Collis Roofing was named Roofing Contractor’s 2012 Redsidential Roofing Contractor of the Year. We made the announcement with the launch of our November issue, which features a profile of the company.

I first met the president of the company, Doug Lanier, at one of our Best of Success events, and he was in attendance this year in Denver, where we made an early announcement about the award. He also sat in for an interview with us, so if you’d like to hear some highlights of Doug’s history in his own voice, tune in to our RC podcast

Collis Roofing has been business since 1993 and currently has 400 employees in four Florida cities — Longwood, Lakeland, Melbourne and St. Augustine. The company had $34 million in sales in 2011 and is on pace to do $40 million this year. Approximately 80 percent of its work is residential and 20 percent commercial. Three-quarters of its work is new construction.

I spoke with Doug about his company’s marketing strategy. Collis Roofing doesn’t depend entirely on referrals for new business. It’s always trying to reach out to potential customers — both homeowners and business owners.

The company used to rely heavily on Yellow Pages ads to reach residential customers, but things have changed. “We’re trying to get away from the phone book,” said Lanier. He noted that today 75 percent of the company’s new leads are generated from the Web and online marketing. However, he still keeps a presence in phone directories to reach older consumers who still rely on them — still a significant slice of the population in Florida.

“These days, people are no using Siri to search,” said Lanier, so the company relies on its website (, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click ads, as well as social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Yelp and Angie’s List. They also do some TV advertising, but Lanier has found the TV stations’ websites are an even better source for leads. Collis Roofing purchases banner ads on the TV news websites and taps into the expertise of the television stations. “They’ve become Internet and SEO experts, so not only do we do commercials that are broadcast on different shows, we do a lot of Internet through the TV stations,” he said.

The company also gets a lot of good PR by giving away a free roof to a needy homeowner every year. Collis Roofing’s “I Need a New Roof” contest encourages people to submit entries for families in need of a new roof and vote for the winner, earning the company a lot of attention in the community as well as great exposure on the news media.

Another way Collis Roofing keeps its name out there is through private labeling. The synthetic underlayment, rolls of felt, and roof cement all have the company’s logo prominently displayed. “Our guys can say, ‘Here is the underlayment we use; it’s manufactured by GAF, and we do so much business with them our name is on it.’”

 Lanier also treats his own home as a marketing showroom. He recently installed a solar system on his roof during a recent addition. “Everything we sell I put on my home, so I can honestly say if it works or not,” he said. “With this solar system I can check how much power each one of my panels is putting out any time of day online — on my iPhone, on my PC, on my iPad. It also e-mails me a monthly report. We’re getting quite a few solar requests from homeowners to install solar, and now we’re able to tell them not only will we put it on there, this is what we expect it to produce, and you’ll have a digital readout that shows you exactly what it produces.”