As a college student, Judd Haag came to Bone Dry Roofing in 2006 looking for work — with no prior experience in the roofing industry — when Gene Judd gave him a job delivering shingles.
Fast forward 17 years — Haag has since earned a degree in computer information systems and is now the director of Bone Dry Solar, the latest expansion of the Indiana-based company. He says the reason he stuck around for so long is simple: the company fostered a supportive atmosphere and was rife with advancement opportunities.
“I had no desire to go into the roofing industry, but I think it’s solely the way that Gene founded his company and the way we treat our employees and the way we handle our customers; I love coming into work,” he said.
Haag is but one of many people whose lives have changed for the better thanks to the encouraging ethos Bone Dry Roofing espouses. Throughout the company, employees have achieved numerous levels of success, both personal and professional, such as traveling on an airplane for the first time courtesy of a company trip to life-aspiring goals like putting children through college. Others have been beneficiaries of Bone Dry’s generous charitable contributions.
Yet, no one knows more about how roofing can impact a life than Judd, its president and owner.
“Bone Dry has changed my life, has changed the life of my kids, and what’s cool for us right now is that we’re in a position where we can really impact a lot of other lives,” Judd said. “That’s within the company, their families, and the business relationships that we have.”
Changing the lives of both employees and customers is at the heart of Bone Dry Roofing’s mission, and, combined with its desire to give customers peace of mind with high-quality service, earned it Roofing Contractor’s 2023 Residential Contractor of the Year honor.
Following a strategic plan put in place in 2019, Bone Dry Roofing has expanded its operations to 20 businesses in seven states through acquisitions and greenfields.
Working to the Bone
Judd’s journey onto roofs began with his parents, who both worked as roofers near the Illinois-Wisconsin border. He recalls life not being easy, describing how the family moved around 13 times during his school years while his parents chased available work. To help pay the bills, Judd joined his parents on the roof, learning the ins and outs of proper roof installations (it was a different time in terms of safety regulations and compliance).
After graduating from Indiana University, the cycle seemed doomed to repeat. Judd went back into roofing in order to pay the rent. But he knew he could do it differently. In 1989, he started Bone Dry Roofing from his garage in Speedway, Ind.
“My sole purpose for starting my business was to support my family, give them the stability that I didn’t have growing up and the opportunities to do something better,” he said.
The founder and his fledgling firm had no official business plan in place, but what Judd did have was knowledge and a customer-first attitude: answer the phones, deliver a good product, and install a great roof. The model proved successful: Bone Dry Roofing earned $65,000 in revenue in its first year.
“Over the years, we were able to build a pretty good brand and reputation in Indianapolis,” he said. “We were able to grow year over year, and it’s turned out pretty well for us.”
“Pretty well” is Judd being modest. The company received a huge boost from a hailstorm in 2006, catapulting its revenue from $5 million to $24 million overnight. It also brought in reliable and skilled employees (including future Director of Solar, Haag) to handle extra work.
As the storm work tapered off, Judd knew Bone Dry Roofing had to capitalize on the momentum and expand its footprint so it wasn’t forced to rely solely on the Indianapolis market. In 2006 and 2007, the company opened locations in Ohio and Kentucky. As the company and its culture grew, so did its strategy – Judd’s “family” had grown, and he wanted to do right by them.
BONE DRY ROOFINGLocations: Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind.; 20 locations
Founded: 1993, by Gene Judd
Current Principal Owner: Gene Judd, President
Scope of Work: 81% Residential, 19% Commercial
2022 Annual Revenue: $121 million
Company Specialty: Residential roofing services along with commercial roofing, gutters, insulation, siding, masonry, and solar.
Number of Employees: 500
Did You Know?: In 2021, Bone Dry University was created as the company’s in-house training academy. In just two years, Bone Dry University has conducted Production, Customer Service, Sales, Leadership and Communication academies, with more than 8,734 hours spent on live training. In addition, more than 18,103 e-Learning modules have been completed by Bone Dry employees.
A Man with a Plan
In 2019, Bone Dry Roofing established a three-year strategic plan – a rarity in the residential roofing sector. Working with its accounting firm, Bone Dry established growth and succession plans, as well as creating a board of directors to help lead the charge.
