Most everybody has a roof over their head, sure. But finding someone to help you car for that roof can be a little... tricky. Unlike other major, big ticket, services roofing is still marketed in a very old fashioned, yet effective way: door to door sales. If you live anywhere where you might find a house you've probably been approached by someone in khaki pants and polo wanting to climb up on your roof to give you a "free inspection" in the hopes of selling you on the idea that you need a new roof. Now. Or else.
There isn't anything inherently wrong with knocking doors to drum up some business. When it's done well it can be a pretty pleasant experience for everybody involved. Think about it: you have a problem that you've been putting off fixing. It keeps getting put off week after week then, one day, while you're chilling in your sweatpants catching up on your Netflix que, a polite, knowledgeable person comes to your door and fixes that problem for you without you having to even put your shoes on. All you have to do is wave your hand like Captain Picard ans say "engage". Sounds good, right? That's door to door sales.
The problem is trust
It's always trust. In a perfect world we'd all like to be able to trust the stranger that comes to our door with our credit card and social security number. But that is not the world we live in. We are inundated with scam after scam after scam... after... scam. It's easier to just not trust anybody and call the store directly. Some of these "field marketers" have really good deals and the best of intentions. Some will get you literally robbed. How can you tell the difference?
We talked to a legit roofing company to find out
We got on the phone with our friends at Jeff City Roofing for some help spotting potential scammers in the roofing business. Jeff City Roofing is a top-rated roofing contractor that serves Jefferson City and Holts Summit, Missouri. They have used all types of marketing in their area including D2D. There are pros and cons to any form of marketing but when it comes to offering roofs in person, Jeff City Roofing there are some things you must watch for to make sure you're dealing with a legitimate roofing contractor. What follows is a summary of the conversation and pro tips from the leadership team at Jeff City Roofing regarding sniffing out potential scammer. It's good to note: although we were talking about roofing specifically, these tips can apply to anyone selling something door to door.
Trust your gut to spot a scam
People do business with people they like and trust. That's pretty straightforward. It applies here, too. These tips are not going to advise you to never buy anything from a D2D salesperson. Often, they are very knowledgeable, will bend over backwards to win your business, and are quite up beat people. Just like any industry you're going to encounter an unscrupulous element every now and then. We hope that this information will help avoid those types of people and make you feel more comfortable doing business with the good ones.
Trust your gut. If something seems off it probably is. Body language is a huge indicator os a person's intentions. I don't expect anybody to take a Master Class on being a human lie detector but look out for simple things: eye contact, posture, nervousness. If they are fidgety, can't answer questions without looking you in the eye that is a definite red flag.
Do you like them? Personally, if someone comes off as rude, it's a no from me. I don't care what you have to offer. Is the person you are dealing with polite, respectful, "normal"? If they can't crack a joke or make me feel at ease, I'm not very excited to continue the conversation. The logic behind this is if they are not comfortable at the door they are either new or not trained properly before being sent out on their own which means, whatever company they represent, there is a high turnover and honest, quality people don't stick around long enough to get good at their job.
Credentials If you're specific neighborhood has a specific lanyard or solicitors permit that someone has to get to pitch on your street it's a good bet that nobody will be able to produce one. They are silly, don't accomplish anything other than fund a bureaucracy, and can be easily faked. The credentials you should ask for are:
(a little) Pressure doesn't mean they're shady. When you know you need a product or service and you are ready to buy you call a company and ask for them to serve you. That's totally fine and how it should be. If you don't need a service and someone comes to your house unannounced to offer it to you, that doesn't change the fact that you don't need it. Door to door salespeople are there to find the people that know they need the service but just haven't gotten around to finding the company they want to use. If that's you, cool! If not, it's no big deal. The "pressure" that people claim to feel when in a sales situation with a D2D marketer is often just the salesperson asking them to identify which group they're in. The salesperson is trying to get a yes or a no. That's important to note: a yes or a no. If they are professionals seeking to serve you to the best of their ability they will nudge you to make a decision. They would definitely prefer a yes but the good ones are just fine with a "no" so that they can move on to someone who does need what they have.
Where you should draw the line is when it gets pushy, rude, or hostile. There is absolutely no need for that and any company that cares so little about their reputation to treat you that way probably won't have any problem screwing you over either.
It's 5:30am. Most people are still sound asleep. If you are the go-getter type you might be begrudgingly brewing your coffee in the dark. Frank Guzman is mixing his second ton of concrete for the day. Frank is no stranger to early mornings like this. He has been pouring concrete in Dallas since 1995 and in late 2015 decided it was time to take the reigns of his own operation and started Concrete King. Having worked mostly on large commercial projects for years, Frank was looking to build a business that focused on people.
"The commercial jobs paid more, but we would do two or three a year and just interact with corporate types. Now that we focus on residential concrete we get to see a project through from start finish and really be a part of the customer's experience. It's a lot more fun."
Concrete or Asphalt?
We asked Frank why he was focusing mainly on concrete driveways instead of some of the alternatives.
"It really comes down to the market. We work in Dallas and concrete is more popular in urban areas."
We did some research which involved driving to a Chic-Fil-A and noticed the driveways in the neighborhoods on the way. Through rigorous scientific observation we noticed that, yes, most driveways in Dallas are concrete.
"I wanted to focus my business on what my customers wanted and get really good at that one thing."
That makes total sense and we thought it was such a great move we wanted to get to know Frank and Concrete King a little better in this edition of the Dallas Metro Review.
Why are concrete driveways more popular in urban areas?
It really all comes down to cost. It's cheaper to get the materials for asphalt out in the country. Then there's durability. On average you're going to see more traffic in urban areas and concrete is more durable to stand up to that traffic. Asphalt is softer.
Why did you want to start your own business?
Like a lot of entrepreneurs I had reached a point working for somebody else where I was bringing more value to the table than my employer was willing to pay. I had years of experience planning and managing projects, purchasing, inventory, hiring and firing and that was after almost a decade of being a concrete laborer. I figured it would be easy to take those skills and start working on the kind of projects that I wanted. Small, residential jobs that we can complete in a few days to a week. The transition hasn't been as easy as I thought but it has been worth it.
What was the hardest thing you went through when you got started?
That's a great question. There were a ton of challenges but most of them were challenges that you would expect like cash flow, customer acquisition. Those challenges were expected, we prepared for them so it wasn't that bad. What I didn't see coming was how proactive I had to be with the local governments to get permits, inspections, or utility lines marked. My crew can get a job done extremely quickly with outstanding quality but we can only go as fast as the city we are working in will let us go with their schedule.
If someone had to pick between you and 3 other concrete companies why would they pick you?
I have been involved in the concrete business for 25 years. I know a lot of really skilled guys working in Dallas. I don't want to say anything bad about them and most of the people who are out there ripping people off aren't in business anymore. When somebody is looking to get concrete work done the best question to ask your contractor is what they specialize in. Concrete Kings specializes in stamped concrete driveways in Dallas. Some concrete contractors specialize in foundations or pool patios. I think whatever type of project you need done you should hire a company who mainly does that type of project.
How has the internet played a role in the growth of Concrete King?
Huge. It's almost as big apart of our success as the trucks and the tools. Without a great online presence it's impossible for a customer to find you. Like most old school contractors we relied on word of mouth for a long time but at a certain point that isn't enough business to really grow. Being online and getting that aspect of our business really performing the way it should has been one of the best investments I've made as a businessman.
We appreciate Frank taking a few of his valuable minutes to talk to us. If you are in Dallas and need concrete work done you can reach Concrete King at 214-251-4268 or check out their website and fill out the form to have them contact you at www.dfwconcretecontractor.com