Contractor Q&A with Tim Mallory of Cincinnati's Advantage Roofing & Home Exteriors
Great People on a Great Team Can Do Great Things' at Advantage Roofing
CINCINNATI — Tim Mallory may have thought his first day atop a roof was his last, but that ended up being far from the case — fortunately for his company’s legion of satisfied customers in the greater Cincinnati region.
Today — and more than 30 years later — he’s CEO of Advantage Roofing & Home Exteriors, a company he started in 2001 that keeps growing and serves parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Mallory says the keys to the company’s success can be attributed to several factors, but that it generally centers on the tight bond shared amongst employees who, in turn, share goals that include sustaining company success and giving back to the community.
“Our company culture is team-oriented,” Mallory said. “We structure a monthly goal in a way that, when hit, everyone in the company gets rewarded. It’s a great thing to see all our staff pulling in the same direction to reach a shared goal. I always say, ‘Great people on a great team can do great things.’”
He recently took some time to respond to questions from Roofing Contractor to shed some light on how Advantage Roofing & Home Exteriors strives for the best possible customer service on a daily basis.
RC: How did you get a start in the roofing business and when was your business founded?
TM: I got into the roofing industry in 1986. It was a summer job during my freshman year of college. A funny side note, I was so scared my first day, I bear-crawled to the peak of the roof (an easy 6/12) and sat there until lunch. The owner of the company I was working for, Marlin, had to help me to the ladder. I told Marlin, “thanks for the opportunity but I am just not cut out for the roofing business.” Marlin said in his signature gruff, growling voice — and with some very colorful language — “Just keep showing up son, you’ll get used to it.” I did keep showing up. I started at the ground level by carrying shingles up the ladder and cleaning the ground before I eventually got back onto the roof and learned the installation process. Fast forward five years and I began reading sales books and listening to sales training tapes and teaching myself the sales side of the business. I worked my way up to the top ranks of a very large Cincinnati roofing company where I oversaw sales and production. In 2001 I took a leap of faith and opened Advantage Roofing and Home Exteriors L.L.C. It is amazing to see how that small, simple piece of advice, “Just keep showing up” from Marlin 30 years ago has shaped my life.
RC: What areas do your serve and how is your company structured?
TM: In 2012 we researched the center point of the area we serve and bought an office/shop building. It is super easy to hop on any of the four major highways in Cincinnati in a matter of a few minutes.
One of the biggest lessons I learned early on in business is, you can’t do it all. No matter how hard you try, when you grow to a certain size and you try to do it yourself, customer service suffers. So I surrounded myself with talented people who have specialties. Jonna, who is also my younger sister, is my marketing manager. Emily, who has an accounting degree, keeps the books and works with homeowners on securing financing. Scott and Tom bring in all the sales, while Tracy handles the repair division, (which is a fast growing segment of our business). Dawn has great skills at answering our phones and setting appointments. She is the first voice our potential customers hear and sets a great tone for our homeowners overall experience. And lastly, Jeff is my production manager. He orders materials, oversees the jobs and has the crucial responsibility of keeping the homeowner updated on the progress of their project. It does truly take a village to run a successful contracting business!
RC: How do you ensure quality workmanship on a jobsite?
TM: First, we find a crew foreman with leadership skills that takes pride in their work. Second, if there is something needed on the jobsite, we have our production manager run it to the jobsite. This allows our crew foreman to always stay on the jobsite and supervise the installation. Jeff (the production manager) also does quality spot checks on every project every day. Lastly, after the roof is complete, Jeff goes back to the project and completes a 19-point quality inspection. Even though our crews have installed hundreds of jobs for us, it works as a checks and balances system. The crews know Jeff always comes back to inspect at the end of the project, and if something is not installed properly, it is the foreman’s responsibility to go back and correct the issue. This creates a culture of getting the project right the first time.
RC: Tell us about why you developed the Shelter a Hero Program and how it works.
TM: Shelter a Hero came about after I read an article about how many of our veterans live at or below the poverty level. Sadly, many veterans struggle just to provide for their family. Unfortunately, when it comes to big ticket items like replacing the roof, the funds are just not there. With that information, I had a meeting with my team and a few weeks later, our Shelter a Hero Program was born. Great people, on a great team, do great things!
The Shelter a Hero Program provides a total roof replacement, including any wood repair, completely free of charge to a local Cincinnati area veteran in need. We provide two top quality free roof systems a year using CertainTeed Landmark Pro shingles. One winner is announced just before Christmas and a second to celebrate the Fourth of July. It is just a very small way of saying thanks to our veterans who have sacrificed and served to preserve our freedom. We consider it an honor to serve these heroes.
RC: Please describe the best experience your company had either on a particular job or reaching a particular achievement?
TM: While installing thousands of roof and home improvement projects over the years, and having worked with tens of thousands of homeowners, we have been awarded accreditation and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau year-after-year. We’re also humbled to say we’re one of the top roofing contractors in Cincinnati with Angie’s List and have won the Super Service Award for Cincinnati roofing contractors nine years in a row.
RC: What advice would you have for other roofing contractors out there striving for success?
TM: My first bit of advice would be to continually educate and teach yourself. The biggest positive shift in my career came when I started investing in sales training. Secondly, something I learned from Brian Kaskavalciyan, author of “How to Double Your Profits in 6 Months or Less”: take time to work on your business, not just in your business. His suggestion is going somewhere quiet once a week for four uninterrupted hours to strategize/brainstorm/problem solve areas of your business. It has made a big impact on the growth of our company. Lastly, I would say surround yourself with talented people and encourage them to do two things, give you as the company owner feedback and continually educate themselves.