The sky’s the limit for the roofing industry, literally. A startup called Viirt recently raised $900k to fund its effort to estimate roof replacement costs and manage projects by accessing satellite imagery. We congratulate their job-creating efforts, but wanted to compare their approach to ours.
The goal of Viirt is to save time and money, but does this big eye-in-the-sky approach to roofing truly benefit the customer?
Images Miss the Big Picture
Technology is a key component of the roofing industry, and we consider ourselves leaders in applying technology to benefit our customers. But an over-reliance on technology can have a lot of drawbacks, and end up costing customers big.
Unfortunately, how technology is used by companies like Viirt removes the true roofing experts from ever examining the actual structure, and downplays the importance of building trusting, personal relationship with owners.
On-site Roofing Inspections Are Critical
An image-only approach to roof estimates overlooks the critical information gained from a highly-trained roofing professional walking the roof, measuring it, examining the structure, and talking with the homeowner. This sort of comprehensive, on-site information is far more important to the roof replacement process than how the roof looks from space.
For example, when we walk a roof as part of a free inspection, we can identify soft spots. These soft spots could indicate improper thickness of roof sheathing or improper rafter spacing, which could be an engineering issue. We may find a new roof may not even be necessary. It’s possible that shoring up framing, adding new decking material, or just repairing a leak will do the trick.
Of course, none of those issues can be seen from space.
A Cheaper Roof — But at What Cost?
The trouble with aerial estimation is that any computer savvy person can then create an estimate, even if he or she has no roofing knowledge or experience. The company then subcontracts out the actual work at a low price, and homeowners understandably believe they’ve got a quality roof. But roofs can be deceiving.
Unfortunately, homeowners are all too often left holding the bag (or drip bucket, in this case). The roofing industry is being bombarded by untrained, inexperienced, and cheap roofing companies that put on a nice shirt and tout the latest technologies, but don’t know the fundamentals of quality materials and roofing installation techniques. This knowledge and experience gap can lead to costly problems for homeowners over time.
There’s No Place Like Home
When it comes to roofing estimations, nothing can replace a physical site visit and a conversation with the owner. Doing so enables us to get a personal feel for each project, devise a tailored plan, and answer any and all questions.
Roof replacements and repairs will never be “cookie cutter” processes. We’ve seen competitors come and go, but we’re from here and plan on being here for many years to come. We still believe in small town USA, and think our relationships with clients is far more important than trying to save a trip out to meet them at their home. Our clients aren’t just another number.
Feel free to learn more about why Athens is the heart of our business, and please call us at (706) 424-4389 if you have any questions!