MIAMI — Teaching was Tim Kanak’s life until he took a summer job five years ago at Miami-based Perkins Roofing Corp. — a gig that turned into an unexpected second career.
Since then, Kanak, 31, has become vice president of Perkins Roofing and overseen changes that have helped revenue grow about 40 percent annually: from about $500,000 in 2014 to a projected $5 million in 2019.
Perkins Roofing has grown from a one-employee operation to 16, getting work done for local commercial and residential clients alike, including famous athletes, musicians and other celebrities on Fisher Island (off Miami Beach). The company just landed its first $1 million job.
Such accomplishments are the kind of things Kanak never imagined being involved with having earned a master’s degree in teaching and spent the early part of his adult life as a middle and high school teacher.
“While I enjoyed my time teaching and inspiring young minds, I always craved something more compelling,” Kanak said. “I didn’t realize you can be creative through business and growing a brand.”
Growing a Brand
Dean Perkins started Perkins Roofing in 1980, and still owns the company, working part-time in an advisory capacity while enjoying semi-retirement. For more than 30 years the operation was relatively small.
When Kanak started the company consisted of Dean Perkins and a few subcontractors with only two trucks. Kanak said Perkins was “wearing every hat imaginable” when it came to running his business.
Intent on growing Perkins Roofing, Kanak said he began “creating and implementing true business systems into the daily workflow.”
Efforts included creating different departments within the company, such as marketing, sales, and operations along with a service and reroof divisions under the operations umbrella.
Today, the company has 16 employees with projects split 50/50 between residential and commercial (nearly all are reroof jobs).
Kanak said a big part of the company’s relatively newfound success stems from training, especially in the areas of customer service and safety.
“Perkins Roofing conducts regular OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training on a frequent basis,” he said. “Our Operations Manager, Randy Bleiweiss, conducts our very own branded ‘Tool Box Talks’ in the mornings before the crews are dispatched to go over safety concerns, materials, and strategy for the day.”
Kanak said customer service is constantly being emphasized through the mantra “Knowledge is power.”
“We discuss customer service in our quarterly team meetings with employees,” Kanak said. “Employees shadow more experienced personnel with a structured shadowing calendar implemented by the marketing department until they are ready to be let loose. We have training presentations, etc. we made for especially for employees that are easy to follow and comprehend. We also regularly invest in continuing education courses both in-house and elsewhere. We often send our employees to in-state and out-of-state classes to demonstrate and train for new products and certifications.”
Making the Grade
Quality is a big part of operations at Perkins Roofing.
A project manager from Perkins Roofing visits each job site and reports to the operations manager with photos and a report on progress. Additionally, each roofing technician crew leader is responsible for sending daily photos of jobs back to the office for documenting and processing by Kanak and the operations manager.
“A daily log is written daily of the who, what, when, and where of jobs,” Kanak said.
Strong efforts are make to continually build relationships with customers.
“Besides getting out into the community by attending networking events and other public functions to meet people and spread brand awareness, we love to speak with customers daily on the phone, through text, or email with both photo updates and summary of work completed of their jobs, including aerial photos outlining hard-to-see details,” said Kanak, a licensed drone pilot.
Kanak says showing customers the before and after pictures of a project is one of his favorite parts of the job, but that’s not all the company does to keep them happy.
“We love to gift our customers with professional sports game ticket giveaways, end-of-year holiday gifts, and the always lovely handwritten ‘Thank You’ card,” he added.
Taking Care of Others
Perkins is big on giving back to the community that supports it.
Currently, the company is a top donor to Make-A-Wish Southern Florida Inc.
“Our only goal isn’t to just provide outstanding roofing services, but to be stewards of the community,” Kanak said.
Perkins Roofing also is a member of the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association, the Roofing Contractors Association of South Florida, and National Women in Roofing.
“We love being members of these organizations as they promote being life-long learned and are always involved with philanthropic work in the community,” Kanack said.
Customers and community aren’t the only people about which Perkins Roofing cares.
Kanak said “investing in our team is number one.”
“A close-knit and happy team will take your business far,” Kanak said. “Our team members and empowering them is our first priority, everything else falls into place after that.”
Some of the ways Kanak invests in its team include offering “higher than average competitive wages,” paid time off, company uniforms, bonuses, personal work tool bags, paid lunches — and even laundry service. Further, employees are offered continuing education courses and encouraged to seek out such opportunities, Kanak said.
The company also hosts quarterly or bi-annual events where employees can bring their families and “enjoy a day out together outside of work.”
“When you invest in your team you invest the strength of your company as a whole,” Kanak said.
Kanak suggests others take a similar approach.
“My advice to other contractors is to invest in continuing education for yourself, upper management, and entire team,” he said. “Commit to being a lifelong learner and forming genuine relationships within your team and clients.”
Looking ahead, Kanak said early numbers indicate Perkins Roofing could grow by at least 40 percent again in 2019.
“Construction in Miami in 2018 seemed to reach an all-time high,” he said. “We did have a bit of a slump with the market this winter, but work has seemed to pick back up.”