Kristopher Wagner started roofing as a way to pay the bills, but in somewhat storybook fashion, found so much more. His job turned into his profession, and his profession sparked a passion to build himself and his company into something better. He’s paid his dues; living in 15 states in one year (2015 storm season) and sold and/or installed just about everything you can put on a roof, ranging from single-ply and synthetics to metal and solar.
In just three years, he and wife, Silvana, have grown Pride Roofing into a formidable force – generating eight-figure sales revenues – in a robust retail market.
Together they’re building a niche handling residential and light commercial projects in the Mountain West. But they’re not celebrating just yet.
The Wagners and their team are tenacious, knocking on more than 25,000 residential properties every six months. They’re also actively building service and maintenance departments, and delve into new construction as well.
While he sees his youth and passion for the industry as great assets, Wagner said that being relatively new to the market does pose challenges building relationships with key manufacturers. He’s focused on cutting through the politics with hard work, efficiency and reliability that his customers care about.
RC: When and how did you get your start in roofing?
KW: About 10 years ago. My parents couldn’t afford to co-sign loans for college so I got a job in roofing, initially applying single-ply and liquid applied roofing systems. I eventually got into insurance restoration sales in an attempt to get off of the roof and build upon the knowledge/skills I developed.
RC: Tell us about your company and why you started it?
KW: We have 57 employees in two offices and 15 trucks. I started this endeavor because I saw an opportunity to build my own brand based on highly ethical and moral standards. I wanted to create something different.
We donate one free roof to first responders, front-line health care workers, and veterans for every 100. As well as four roofs a year to Habitat for Humanity and we tithe 90% of the profits of any roof we do for a religious organization. We also donate six-plus figures annually to the Boys and Girls Club of America. We hope to do more. If every company in the world put in their grain of salt, our world would be such a better place.
RC: Why do you believe you’ve been successful in such a short time?
KW: Great leadership and a willingness to invest and nurture those that show commitment and loyalty. I believe in re-investing money and time and effort into developing and cultivating those that are willing to give their all.
I also believe in doing everything you expect your employees to do as an owner. Pride’s entire leadership team goes and installs a new roof once a quarter, we call it humility day. No job is too big or too small. No one is better than anyone. Our motto is “THE PRIDE BEFORE THE LION” (lion Pride we are a big family working on a common goal). This motto is wired into everyone in the organization and we thrive because of it.
We also have ethics and a consultative approach. We are unapologetically ethical and one of our mottos is “Build each roof as if we were building it for our own mother.” We want our customers to know they’re not just a job. They’re an important account and we will nurture it. I teach my employees to water their gardens and nurture those relationships for years to come.
RC: What are the big challenges in your market and how do you address them?
KW: The biggest challenge we face in our market is the politics surrounding the ability to provide product warranties commercially, and that we’re not even allowed to compete because major manufacturers won’t provide a 20-year NDL warranty to new companies. I’ve opened an office outside Colorado so that I would have a road map on how to scale into other markets. I’m currently expanding our reach to other areas in hopes to becoming certified in these products.
RC: How has your company changed over the past year and what new technology is helping?
KW: Working with other companies inspired me to work with as much tech as possible. I don’t rely on productivity, I strive to create efficiency. Efficiency is what creates profitability. It’s not just various CRMs. We have our own in-house videographer that actively helps, digitally; we run our own digital training platform; and we have QR codes on our business cards that send a welcome message to clientele, unlike anything we’ve seen in our market.
RC: Do you see generational differences within your own company and is your age an advantage?
KW: I find that older people are harder to train but have better work ethic. They’re good, hard workers but they’re set in their ways. Harder to mold. Young people are easier to train but they often show lackluster effort. To be honest, I don’t think about age other than prior generation contractors had abilities to become certified and provide these warranties much more easily. That is my biggest hurdle.
RC: What area of your roofing business are you the most passionate about? Why?
KW: Developing others. I get the most joy out of seeing people level up financially, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
RC: Tell us about your future plans?
KW: I want to do more commercially once I attain more certifications to provide NDL warranties with flat roofing manufacturers. I will be scaling into three other states beyond Colorado and Wyoming at the start of this year.