For the first time in a long time, Arizona had a wet and windy monsoon season which means for the first time in a long time homeowner’s roofs took a beating. Homeowners across the state of Arizona needed roof repairs so roofing contractors had a busy summer. Our company Overson Roofing and many other good roofing companies plan far in advance for monsoon season, but preparation can only go so far and a heavy monsoon season is always a challenge.
The most obvious barrier the monsoon season causes for roofers is safety. If a roof is wet, you do not work on it. This means any day it is raining is a day we lose and have to make up. According to the National Weather Service, Phoenix had 23 days of rainfall this year the second most days in Phoenix history. This means we had more days where we had to wait for roofs to dry before we could get back to work.
While rainy days made it impossible to work on roofs it also created some good problems as well. Most roofing companies are not going to be mad at too much business, but the increased number of leaking roofs did create new challenges. The two biggest roofing issues homeowners faced this year were heavy winds that caused concrete tiles to fly off the roof and leaks from the heavy and consistent rains. Tile roofs are usually pretty sturdy, but this monsoon season frequently brought about 80 mph winds. This means our teams were doing tile roof tune ups and repairs on top of our standard shingle roof repairs. I think the increase in leaky roofs was due to the lack of rain and excessive heat over the last few years. Roofers have a saying that heat causes leaks in your roof and the rain shows you where they are. I think a lot of homeowners were unknowingly dealing with cracks in their underlayment from the last few years of higher heat during the summer but didn’t know about them until we had a big rainy season. The increase in work naturally meant our team was working more on weekends to catch up on work which sadly increased our lead times from two weeks to seven or eight weeks. Having a lot of work is a good problem to have but it is still a challenge for any roofing company.
We were prepared for this monsoon season, we retained the right number of estimators as well as enough roofing crews to ensure we could complete every job in a timely manner. We were happy with the results since we did not have to go back and rework any roof this monsoon season due to leaks.
However, a heavy monsoon season was only part of the challenge. The roofing industry is not immune to the supply chain issues affecting the country and roofing companies are still dealing with rising costs and limited products. The cost increases and limited availability of wood battens, concrete tiles, and all types of shingles have created a unique challenge for our roofing company. The lack of product availability meant we were spending more and buying in bulk any chance we got to ensure we had enough material reserves. Supply chain issues mean roofing companies have to make smarter decisions with the inventory they have. It is also important for roofers to really listen to their vendors so they understand when new products will come in and plan to start and finish work around these arrival times.
Price increases can also be a challenge from a growth perspective. Spending more money on supplies can mean some roofing companies may have to hold off on hiring another estimator or another experienced roofer. You can counteract some of the price increases by increasing your cost to do a job, but ideally, you want to put as little of that burden onto the customer as possible.
A chaotic monsoon season and supply chain issues have created many challenges for roofing companies, but the heavy wind and rain have also brought a lot of good and much needed business to the industry. The important thing for roofers to do is make the necessary preparations to overcome these challenges and continue to service Arizona residents in an ethical and professional manner.
Mike Smyth is the General Manager at Overson Roofing, a roofing contractor located in Mesa, Arizona, that has served its clientele with respect and professionalism for over 30 years. The company won the Better Business Bureau Blue® Torch Award for ethics in 2016.