Every building needs a roof and that is why the role of a roofer is extremely important in the construction industry.
Roofing is delineated into 2 categories; residential and commercial. Residential roofing refers to covering homes while commercial roofing refers to covering large buildings (factories, event centres or business places).
Residential roofers deal solely with homes and this niche can sometimes be saturated. Most contractors in this category most likely experience downtime more than they would love to. This would surely lead them to think of ways to expand their business and increase revenue.
One of the ways that you may want to expand as a residential contractor is to go into commercial roofing. In this article, we will share some tips that can help you make a smooth transition.
Transitioning from residential construction to commercial can be scary. Instead of just dealing with the homeowner and your workmen, you now have to deal with all the big wigs and a slew of professionals in the industry.
Well, it’s not as scary as it seems; all you need to do is to understand all the protocols, regulation and know your competitors. You will also need to do some study on the risk involved and how you would navigate the waters.
The following are some of the things you need to get started:-
When you were in the residential space, you most likely got work from word of mouth, local adverts, your website, your contacts in the industry, and personal referrals. As you transition, these means are still valid for getting commercial work but you would need to engage more avenues for getting jobs.
There are reporting services that are referred to as Dodge reports. These services publish information about the following:-
- Commercial projects that are in the planning or negotiating stages
- Projects that are up for bid in your locality
- Projects that have just been awarded
They cater to general contractors, subcontractors and construction managers and others who are interested in such projects. The reports usually contain information about the engineer/architect, the person awarding the contract, and sometimes, information about other companies that are bidding for the job.
Additionally, these reports give you the date and time that the bid is expected to be submitted and they even show you how to get the bidding documents. There is also information on different niches that can fit your area of expertise.
Note however, that these services would require that you pay a monthly subscription or some other type of fees. Therefore you should do your due diligence in researching the reporting service site that would be best for you.
Join Professional Organizations
One very popular means of looking for/getting projects is by joining a professional association in your locality. Some of these associations include Associated General Contractors (AGC) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
These groups represent a wide range of suppliers, sub-contractors, government and support agencies that are players in the construction industry (commercial).
Additionally, these groups help set up plan rooms in different areas and localities where the specifications and blueprints for upcoming commercial projects can be checked out. These plan rooms can be either physical or online and they allow participants to check out these projects or download the plans so that they can do estimates and initiate take offs.
Do note that these plan rooms may require a fee or not. Check out this site for more information about joining a professional body: https://www.agc.org/
Liaise With Project Engineers/Architects
Liaising with project engineers or architects is a great way of making forays into the commercial construction space.
You may be able to get the bid plans and specification straight from the engineer or architect in charge of the project. This however, depends on the method of delivery of the project. To get this package, you would be required to pay a deposit or fee.
Bear in mind as you venture out that firms are usually selective/careful about giving 2nd tier suppliers or subcontractors these documents/packages. They prefer to deal directly with general contractors and contract managers.
However, there are firms that are willing to give transiting contractors a chance. You would have to undergo a pre-screening process that involves financials, experience and references before they put you on the list of their selected contractors. This would take time but note that it would be worth your while in the long run.
This is because when you are on this list, you would have more access to sources that would give you an edge when it is time to bid for a project.
Work With Professionals
When you were in the residential construction space, you may have not had to interact much with professionals in the construction industry. But now that you are transitioning into the commercial space, you would have to interact more with engineers, architects and site workers that are highly qualified and licensed.
You know that commercial jobs are more costly and intricate than residential construction. No client would feel safe entrusting their projects into the hands of folks without license or credentials. But when you work with a team of professionals who are well trained and certified, clients are more confident giving you jobs.
Most importantly, the government requires that plans and specifications for commercial bids/jobs bear the seal of licensed professionals. These documents must have this seal or else they wouldn’t get building permits.
There is a lot more information on the issue of licenses and certification for the commercial construction industry and it will do you well to research further and get all the necessary information.
Transitioning from residential roofing to commercial is one sure way of expanding your business. Though the move might appear daunting, it is something that’s doable. All you need to do is apply yourself to whatever is needed for a smooth transition.
In this article, we have shared a few tips and although they may appear simplistic, that’s because they are just an introduction to what you need to do. We believe that these tips are pointers to what you need for the growth and expansion of your business.