How metal roofers can use the best roofing technology currently available

It’s a jungle out there

Metal roofing professionals are overwhelmed by the amount of new roofing technology being promoted these days. How does anyone manage to filter through the stuff that is just a good sales pitch to identify the functionality that actually helps them do a better job, in less time, with fewer errors and with maximum profit? How can metal roofers use the best roofing technology currently available?

Well, the fact is, it is difficult! I have been in the CAD/CAM sector for over forty-five years (yes it has been around that long, in fact a little longer) and have tried to work out what my needs are at various times, so I can shortlist from the available systems based on which will do the best job for me!

What are you looking for?

Think about that for a second – do you know what the metal roofing job is? I have seen it time and again – people know they need something, but have no clue what to look for, where to start and even how to start the process of looking. Making this even more difficult is the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know. Web search is incredibly helpful, but it can throw up a ton of stuff, indeed several tons, so being able to refine the search can save a lot of time.

The metal roofing problem – complexity that requires precision planning

Generally speaking, preparing the quotation for the installation of roof and wall cladding (aka an “estimate”) needs to be as accurate and competitive as we can to ensure that we price the job with all the correct labour and materials accounted for, and includes a profit margin so that the business can stay in business.

All of these things are obvious and usually well understood by the business owners, but too often they do not use the best tools to get there.

In order to succeed with metal, you need to plan ahead, and the key to that is the right documentation throughout the entire job, whether residential, commercial or industrial. This way,

  • you order correct materials from your supplier, in the right quantities which includes all assembly items you need
  • your supplier can correctly and efficiently produce all materials
  • you can efficiently install the job.

The more accurate your job documentation, the more efficient all these steps will be.

“When you do a better job at planning, you get more work; you get more work, you do a better job. You do a better job, you get more work.”

Ray Smith

The ‘virtuous cycle’ of metal roofing and how to get there

Here are your success factors and documents to get into the virtuous cycle of metal roofing:

  • an accurate take-off lets you generate an accurate job quote, without guess-work or factoring in error-margins
  • an accurate, competitive quote to do a certain job results in you winning the job
  • your price already factors in all specifications for materials and summary of labour costs, there are no surprises
  • your detailed materials list will enable precise ordering from supplier(s)
  • your supplier order(s) includes the fabrication information so the supplier can make detailed items like flashings and trim to the requirements of the job, e.g. the correct flat stock stretch out and bend angle
  • your installers receive fabrication and installation details for all panels, including correct lengths that account for installation variables such as gutter overhang and hems, setback from ridges and hips, etc
  • you can send a cutting list directly into the fabrication machinery so that all panels are cut to the correct length
  • you have various options to reduce wastage by re-using offcuts where possible, increasing your profit on the job
  • you can even plan for panel cutting at angles, this is important for insulated panel systems, for the installer to set up the cutting equipment correctly
  • you will have a packing/shipping list to make sure everything actually turns up to the site
  • you can even stage delivery, so that valuable materials do not lie around, to be damaged or stolen
  • your labour and installers’ pay summaries ensure that all involved are paid according to the job that they do;
  • you can generate all manner of customized reports in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel
  • you can integrate job data seamlessly into business management systems such as accounting, contractor payments and inventory management
image showsfile with many documents in it

To produce all the above documents, all you need is one original document – your original client proposal, based on your accurate take-off. All it takes is a few mouse-clicks, no need to massage or modify anything, the data you need is all there in your job.

You make a reasonable profit, you have happy suppliers, happy installers and most important of all – a happy customer.

You complete the job on time and it looks fabulous, the customer is happy and tells his mates, we get the referrals and win more work – the ‘virtuous circle’.

Too good to be true, or sounds too hard?

This is not a fairy tale – you can achieve this with the right tools, with little extra effort on your part. The hardest thing to do is to decide to take the first step to implementing the most appropriate software solution for any metal roofing job: AppliCad.

AppliCad has been working on this task for over 30 years and with software in 148 countries, we have learned a great deal about how to get the best results, to meet the requirements of the ‘virtual circle’.

AppliCad has a proven track record of enabling success in metal roofing

The processes we have developed have assisted the metal roofing industry in Australia grow from around 15-18% twenty years ago to around 65-75% now. We provided the tools to roofers and roofing suppliers to generate the most accurate information for each stage of the job in the most efficient way. It gave people the confidence to quote accurately, and maintain profit. Mistakes in metal can be very expensive, so reducing the incidence of errors by creating the best job documentation ensures that you are more competitive compared to other roofing options.

We know this works because of our success in Australia, New Zealand and other countries as remote as Ghana where the metal roofing market has grown as a result of being more competitive.

AppliCad software facilitates the competitive edge. Check us out today.

Patent Pending Innovations

Among the many ‘World First’ innovations from AppliCad is our patent pending process launched in 2020, that takes a 3D roof geometry file from services such as Hover and Eagleview and automatically processes that file into a detailed metal panel cutting list for panels and trim and generates a report showing the result in just a few minutes – low cost, quick, online, automatically. Find it at

If you have any questions at all drop me a line at any time!

Ray Smith Founder/Managing Director AppliCad (Australia, USA, UK, EU)