Best of Success 2019 in Miami is over, but if you were unable to attend, or you’re looking for a recap, there is an opportunity to see several sessions that were streamed live.
Six sessions are now available on-demand for free as part of RC’s Broadcasting Live program. But not for too long — links to the On Demand video sessions are only available through September 2020.
Take a look below:
Doing Well by Doing Good
The sessions kicked off with a presentation from Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing in Irvine, Calif. He set the tone for Best of Success by sharing personal stories about how his business thrives on giving back to others.
Antis told the audience about one of his very first jobs after launching the company — a call from a family that had leaks in every room of the house. When Antis arrived, he found mold and mildew running rampant throughout the home. He decided on the spot that he would fix the roof for the family.
“It felt like I could never let anybody have a leaky roof just because they didn’t have the money to pay,” Antis said. “Eventually, that became who we were and this built into our culture and into our people.”
Since then, Antis Roofing has contributed to local and national organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald Houses. Antis encouraged his fellow roofing contractors to determine what it is that fulfills them and become involved. He gave tips on how to determine the best nonprofits to work with and ways to inspire employees to give back, such as vacation days dedicated for volunteering.
“We can change our communities and everywhere we live because we are the ones — we’re the ones in any weather, it’s you that’s up on that roof, you’re the superhero that goes on that roof when no one else will go,” Antis said. “You’re protecting everything in this country that matters most.”
From Google to Approval
Transforming digital leads into signed contracts can be tough in the ever-changing digital landscape, which is why Best of Success had two top digitally savvy presenters speak on that very topic.
Anna Anderson, CEO of Art Unlimited, and Ryan Groth, President of Sales Transformation Group, shared their insights into how best to utilize digital marketing to develop leads. They began by sharing a statistic that surprised many in the audience: Around 40 percent of customers will leave a webpage if it takes longer than 40 seconds to load. Anderson said by creating a better user experience with their websites, roofing contractors could see amazing results.
“Regardless of how much traffic you have, the impact can be great,” said Anderson. “For some…it means $90,000, it means $500,000, it means $1.5 million in possible revenue that can be gained by having a faster website.”
The duo’s advice included basic tips that could be implemented right away to “Jedi master” ideas. These ranged from creating helpful website content and adopting CRMs to creating “scorecards” for salespeople to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
“What this does is it creates a feedback mechanism and a baseline not to say ‘No, you’re not qualified to sell, you don’t have what it takes.’ It’s to say, ‘Here’s where you need to develop,’” Groth said. “Find a way as a coach to say ‘what’s feedback that’s not just my opinion?’”
One interesting tip that they both shared was taking professional photos at least once a year to keep contractor’s websites fresh and stay connected with users.
“It is critical to the success of your business,” Anderson said. “The images that you have that reflect your business are shared on almost every platform and media that you use within your company.”
Panel Discussion: Career Wins and Losses
There’s a saying that the road to success is always under construction. Even the most successful roofing contractors have experienced their fair share of failures, but they always forged ahead.
By enduring severe challenges like natural disasters and immigration raids, four companies in particular have proven they deserve being named RC Roofing Contractors of the Year: Jack Scalo, president and CEO of Scalo Companies; Steve Little, CEO of KPost Roofing and Waterproofing; Gregg Wallick, president and CEO of Best Roofing; and Jim Ziminski, president of Crane Renovation Group – which operates Mr. Roof and Able Roof.
As moderator, RC Editor Art Aisner brought these business leaders together to discuss how they persevered and became success stories. Scalo shared how, in 2004, his new Pittsburgh-based headquarters endured a 500-year flood event that nearly sank the multi-generational enterprise. He and his employees rallied to keep their “problem” isolated from their customers.
“I couldn’t believe watching what people were willing to do to help my company, the company I own that they work for. They showed me this true sense of ownership,” Scalo said.
Ziminski spoke about the challenges of attracting and retaining young talent that is prevalent in the industry. He said he has found success through the company’s philanthropic work and hiring interns from local universities.
“It’s hard sometimes when you’ve been doing something for a long time to let someone in their 20s come into your business and give them the true freedom to do things,” Ziminski said. “If you do, generally they’ll go further faster.”
Wallick suggested that other companies be open to learning from one another to lift the industry as a whole.
