association, that'll typically give you a feel of what manufacturer is active in supporting that area. So, I hope that helps.

Karen Edwards: Thank you.

John Kenney: Yeah, the only thing I can add to that from a contractor's viewpoint, just wanting you to understand as a contractor, the customer's going to remember you long after a bad product on the marketplace, because you're the one that actually brought it into them, and it's your local reputation. So as a contractor, what you want to look at from any manufacturer deal, and one is length of business that they've been in in producing a product.

Let's just use coating for example. I had a great... I'm in a town, Midwest, and I got a local paint company that's never done roof coatings, but they decided to come out with a roof coating. Well, you want to know that. You want to know... I'm not saying that that was bad. They may have the greatest coating in the world when they're moving into that. Know the system. Know how long they've been in the market. Know if it's a new technology, what company's backing it, because, like I said, you have to ask these questions, and you need to feel comfortable, because the owner, your reputation is on stake long after. I've seen manufacturers come and go. And if you listen to my history of roofing thing, there was 1,500, 2,000, 3,000 manufacturers at one point in the early 1900s, and we're down to where we're at. So, it's your reputation. Know what you're getting yourself into, and do the homework upfront

Joe Sorrentino: Amen.

Karen Edwards: Thank you, John. Yeah, thank you. And thank... Jeff commented, hopefully... I know some of you aren't seeing all of the chat, but that the partnership conversation is the manufacturer should support the contractor, but the contractor also has an obligation to support the manufacturer with things like inspections, reports, attending trainings, that it really becomes a true partnership. And I'm not sure, John, you had mentioned before about the two-year thing with contractors. I don't know if you want to talk about that at all here.

John Kenney: Yeah, that's fine. We can talk about that now. But yeah, Jeff's correct. It is a two-way street. After 45 years as a contractor, I didn't work with 1,000 manufacturers. I partnered with... Just as Jeff's trying to point out there, it's a two-way street. You've got to give. You've got to take. And it's got to be a relationship that's a win-win for both. And you will do better as a roofing contractor if you're working with people who are not just interested in putting the sale out, but interested in your wellbeing and the client's wellbeing at the same time.

So, here's a little... I like to always give what I call gold. Whenever I'm working with contractors, one of the things that all manufacturers have is some sort of a... whether it's two years or five years, it depends. You have an agreement back to the manufacturer that if there is an issue on the roof, you're going to go out and take care of that leak and do the initial investigation anyways.

So, as a contractor from your marketing and sales standpoint, I always train, and I've done this in my companies, is you want... That's a great place to initiate your maintenance plan and program in your company, where you can give that to the owner and I hate... And everybody says, "Give it for that two-year period," let's say, if you're [inaudible 00:52:18]. You're out there doing the inspections. You're getting them used to the fact that inspections need to be done to make sure the warranties are being upheld.

And then, I will tell you right now, contractors who have done that and given it for the first two years and then turned it over into a paid maintenance program after that, I will tell you that it is not uncommon to have 80, 85% closure rate keeping that person on board with you to continue on with maintenance. That's a partnership. Your manufacturer's going to be extremely happy, because they're not going to get warranty claims. Your client's going to be extremely happy, because you're the professional that did it, and your profitable bank is going to be happy, and your contractor's book, because you're making money. That's a win-win for everybody.

Joe Sorrentino: Yeah, I hope I did not give the impression any way, shape or form that the contractor's obligated to do things for the manufacturer. You're exactly right. The only true partnership is a two-way street. It's not a one-way street. And that's very critical to the success to this. And I appreciate what you said, John. Thank you. And if you think about it, we started out with our inspections, a cost or an investment. And John, you just kind of described the investment. Invest a couple years in a roof that they're not paying you to look at, and that service life is going to be increased, and your ability to be an expert in that neighborhood when that is a successful installation and you're doing that on your own, that's a win-win-win.

Karen Edwards: Yeah. Yeah. Way to bring it home for us, Joe. Well, we started with that question. Hopefully, after all the conversation today and everything that we've talked about, you do see that as an investment. And I just will open it up here. If there are any more questions, I know we've been answering a few and commenting on a few as we go, but feel free to drop those in the chat. And a reminder that this is going to be available on demand within usually 24 hours, coatingscoffeeshop.com. Go under the read, listen, watch tab and you'll be able to find the recording there so you can share it, or rewatch it, in case you missed some information or were taking notes and want to get a little more out of it. I want to thank you to Jobba as well for sponsoring, for organizing, for helping pull all this together. I think it was really informative. We do have one question here that came in. What is the industry standard on charging the customer for the inspections?

John Kenney: That's a great question. I will tell you, so, as far as to be able to tell you that there is a standard price you should charge, there really isn't. It depends on the model of your company, your overhead, what you're paying, what your competition allows. But let's take that just more simpler terms. A couple things can happen on what you're going to charge your customer. Look at it this way, if you're out doing a roof survey report to generate business, you're probably not charging for that. A roof inspection report is what you're going to charge for. That may be for a building owner that wants you to go inspect 100 roofs. So you got to make sure how long is it going to take you inspect it and what you're going to charge for it.

So how, from a pricing standpoint, you could look at that, there's a couple ways that the industry contractors are charging. One is a square foot price based on the size. They may say, "Hey, from this square footage up to this square footage, we're charging you so much per square foot. We'll come out and do a full inspection.", Or if you're putting it into your maintenance plan and you're doing two inspections a year, "It is X lump sum for me to come out twice a year, and these are the periods I'm coming out. And in my inspection, I'm going to include the following scope. Anything above that that we find, I will then quote you for what you need to do as far as a maintenance on your roof or emergency repair or so on."

So, I can't really tell you that it should be $1,000 an inspection or 2,000 or 500, because that's impossible. It depends on the size of the building, the client you're working with, the area you're in, your labor costs and so on. So you look at this, figure it out very similar to way you would price any other job, put it together that way. Hopefully that answers your question.

Karen Edwards: Yes. Thank you so much, John. You hate answering, "It depends," but it really does. But you gave us a lot of factors to consider when trying to come up with that number. I don't see any other questions, so, again, I just want to say thank you to Jobba Trade Technologies, to Cotney Consulting Group, to Sherwin-Williams for being part of this really informative webinar. All of these companies have directories on coatingscoffeeshop.com, so if you think of something later that you forgot to ask, visit the directory. Their contact information is out there, as well as information about their company. As I said, be sure to watch this on demand on CoatingsCoffeeShop, and look for future episodes coming up in the very near future. We do one of these a month, and we also have podcasts and other multimedia and training and learning opportunities about coatings. Thank you. Eugene, John, Joe, thank you. This was wonderful.

Eugene Zukowski: Happy New Year, everybody.

John Kenney: Thank you.

Eugene Zukowski: I forgot to open with that. Thank you very much.

Joe Sorrentino: Thank you, Karen.

John Kenney: [inaudible 00:57:37].

Karen Edwards: Take care.

John Kenney: Bye-bye

Karen Edwards: Bye-bye.

Eugene Zukowski: Bye-bye.



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