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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I have worked 10-years for GAF Material Corp. I design roofing products (mostly shingles), e.g. Camelot and Grand Slate are my designs. I also have worked in lamination and self-seal adhesive development. I spend most of my time investigaing new ways to reduce product cost while making sure durabily is not effected - I am the defence department for product durability LOL.

I look forward to discussing roofing topics with you all - if you all don't mind. It's hard for me (as a designer) to get feedback about the effect my products have on the customer (you...the roofer). I hope this forum will open that communication channel.

Regards,

TOMROD
 

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Welcome to the site TR,

I am sure we can accommodate you in the the discussion aspect.

What precisely would you like to know or get feedback on?

Ed
 

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Premiums cost too much IMO. This last year when all the prices were going batty, I was seeing the premiums holding their price. Why is that? Could it be they were over priced in the first place? That's my opinion. I think more people would do them if they were more reasonable, but then again you probably don't want everyone doing them.

Finally At what point did slateline change from a 40 year to a lifetime and what changes to the product did you make to warrant the increased warranty term?



Nothing against you, it may come off as an attack. I kinda dislike GAF and BMCA for their monopilization tactics and over priced products to fund said monopilization. I do however welcome some in your area of expertise to chat with us, welcome aboard!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Grumpy...I take no offence.

"monopilization tactics"...not the first time i've heard that. Anyone who is the biggest will be seen the same.

I'm a technical person - not a business person, but i'll try and explain perhaps why premium product prices didn't change during that period.

Price of asphalt (follows oil pricing) jumped from $300/ton to $900/ton. Timberline and 3-tabs production rate is very high and is greatly influenced by the asphalt price increases. Our premiums aren't made that often and we build our inventory around the country pretty high; therefore, the higher priced asphalt wasn't effecting the price so much and they stayed steady.

Slateline...Business decision are made everyday is all I can say. From a technical POV I have no comment.

Ed...i'm just here to listen to VOC (voice of the customer). I'm not in Marketing or Sales...so I won't be beating around the bush. I just want to hear how my products perform, what is important to the homeowner and contractor.
 

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Business decision... I agree. That's what I thought the answer was. Although I think "marketing decision" is more accurate. Kinda like when GAF took their 25 year timberlines and said hey let's call 'em year year. Then everyone else followed suite. No changes were made to the products though... just a marketing decision.

I was selling GAF religiously at that time, then the price increases came as they started buying up everyone in site. At that time I decided I didn't want to fund the destruction of a competitive and fair market and began searchign for alternatives. i went to Tamko, I always thought they made a great product and are a "family owned" (which is a nice way of saying privately owned) company. Plus I actually think their architectural product to be superior (at that time for sure, witht he standard AR they had in all their shingles). I did make a switch to Certainteed though because Tamko doesn't have the kinds of contractor programs that Certainteed and GAF have. When I inquired with Tamko they said they really had no plans on the horizon.

I do not lock any of my customers into just one brand. Infact in my marketing I include both the Tamko and Certaitneed logos. That'd be stupid for me to lock down to one manufacturer, and really what's the point. There is a point of loyalty and a point of Hey I still want the sale, if they request something else and I don't feel it to be a crap product, I will install it. Plus it's always ncie to try something new from time to time. When customers ask me why I don't like GAF, my answer is two fold. First I tell them I am not a fan of do it yourself grade materials sold at home depot. Second I tell them GAF and ELK just merged and the product lines are entirerly new and I don't want my customers to be the guinnea pig for this merger.

Right now if I have a real cheapo customer I will sell them IKO shingles at $20 a square less than the timberlines, or $10 a square less than Landmark or Heritage. I don't really like the IKO shingle but if someone wants cheap, there it is. For the record, I am putting Tamko heritage on my own home when we get a break in the schedule, they've been sitting on my driveway for a few weeks and I put Tamko Heritage on my Father's house in 2005. We did put Timberlines on my Uncle's house in 2001 though.

Is it true GAF decreased the volume of asphalt being used to manufactuer their products in 2008. They sure seemed lighter. Don't you fear a ton of failures down the road for this business decision?

Tomrod I really do applaud you for actually caring. That goes a long way.
 

