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How Gutter Machines Increase Profits


As part of your seamless gutter business, you are probably already offering gutter protection systems such as gutter guards, gutter covers, gutter screens, and gutter filters to your customers. While there are many different types and styles you can offer your customers, the least expensive is a simple cover made of PVC or a screen of expanded metal construction made from aluminum. Each type has its advantages and features. However, they all have one thing in common. There were all made by someone else. You material cost includes their material cost, labor content, overhead, and profit.


When you got into the rain gutter business you learned that with a seamless gutter machine you could save money on your material costs by making gutter from a coil of stock. The gutter sections you produced were of custom length, were produced on-site, and reduced the number of joints, which are potential leak points. The most important point was that it cost you less per foot to produce the seamless gutters on site than purchasing material preformed in someone else’s shop. In addition, you were not dependent on someone else delivering the materials you needed when you needed them. The difference in cost put more profit in your pocket. The larger the labor content that you could provide, at an equal or lower cost, the higher the base on which your business can earn profits. The same thing is true of gutter covers.


While roofing jobs are similar, somehow every one seems just a little different. And those purchased cover sections may not be exactly right for both a 4/12 pitch you did yesterday and that 16/12 job you struggled with last week. There are also those times when you need a piece that’s just a little longer (or shorter).


The customer may already have some particular kind of cover or screen in mind, or he may not. If he is firm about his selection, you will probably go along and buy the type he specifies from your supplier. Nevertheless, if you are selling the job, you have the opportunity to plan and sell it using custom made covers made by your crew.


How would you manage that?


Here could be the solution: The Van Mark Products Corporation in Farmington Hills, Michigan, makes a machine called Trim-A-Gutter. With appropriate accessories, this machine allows you to form a variety of gutter cover shapes from trim coil at the job site. You can also easily match the color of the cover to the existing gutter for upgrades or repairs to existing gutter installations.


The machine is manually operated. It has a 50-inch rolling capacity. In addition to forming the flange and curved lip of the cover, it can form whatever angle the cover needs to match the roof slope, 3/12 to 18/12 or anything in between. The system uses a gutter bracket made of extruded 6061 T6 aluminum. These are very strong and are easily installed inside the gutter and secured to the fascia board. You form the cover pieces on-site. The top lip of the formed cover piece is inserted and nailed under the shingle tab and attached to the brackets with screws.


The Trim-A-Gutter machine can be installed on any Van Mark brake. They also have instructions for installing the machine on other brands of brake. Alternatively, the machine can be installed on an independent set of UniLegs, which are separately available.


The process is simple. Measure the length and width of the required cover piece. Cut a piece to the required length. Position the stock in the machine. Bend to create a ½-inch flange. Reposition the stock in the machine. Bend the cover lip radius. Remove the piece from the machine and reposition. Bend the appropriate pitch angle on the piece. Remove the cover piece from the machine.


Position brackets inside the gutter and anchor to the fascia board with screws. Break the seal between the shingle tag and the shingle below. Position the end of the cover piece under the shingle tag. Align the lip of the cover with the gutter. Fasten the cover to the brackets with screws. Nail the top of the cover piece to the roof under the shingle tab. Apply roofing adhesive to the cover underneath the shingle tag and reseal the single down on top of the cover.


Remember, higher labor content and lower material costs can put more dollars of profit in your bottom line.