“Going to each other’s facility and sitting down and being able to feel the vibe of that company and be able to talk to the people within the organization, there is just an awful lot to be learned when you can visit another contracting firm that’s not in your market,” Wallick said.
After sharing how his company endured an I-9 raid, Little gave similar advice to Wallick, recommending that roofing contractors join professional associations and organizations while also taking advantage of conferences like Best of Success to band together.
“If you’re a roofing contractor, you’re pretty damn smart,” Little said. “It’s a big risk, hard work, and we need to be proud of our industry, we need to be proud of what we do. It’s good stuff.”
Strategically Scaling Your Business
Trent Cotney is obsessed with growth. So much so that when he’s not thinking about how to expand his own national construction law firm — Cotney Construction Law — from coast to coast, he’s thinking about his roofing contractor clients and how to help them avoid the legal pitfalls of growing a business.
A repeat Best of Success presenter on various topics, Cotney chose the stage in Miami to lay out the necessary steps roofers need to take and strategies they need to implement to successfully grow long-term. Cotney implored roofing contractors to start by truly understanding their cash flow — and that means getting comfortable with data.
“Data is king,” Cotney said. “The more data you have the more decisions you can make strategically.”
As a business owner himself, Cotney said he inspects P&Ls every week. He’s seen roofing companies begin to struggle when they get into the $10-20 million range in revenue because their sales can often outpace production. Growing properly must be done with purpose, intent and strategic planning.
“Roofing contractors want to sell, sell, sell. But if you don’t have the right procedures and the right people in place, you won’t be capable of keeping up with that growth,” he said.
Partnerships and investors can be logical remedies, but also come with their own set of risks.
“If you don’t vet the people investing in your company you could end up in a situation where they’re gumming up the work,” Cotney cautioned.
The roofing industry has made significant strides in a relatively short amount of time when it comes to political activism. Yet there’s much more work to be done.
That was the overarching message of National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) CEO Reid Ribble’s industry update during Best of Success 2019. The success of the organization’s One Voice initiative, which draws together roofing product manufacturers and suppliers with contractors to speak collectively on important industry issues, continues to grow with more than 30 member partners.
He said the association is focused on elevating and professionalizing what roofing contractors do on a daily basis. In addition to the One Voice campaign, part of that is accomplished with two new ongoing initiatives.
The NRCA’s ProCertification program to certify roofing contractors with proficient installation skills on various roof systems is now a year old. The NRCA board authorized $16 million to launch and maintain the program. Once workers are certified, the idea is to build training teams within companies that can implement the training program for the next generation of workers.
Ribble said the failure rate of the program’s first 200 roofing contractors is about 30 percent.
“If everyone passed it, it’d be meaningless,” he explained to the room, including some stunned faces. “We have to know where every roofing contractor is on their journey of being a professional.”
Ribble also urged roofing contractors in the room to join Roofing Day III in Washington, D.C. on April 21-22, 2020. The idea that sprang in 2017 has become the largest single-day industry fly-in attended by roofing contractors from around the country. The effort has put a roofing professional in the offices of more than 80 percent of working members of Congress, and last year garnered a meeting between NRCA officials and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in the West Wing.
Just as he has in past years addressing the BOS audience, Ribble urged the roofing contractors in attendance to remember that the effort to really change how roofers are viewed on Capitol Hill begins with how they view themselves.
“We’re trying to figure out how to get you to feel differently about your business because we know this: when you respect who you are and what you do … it’s contagious,” Ribble said.
Broadcast Live Link (airs after panel discussion)
For more than a decade, RC has taken on the responsibility to honor the residential and commercial contractors around the country that employ industry best practices, take care of their employees and excel at quality workmanship and customer service.
And it keeps getting harder. Earlier this year, more than 100 roofing companies submitted applications for consideration as our contractors of the year. Choosing just one winner in each category was a challenge, but our committee believes this year’s winners are very deserving of the distinction of Contractor of the Year.
Watch Ken Kelly, of Kelly Roofing in Bonita Springs, Fla.; and Don Kennedy, of Don Kennedy Roofing in Nashville, Tenn., accept the 2019 Residential and Commercial Roofing Contractors of the Year award respectively, live from the stage.