This time of year I always review my efforts over the last year so I can get a better I idea of what my future will look like.
Looking back further over the last seven years since we started A&R, I’ve got a lot of effort to look at and second guess. Maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time trying to automate a process that wasn’t proven yet. Maybe I should have stood my ground in that negotiation. Maybe I should have asked for help sooner. And on and on…
Attention to Detail
The time we spent knowing our products and perfecting our processes is time well spent.
Even when our research gave us results we would rather not know, we still used that knowledge to make ourselves better. To deliver a better product, to deliver a better service, that is why we started our business, and I would argue is a huge reason behind our success. (The biggest reason we’re successful is because we have a team of people I want to spend my days working beside.)
Pain and Gain
We keep ourselves up late with details not many other people think about. It’s easy to go down to your roofing supplier and ask “What is it that everyone else is using?” It’s harder to research roofing manufacturers, warranties, and MSDS sheets to find out what is compatible and doesn’t void warranties. Just because one way of doing something is popular doesn’t make it the right way to do it.
Doing things the right way in the field and in our designs causes my sales team some heartburn. Our prices are generally a little higher than our competitors. Why? Because we’re surgical with the way we approach designing and installing systems. We leave as little as possible to chance.
It would be easy to buy a prepackaged system from the internet or a supplier and install it as-is trusting whoever put together the package knows what they are doing. When a solar contractor purchases prepackaged solutions they are failing themselves and their customers by not asking “Why?”
Because I said so?
Why do we pay 2-3 times more for our sealant? Because it is appropriate to the job. Why do we pay more for flashings? Because they are going to last the lifetime of the system. Why do we spend longer on a job site on the physical installation? Because the value of the solar array is more than a dollar and cents return on investment. Why don’t we install x number of panels on a string when the software says it’s possible? Because we know soiling and degradation will render the system inoperable within 10 years at that configuration.
We are building for a future that lasts decades after our crew leaves the jobsite. You can’t do that by cutting corners. In fact, to build for a product lifetime that spans generations, you have to build a robustness that raises costs to get the right material installed the right way the first time.
One thing I will never regret is spending the time to make sure that we’re doing our craft right.