Tony Wyss is normally a man of few words. Sure, the vice president and COO of Findlay Roofing had a few remarks prepared should the company he joined eight years ago as a salesperson be named RC’s 2018 Residential Roofing Contractor of the Year. But upon accepting the award before more than 500 other roofing contractors and industry professionals at the 14th Best of Success conference in September, it was difficult not to veer a little off script.
“This is an incredible honor, and a really, really humbling award for us,” Wyss said from the ballroom podium at the Frisco Omni Hotel in suburban Dallas. “This is very much about our team, our people. We’ve very proud of our status as the top residential roofing company in Georgia, but to be listed among the elite roofers in the country is an honor that we don’t take lightly.”
Last year, Findlay’s team generated more than $38 million in revenue, good for 37th on RC’s Top 100 Roofing Contractors List. In addition to a proven marketing campaign, the increases in gross revenue and net profit were due largely to streamlined operations that Wyss said allowed for additional staff and increased overall performance. Specifically, he said the expanded sales force and recently-negotiated shingle purchasing agreement turned out to be the best in company history and eliminated roughly 90 percent of operating excess.
Other changes in 2017 included a crew compliance program that’s resulting in happier customers, less call backs and more referrals. Leadership also made the difficult decision to part ways with a long-time partner in Findlay’s Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) managing that was ultimately justified with a 27 percent increase in returns, Wyss said.
However, RC recognized Findlay more for its continued commitment to the safety and well-being of its employees, high-quality workmanship and how they build relationships with their customers.
The Roof-Roof Risk
During the company’s early years, the Findlay brothers established a strong reputation for quality work and gained market share by following roughly the same tactics as other ‘typical’ roofing companies in the area. But nearly a decade into entrepreneurship, co-founder Steve Findlay made a bold decision. The former national business consultant for Domino’s Pizza spent a whopping six figures on the domain name RoofRoof.com, and incorporated a bulldog (the University of Georgia mascot) into the long-term marketing plan. Billboards and vehicle wraps soon followed, and the company slogan “Roof Roof — How’s Yours?” caught fire with customers.
“The company blew up from there,” Wyss explained. “Everyone disagreed with this investment at the time, stating that (Findlay) already had a top 10 Georgia roofing company. Now there’s not a person in metro Atlanta who hasn’t seen or heard of ‘Roof Roof.’”
That popularity also resonated with the Atlanta-area’s growing media market. Wyss is known as the “roofing expert” regularly featured on the popular “Home Fix-It Show” on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB in Atlanta on Saturday mornings. His genuine, honest approach to business represents the company’s values and comes through over the airwaves.
“I haven’t had many companies that I respect and refer to my listeners more than Findlay Rooﬁng on the show,” host Dave Baker said. “Their professionalism, the quality of the services they provide, and the way they treat their customers is superior to any company in the rooﬁng industry bar none. I never hesitate to recommend Findlay Rooﬁng, and the customer, as well as myself, is never disappointed.”
Aside from the prestige and notoriety that comes with being a “regular” local media figure, the association with the show is also paying off with closed deals.
Wyss said it’s a huge lead generator that the sales team cultivated into an 85 percent close rate. Findlay also optimizes community exposure by encouraging customers to leave digital reviews, and by participating in several local fundraisers for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the Atlanta Humane Society. The company also rewards customer loyalty with a generous program that offers $100 to people that successfully complete a referral.
Set for Success
Findlay is structured with 12 separate departments that are each supervised by a specific manager. The 50 full-time employees and more than 300 subcontractors working at their headquarters and three satellite “Roof Roof” locations helped establish a company record in revenue last year. A record that was short-lived, Wyss said, as the company projected to smash the annual revenue total by August.
Communication and transparency within the organization are key with so many moving parts.
All departments have bi-weekly meetings ran by department heads and attended by Wyss. Both he and Findlay are very hands-on with ideas and are constantly working with all departments, monitoring all phone calls and providing feedback and constructive coaching.
Processes and procedures make a difference, but aren’t as important as the people you put your trust in as an employer, Wyss explained.
“We never once sat around and said great job to one another, or patted ourselves on the back,” he said. “We just sought out the best people with the attitude, the work ethic, the spirit and entrepreneurial drive to be better.”
And they take full advantage of a fun, flexible work environment with catered lunches, paid flex days that can be used for any purpose and more than 10 paid vacation days annually, Wyss said.
“Steve and I host multiple parties per year and offer up bonuses/time off for top performance or hitting specified goals,” he said. “Our leadership style is based on building our team up with positive reinforcement and applying accountability metrics to multiple areas.”