It’s one thing for a roofing contractor to grow thanks to adopting technology. But Superstorm Restoration took the ball and ran with it, developing its own award-winning technology to take its business to new heights.
Earlier this year, the Iowa-based contractor earned the Owens Corning Pinnacle Innovation Award for its property assessment solution. It’s been quite the journey for Superstorm Restoration President and founder Chandler Steffy, whose gone from learning about construction on his family's farm to leading a tech-savvy company.
“Never in my life could I have imagined going from paycheck to paycheck to a multi-million-dollar company that in its growth has led us to be a leader in technology and innovation in an industry,” Steffy wrote in his Pinnacle Innovation Award application.
Today, the company completes more than 500 projects in a year and generated $11 million in business in 2021. Steffy and his staff aren’t satisfied, setting a goal to finish 800 projects in 2022, and are developing plans to release its technology to help elevate the industry.
From Farmlands to Rooftops
Technology wasn’t always present in Steffy’s mind. His initial steps into construction began with growing up on his family’s North Central Iowa farm, where construction was a chore. He turned this into a career by entering the framing business in 1998. Things were great until the recession hit in 2008 and construction tanked, forcing him to reevaluate his career.
In 2010, he met a restoration contractor whose company was looking for a sales rep for roofing, siding and gutters. The business owners decided to teach Steffy and his wife about the industry and had them open an office in Des Moines.
“After almost a year of learning the restoration industry, specifically roofing, we understood that the process we were being taught was based on ‘running numbers’ and not on what was right for the customer,” Steffy said. “The methods worked, but they didn’t quite align with our personal values. So, we developed our own process that reflected our values.”
Those values consist of educating customers on the condition of their properties and providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions. By the end of 2013, they left the company. In 2014, they pinched pennies by staying in a tent at a state park while working on a nearby storm event. By 2016, they were earning $1.8 million in business from 160 completed projects.
Others took note of their success. In 2018, Owens Corning named them a Platinum Preferred Contractor, and in 2020, they purchased a 15,000 square-foot office building. With a 4.9 star rating from more than 230 Google reviews and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau, it’s clear they’ve found a winning formula.
“Each project we are the highest quote, yet we create the best value,” Steffy said. “Our solutions we establish for the customer allowed them to be in control and in all these cases we provided excellent customer service and product.”
Advancing Through Technology
Part of what makes Superstorm unique is its approach to roofing. It takes time to focus on customers who don’t presently need services with the goal of establishing a baseline for them so that, when they do need a roofing contractor, they turn to Superstorm.
“Every property owner needs to know the cost of a new roof today to budget for it tomorrow or next year,” Steffy said. “We find 99% of property owners have no clue as to the type of budget they need in place. If a person saves $100 a month today for a new roof they will have thousands of dollars when that new roof is needed 10 years from now.”
To consistently collect data, Superstorm turned to technology. Initially, Superstorm began with Google One Drive before adopting AccuLynx, a full-fledged CRM. Both were useful, but the company still struggled with a duplicable process that every team member could follow. They discovered this was an industry-wide problem that they would have to solve themselves.
This led to the development of the company’s evaluation app. Verified Data App gave the company the ability to produce the exact same evaluation of every property it inspects.
In 2017, the company adopted drone technology, finding success in their ability to provide detailed measurements and identifying damage. This became especially helpful when helping clients determine if maintenance and repairs could be done in lieu of full replacements.
By the fall of 2020, well into the pandemic and at the onset of supply chain issues, Superstorm realized the drones were becoming expensive. The company found they needed multiple software programs to provide measurements and algorithms with their drones. Due to these inefficiencies, the company was spending $200,000 on drone leasing. They needed a solution, and much like its Verified Data App, they built one themselves.
Superstorm’s solution uses proprietary field applications to accurately measure a roof, identify damage and spot maintenance requirements. Using algorithms and artificial intelligence, the solution combines physical data collected via mobile phone. Drone-delivered assessments provide property owners, contractors and insurance companies alike with reports.
In the past year, Superstorm combined its field app and drone platform. The data it collects helped the company grow, turning property owners into customers years before they needed a roof replacement by establishing baseline data for them.
“Surprisingly, COVID was a blessing for us,” he said. “We had been working on the technology that earned the Innovation Award, and so we were able to schedule 'touchless' evaluations and share our findings online with our customers through virtual meetings."
Superstorm plans on making the technology available to companies nationwide, and has already attracted early interest from contractors and insurance companies.
A People Business
As great as its technology is, Superstorm knows it needs the right people to back it up, hiring those who will adhere to its core values of innovation, professionalism, service and integrity. For roofing, the company created a five-square roof system that is used to teach proper installation techniques and safety measures.
The company has enhanced its training process over the past three years. In the last two quarters alone, it’s invested in creating training videos with the goal of developing an online “Superstorm University” that its team can access at any time.
“Our project managers have gone through significant amounts of training and are able to identify issues as we are in production. They are our safety net,” Steffy said. “In their evaluation process they collect and identify issues that may arise during our builds and better prepare our crews to handle problems before they come up.”
Employees receive paid vacations, paid personal days, paid sick leave, a 401(k) with match, healthcare benefits, and vehicle and cellphone allowance. Steffy said the idea is to promote a work/life balance and positive culture.
This culture includes opportunities to give back. Steffy said the company has installed free roofs for families affected by cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, death and other misfortunes. It also supports food pantries, the local high school girls rugby team and football program, among others.
Contractors looking for similar success need only look inwards, says Steffy.
“Owners need to establish very specific processes that are duplicable as they grow,” Steffy said. “I would encourage contractors to dig into their company and identify them if they have not and apply their company’s attributes, core values, and mission statement to each process. Begin to hire under the same guidelines and some day in the future, you will wake up to a company that you can truly be proud of.”