Outside of the office, life is flooded with perks -- cash bonuses from Discover, free coffee with every ninth cup, and enough frequent flier miles for a trip to Vegas. The same material rewards you get in your personal life are available at work, too. Many of the building product manufacturers you may already buy from offer contractor reward programs, ranging from extensive options that provide education and marketing opportunities to simple reward programs that allow contractors to earn points toward products and vacations. Some programs simply offer participants a competitive advantage, by giving them first crack at leads and referrals and by giving them extra communication from manufacturers on trends and products.

Brand association

Most important, becoming involved in a contractor-tailored program means association with brands and logos many homeowners recognize. This is part of the strength behind Owens Corning's Preferred Contractor program, where participants are backed by familiar Pink Panther-branded products. "When they go into a home and they represent Owens Corning, the homeowner is often aware of our brand," says Scott McDonald, marketing manager for remodeling. "They don't have to spend time selling the product; they can sell themselves."

Owens Corning's program is one of the most thorough in the industry, offering contractors access to extensive sales and marketing materials, lead generating programs, and a promotion allowance toward items that will grow their business, such as training courses and office equipment. Contractors also can earn "Preferred Points" toward travel and retail products. A new component, ProDesk, lets members access more information, ask questions, and redeem points.

Roofing manufacturer GAF offers an extensive contractor program that goes beyond roofing, targeting the whole project with tools for the entire job, such as a software program that shows clients what their home will look like with different styles of siding, roofing, doors, and more. Participants can make use of lead generating tools like automatic direct mail, selling tools, and an array of rewards remodelers can pass along to clients.

CertainTeed's Building Solutions program includes business support in the form of education and development programs, sales tools, and a remodeler helpline. Lead generation is available through the company's Web site or through a partnership with ServiceMagic.com. CertainTeed also offers Master Craftsman, a certification program available through workbooks or their Web site.

Stay in touch

While not all programs are as extensive, many manufacturers offer some form of support aimed at rewarding, communicating, and building relationships. Simonton's Nitpickers Club delivers a color newsletter to members packed with articles on trends, upselling methods, business tips, and more. Installers of LP's WeatherBest composite decking earn rewards that help build their business, such as marketing materials and Web site design. Trex and TimberTech also offer programs for composite decking installers.

Most of the programs available are free or cost only a small fee. However, some manufacturers do have a few requirements for membership.

Many large companies offer reward programs of some sort, so if you haven't enrolled in one, you could be missing out. Don't pass up an opportunity to grow your business or to simply reward yourself for a job well done.