“There were probably 30 of our leadership team members that were a part of that planning process, and I think it was energizing and exciting,” Judd said.
The five pillars of the plan were to win the war for talent, ramp up operational effectiveness, leadership and employee development, increase sales and revenue, and improve communication and collaboration. Judd acknowledges those pillars are ones nearly every company can rally around, but they served as catalysts for actions that propelled the company’s momentum and the industry as a whole.
Combined with Judd’s original mission of providing excellent service, the company grew both organically and through acquisitions. The latter has allowed Bone Dry to become a more balanced operation by diversifying its services, now handling residential and commercial properties nationwide. It’s also been eye-opening for Judd, who has since encountered plenty of like-minded companies that mesh with his approach to roofing.
“What I found out is that there is a lot of good family-owned companies out there that have been in business for 20, 24, 36 years that have a similar culture to us,” Judd said. “They want to take care of their people, they take care of their customers, they’ve built a great brand and reputation in the markets they’re in, so we’re looking to partner with that type of founder and company.”
Eight acquisitions, as well as new greenfields, enhanced Bone Dry’s presence in existing regions and landed it in desirable markets like Colorado and Florida. As of today, the company has 20 businesses across seven states.
In 2022, the company reported revenues of $121,633,676, a record for Bone Dry and good enough for the firm to reside comfortably at No. 18 on RC’s 2023 Top 100 list. Of that total, $36 million, or around 30%, came from its original Indianapolis office, underscoring the success of its expansion efforts.
Naturally, all this expansion requires talented employees and skilled workers, and anyone in roofing knows both are in short supply. Bone Dry Roofing needed to win its “war for talent” by stepping up recruitment.
Enter Bone Dry University.
Bone Dry Roofing established its Bone Dry University in 2021 to develop its workforce as well as increase recruitment and retention.
Taking Care of Its People
The company established an in-house training program in 2021, dubbed “Bone Dry University.” The program dedicates facilities with four full-time employees for educational and development purposes. Training encompasses production, customer service, sales, leadership and communication.
Bone Dry says more than 8,734 hours have been spent on live training, and its employees have completed approximately 18,103 e-learning modules. The training program also doubles as a recruiting and retention tool. No matter what location employees are hired at, all new hires are flown to the main headquarters in Indianapolis for a two-day orientation about the company’s history and mission.
“We do a really good job retaining people because they love being a part of what we do,” Judd said. “They haven’t been with a company in the past that really takes care of their customers, and they can take pride and feel good about delivering a great product to the homeowners.”
The ultimate goal is for Bone Dry University to improve training around the nation, establishing a standard that other roofing contractors can strive to provide, thereby lifting the industry as a whole. As Judd likes to say, it’s helping people find a career where they can advance “from the rooftop to the desktop” if they so desire.
“We’ve always believed if we take care of our people, our people will take care of our customers,” Judd said.
One of the people taking care of Bone Dry’s people is Judd’s daughter, Jess Judd. Like her father, she came into the industry at a young age, helping out on jobs while growing up, eventually working in the accounting department. This experience led her to SRS Distribution, having enrolled in its Manager in Training program before joining ECO Roof and Solar in Denver, Colo., as a commercial project manager.
Despite being in a different state, the family business came to Jess when, in 2020, it established a location in Fort Collins, Colo. She became general manager of Bone Dry, and in 2022, worked her way up to director of the commercial division.
“It was really fun to get to see the business back from when it was a roofing company operating out of the garage at our house,” she said. “As we’ve grown bigger, there’s such a big emphasis on maintaining that small family business feel.”
Haag, the once-greenhorn college kid and now director of Bone Dry Solar, has previously served as the company’s chief information officer and vice president of operations. He recalled fondly the days when Judd met with employees on a daily basis to build camaraderie. But now, with more than 500 workers nationwide, those one-on-ones are no longer possible, and why the "university" plays a crucial role: by instilling Bone Dry’s corporate culture with new hires from day one.
“Through our strategic plan, [culture is] definitely on our road map – we’ve got to make sure we maintain this,” Haag said.
