RoofViews

Residential Roofing

GAF Contractor Outreach Survey 2020

By Aimee Braybrook

April 20, 2020

Man in chambray shirt at laptop

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has driven marketplace changes that present our contractors with an unprecedented set of business challenges. To learn the extent of those challenges, as well as identify ways GAF can help, the company conducted an online survey from March 24 through March 30.

After reaching out to 1,139 GAF Customer Advisory Panel members, we received 317 responses. We thank everyone who participated. Your feedback is invaluable.

Please note that these results represent a snapshot in time; the environment is changing rapidly, and we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.

Survey Summary

COVID-19 has impacted the majority of contractors surveyed

  • Nearly 80% of respondents reported cancelling or postponing jobs.
  • Over 70% reported a decrease in new business/leads.

Respondents are adapting their selling process to include:

  • Remote selling
  • Digital tools

Respondents say GAF can help by:

  • Continuing to manufacture product to keep up with demand
  • Advertising
  • Holding online training sessions
  • Establishing open communications

Business Impact

Contractors said they were feeling an impact on both existing and new business. 79% of respondents have cancelled or postponed jobs due to be completed over the next 30 days while 72% have noted decreases in new business (see fig. 1), ranging from a slight decrease to a total stop.

Regulatory impact varies from state to state and has affected contractors' businesses in a wide variety of ways. In Pennsylvania, for example, most roofing projects are not considered essential, and contractors report being effectively shut down for the time being. This has created liquidity issues and some contractors acknowledge they're considering layoffs.

In other areas, contractors have reported virtually no impact — in fact, repair jobs seemed to be the rise.

Those who are shutting down cited two primary reasons: Regulation (they have to) and caution (they're doing so voluntarily, based on concern for their employees).

GAF Study - COVID Impact on Existing Business

Fig.1

Contractors with few jobs on the books through April expected to be hit the hardest. As shown in Fig. 2, contractors with 0 to 15 jobs booked have seen 57% of those jobs cancelled or postponed. Contractors with more than 30 jobs booked, on the other hand, have seen 20% of them cancelled or postponed.

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

Fig.2

Commercial contractors reported feeling the pinch more than residential contractors (Fig. 3), especially in Florida and Texas. The hardest-hit residential contractors work in the states hit hardest by COVID-19, New York and New Jersey.

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

Fig.3

Adapting to the new normal

Most respondents — 76% — said they've been relying more on remote technology such as phone calls, email, and video conferencing to communicate and facilitate sales. They also said they're complying with Social Distancing and safety precautions. And many are implementing strong sanitation practices that may slow the work process.

Of the tools needed most for remote sales, roof reports (75%), estimates (60%), brochures (59%), and samples (52%) took the top four spots.

Many contractors also requested more online training sessions, and help getting the word out that roofers work outdoors and are, in many places, still considered essential workers.

Most are also eliminating face to face meetings, utilizing phone, email and technology to facilitate communication with customers.

How GAF can help

As contractors are seeing first-hand, tools like digital measurement and teleconferencing mean it's both possible — and practical — to sell without entering the customer's home. To help contractors adapt, GAF has pulled together resources and information on digital measurement, video conferencing, virtual training, and more. Programs for GAF factory-certified contractors include digital payments, and even a complete end-to-end digital sales tool called GAF Project. For information on these tools, as well as other GAF remote selling resources, please visit the GAF COVID-19 response page on gaf.com.

About the Author

Aimee Braybrook joined GAF in July 2015 and leads the GAF Marketing Insights function to bring forward the voice of the customer and support the development of customer driven marketing strategy, experiences and products. She joined GAF with over 15 years of experience in Customer Insights, Marketing Analytics and Process Improvement across several industries including Travel, Manufacturing and Retail.

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