All industries are experiencing supply chain and labor issues and that is particularly true in roofing. In both residential and commercial roofing, contractors have been struggling to procure products and paying inflated prices for everything from lumber to insulation and roofing products. In 2021 we saw 45% increases in the metal we buy for our steel roofs and larger increases in lumber. Demand for our services has soared over the past couple of years and everything we need to fill that demand, both labor and materials is suddenly scarce and expensive.
Finding and retaining good help is critical to keeping promises to customers. We are making these changes to address this challenge:
- Shifting our marketing focus from finding new customers to finding new talent
- Writing a training manual and training videos for our crews to improve their development
- Increasing training time and mentoring to develop skills, efficiency, and a career-oriented staff
- Understanding the individual needs and goals of our employees and trying to meet those goals
Increased attention to staff is a necessary shift for all of us.
All contractors have been struggling with pricing and supply for the materials they need to do their jobs. Long-term relationships with local suppliers have proven to be tantamount to keeping our materials coming. Knowing our buying history, our suppliers have ordered early and made sure our supply was there. Buying products made in Michigan and the USA has also proven to be a real advantage in securing reliable product in times of scarcity.
Projections for 2022
- Metal prices are coming back down due to increased supply worldwide. However, the Kynar resin used in the paint for our steel is also used in Electric car batteries, and it is now becoming scarce and costly. Our manufacturers are ahead of this curve, making sure we have our product needed for 2022 in reserve.
- Lumber prices went up in 2021 then down a little but are now headed upward again, with futures up 30% already for 2022.
- Labor prices are on the rise as employers negotiate to retain and build their crews to meet the demand of their customers.
To meet the demand of customers, contractors are relying on U.S. made products and better trained, better paid staff. This is actually a very good thing for Americans.