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Are sales of gutter protection products going down the spout for gutter supplier and dealers in the U.S.? Is there a disconnect between the number of gutter contractors overall and the number of gutter contractors that offer gutter protection services and products to their residential customers?

Possibly. When looking at the number of gutter contractors in five states selected randomly – CA, FL, MI, OH and TX – there appears to be a pattern. Each state showed that of its more than 300 gutter contractors listed on the National Rain Gutters Contractors Association website, less than 10 contractors in each state indicated that they routinely offered gutter protection services.
Comparatively, 65 percent of suppliers in those same states listed gutter protection as one of their core services.

So what can be done to bring more gutter contractors into the fold, especially as home improvement expert Bob Vila said in 2014 that the gutter protection side of the business has exploded in the industry. As with any other industry that is undergoing growth and change, information is key. Do the homework for your contractor customers and show them the value-added opportunities they can realize from expanding their service niche to include gutter accessories and add-ons.

Three techniques suppliers can implement with contractors regarding the value of adding gutter protection and other
add-ons or accessories to their residential services which can be a revenue generator for both include:

1. Emphasizing the opportunity for increased revenue for the contractor.

Whether installing new – or cleaning or repairing existing gutters – explain to the contractor how upselling a gutter protection product during installation or repair at a residential structure could result in a higher profit margin, with minimal additional time and effort. After all, the contractor is already on site and could quickly and easily make the add-on installation – and the sale.

2. Demonstrating to contractors that by showing gutter guards are not a one-size-fits-all product – and that the do-it-yourself project could cost the home owner more money in the long run than hiring the gutter professional at the start.

A gutter guard system should protect against the type of debris or infestation that normally accumulates. Products that protect against clogs from oak leaves or tree branches most likely won’t work so well with those whirly seed pods – and the do it yourself homeowner may not realize that. Similarly, with nesting-building insects such as wasps and bees, bird nests, and acorn and nut-toting squirrels – the gutter professional can safely remove what is causing the gutter clog and insert the right type of product for the home owner to prevent future clogs from birds, animals and insects.

Correspondingly, in the heavy-snow, extreme cold regions of the country – the gutter professional can benefit by marketing those add-on products designed to protect against the ravages of winter, especially the build-up of ice in the gutter.

3. Highlighting the benefits to water capturing and how it can help regions of the country known to experience extended droughts.

All too often we hear about drought-stricken areas of the country, particularly California and Arizona and their neighboring states – and how home owners, even farmers, are restricted against watering their gardens and lawns because of watering bans. Contractors could recommend installation of a gutter accessory that could collect rain water for the property owner to store for and use in future droughts.

Water capture, also referred to as rain water harvesting, could come from a system or single add-on product to help residents in those communities divert and capture run-off water from gutter downspouts to store for those dry periods. New technologies in aluminum enable these gutters and add-ons to be an important component of rainwater harvesting systems.

The U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information provides weekly drought monitor updates online. Suppliers in drought-affected areas could use this information to help contractors reach out to their customers, potentially make new sales, and help property owners capture water for their farms, livestock, gardens, lawns, and so on.

One additional benefit to educating contractors on the value of upselling these types of products is that much of America is going green and wants to preserve the environment. Even those who live in regions not generally known for heavy drought may find appeal in having some form of rain water apparatus attached to their gutters.

Did you know?

A one-inch rain will collect 600 gallons from a 1,000 square foot roof, while a 4,500 square foot lot will receive 2,800 gallons!  University of Arizona

The gutter industry has come a long way. From gutters made with burnt-clay bricks between 3000 and 1500 B.C. to modern-day seamless aluminum gutters to MicroVortex gutter guard material, the materials, products and supplies have evolved significantly.

Sharing information and improving communication between suppliers and contractors may be the most logical way to grow the bottom line for both, while providing an excellent service to customers – and create new supplier/contractor relationships.

Click on the link below to learn more about Principia’s capabilities in the gutter and rainware market.