IRVINE, Calif. — Running a roofing company built on a model of giving may seem an unconventional route to making money, but it doesn’t matter at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing — that’s just the way things are done.
From involvement with Ronald McDonald House Charities and Habitat for Humanity to the roughly 60 other local nonprofits touched by the Irvine, Calif.-based company, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing is all-in on what it puts out when it comes to helping others.
The approach, along with the kind of work done by the company’s roughly 100 employees, pays off.
In 2017, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing reported revenue of about $20.2 million — double what it had just two years prior. The company projects revenue to be about the same in 2018.
“Antis struggled during the drought (in California), which lasted more than seven years and coincided with the deep recession,” said Karen Inman, president and COO, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing.
“It might have also been the most pivotal point in the company’s history as founder and CEO Charles Antis took a risk and heavily invested in his employees and company culture; and never wavered from giving back generously to the non-profit partners he was committed to,” Inman said.
“The business turned around in part due to the heavy rain in 2017, in part due to loyal and skilled employees ready to respond to the increase in business, and in part due to brand loyalty influenced by a focus on giving back,” she added.
A Superhero’s Origin
Charles Antis, 56, began his career in roofing in 1984, after moving to southern California from Provo, Utah, where he attended Brigham Young University.
Today, he serves on the board of directors of the National Roofing Contractors Association; as a member of the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress; as a founding member of National Women in Roofing and is actively involved with the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3 — see page 42).
When he went out on his own and started Antis Roofing & Waterproofing in 1989, however, it was risky — if for no other reason than he was married with small children.
But it was during those early days of the company that Antis said he had a profound experience at the home of a single mother that was a potential customer.
“Upon walking in the front door, I was overwhelmed by the strong and distinct smell of mildew. As I stood there, unable to avoid breathing in the toxic air, the youngest daughter grabbed my hand to proudly show off her home,” Antis said.
“When she led me into her bedroom I witnessed a sight I would never forget: four mattresses with moldy bedding,” Antis said. “I realized the family could not afford a new roof, let alone new sheets.”
The struggling entrepreneur scraped together low-cost roofing materials and a group of volunteers to provide a free roof for the family.
“The gratification of helping this family infused me with a passion for giving, and little did I know it would become the impetus for changing my entire business model,” he said.
The spirit of giving and social responsibility inspired Antis to investigate what changes could be made throughout the entire company so that it could give while also keeping the company’s success at the forefront — and enable what the company calls “give-back work.”
“When you know why you exist, outside of making money, it allows not only the leaders, but everybody in the company to make mindful decisions about what’s going to represent the brand the best,” Antis says in a video clip attached to his bio on the Antis Roofing website.
The approach lead the company down a path to eventually get involved with nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. Antis, who also sits on the local chapter’s board, has donated roof installations for more than 75 homes refurbished by the organization in Orange County.
Antis Roofing also is involved with many other nonprofits including the Ronald McDonald House Orange County.
“The key to good giving by way of business is to make sure the giving doesn’t compromise the actual business, but instead adds to it in a complementary way,” Inman said. “With those principals now leading our company’s decisions, the Antis reputation is as much about how we impact our community for good as our reputation for quality craftsmanship and customer service.”
Changing the World, One Roof at a Time
Antis Roofing & Waterproofing serves Orange County, Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego with 100 nonunion employees. The company does 100 percent residential work and is primarily focused on repair and reroofing for homeowner associations (multi-tenant).
“Antis has learned from years of data that our model, which offers proactive maintenance, is a better model for building a profitable, thriving roofing company in the homeowner association market,” Inman said. “Our ability to manage a large volume of small jobs quickly is better than any of our competitors in the roofing industry.”
Within the niche market it serves, the company aims for a consistent level of quality with an overall goal of living up to its superhero marketing image and motto of “Changing the World, One Roof at a Time!”
Inman said it starts with customer service.
First, she said, there’s a certain level of experience and trust that goes along with being in business for nearly 30 years.
“Customers also trust our longevity and know Antis will be in business to cover the warranty and be a vendor partner for years to come,” said Inman, who is also a board member at RT3.
The company also goes out of its way to meet the needs of multiple touch points (community manager, board, and homeowner) within homeowner associations.
“For every three technicians in the field we employ one back office employee. The standard model throughout the industry is 1 out of 10,” Inman said.
But the company’s efforts of “changing the world, one roof at a time” isn’t always customer-facing.
It also includes creating a culture whereby employees buy into the system not because they have to, but because they naturally want to.
“It begins with a thoughtful recruiting process and a focused onboarding program for every employee,” Inman said.
The process includes participation in the Imperative Purpose Lab, a kind of Myers-Briggs test that indicates exactly how an employee fits into the company now and in the future. Employees also take DiSC assessments, a tool ultimately aimed at improving work productivity, teamwork, leadership, sales, and communication.
Employees are treated well — benefits at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing include health, dental, vision, life insurance, pet insurance, 401k, flexible spending accounts and paid time off.
“We recognize and reward employees throughout the year with a performance review process, financial incentives, compensation increases, social activities, 16 hours of paid volunteer time and more,” Inman said. “One of the highlights is adopted from a tradition in Mexico called Aguinaldo, an annual Christmas bonus given to every employee. The result of the many efforts is that Antis has a 93 percent employee retention rate.
“Antis believes that culture is everything and invests heavily in that culture,” Inman said.
Safety and training take place regularly at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing.
All field technicians are 10-hour OSHA-certified and all supervisors are OSHA 30-certified.
Field employees are brought together monthly for ongoing safety and compliance training.
The company has a full-time safety manager focused on employee safety. That’s resulted in safety campaigns with titles like “No Lost Time” and “Zero Injuries.”
Field training also is conducted. In the last year, for example, technicians were cross-trained to develop skills across the different types of roofing systems offered by the company.
“The goal is to educate and inspire employees, focusing heavily on being aware of their surroundings,” Inman said.
Into the Future
Growth at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing received a boost in 2017 thanks to a lot of help from Mother Nature.
Heavy rains that had long been absent returned, and projects that had been put off due to drought conditions could no longer be ignored. Employees also were ready for an influx of business, Inman said.
“2017 was our best year because Antis was poised and ready to handle growth of more than 40 percent,” she said. “That year brought more rain than our region had seen since 2010.”
Drought conditions returned this year, prompting the company to count on large reroofing contracts for growth.
After consistently serving customers in good times and bad, Inman said she believes the company is in good position.
“Despite a competitive marketplace, Antis is a trusted brand and the timing is right with condominium projects aging and the need for a strategic roofing partner for long-term solutions,” she said.