Help save the youth of America. Bold words from the singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, but the thesis is as poignant today as it was when the Brit wrote the song back in 1986. Whether or not Bob Farrell, co-owner of TeamCraft Roofing Co., has heard the tune, he’d probably agree that today’s younger professionals need all the help they can get — and TeamCraft is ready to do just that.
Originally founded in Salsbury, N.C., by Bob and his brother John Farrell, the commercial and industrial roofing company now has 17 locations in more than eight states, and has experienced steady growth as it approaches its 20th anniversary. Just as the Farrell’s always planned.
By Bob’s estimates, the company had revenues approaching $40 million in 2014, and as the company’s expansion shows, the business model is working. What makes the revenue number so admirable is that TeamCraft — as much of the industry — only climbed out of the Great Recession at some point in 2013. Today, the company has 300-plus workers in its non-union outfit primarily through its production and service departments. The contractors do hold a fleet of trucks and booms to confidently service and work throughout states along the eastern seaboard, including the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia; the Gulf Coast, including Mississippi, Alabama and Florida; and inland, such as Ohio and Tennessee.
“The rest of the year looks stable,” Bob said. “We try to keep an eye out, but generally roofing trends move behind the rest of the economy, so there are plenty of indicators that inform us.”
The Farrell brothers are third-generation roofers, and with various kin, have its fourth generation well secured, notably with Marc Farrell. Not yet 30, Marc serves as one of the managers of the service departments. Speaking with two Farrells, it’s easy to gather that education is important to the family. And speaking of family, Bob shared a brief history of the company.
“TeamCraft was an extension of the family roofing business,” Bob explained. “Originally, the business was started by my dad, who also focused on commercial and industrial applications. This company evolved out of that family.”
In addition to Marc Farrell, other members of the family extend to Bob’s three siblings that also work in the business to some capacity. The company can boast that it has four generations of roofing experience.
Although running a family business with multiple generations in tow is a great achievement and legacy builder, the issue of safety is what’s really dear to the Farrells’ hearts. In Bob’s words, a safety director is a must for the fledging company and its branches.
“We take a lot of pride in our safety program,” he said. “We think it’s as good as anyone’s in the industry. We have a genuine interest in the career and safety of each person that works here.”
TeamCraft has thorough compliance training, works with OSHA and has also developed its own training course. “We try to have a new form of approach to change management,” he explained.
Another major passion Bob and TeamCraft have — and not just within the company, but industry wide — is promoting and enticing young people to enter the trades. The company does its best to attract younger adults to a work life outside of an office.
“We try to work with the individuals on how that person can get further ahead,” Bob said. “So, we try to create a meaningful workplace environment where that person can grow.”
Knowing the future is in the next generations, TeamCraft whole-heartedly embraces new technology, utilizing it throughout the company’s business operations. For example, in addition to using third parties and consultants for inspections, TeamCraft also has an internal software that it uses to load jobsites fairly regularly for inspections. “We have a big investment in smartphone technology,” Marc said.
As a known force in the roofing community, TeamCraft endeavors to use the best products and create relationships with top manufacturers. Among those is Johns Manville.
“We have a great relationship with Johns Manville,” said Bob, who is impressed with the team the manufacturer has, from sales to the board. “Once JM was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, we saw them bring some long-term leadership to the roofing business.”
By implementing responsible safety training, utilizing new technology, and building relationships with its workforce and others in the roofing community, it makes sense that TeamCraft has seen the growth and success it has. But sometimes, humility and open ears are the overlooked attributes to any company.
“I think everyone in the industry tries to provide a quality product,” Bob said. “We try to establish that we help the customer solve issues. If we can understand their position while helping them understand the technical side of the roofing business, it usually leads to a successful project. Hopefully, I believe our customers think we’re good listeners.”