Z Roofing & Waterproofing Owner Zachary Exposito may have gone to Barry University in Miami for a degree in finance, but the words of wisdom that stuck with him weren’t about investments or accounting.
“I had a business professor in college that would always tell our class, ‘If you want to become a millionaire become a plumber or electrician — in 20 years this generation will have very little skilled trades.’ I never forgot when he said this because roofing was one of those blue-collar skilled trades.”
Exposito took that advice to heart, joining his father’s roofing business in 2013. He took over the family business in 2016, building upon the legacy his father, Gus, began in 1998. Sure enough, Exposito’s business professor was right — in 2020, Z Roofing earned $12.8 million in revenue, and earned a spot on Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list in 2020 for its exponential growth.
“The last few years our company has been doing great and has grown year-to-year,” said Exposito. “Our most recent economic challenge has been COVID, which I believe we adapted to rapidly with technology.”
Gus is a veteran honorably discharged from the U.S. military. He founded Z Roofing & Waterproofing adhering to four core values: results, accountability, respect and excellence.
Gus was an ambitious entrepreneur from the get-go, having started the roofing company with one other partner and no knowledge of the industry. However, Gus’ knack for sales and being a people person — along with a little help from his family — took him far, and Z Roofing grew along with his experience.
“I remember one summer when my siblings and I were younger, he had our entire family walk with him around our neighborhood door-to-door placing door hangers on every house,” said Exposito.
Gus’ efforts paid off. The company gained new construction projects and residential roof replacements and continued to grow its client base. While earning his finance degree, Exposito worked for a real estate development firm, exposing him to the construction industry and managing projects.
“After I graduated, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Exposito said. “After speaking over my decisions with my father, I decided to join the family business and have not looked back since.”
Exposito started as a business development and sales rep, learning all he could by observing others. He soon began implementing changes in his department that helped attract new business, including attending trade shows, direct mail campaigns and SEO. Much like his father, his efforts in this new field paid off in the form of revenue and a larger client base. Eventually, Exposito took over the business, though Gus is still involved as an advisor and consultant.
“I immediately noticed huge opportunity in the roofing industry and immediately realized that the industry was missing a customer service-driven business that can cater to our generation and adapt to technology and current trends in the market,” Exposito said.
Among the changes Exposito helped implement include the use of technology. DataForma provides Z Roofing with customer relationship management software to keep tabs on everything from leads to service calls, while Z Roofing developed its own pricing software to allow its sales teams to provide accurate quotes without having to wait for management approvals. The use of mobile desktop and VPN tech allows the company to work remotely without skipping a beat.
“This helps our operations and enables us to service our customers throughout natural disasters and pandemics,” Exposito said. “We have realized that there are no excuses in the service industry and we strive to provide our customers with the service they deserve.”
Customers and Clients First
It helps that Z Roofing has plenty to offer its clients. Generally, roofing companies hone in on one sector of the industry – residential or commercial – and focus on that one area. Not Z Roofing. As Exposito says, “We do it all.” The company has a near-even split of residential and commercial work (60% residential, 40% commercial), and does everything from waterproofing and restorations to hurricane emergency responses.
The company is split into separate divisions, with its residential side handling all reroofs, construction and repairs and a commercial division that strictly handles the same on the commercial side. A permit specialist handles all submittals, codes and permits, while a project coordinator schedules job starts and notifies clients of job status. Project managers are assigned to each job and visit sites throughout the process to ensure quality work is completed.
Training occurs on a weekly basis for the sales team, led by Exposito, while the operations teams receive daily briefs with toolbox talks. Office staff hold weekly meetings to review any pressing issues or concerns, especially when it comes to customer service.
“The two most important people in our company are our employees and our customers,” Exposito said. “Our relationship with our clients is built by providing them with the best customer service they have ever experienced.”
Relationship building is backed by constant communication with clients from start to finish, which includes conducting progress meetings and final walkthroughs. This goes back to the company’s core values of accountability and respect. As a result, some of Z Roofing’s notable projects include hospitals, U.S. Coast Guard naval stations and Omni/Hilton hotels in Miami.
Z Roofing’s emphasis on accountability includes a commitment to safety. Exposito said Z Roofing follows OSHA guidelines and regulations and provides employees with safety equipment. Monthly safety training seminars reinforce daily toolbox talks and how to properly use the latest equipment. Beyond relying on its own training, Z Roofing has a third-party safety coordinator who will drop in on projects unannounced to make sure employees are following company policies.
Being in Miami, Z Roofing even goes as far as having ice machines in its warehouse to ensure employees can stay cool and hydrated.
“We provide our employees with all PPE including gloves, long sleeve shirts, etc.,” Exposito said. “We do not charge our employees for gloves if they lose a pair. For us, we are a family and safety is priority, cost comes second.”
When it comes to finding the right employees, Expositio does the majority of the hiring himself and looks for workers who can fit in with the company’s culture, as “everything else after that can be taught.” He admits finding skilled laborers has been an issue for the company lately, but when it does happen, it’s worthwhile.
“I’m always most excited to see two or three employees collaborating on a project or talking about a personal matter they both agree with,” he said. “When I see this, I feel like we’re doing a great job as a company.”
Aiding the company in its success is its membership to multiple roofing associations, including the National Roofing Contractors Association, Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association and Roofing Contractors Association of South Florida.
“These associations support our industry and resolve issues within the industry,” Exposito said. “They have benefited in many ways with information and resources that help us navigate obstacles.”