After helping a friend with a small roofing company for a couple of years, the roofing bug bit Ivan Kauffmann. He formed Kauffmann Quality Construction in January 2015. A mere three years later, the company acquired CG Roofing, expanding its operations and customer base further.
By using software like CompanyCam and waste removal with Equipter trash removers, the small crew stays productive and efficient. As a result, whether it's asphalt roofing or metal roofs, Kauffmann Quality Construction is earning high praise from customers for their cleanliness, professionalism and punctuality.
The company experienced successful growth in 2020 despite the pandemic, but 2021 and all the pandemic-related issues it created tested Kauffman Quality Construction’s mettle. RC recently spoke with Kauffmann about the company and how it has weathered the economic storm battering the roofing industry.
RC: How did you personally get your start in roofing/construction?
IK: In 2007, I was 20 years old, working in a furniture manufacturing facility as a craftsman in Lancaster County, Pa. I worked indoors every day, building dining and bedroom furniture. While I enjoyed it, I was very ready to be on a different jobsite every day as well as work outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I interviewed with a construction company and was hired. I quickly found my niche in roofing. I then went to another company that specialized in roofing.
RC: What led you to Montana?
IK: In 2012, my employer invited me into his office and asked if I would be interested in getting transferred to Great Falls, Mont., to help his brother’s small roofing company. Three days later, I’m roofing in Montana and loving it. I was back and forth between the two companies for the next two years. In 2015, I started Kauffman Quality Construction. When the company that brought me to Montana decided to close its doors, I acquired it. We bought the assets and hired workers. I had two guys working for me and I was on the roof a lot myself that first year.
RC: How do you ensure quality workmanship on your jobs?
IK: CompanyCam video and photo technologies for ongoing project monitoring and sharing this content with customers. We have a production manager that oversees each project, and we have up to four projects going at any given time. Every job has a post-project walkthrough.
RC: What challenges did you face due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
IK: Supply chain issues, staffing, material cost increases. For staffing, we recruit out of the East to get experienced crew. Since COVID, it has been a challenge to get certain materials in a timely manner. Inflation has also been a challenge. If we aren’t adjusting material pricing weekly, it cuts into profits. We’ve had a few surprises with material increases. Lately, the biggest challenge is fuel. You had better fill your trucks in the morning because it’ll be more expensive at night when you go home.
RC: How has your company dealt with supply shortages?
IK: In 2021, contracts were not written properly to handle price increases. When we signed residential contracts and executed the job three months later, we got dinged pretty good. Instead of passing on those costs and unpleasantly surprising the customer, we ate those costs and changed our policy moving forward to protect the profitability of the company.
RC: What associations are you affiliated with? How have they helped your company grow?
IK: NRCA, Western States Roofing. The events and networking have added a lot of value to our company. It’s where we found all our partners.
RC: What other companies or organizations have you benefitted from?
IK: BreakThrough Academy is an amazing coaching company out of Vancouver, Canada, that we partnered with three years ago. They have added a ton of value to our company. All our KPIs are tracked with their system and overseen by coaches and peers within BTA.
We don’t work on projects that don’t use PABCO Roofing Products asphalt shingles. It's a superior quality product that the company stands behind. Shingles have great weight and durability, which is essential for the Great Falls weather.
RC: You’ve had some success with recruitment. What do you think sets apart your company from others?
IK: We are able to pay a better wage. We are actively breaking the stigma that surrounds roofers. We have a strict no smoking and no drinking policy on our job sites and in the warehouse. Our guys act professionally and have great attitudes.
RC: How is the company growing?
IK: The roofing company is our main focus. We are adding a rain gutter division that (went) live on May 1.
RC: What advice do you have for other contractors?
IK: Treat your people and customers with respect, and show that you appreciate them. Without them, you don’t have a company.