Sponsored by Allied Building Products Corporation
Dan Stites, Chairman and CEO of Crank Brothers Roofing Company in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., began his career as a research chemist, then joined a global engineering and construction company where he spent 30 years living and working all over the globe.
“For about half of that time I had profit and loss responsibility for global business ranging in size to $1.5 billion in annual revenues and have been responsible for the construction of major projects on every continent except Antarctica,” said Stites, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in California, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Stites got into the roofing business after a full career of “global responsibility.”
“It sounds great until you realize that ‘global’ means you’re rarely home and are likely to get bit by your dog when you do come home because he simply doesn’t recognize you,” he said.
Stites received a call from a close friend explaining that he had purchased a roofing company and asked if Stites was interested in purchasing half.
“The timing and the fit were right since I had decided that I needed to transition into a ‘local’ career and virtually my entire career had been focused on contracting,” said Stites, 62, who purchased a majority of the stock in Crank Brothers Roofing Company Inc.
Today, the company employs up to 50 workers that perform 35 percent residential and 65 percent commercial work. Stites said he built his business on a “customer centric” business model and Crank Brothers employees view themselves as an ombudsman to customers.
“When we meet with a customer, our mindset is that this customer is asking us to help them solve a problem, whether the problem is a need for a new roof, finding and repairing a leak, or extending the life of an existing roof,” he said. “We must be a trusted advisor to our customer by putting the customer’s objectives ahead of our own.”
Stites said the business model must be backed up with substance. “We must truly be the technical experts; we must back up our advice with solid project execution skills; our field employees must be expert at their craft,” he said. “Many in management are degreed professionals with credentials that are better than my own (our company president has a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University), and we work hard to stay on the leading edge of new developments in areas such as technology, materials, installation methods, and changing code requirements.”
The compensation program for Stites’ roofers is structured to encourage long-term employment by offering medical and dental insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and educational reimbursement. “Our roofers average over seven years of service with Crank Brothers,” he said.
To help the business run smoothly, Stites said the company makes “extensive use of networked laptop computers that allow management to work in a virtual environment from any location.”
Stites said not to focus on increasing sales - instead focus on finding the most cost-effective solutions to your customers’ problems and implementing those solutions in a way that will delight them.
“A delighted customer will tell the world about it,” he said. “I believe our most unique characteristic is that we have been in business for 65 years and the past three years have sequentially been the most successful years in the company’s history. We see this as a strong validation that our overall business philosophy is producing true value for our customers.”