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Ed...i'm just here to listen to VOC (voice of the customer). I'm not in Marketing or Sales...so I won't be beating around the bush. I just want to hear how my products perform, what is important to the homeowner and contractor.
For that reason alone, I am glad you are taking the time to communicate with this site.

How about the GAF Contractor Programs?

Every time I clicked on the links for the CARE classes held in Michigan City, Indianna, I received a message that they had none on the schedule, even though there were dates in the future listed, so I never had the opportunity to attend any of them.

But, I would doubt that I would buy into a program that REQUIRED me to sell XX Amount of their product with exclusivity.

If I am a good enough contractor to be certified as such, then I am a good enough contractor that deserves the accreditations, not due to purchasing power, but due to doing things correctly and educating the consumers on the Right Way of installations.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For that reason alone, I am glad you are taking the time to communicate with this site.

How about the GAF Contractor Programs?

Every time I clicked on the links for the CARE classes held in Michigan City, Indianna, I received a message that they had none on the schedule, even though there were dates in the future listed, so I never had the opportunity to attend any of them.

But, I would doubt that I would buy into a program that REQUIRED me to sell XX Amount of their product with exclusivity.

If I am a good enough contractor to be certified as such, then I am a good enough contractor that deserves the accreditations, not due to purchasing power, but due to doing things correctly and educating the consumers on the Right Way of installations.

Ed
It is my pleasure...

The Care Program is run by our Marketing folks. I will forward your concerns to the program director and see if I get a response.
 

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I have been part of GAF Master Elite program since close to its inception in the early 90's by Dave Harrison. Still one of the best programs in my opinion. I averaged around a 40% closing rate on residentials and was never the low guy. Of those jobs, probably 30-40% of them upgraded to Lifetimes (TimberlineLTs/Slateline/Capstones). Almost all were Golden Pledge warranties.

I have found that the majority of our competition simply does not offer upgrades or options. I give the low end to the high end with a detailed proposal and let the customer choose. Most customers get very generic proposals that rarely even specify the brand of shingle they will get.

Doing a nice 140sq Camelot/Copper job at present. The Camelots sure look good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Finally....a GAF Freindly

I have grown to think contractors only know how or want to install Timberline (or alike) shingles becuase its forgiving - unlike Camelot - and anyone can throw it up. That is why they dont offer upgrades. I've told our Marketing folks that premiums need to be sold to the homeowner, because contractors (most) won't even offer it to them - homeowners will never know they exisist. I have truggled to design the forgiving aspect of Timberline into our Premuim line of shingles.

Good to hear Camelot is liked. It's such a good looking product that just hasn't hit the mainstream yet...we beleive because of its price.

Thank You for being a GAF loyal contractor...BTW, Dave is no longer with GAF.
 

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Camelot is a great looking product but not worth twice the cost IMO, and most home owners agree with me. I don't sell GAF, but I do sell certainteed. Obviously the offer very comprable product in terms of looks, I feel them to be superior... anyways that's not the point of this discussion.

The typical home owner, in today's market, is buying cheap commodity roofing with bare minimum code requirements and as few upgrades as possible. I do try to push premium/luxury shingles but when I am already $2k above the low bidder and then asking for another $2-4k additional for premium shingles, you can imagine how it's a HARD sell for us.

You're right, you do need to market these shingles to the consumer. Do like the drug companies "Ask your doctor about non habit forming AstraZanica" "Ask your LICENSED and QUALIFIED roofer about Luxury shingles." Sell the home owners on your products for us and we will be more than happy take the added profit from the luxury shingles.
 

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As fine a product as Camelot is, its price puts it in the realm of what we can install metal roofs for. It is right in line with what we put on DECRA Shingle or MetalWorks for. Most want a metal product in lieu of an asphalt product if they have the budget for it. So Camelot may not reach mainstream, but it is a fine premium product. As a matter of fact, the Camelot job we are doing now chose it over a DECRA roof because of appearance. They liked the look better.

Heard Dave was no longer at GAF. Working on consulting ideas at present from what I understand.

Grumpy...your right, it is hard to beat the low prices out there some times. Especially these days. I have found that we have success in areas where the clients are more discerning and willing to let you educate them on the best value for their dollar spent. Sold one not too long ago that was $7k over my competion on a 45sq house. Asked him why he chose us and he said it was because he felt he was getting more for his money. He was right. We spend a lot of time explaining the difference in how we put our roofs on and the systems we offer.
 

