It's the age old question: if you buy based on price alone, what is the value of what you're really getting?
I was recently in the market for a new vehicle. I knew roughly what I was looking for, and so approached three different dealerships - all carrying the same makes and models - looking to compare offers. I assumed each was selling essentially the same car, so low-cost price shopping was a significant factor in my buying decision, when one savvy salesman proposed the following scenario to me:
Suppose the cars were shipped to the dealers in parts and pieces, and it was now the responsibility of the dealer to assemble - or 'manufacture' - a properly functioning vehicle from tires to sunroof. If this was the case, would price still be the overwhelming factor in my buying decision?
Not likely. I'd want to know about the history, qualifications and expertise of three dealers I was considering. The professionalism of the dealer and its staff would also factor in. "Hmm, interesting spin on the sales process," I thought.
But this conversation got me thinking after I left....these are all the things we advise potential clients to look for when choosing a roofing contractor. So how does this relate?
Applied to the roofing industry, price driven, low-cost roofing decisions can have dramatic consequences. Why?
The roofing contractor is the field manufacturer of the roof 'system', exactly what the one dealer from my experience proposed. Field personnel assemble roofing components, which are manufactured and tested by building product manufacturers to provide a functioning roof SYSTEM per stringent specifications and good roofing practice. This is typically performed at considerable heights, in all types of weather and while using heavy equipment from the ground to the rooftop.
Installing a new roof system over an existing facility always carries significant risks, but those risks can be reduced - and in some cases eliminated altogether - through the selection of a licensed, professional roofing contractor. The hallmarks of such a firm are the ability to correctly evaluate existing conditions, apply appropriate design measures and demonstrate discipline in the installation phase. Further, the licensed, professional roofing contractor is capable of offering sound guidance on a myriad of complexities including safety, regulation, municipal codes and appropriate roof system choices, among numerous other things.
It is this consultative approach that distinguishes the licensed, professional roofing contractor as the responsible advocate for their client, as opposed to the low-price broker merely aiming to be the lowest bid.
While selecting a low-cost roofing contractor on price alone provides short-term gratification, it ignores the harsh reality that an improperly installed roof system jeopardizes everything beneath it in BOTH the short and long-term. The qualified assurance of long-term performance must be established before price is ultimately considered because performance remains paramount long after the price is forgotten. Conversely, price will remain forever a thorn in your side if performance is compromised.
When the licensed, professional roofing contractor conscientiously installs a properly specified roof system using premium products, the result is both short- and long-term performance value for the client, delivered safely, on-time and with minimal disruption to the client.
I believe this is what the salesperson was trying to convey to me when he presented his scenario. By forcing me to look at the long-term value instead of the short-term price gratification, he was able to win my confidence and trust - and ultimately my business. But the lesson I was reminded of was priceless:
Buyer Beware - if you buy based on price alone, in ANY industry or application, you may end up getting what you paid for.