RoofersCoffeeShop.com was originally launched in the 1980’s by Vickie Sharples. You might have known it by a different name then, Roofers Exchange. It was a newspaper that Vickie developed, printed, and distributed to the roofing industry. It included articles helpful to roofers, classifieds from those in the industry looking to buy or sell pieces of equipment and advertisements from distributors and manufacturers. The newspaper grew in popularity for southern Californian roofers, and by 1990, Vickie was distributing it nationally.
As technology started to take off, Vickie knew that in order to continue to have a vibrant business, she needed to become digital. With the help of her longtime friend, Heidi Ellsworth, she started down a new path of building a digital community to serve the roofing industry under the new name, RoofersCoffeeShop.com
Today, Vickie and Heidi, with the help Sarah Harwerth-De Marco, and their husbands Mickey Sharples and Tim Ellsworth, are proud of the size and reach of the Coffee Shop. As a team, they have been able to gain a wealth of knowledge about the roofing industry. They recently agreed to share some insights with us at Art Unlimited.
How does RoofersCoffeeShop.com meet the roofing industry’s needs?
RoofersCoffeeShop.com was developed as a meeting place for contractors across the United States and Canada to gain knowledge, share ideas, trouble shoot problems and get connected with distributors, manufacturers and service providers. The blog, forum and classified ads are a great place to start when getting to know the community.
Tim Ellsworth commented on the benefits of being in the community by saying, “If you have an extra tool from a job or if your bone yard is getting full of odds and ends that you want to clean out, this is a good place to find buyers. The forum helps roofers communicate and share great ideas. If they are having an issues on a job, they can ask each other questions and get great advice in the forum.”
What are you seeing in overall roofing industry trends?
Service and maintenance is becoming a game changer for the industry. There are more means for people to start a service and maintenance program. The advanced technology and coatings available will allow contractors to provide the same quality with less labor. Heidi Ellsworth noted that there are so many roofing projects out there that have been deferred through the recession that it is a great time for roofing contractors to start a service program.
She said, “The backlog and the amount of work that’s out there is going to be huge. Having the technology and products to provide service options for maintenance will allow contractors to do more with less. Finding out what is out there to help grow a service program is critical and that is why an online community is so important.”
How have you seen the industry change over the last ten years?
The roofing industry has gone through phases of relationships and technology over the years. Heidi noted that when she started attending trade shows in 1994, business was booming and manufacturers really worked to develop relationships within the industry. “Hospitalities and tradeshows were huge,” she said, “but after the recession hit, it kind of died.”
With the introduction of innovative technologies, vendors started to think that the products should sell themselves without the need to develop a relationship with a company. Tradeshows have really started to see growth again because vendors are starting to realize that technology isn’t always the best place to build the relationship. Understanding what the needs of roofing contractors are is best developed by forming communities, on and offline, and having open communication with each other.
What are the top growth opportunities for Roofers right now?
The growth opportunities are in diversity and increased technology. Mom and Pop roofing companies are starting to realize that you need to be digital in order to be more productive. It’s changing our world and it has been a hard transition for contractors. Tim reminiscently said, “Many contractors out there were doing everything by hand. Now this switch of putting their leads on the computer, using technology, marketing services, and having a mobile connection is something you do or you get left behind.”
Heidi believes that diversity within the industry is truly going to help solve the skilled labor shortage issue. She says we need to ask, “How are we bringing women and other cultures into the roofing industry and helping our labor problem?” She notes, “As we bring new talent into the industry, we will need to utilize technology effectively in the office and on the roof. With RoofersCoffeeShop.com, we are committed to bringing solutions to roofing professionals through the entire site including classified ads, forum, directories and news.”
Looking for more ways to be involved with the RoofersCoffeeShop.com? Check out their website: https://rooferscoffeeshop.com/ . For more information regarding digital marketing for your roofing company, connect with Art Unlimited.