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Breaking Down the Cost of Metal Roofing

Randy Chaffee May 2023 influencer
May 24, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.

MCS Influencer Randy Chaffee says that when you look at the true cost of metal roofing, it actually saves homeowners money in the long run compared to other roofing materials.

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of an interview between our COO, Karen Edwards, and Owner of Source One Marketing, Randy Chaffee.  You can listen to the interview or read the transcript below.

Karen Edwards: Hi, everyone, this is Karen Edwards with Metal Coffee Shop, and I am here today with Randy Chaffee. Randy is one of our Metal Coffee Shop influencers. And we're going to talk about Mays's topic, which I think is an important topic. We look at what's the true cost of metal when it's compared to other building materials, and then how do the longevity, the durability, and the resilience of metal factor into that conversation about cost?

Randy Chaffee: Yeah, that's a great question. Because Karen, so many people, they look at metal and sometimes it's actually can be less costly at the lower end of the entry level, but when they start getting in the middle of the upper end, they start going, "Oh my God, that's a lot of money. I can't spend that kind of money." And it can scare them away. And I think us in the metal world, I come from a supplier standpoint, but we can work together and help educate customers that there are things to look at besides just the dollars and cents of the job. So I think it's a great question.

Karen Edwards: Well, so, talk to me a little bit about that. You mentioned on the lower end it's more affordable. We're comparing to traditional building materials, but if I'm going to invest in something that may only have a lifespan of 20 or 25 years, versus metal that has a lifespan, are we talking about taking that cost and breaking it down over a per, hey, it's going to cost this much per year or this much per year? How do you get past that sticker shock, I guess?

Randy Chaffee: That's a great point. And I think what you have to do is exactly what you said, you have to break it down. Because if you just leave it as, I could buy an asphalt roof for 19 5 and this metal roof's 33 5, and that's where you leave it, it becomes very transactional. And if it's all left to dollars and that's all that's seen, you're going to lose too many of those. So I think you have to break that down. When you said 25 years in today's world of the shingle, that's really pushing it, that's really pushing that. But I've seen some math done by guys and they've broke it all the way down to even 15 years, 18 years, but even a few years, 20 years. And you're going to be in that house or the homeowners going to be in that house for the rest of their life, let's say.

If they're going to let's say spend 30 grand versus 15 grand, the problem is you got to take that 15 grand and then in a few years say in 15, 18 years, they're going to spend 15 again plus inflation, so let's call it 20 grand. Now you're in for 15, 25 grand. So pretty soon one or two replacement roofs that you've never had the touch or there's some basic maintenance on steel, you're back to a break even. And at that point, you're full scale ahead because you're still going to have nothing but basic maintenance probably for the rest of your life in that house, with metal where with the shingles, that's the one thing, the gift keeps giving, right?

Karen Edwards: Yeah.

Randy Chaffee: It's coming. You get to keep paying and paying. And every 15 years you do that, it goes up another 10, 15, 20, 30%, whatever inflation does. And I think that's the way you have to break that down. You can't allow the customer to drag you into you, well, yeah, but it's a lot more money today.

Karen Edwards: As we are hearing news reports of global warming and being better stewards of our planet and our environment, I think that metal brings a unique sustainability to the table for a homeowner that maybe some other roofing materials don't. Can you just talk a little bit about that sustainability factor?

Randy Chaffee: Oh, absolutely. That's one of the beautiful things of metal or steel, whichever we want to call it, is it a sustainable product, it's a recyclable product. It doesn't end up in landfills like most of your other building with components do. And again, you think about that, if that's a concern and you care about that in a big way. If you, in the lifetime of that home or the lifetime you're now home, if you're dumping product in the landfill two and three times, versus metal you're not dumping at all. And it is at some point in time when that metal does need to be replaced because nothing's forever. Someday, somehow down the road, probably 40, 50, 60 years down the road, somebody, whoever owns that home may have to replace it, but it's still recyclable. And that's the beauty. That's an area, if you're interested in that, and that's a concern, sustainability is a big, big part of that.

Karen Edwards: Excellent. Yeah. So it sounds like overall it really is, the contractor just has to do that education for their customers.

Randy Chaffee: Oh, I think so. And I think it really works well and I've seen guys that do it very well. I was at a seminar a few weeks ago for the Metal Roofing Summit, and that was talked about several times. And if you train your sales guys to really do that math, to lay it out. Okay, here's the cost today and let's add, so let's say 18 years, you're going to probably have to replace the roof. And can we agree that if it's 12 5 today, it's going to be, can we pick a number together? Because whatever it is, you're going to still win as the sales guy. Let's say it's 18 7. Okay, so we'll add 18 seven to the 12 5. And if you walk me through that and what you want to do is you want to have steel on the other side of the column and literally go, okay, so 12 5 and now we're going to have 18 5, we're at whatever that number is, 30 grand. Over here you started out at 27 5, and guess what? It's still 27 5.

And so very quickly, that evens out in a very short period of time. And one thing, Karen, if you don't mind is that I kind of missed earlier, is a lot of homeowners will, the one pushback is, well, I'm not going to be in the home forever. I don't care. I just want it today. 15 years, I'm moving, what are you going to sell? Are you going to leave it to family? Because if you're going to leave it to family, you're old, you think you may not be here, well then they're going to have that issue to deal with. So let's take that out of the picture for them. But secondarily, what if you're going to sell your home? I'm not going to sit here and suggest that you're going to get more money because it's got a metal roof than a nice looking asphalt roof. But what I would suggest is that you can, I think, legitimately plant in the consumer's mind that you can maintain your asking price. Because you've got a lifetime roof, or one that you're not going to replace probably in your lifetime.

So I would like my price. As opposed to they look at the house down the street and they're Going, "Yeah, they're $7,000, $8,000 less." Right. But probably if you looked at the roof in five years, you're going to have another 20 grand and then start that whole math again, right?

Karen Edwards: Right.

Randy Chaffee: That's another aspect. Because that is the pushback that people get is, "Well, I'm not going to live there and I'm 87 years old, I don't care." Or, "I'm going to move to Florida from South Dakota in three years. I just want to have a decent roof." But there are pluses beyond just the cost today. And that's where we as sales guys in the home of customers, need to really get them to understand that if we want to grow the metal roofing sales.

Karen Edwards: Yeah. And we say sales guys or sales, but really you're experts in the metal roofing, and you are educating that homeowner and hopefully helping them make the right decision for their home, for their future generations and for their resale.

Randy Chaffee: Well, exactly. And you hit on a great point there, Karen. If you go in there not as a salesperson, you go in there as a trusted advisor. You do all the proper stuff that the good sales trainers will teach you, which is to do the inspection, to walk them through what you've found, to gain their confidence that you're not just a sales guy. Actually really not even here to sell you a roof. If you don't need a roof, I'm not going to try to sell you a roof today. Let's just put you in the best position possible. And if you do that and you gain that confidence level, they will follow you through those steps. And if you do it properly and you do it well, at the end of the sales conversation, most customers go, you don't have to do the big close, because most customers will close themselves. They'll go, "I get that. Karen, yeah, I need to this roof. You're right." And that's the ultimate goal to get to, right?

Karen Edwards: Absolutely. It sells itself. I love it.

Randy Chaffee: Exactly. Exactly.

Karen Edwards: Well, Randy, thank you so much for coming on this morning and for sharing your wisdom, and we'll see you again next month for our new topic.

Randy Chaffee: You got it, Karen. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Karen Edwards: Thanks. Bye-Bye.

Randy Chaffee is the Owner and CEO of Source One Marketing, LLC. See his full bio here.

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