RICOWI Deploys Research Teams to Hail-damaged Areas

The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc. (RICOWI Inc.) has announced deployment of research teams to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex hail-damaged areas. The teams will be conducting the investigation from May 2-6, 2016.

RICOWI is a non-profit international organization that has implemented a strategic plan for a Hail Investigation Program (HIP). The purpose of the research program is:

  • To investigate the field performance of roofing assemblies after major hail storms.
  • To factually describe roof assembly performance and modes of damage.
  • To formally report the results for substantiated hail events.

Hail Task Force Chair John Gimple says: “The data collected will provide unbiased detailed information on the hail resistance of low slope and steep slope roofing systems from credible investigative teams. We can expect a greater industry understanding of what causes roofs to perform or fail in hail storms, leading to overall improvements in roof system durability, the reduction of waste generation from re-roofing activities, and a reduction in insurance losses that will lead to lower overall costs for the public.”

RICOWI investigated the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 2011. During this investigation more than 100 hail-damaged roofs were included in the research. RICOWI Inc. is again reaching out to the local governments, businesses and the residents to help with this important research project by volunteering their hail damaged roofs for the research project. All information is kept confidential and is used strictly for research purposes. Reports of past research are available for no charge on the website.

The published findings will document roofing systems that fail or survive major hail events and provide educational materials for roofing professionals to design hail-resistant roofing systems.

Pay Per Click Marketing for Roofers

Homeowners never know when Mother Nature is going to cause significant damage to their roof. Every house is only one bad storm away from thousands of dollars in repairs. In today’s market the majority of homeowners turn to Google, Bing and other search engines to find roofers that can come to the rescue.

I specialize in Pay Per Click (PPC) management. PPC is a form of Internet advertising in which advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked.

PPC can be a powerful tool to generate new business. It is the only way to guarantee that your website appears when a potential customer searches for a term relevant to your business. However, it can also be an expensive waste of money if your account is setup incorrectly. Whether you decide to manage your PPC campaign in-house or outsource it, you need to follow these tips to make the most from your marketing budget:

Set up the Campaign Correctly

The first tip is also the most important. Make sure your campaign is set up correctly so every single website visitor you get is a realistic prospect for your services. PPC can be a black hole if you are paying the search engines for irrelevant terms, like “roofing equipment”. Also, if your account is not set up correctly, you could be paying for clicks that are completely out of your service area.

Remember, even if you get a bad click, Google still gets paid! Make sure your campaign is laser-focused, so that the keywords, location, device and time of day is most likely to turn into a sale.

Highlight Offers and Specials

For all of your ads you need to make sure you highlight specials and features about your company that will separate you from your competitors. The basic fundamentals are always going to remain the same, but you need to give customers a reason they should be excited to do business with you.

Pay Google and Bing Directly

If you outsource your PPC, it is best to work with a company that has the search engines charge you directly. PPC agencies charge a separate management fee for their services. If you pay a lump sum, then the PPC company does not have to tell you how your budget was divided. Keep in mind the average PPC management fee is about 20 percent of your total spend on Google, Bing and other search engines.

Also, if a PPC agency spends less on clicks for a particular month, then you should be the one to keep the money!

(PPC requires an in-depth knowledge of Google AdWords. It is deceptively easy to create a campaign in-house but I recommend working with an expert to make sure you are maximizing your marketing budget.)

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The Hidden Costs of Workplace Accidents

Asking an employee why he or she wants to be safe is like asking them why they work. Overwhelmingly, every roofer I ask this question to tells me he or she wants to go home at the end of the day. He doesn’t want to lose any time because losing time is losing money. And, believe it or not, money can buy happiness. A New York City carpenter once told me he fell 35 feet and broke multiple bones. He was out of work for two years, during which he collected $57,000 from workers’ compensation insurance. If he worked, he would have made more than $100,000 per year. In his words, “I almost lost my big house on Long Island and my high-maintenance wife.”

In addition to how accidents impact workers’ finances, they can seriously affect a company’s bottom line. A good Health and Safety Program can save a company money by cutting workers’ compensation insurance premiums; heading off needless, expensive and embarrassing OSHA citations; avoiding expensive and embarrassing lawsuits; increasing the efficiency of the workforce; and boosting workers’ morale, which consequently will improve their productivity. A good Health and Safety Program also will give a business owner peace of mind by knowing all his or her employees are working safely.

In my experience, project managers, job-site superintendents and crew foremen are the people who are reluctant to want job-site safety. They believe following safety standards slows the job down. Management is responsible for making money in a business that regularly grapples with close bids, tight schedules and limited job budgets. However, these factors do not take into account the “hidden” costs of workplace accidents. Oftentimes, accidents are more expensive than people realize because of these hidden costs.

Examples of Hidden Costs

Some costs created by accidents are obvious; for example, workers’ compensation claims cover medical costs and indemnity payments for an injured or ill worker. What people often don’t think about are the hidden costs, like the costs to train and compensate a replacement worker, repair damaged property, investigate the accident and implement corrective action, as well as maintain insurance coverage. Even less apparent are the costs related to schedule delays, added administrative time, lower morale, increased absenteeism and poorer customer relations.

Washington, D.C.-based OSHA’s Safety Pays Program states the lower the direct costs of an accident, the higher the ratio of indirect to direct costs. The more accidents that occur in a workplace, the higher the costs in increased insurance premiums and greater indirect costs. According to the Boca Raton, Fla.-based National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc., these include the following kinds of indirect costs:

  • Any wages paid to injured workers for absences not covered by workers’ compensation.
  • The wage costs related to time lost through work stoppage associated with the worker injury.
  • The overtime costs necessitated by the injury.
  • Administrative time spent by supervisors, safety personnel and clerical workers after an injury.
  • Training costs for a replacement worker.
  • Lost productivity related to work rescheduling, new employee learning curves and accommodation of injured employees.
  • Clean-up, repair, and replacement costs of damaged material, machinery and property.

Some of the possible indirect costs not included in these estimates are:

  • The costs of OSHA fines and any associated legal action.
  • Third-party liability and legal costs.
  • Worker pain and suffering.
  • Loss of good will from bad publicity.

The Human Factor

Direct and indirect costs certainly are motivation for preventing workplace accidents. In fact, when I ask roofing company owners why they want their employees to work safely, many automatically default to the money answer. However, in most cases, business owners are generous, caring members of their communities. I once sat across the desk of an owner of a large construction company after his team experienced a fatality. He asked me, “How do I look at myself in the mirror every morning, knowing one on MY guys didn’t go home today?” Even though he did not know this employee personally, he considered this worker one of his guys. Ultimately, it’s the human factor that is the most important reason to ensure safe working conditions on job sites.

My favorite phrase is “To protect my employer, I protect his employees.” I think they’re words to live by.