For the past 23 years, DDP Roofing Services, Inc., has honed a formula for success in the commercial roofing market. Located in West Chester, Pa., the company focuses on roof replacements, re-covers, repairs and maintenance. Paul Becker, CEO and co-owner of DDP Roofing, noted the company excels at meeting and exceeding the needs of its customers.
Becker started out in the roofing industry working as a piece shingler in college. “I was a business major at Penn State University,” he recalled. “I needed a summer job, so I asked my college lacrosse coach, who had a small residential roofing business, if I could work during the summer and during breaks. He had me work on a large retirement village installing wood shingles. I got paid by the piece, so the more I installed, the more money I made. I viewed my job as a sport, and I wanted to be the best. So I worked really hard.”
Becker soon started subcontracting for builders, and he eventually took over the contract for the retirement village. “After I graduated, the job market was not too promising, so I just continued to subcontract with a few friends from college. Over the next few years we grew to working with builders, developers, and GCs, as wells as some small private referral jobs,” said Becker. “Our first big commercial project was a hospital outside of Baltimore. The job involved slate roofing over nail-board, a built-in stainless steel gutter, and a built-up roof over tapered insulation with a modified cap sheet. The contract was more than one million dollars and was very profitable. That gave me the confidence to take the next step to grow geographically and to take on larger projects.”
To keep involved and on top of industry trends Becker and his key executives regularly attend industry seminars to learn about new products, applications, code requirements and changes that are occurring within the industry. “We also constantly meet and talk to our clients about what they want and can afford with regards to replacements and maintenance,” Becker said. “We have built our current business model on service, communication, and meeting the customers’ needs.”
A key high-profile project that demonstrated the company’s strength was the replacement of the main roof on the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The roof was more than 120 feet high. “The challenge was the height, the wind and the unpredictable winter weather. The roof is over the Philadelphia 76ers basketball court and the Philadelphia Flyers ice. The job had to be watertight at all times, the noise level had to be minimal, and we had to work around the arena’s schedule of professional basketball, hockey, concerts and special holiday events,” said Becker. “Once the roof was replaced, we then had to lay out artwork to paint the new Wells Fargo Center logo on the new white PVC membrane.”
Becker noted that the project had to be completed within a few days, so it took a team of more than 30 foremen and mechanics working odd hours to complete the project. “There was parking lot coordination, crane operations, roofing, design and painting. Our project management team did an excellent job of scheduling and coordinating, and our field crew worked as a team to bring the entire project together,” said Becker.
Becker offered some words of advice to contractors: “Don’t lower your prices to ‘buy’ jobs. If you are not comfortable with your margins, you will have a difficult time taking care of the little items that will ultimately make your customer happy.”
“It takes great people with the common goal of taking care of our customers to get repeat work,” said Becker.