Why Roofing Companies Need a Drone Strategy (and How to Start)

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Roofing companies are adopting drones for many reasons. They keep people safer. They can be more efficient for gathering roof information. Some are doing it because they feel it’s the next big step forward for roofing bids.

The thing is, many roofing companies are missing the point. Sooner than you might realize, roofing companies will inspect, estimate, bid, sell, and plan work without even stepping foot on a property. This is thanks to technologies that include drones for roofing, but extend to things like computer vision, artificial intelligence, and more.

Over the next few years, drones and other tools won’t be a nice-to-have, they’ll be how roofers get bids done. The reason? The whole industry is changing.

The Industry is Changing

With more demanding customers and labor demand at an all-time high, it’s time to innovate or die. Here’s why:

  • The Market is booming. For many, there’s plenty of work, but finding labor is the number one challenge to roofers. To keep up, you need ways to get more out of the people you have.
  • Property Owners are more demanding than ever. 96 percent of people say customer service is essential to brand loyalty. 51 percent of people will never do business with a company after a single bad experience. When it comes to winning business and keeping customers coming back, you have to get everything right the first time.
  • The Climate is changing. According to NASA: “The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s.” More storm work is coming. Are you ready?
  • Insurance Companies are already adopting drones. Travelers has an estimated 550 certified pilots flying right now. Large carriers like State Farm deployed drone technologies to handle the claim demand following 2017 and 2018 storms, and they’ll do it again this year. Carriers are upping their technology game and they’ll expect people who work with them to do the same.

The Benefits of a Drone Platform

A drone solution for roofing can help you overcome many of the issues above. Here are their biggest benefits:

  • More Efficiency – Drone solutions gather detailed data quickly. Roofing companies that adopt drone solutions can often produce 2-3 times as many bids with the same number of people.
  • Enhanced data quality and consistency – Your bids are only as good as your data. Your customers need to see what caused damage, what the extent is, and what the costs are. Drone solutions gather incredibly high-quality data and never get tired or frustrated. That means you get quality data no matter the demand.
  • Improved sales process – The best roofing companies don’t sell shingles. They sell roofing systems. To show customers why your roofing solutions are better, you need to prove your expertise. With detailed imagery, AI for damage detection, and incredibly thorough reports, your customers will know they’re trusting the market leaders.
  • More Estimator Safety – When drones get everything a roofer needs from the sky, there’s no need for estimators to get on a roof, which reduces their safety risks for employees and financial risks for employers.

Getting Started With Drones

Great, so what do you need to get started?

The Basics

Without the following, you can’t fly.

  • Hardware – You need a drone, a controller, accessories, etc.
  • Software – Most drones are built with basic software for manual flight. To get more value from your solution, consider working with a vendor that can provide a full inspection platform for roof inspections and bids.
  • Part 107 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates commercial drone flight under CFR 14 Part 107. To fly, you need a remote pilot certificate, which you can get from the FAA by passing an aeronautical knowledge test (it’s much easier than it sounds).

Two Main Approaches

In general, there are two ways to get started with drone solutions. You can do it yourself or you can work with a vendor. Here’s what each option gets you.

DIY

If you go out on your own, you’ll essentially be buying a drone off the shelf to fly manually. It’s affordable, but it’s limited. Do you want a flying camera or do you want something more advanced?

  • Cheaper
  • More effort
  • Less value
  • Images only

Work With a Vendor

To get more value from a drone platform, it’s wise to work with a partner. Depending on the solution, a vendor can turn a drone into a platform for gathering imagery and measurements—some even power decision-making with artificial intelligence.

  • Easy to get started
  • Get access to training
  • Tailored solutions
  • Full data package

Conclusion

Nearly any roofing company can benefit from some kind of drone. But if you’re hoping to adapt and excel in a changing industry, consider a vendor that can provide you with hardware, software, and guidance for your drone program. There are many options available, but it’s worth the effort to find a vendor that understands your unique challenges and offers compelling ways to overcome them.

 

Curious where drone solutions fit at your roofing company? Contact us.

 

Casey Morgan
Casey Morgan

Casey Morgan is the Creative Director at Loveland Innovations. He finds compelling ways to tell stories through words, video, and other digital media. He’s a U of U graduate and taco fanatic whose love for tech marketing is rivaled only by his love for the great outdoors.

All stories by: Casey Morgan

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