All of us are a little complacent from time to time. Homeowners put off needed repairs practically until the roof is ready to cave in. Students put off writing their term papers until the deadline is upon them. Even tradesmen sometimes put off getting liability insurance until something goes wrong – and the specter of a lawsuit rears its ugly head. Eventually the stable door gets fixed, but only after the horse has already escaped. That squeaky wheel gets the grease, but only when the car sits lifeless on the highway. Who among us wants to deal with major misfortune when we are all busy trying to make a living? Most of these situations can be avoided with a proactive approach. As President John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
Roofers can appreciate Kennedy’s quote better than most people, as they have to brave the elements – and the occasional bout of acrophobia – to make sure the rest of us stay pleasantly high and dry. Roofing jobs in bright, sunny weather are plenty difficult, not to mention trying to lay shingles in a gale, yet convincing property owners to take a proactive approach to building maintenance is like trying to extract teeth from a rooster: no matter how much finesse you use, there is usually precious little reward for your hard work. Moreover, these types of people don’t call you up until they’ve got a bad case of shingles. Then they expect the roof doctor to come a-running.
Hang on tight, because the adventure’s just beginning
Once you’ve navigated the minefield better known as the job estimate, you are expected to turn in a masterpiece of structural wizardry in record time for a fee that even the neighborhood paperboy would turn his nose up at. You must do all this, while not creating dust, unpleasant odors or even the most minor of inconveniences for the customer. Let us also not forget about delivery drivers. These drivers, whose work is duly appreciated, invariably drop off supplies as far from the job site as possible. They must get a commission based on distance.
All the shinnying up and down of ladders, removal of old materials and walking to and fro help keep roofers in top physical condition. Working in the broiling sun during the hot part of the day is no picnic, either. Customers keep them on their toes, as well. You know the type, the ones that are primed to squawk over the slightest detail:
- “You can call it a skylight if you want, but all I see is a big hole in my roof!”
- “I wanted my roof re-tiled, not gold-plated!”
- “Your roofers left my back yard looking like a war zone! This despite your having personally supervised the post-job clean-up with the thoroughness of a forensics examiner.”
What can you do with these customers?
Fortunately, some of these customers can be managed with your good customer service skills. Some, however, are cannot be. Some people, it seems, anxiously await the moment they can sic a gaggle of snarling, zombielike lawyers on you. Suddenly, a routine, two-thousand-dollar resurface job turns into a five-figure (or more) lawsuit for all the grievous damages – both real and imagined – that you, the Big Bad Roofer, have supposedly caused the poor, innocent property owner. Things can get even more complicated on the commercial side of the business.
How often does a general contractor in charge of a project give one set of instructions when he wants something totally different? He gives a contradictory set of instructions that could rattle even the March hare, and then reacts with surprise when problems arise. “Do as I mean, not as I say,” seems to be what’s going through his mind. Meanwhile, your work – and the work of other subcontractors – gets delayed, or worse, must be ripped out and started over. To add insult to injury, he blames you, the roofer for the foul-up. He tries to leave you holding the bag, demanding that you pay the damages, including lost time and work. He’s got a much bigger company and deeper pockets than you, so the golden rule seems to apply: He who has the gold makes the rules.
At Contractors Liability, we politely say, “bunk.” With Contractors Liability’s team on your side, you’re no longer a guppy in a shark tank. We will provide you a policy that will protect in the event a claim arises.
Without the insurance for your roofing business
Now imagine that Miss Ann Thrope hires you to repair her sagging roof, and due to rain, it collapses just after you arrive at her house. A falling rafter knocks against her noggin and she collapses. You call an ambulance and get her to the hospital, and after she is released, the first thing she does is file a lawsuit against you for $500,000 in damages, including pain and suffering. That’s a lot of money; it takes years of hard work to earn it. If you have the proper insurance coverage you will covered.
Now, however, let’s say you don’t have any insurance. This is bad, because you’ll have no one to protect you. Miss Thrope’s lawyer will come grinning, licking his chops as he thinks about his payday. You’ll have to hire a high-priced lawyer just to defend yourself. And what happens if you can’t afford to pay hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars per hour for a top-notch attorney? You could be forced to pay a settlement and end up losing all the marbles. Your business, your home, your car, and your assets could be taken from you in a flash.