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FL I am alot like you in my approach. I'm not going to be the cheapest and do not try. We are almost always doing more for the money and if they get 4 quotes we'll be the 2nd highest. However compare scope of work and we're almost always doing more work than any of the other 3.

The problem this year is there are fewer and fewer customers willing to pay the premium, most seem to want the cheap commodity roof. Most seem to think they'll be moving in 1 - 2 years when "the market breaks"... so many so called contractors are killing themselves for beer and cheeseburger money. There are guys doing work for literally below what my cost would be for labor, labor burdens and materials. Forget any over head or profit... less than my cost.

Forget upselling camelots when there are guys working below cost and I have to compete with them day in and day out. Well I do always try to upsell, always, but when it comes down to it the customer sees the price difference between a 30 year landmark/timberline and between a shingle like camelot and just laughs in most cases. Come to think of it we haven't done a premium or luxury shingle on a job other than a new construction job, not once ever. We don't do new construction anymore, so I hope that doesn't mean our last luxury job is done.



LOL true story, one of my sales reps was always complaining how high we were, how low this company he used to work for currently is. He left us and went back to work for them. I got my hands on a scalp, a competitors quote, his name was on it. When I looked at our quotes not only were we cheaper by $100 on a $14,600 job but we were doing a tremendous ammount of work more than any of the other bidders. I laughed and laughed and laughed and was pretty much dancing around the office today in such a great mood. I don't know what this story has to do with this thread but I felt like sharing :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Camelot

I understand trying to sell Camelot is hard becuase of its price - i've been telling my marketing folks that for years. What if I reduced the cost/price by dropping weight? The product would lose half the thickness. I think the product would still look good. What are your thoughts? Would this help?

P.S. What price are you guys getting Camelot for? I don't know these things...I only how much it costs us to make. Remember, i'm an R&D guy - not sales or marketing.

GAF Sells Performance...Not Weight (our new slogan)
 

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Consumers can care less about weight. To be honest, neither can I. It lost it's meaning years ago when the market shiften from organic to fiberglass as a primary matt. Besides didn't GAF already cut the weight on all their products during the 2008 asphalt shortage? All my suppliers have said more pallets are being shipper per truck, and the trucks are only allowed to carry so much weight.

I can look up camelot on Monday for you no problem. If I forget to reply post a reminder, since my memory sucks. I have all my price lists at the office.
 

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No question that a lower price, lighter weight Camelot would sell more. The weight of the product not only cost more in materials, but in labor as well. At 7 bundles per square as opposed to 3 or 4, it take our crews much longer to install the product.

I know the marketing folks probably target the premiums like Camelot to be a Tile/Composite alternative. If they gave us a lighter weight product that looked the same and cost less (around Lifetimes or Capstone), the volume would likely increase ten fold in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No question that a lower price, lighter weight Camelot would sell more. The weight of the product not only cost more in materials, but in labor as well. At 7 bundles per square as opposed to 3 or 4, it take our crews much longer to install the product.

I know the marketing folks probably target the premiums like Camelot to be a Tile/Composite alternative. If they gave us a lighter weight product that looked the same and cost less (around Lifetimes or Capstone), the volume would likely increase ten fold in my opinion.
The concern is when you drop weight...you drop thickness...and Marketing has always compared thicknessess to other products. Is thickness something you guys think is critical?
 

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let's be real here Tom. You and I both know if it's an asphalt shingle it'll be repalced or covered within 20 years. So what's the point of thickness? IMO, look. The only point in the thickess is the nice shadow lines, but can you really see those from the ground?

Sure it looks nice on the sample board, and the salesman gets to say "our product is thicker and heavier", but compared to what? I'm just trying to say that while I think thickness does matter a little, it's not the end all tell all answer to why people buy shingles.
 

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Increase the thickness of the bottom butt end and taper the rest of the shingle to a standard weight thickness and you will have increased the thick optical illusion affect that the higher end shingles are going for, without adding substantially to the weight of the product, similar to the taper of an actual cedar shake.

Ed
 
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