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Get Advice on Adding Metal to Your Business Offerings and What Mistakes to Avoid

Sherwin Williams Advice on adding metal
October 1, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

Learn more about the value of metal roofs and the resources available to save you time and make safer, more accurate estimates.

Editor’s note: The following consists of a conversation between MCS’ Gina Cali and Nick Lee of Coastal Metal Sales.

Gina Cali: Hi, Nick. Tell us about Coastal Metals, who you are as a company and how you work with Sherwin in their metal view program.

Nick: Well, Coastal Metals, we are a smaller manufacturing company, we make two different profile panels. And we've been in business since 2019. And the Sherwin-Williams [inaudible 00:00:39], it got brought to my attention maybe about a year ago, because we were working with a bigger contractor. And they wanted to do their own estimating, and this program was designed for that. And that's how it all got started.

Anyway, we were taking on a large contractor and they wanted to do in-house estimates without sending people out to the sites. And so, that's how it got started. And then it's basically, anyone can use it. If you could type an address in, you can use the Roofing Passport if it's set up right. And that's how I got with the Roofing Passport anyway.

Gina Cali: Excellent. That's a great start. And thank you for sharing that. Our next question is, what are the top three questions contractors ask you when they're considering adding metal to their product installation lineup?

Nick: The first thing mostly is price, always. They want to know the price. Timeline, how long the turnaround time on the metal product, that kind of thing. Because I feel like a lot of the roofing products, they can't get ahold of right now or they're backed up, is one of the... And then, basically how you do an estimate, how to prepare an estimate. Those are the top three, I think. Oh, no, excuse me. Life of the metal, how long the lifespan on the medal is. And, hold on a minute. And the last one would be probably...Thinking now. Oh, what does it do with hurricanes? How does it hold up in storms? In bad weather, what is the uplift testing and all that kind of thing? I think those would be the top questions.

Gina Cali: Thank you. And when you're asked those questions, do you answer them, or do you refer the contractors back to someone at the Sherwin program? Or is it on you to address all of those questions with the contractor?

Nick: Well, from previously I've always addressed everything with them. There's a lot of paperwork, you can go online and find it. Sherwin-Williams has a lot of stuff on their warranties and the tests we've done. A lot of the testing for the uplift and hurricane I've done myself, it's my testing. So that I answer myself. The warranties are online, Sherwin-Williams pay warranties and all their warranties that they offer. But what we do, we just go online and print them up, hand them out in a package to the customer. And then, yeah, pretty much we do it all as the business owner.

Gina Cali: So full service, that keeps you busy I'm sure.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah, it does. We're lucky in south Florida, because by now I think 80% of the roofers in south Florida are pretty familiar with the metal now.

Gina Cali: Oh, wow. I didn't know that statistic. Okay, excellent.

Nick: I don't know it's fact, but that's what I would guess.

Gina Cali: It's leaning towards metal, [inaudible 00:04:39] that's good.

Nick: Yeah. Maybe not their number one sale, but it's definitely most of the roofers are actually selling metal now.

Gina Cali: They're selling metal, that's great. So it's busy.

Nick: Yes.

Gina Cali: For metal. Excellent. And then the last question for today is, what are the mistakes to avoid when a contractor gets into metal roofing estimates and installation? So if they're first bringing metal on, or they're newer to metal, what mistakes can they avoid that maybe have been done and we know we don't want to do that in the future?

Nick: I think one of the biggest, most costly mistakes they they do is the waste factor on the metal compared with shingle and tile. They don't consume [inaudible 00:05:27] because the shingle and the tile's a smaller area. On a metal when you hammer, it has to go over the hip and then be cut, so there's a certain waste factor there. And that's what the passport's so good at, of working out that waste factor for you. Because that could be extremely expensive if you [inaudible 00:05:44] too much metal or you're short the job. And if you're short, it's even worse because then you got to wait until you get more metal out there. And obviously it's costly. I think that would be the biggest cost as a beginner as a metal roofing contractor. There is other things that cost money, but that would definitely take the lead.

