By ROB JONAS
Peter Wall was prepared to send his Star Roofing crews out for their first assignments of the spring construction season when Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We went through a six- to eight-week period of time where the only thing[s] we were able to do was emergency work and exempt work, such as homeless shelters and schools,” said Wall. “We were able to keep working, but only 40 percent of our staff was working. Our entire office staff was working from home.”
As restrictions eased in May, Star Roofing started catching up with its residential and commercial work. However, it was not business as usual.
“We were challenged with our sales because we were used to having face-to-face meetings with our customers. Now, we had to do it by phone or at the required six-foot distance outside of the home,” said Wall. “Another challenge was having our crews at customers’ homes and have the homeowners nervous about having a crew there. We had to make sure that our crews were spread six feet apart or wearing masks when they could not socially distance. We also had to call customers from the roof on our cell phones when we came across a problem.”
Star Roofing has quickly adjusted to the state-mandated regulations to offer customers its high-quality service in the face of a pandemic.
“It doesn’t seem abnormal anymore,” said Wall. “It’s become second nature. We’re past the curve of deciding how we’re going to do things, and we’re now just doing them.”
Wall said the bigger concern is people putting off repairing their roofs because they’re going through financial uncertainty, as businesses face possible shutdowns if COVID-19 infection rates start going up again.
“Our advice would be not to put off roof repairs. The roof is probably the most critical part of the home. If [homeowners] are proactive with their roofing needs, they can avoid a larger expense,” said Wall. “Replacing the shingles is one price; replacing the plyboard underneath can double the price. It’s always good to be proactive with replacing the roofing.”
If customers are concerned about the cost of roof repairs, Wall said Star Roofing offers payment plans to make it more affordable.
“It appears that more people are taking advantage of our financing plans,” said Wall. “They’re worried that they won’t have the money in the future to do what they want to do because everything is so uncertain. So, they’re more interested in financing repairs.”
Star Roofing is located at 20 Colvin Ave. in Albany and serves customers in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. It is a licensed installer for several products including Owens Corning, Firestone, GAF, CertainTeed and Johns Mansville. It is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association and the Northeastern Subcontractors Association, and it is an EPA lead-safe certified firm. For more information, call 518-449-3422 or visit starroofing.net.