Like other roofing business owners, brothers Eddie and Andrew Prchal (pronounced per-'SHELL) understand how technology can streamline their business. Advancements in aerial measurements or estimating software make putting together quotes easier than ever. 

But the tech-forward Prchals wondered: what if they harnessed this contractor-specific software to simplify the roof-buying process?

Enter Gunner, a roofing company with a digital platform providing a service rarely seen in the roofing industry: buying a roof online. 

It’s part of why they call themselves the “uncontractor.” That philosophy has led to great success for the company, proving there is an appetite for online services and transparency in the industry.

“We’ve sold hundreds of roofs through [the platform], and I think that’s the way things are going,” said Eddie, Gunner's CEO. “Is it for everyone? Not at all. But is there a shift coming up? I think absolutely.”

The Gunner Staff

The Prchals say they are looking to attract top talent from every industry to work at Gunner.

The Online Experience

Gunner isn’t the Prchal brothers’ first foray into a joint business venture. Before co-founding the roofing company, the Arizona natives developed and launched the Phil-UP Water Filter. Eddie also launched a smoothie nutrition store concept when attending the University of Arizona, while Andrew sharpened his professional skills at a law firm.

When Eddie’s brother-in-law, who installs solar, asked if the brothers wanted to join him on the East Coast and start a roofing business, the entrepreneurs jumped at the chance. In 2018, they formed Gunner in Greenwich, Conn., out of their homes. Coming from outside the industry set them up to think outside the box.

When it first formed, Gunner relied on third-party software platforms to complete the job. As great as these platforms were, the brothers felt the technology wasn’t keeping up with their company's vision. In the spirit of the adage “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” the Prchals brought all their software and technology in-house.

“What we really wanted to do was use all these technological advances that we could build and pair it with [the] customer experience and provide an unbelievable experience replacing something on their homes,” Eddie said. “We want to change the way people look at home remodels.”

They developed proprietary systems that could cater to their needs, incorporating feedback from homeowners who went through the buying experience with them. Eddie said it took them about two-and-a-half years to develop and launch the digital platform.

The customer can go to Gunner’s website and enter contact information and the address of the home that needs the new roof. Through a proprietary combination of aerial measurements and material and labor estimation, Gunner’s technology assesses the house and creates a three-dimensional model for the homeowner to visualize their project. A quote is generated from this data, and if the homeowner accepts, they can schedule their installation date online. 

Eddie said the idea was partially inspired by today’s world of expediency, where people can order nearly anything from companies like Amazon and have it shipped to them in days.

“All our life is used to being so convenient, and this catches the construction industry up with that, specifically roofing,” he said.

The concept certainly caters to today’s homeowners. According to RC’s first-ever Homeowner Survey, 66% of homeowners said they are more likely to call a roofing company that is transparent about pricing on their website. However, only 28% of contractors say they feature pricing on their website.

Millennials and Gen Z aren’t as interested in calls or face-to-face interactions. To compare, more than half of baby boomers (53%) in the Homeowner Survey said they wanted phone calls from roofers, while less than half of millennial homeowners (43%) preferred that method. Nearly 39% of millennials prefer emails, while fewer prefer texting (17%).

"The customer has a chance to get acquainted with their team, or if it is their preference, they could go through our process without meeting with a single person aside from over their mobile phone,” Eddie said. “We have this process to make buying a new roof seamless no matter what experience you’re looking for.”

The company reports that its direct website leads have grown by a whopping 450% year over year, and speed-to-install rates jumped by 28%. The business has expanded to serve regions nationwide, except Hawaii, Alaska and the District of Columbia.

Evidence of the platform’s success includes more than anecdotes and metrics. In 2023, GAF named the company a “Cutting-Edge Contractor” at its WealthBuilder Conference and Expo. That same year, Inc. magazine listed Gunner in its Inc. 5000 list, which tracks the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the nation. The company earned the 965th spot thanks to a three-year revenue growth of 615%.

Last year, Gunner earned the Good Housekeeping Home Renovation Award for its digital platform. The judges praised Gunner’s innovation in better serving customers.

“Our judges also made it a Home Reno Award winner with the hope that other trades will follow its model of transparency and digital innovation,” Good Housekeeping wrote about Gunner.

The hits keep on coming, too. In March, Fast Company named Gunner one of the most innovative companies of 2024.

A large light blue house with a new roof

Gunner is proficient with multiple brands and roofing types, including GAF, Brava Roofing Tiles, metal, and even EPDM.

When Innovation Meets Installation

With the rise of artificial intelligence’s influence in business operations, it should come as little surprise that AI plays a role in the tech Gunner uses, such as detecting additional structures on a roof during assessments. The company expects to implement more AI as it optimizes operations. 

“We're moving it to the point where it can tell certain penetrations on your roof, everything like that,” Eddie said. “Again, talking about customer experience, we’re really driving home the fact that we don’t need to come onto your roof; we know it just as well as if anyone were to get up there.”

This does more than benefit introverted homeowners. Fewer employees heading onto the roof means fewer chances for injuries. Combined with constant safety training and project managers on-site to oversee subcontractors, Gunner emphasizes ensuring crews get home in one piece.

“We pull guys off a roof, we've sent them home” for not following safety procedures, Eddie said.

Another byproduct of the digital platform is sustainability. Since in-person meetings and estimates aren’t required to purchase a roof, fewer vehicles end up on the road. Gunner also offers solar shingles to cater to those seeking renewable energy from their roof.

Gunner pairs its online experience with a price match guarantee. If a homeowner finds a better rate from a licensed contractor and Gunner reviews and verifies it, they’ll match the price. The company does list caveats on its website, informing potential buyers that they “believe in the enduring value of top-tier products.”

Gunner’s website shows that the company is certified by numerous manufacturers, including GAF, Brava, CertainTeed and Owens Corning. It furthers its credibility through memberships with the National Roofing Contractors Association and Cedar Shake Bureau.

Catering to Customers

Ultimately, customer experience drives the decisions made by Gunner’s leadership team, from pricing to how project managers speak with customers. 

“At Gunner, our emphasis is on the importance of the overall customer experience," said Andrew. "Often the feedback [in the contracting industry] is that customers feel that they are on the backburner. Our goal is to never have a consumer feel that way working with us."

For example, the ability for customers to purchase their roof online saves them time and effort.

“The reason we developed our easy-to-use platform was to give time back to the customer, as well as to us," Andrew said. "This expedited online technology allows us to spend more valuable time with our customers throughout their entire installation process and be there every step of the way. The Gunner experience is that our customers are our number one priority.” 

Company culture is also important for the Prchal brothers, saying they’ve wanted to attract people from all industries, including companies like Google or Apple, to join their roughly 200 employees. Eddie and Andrew established “Gunner Cares,” which is dedicated to improving well-being in the areas they service by donating to organizations like Delivering Good and participating in projects with Habitat for Humanity.

Being at the forefront does come with its challenges, among them being how to communicate with potential customers that they don’t have to go through the traditional methods of purchasing a roof. Like other successful contractors, they face the pressures of private equity or other third-party companies approaching them.

“Unfortunately, we are approached multiple times per month asking to invest or purchase our platform. We are looking to have a major impact on the industry, and we won’t do that by selling at this point,” Eddie said.

Eddie and Andrew hope the rest of the industry will join Gunner in pushing for innovations to better serve customers. Given the company’s success, it may be a matter of time before the “uncontractor” is the norm for the roof-buying experience.

“If you're a reputable company, and you've got all the customer experience and the manufacturers behind it, [as well as] the warranties and everything, why not make it as convenient as the rest of your life?” Eddie said.