Gina Cali: That takes the lead. So the metal view program with Sherwin helps to avoid or eliminate or minimize that greatly, that particular mistake?

Nick: Yes. Because it includes, when it gives you the estimate, that includes your waste factor, so your job is not going to be short. And you know exactly, before going into the job, what this metal's costing you. You don't just take the square footage of the roof and time's that by your multiplier. You actually take the exact amount of metal you're going to use and times it by your multiplier. So you have a much more precise and accurate number for that.

Gina Cali: That's a huge help when it comes to estimating and ordering, for sure.

Nick: Huge. Because it could be up 10, 15% of waste on the roof. And if you have a full thousand square foot roof, you have 10% waste, you don't include it in your estimate, it's expensive mistake.

Gina Cali: So as a manufacturer and a provider through the Sherwin program, does that save you a lot of headaches...

Nick: Yeah. We actually use it for every single roof now. And we do every roof that comes in, once somebody in the office will type in the address, and an hour, hour and a half later it all comes out all done. Complete with waste, everything ready to go. Panel lengths, everything. All your caulking, your clips, your screws, everything you're going to need.

Gina Cali: That's amazing, and a huge help when it comes to that side of the project. How does a contractor find you? How do they know to reach out to you if they're interested in the Sherwin program?

Nick: That, to be honest, I don't know. I tell everybody about it, everybody I know. The contents we use, we show them the program. But I don't know if there's an actual way they would know how to reach us for that program yet. I think it's too new. I'm sure in the future it will be available. But I don't [inaudible 00:08:15]. It's extremely new. I'm not going to give you exact number, but I'm pretty sure I'm the biggest user of it now. But you have to set it up right, and I got it set up, it does my numbers perfectly now.

Gina Cali: Oh, wow. All right. 

Nick: And once you get it set up, it's so easy. But it does require a little bit of time setting up, because everybody has their own different prices. But once you get your own prices locked in, all the setup done, then it's literally five minutes an estimate. We used to take us about three hours.

Gina Cali: That's a huge time savings. And to have that accuracy factor built-in, that's got to be adding to the bottom line in the right direction.

Nick: Yeah. And also, which I think is very key about the thing, is that the fact that if you are a roofing contractor and you're using it, you don't have to send the gentleman out to do an estimate. He doesn't have to climb on a ladder, doesn't have to get up on a roof, all that's eliminated. So it's not just the speed and the accuracy, you have the risk factor taken out of it. And you could have a lady answering the phone and just type in addresses, an hour and a half later you get the full estimate. You do you're estimate, you go to the homeowner, you sell the job.

Gina Cali: From the backend I know the program and I know that it works, and I've seen it. But when you're introducing it to someone who hasn't seen that, are they in disbelief? Like, how could that be possible? How could you possibly give that level of accuracy that fast? Do you have to walk any of the contractors through that so that they have confidence?

Nick: Yeah. [inaudible 00:10:01] they're extremely nervous. I think contracting, you get stuck in your ways. And something new, it's hard to get used to it. And even my younger guys who do most of my estimate, basically, it took me a lot of work to get them just trust this thing. So we used to do two estimates for a couple of months just to check it. And it was within $50 either way, up or down. So...

Gina Cali: That's incredible.

Nick: Then they grew confidence in it, now they love it. And you can add stuff, you can take off flat parts, you can add that stuff. Once they get confidence in it, there's no stopping it.

Gina Cali: And now you've proven that it works, and you're just running with it at this point, it sounds like.

Nick: Yeah. I used to have a couple of guys on part-time would help if we got so busy to do the estimates. And they were friends of mine that have roofing companies, and they would just do it to help me out. We don't have to use them anymore, just two people are doing all the rest. It's probably about 30 roofs a day.

Gina Cali: Wow. Okay. So more time to sell.

Nick: Yeah. And more time to get stuff done, [inaudible 00:11:20] to keep up.

Gina Cali: That's excellent. Thank you.

Nick Lee is the president of Coastal Metal Sales. You can find more information here.

Photo credit: Coastal Metal Sales

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