The best residential restoration contractors are always looking for ways to grow their business and serve more clients. An exciting way to do that is to expand into commercial projects. It’s no easy feat, of course. But, it’s certainly doable, especially for those who are truly motivated in the business and passionate about delivering quality work.
Below, you will find more questions than answers because we want you to think critically and thoroughly about what it would look like to begin adding commercial work into your business strategy. Here are a few things to consider at the beginning of the journey toward your first commercial restoration job.
1. Put Reputation First and Work Your Way Up
“What does my first commercial gig look like?” This is a simple but important question to ask yourself, and one that will help you be realistic in your new endeavor. Simply stated, it’s most feasible for a residential contractor with no commercial experience to take on a small to medium-sized commercial project than to put all of their marbles into landing “the big one.” Remember, reputation is the cornerstone of your business so don’t get into a situation where you’re unable to deliver on your promises. Find a first commercial restoration job that’s well within your ability to successfully execute and start this journey off strong.
2. Assess Your Resources
In order to identify your capabilities in the commercial sector and fill any gaps in your resources, you need to gain a clear picture of 3 particular areas:
→ Team: Do you have a crew with commercial experience? Do you have someone who can effectively lead your crew during a commercial job? Does this crew have capacity for commercial work?
→ Tools: While much of this can require the same standard tools a residential job requires it’s important to consider a few differences. Most of this boils down to the type of commercial restoration job you take on. Upon assessing your toolset you should also consider if you have the funds available to purchase additional equipment if needed
→ Time: This is a likely pain-point for residential contractors who are used to knocking out work quickly. Commercial jobs certainly vary on the time they take but most often they do take longer. You should consider what type of production procedures you have in place, the cash needed to fund a longer cycle and how your management will oversee a job that’s different than most.
3. Residential vs Commercial Work
You might be pleasantly surprised to hear that the actual work for many commercial projects is not all that different from residential projects you’re accustomed to. When considering the roof specifically, you are mostly adjusting to different variables such as roof height, materials, size, etc. There are some key differences you must investigate but they are almost all related to flat roofs.
Essentially, there are only two categories of commercial roofs: shingle & flat. If the entire roof is shingle then you’re pretty much in the clear. However, there are many buildings with regular slope roof shingles that also include portions of flat roof around the property. This is where you need to be careful and make sure you know if flat roofs are needing addressed.
The most simple advice we can give you regarding this is to stay away from flat roofs unless you hire an expert to help you properly navigate the associated challenges. Even then, it would be best to learn the ropes with shingle-only commercial roof jobs.
4. Map the Region
Don’t let your expansion into commercial restoration disrupt your residential revenue stream. To keep your prospecting efficient, take a closer look at your current service area through a commercial lens. Where are there high concentrations of vulnerable properties? When exactly are those properties most vulnerable? What groups do you need to network into in order to meet decision makers? The more you can hone your focus geographically, the more targeted your sales will be, and better positioned you will be for winning commercial jobs. You can also consider running a targeted campaign with companies like Qualified Storm Leads if you’re unsure how to do this yourself.
5. Partner Up: Commercial Estimates & Supplementing
You will certainly need a reliable estimating and supplementing company with a team dedicated to helping you make the most of your commercial jobs. One that is committed to not just crunching numbers, but truly helping your business grow. Unfortunately, few companies possess that second part of the equation. A good partner will provide direction on inspecting the loss with a solid damage assessment, work with the carrier over differences in scope and push hard to increase cash flow needed for repair. Aftermath is dedicated to helping new and experienced commercial restoration contractors become more successful. Read about how Aftermath is Positioned to Become a Leading Provider in Commercial Supplementing.