COLONIE — You open a brochure after deciding your house needs a new roof, that’s how it begins.
After mulling over the brand names, arguing with your spouse over the style, and settling on the color, you’re ready to talk money. Or, that’s what you think. Supply chain issues have choked off consumer goods throughout several markets, and that can put a wrinkle in your plans.
Peter Wall, co-owner of Star Roofing, said his sales staff has this conversation every time. Certain items on people’s wish lists may not be available, prompting some to think they can walk out the door and find it elsewhere. “No,” Wall said. “They can’t get it, either.”
Just two weeks ago, Washington attempted to address the overall issue through an executive order. The mandate from President Joe Biden’s desk intended to promote competition, drive wages up, push prices down and stimulate growth. It was meant to target both the railway and seaway carriers that have increased freight rates with rising demands on supply. Some experts, including the freight line lobby group World Shipping Council, said that won’t fix the problem.
The price of wood, for example, has skyrocketed since the outbreak of the pandemic. The cost of plywood has jumped 252 percent since last March. According to PolitiFact, the price for Fir 23/32-inch sheathing for the first week of April was $1,500 per thousand square feet in some parts of the country — up 230 percent from $455 a year ago. In some corners of the country, that same amount of plywood is selling for $1,610 — or 287 percent more than 12 months earlier.
The WSC said U.S. supply chains are “facing unprecedented pressures – there is a lack of rail and truck capacity, warehouses are full, and ports are bursting at the seams.” Ocean carriers claimed these issues are driven by raised import demands from U.S. consumers with 11 of the past 12 months having seen consumer spending growth of more than 10 percent. “To put this into perspective, in the 18 years before the pandemic, the average growth rate was 4.7 percent.” the lobby group said.
At Star Roofing, Wall said the first step is to always listen to the customer. His sales staff will assess the customer’s wants against what’s available. It could be a matter of switching out colors, or it could be more. But, Wall said, that’s the education process his sales team is able to provide.
“What we’ve added to our sales call is another step,” said Wall. “And, that step is to educate the customer on what is available in the marketplace… as well as the additional cost associated with the job.”
Before the customer walks back out the door, Wall said they have an informed plan to tackle their next roofing project with Star Roofing involved.
“That’s our main goal: to listen to what you want and … to get you in the right place.”