An additional facet of the company’s belief that success comes from within is reflected in compensation and benefits packages for full-time employees, including medical, dental, and vision insurance; company-paid life insurance; paid time off; and 401(k) with 3% contributions.
There are even company trips that, prior to COVID, took employees and their spouses to destinations like Aruba and Mexico. Jess said the hope is to pick the trips back up at some point in the post-pandemic world.
“It’s been super exciting and rewarding to see just how big of an impact that Bone Dry has on the families that work for us,” Jess Judd said.
Of course, employees are also citizens of the community. To pay all that success forward, Bone Dry Roofing is involved in multiple charitable efforts that add benefit to the markets where the company operates. This includes donating roofs to veterans through the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project, annual donations to Susan G. Komen for breast cancer research, roof giveaways for first responders, and dozens of local micro-targeted efforts, including food and toy drives.
“It’s not just charity, but when there is a ‘Trunk or Treat,’ … a parade in a small town; when there [are] Little League teams and we have employees with kids on the Little League teams, we participate, and that’s not just sending money or a donation, it’s actually community involvement,” said Haag.
Bone Dry Roofing created Bone Dry Solar in 2022 and is already seeing success in the Indianapolis solar roofing market.
Quality People, Quality Work
Roofing is Bone Dry’s bread and butter, mainly working in residential but also providing commercial services. Its commitment to quality and service is reflected in having a production supervisor who remains on-site for the duration of every project. They ensure safety and protection and serve as the main point of contact for homeowners or property owners.
Per company policy, no payment is taken for services until the project is complete and “the customer has expressed total agreement and satisfaction with the work.”
Bone Dry Roofing is not shy about crediting its partners for helping create high-quality installations. It is a proud Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor and is also a Select CertainTeed Shinglemaster Applicator. The company also claims membership in roofing associations like the National Roofing Contractors Association and National Women in Roofing.
A long list of industry and local awards serves as evidence of the company’s workmanship. Highlights include the 2023 Owens Corning Excellence Awards for products, service, warranty, and top performer. If that wasn’t enough, online reviews laud Bone Dry Roofing’s crews. The company has more than 5,000 combined Google reviews across each of its markets, averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Aside from roofing, the company’s verticals have diversified thanks to its growth and acquisitions. It also offers gutters, siding, drywall, painting, masonry, heating and cooling, and, most recently, solar.
A Bright Future
The company formed Bone Dry Solar in 2022. A growing demand for residential and commercial solar solutions inspired the company’s start in Indianapolis. Haag said beyond demand, the impetus for going into solar was two-fold: his passion for the industry and seeing other companies treat customers poorly.
“I was like, ‘Gene, the two good things I see [are]: One, it shows there’s a demand for solar. I mean, if they’re overcharging customers by 100% and still selling systems, customers really want solar,” Haag said. “‘And two: they’re setting a really low bar.’ And if we can come into the solar space and take care of customers the way we take care of them on the roofing, on the masonry, on the siding side of the business … it is just prime for us to go in and really crush solar and help a lot of customers.’”
Services include solar installations, detach/reattach maintenance procedures and panel cleaning. Haag said even in regions where net metering has ended, Bone Dry Solar is seeing success and aims to expand into Colorado and Florida.
“We’re focused on it in Indianapolis to build the processes, the SOPs to make sure we’re doing it the right way. And then we’ll look to expand and support our other markets and regions,” he said.
Following the success of its 2019 strategic plan, Bone Dry Roofing is rolling out its “Destination 2025” plan to continue growing, with an ambitious goal of creating two to three greenfield locations a year, along with two to three acquisitions per year. It’s even running an internship program that, as of last summer, saw seven interns dipping their toes into roofing.
Despite all its successes, Judd will be the first to admit the company doesn’t have all the answers – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop looking for them.
“I think we’re always looking to get better,” Judd said. “We don’t have it all figured out, and we’re just looking to put the key people and pieces in place and stay ahead of the curve.”
There is one thing, however, that he is certain the company has locked down.
“I think the thing that’s going to stand out for us from the last 35 years and what’s going to stand out for the next 35 years is the way we care for our people and our customers and doing what’s right and doing the little things,” Judd said. “We’re having a good time doing what we do.”