by Joshua Baethge at Candy's Dirt
Property owners know that, sooner or later, they will probably need the services of a good roofer. The average roof in Dallas/Fort Worth is replaced about once every seven years, thanks to our weather. Trouble is, with so many options out there, it’s hard to distinguish the reputable, professional roofers from the fly-by-night opportunists looking to make a quick buck. Windtop Roofing owner Carl Ellis, who was once a Real Estate agent, understands. He says there are four questions every owner should ask before hiring any roofer:
- Does the company have current references? This will weed out a lot of the shady characters.
- Is the company local? If they are, they will be much less likely to do a bad job because they have to serve that community.
- Are they insurance experts? Roofing projects are often insurance transactions. While the roof is a big thing, the insurance can be really confusing for the homeowner. If a roofer is good, they know a lot of adjustors and can act as an advocate for the homeowner.
- What types of materials will be used? Find out the brand, who will install them, and what warranties they carry.
Ellis is not your typical roofer. He actually began his career in real estate, where his peers consistently voted him one of the best agents in North Texas. Selling homes and putting roofs on them may seem like divergent skills. However, according to Ellis, many of the same principals apply.
“Faith is big in my life, and it was truly a leap of faith,” Ellis said. “It’s worked out great.”
Ellis attributes much of his real estate success to providing superior customer service. During his two-decade career, he didn’t always see the same commitment from roof contractors. He thought that if he approached roofing with the same philosophy he did as a Realtor, his business would flourish.
“I wanted to take my same level of customer service, attention to detail, and expectations from homeowners on a transactional level, and apply that to a business that frankly doesn’t have the best reputation,” he said.
Ellis refers to this philosophy as “park bench customer service.” He wants each client to feel like, when they have questions, he is just sitting on a park bench waiting for their call.
According to him, two keys to providing that level of service are making long-term commitments to both the community and his team. When severe weather strikes other parts of the state, Windtop does not send crews there. While that might yield short-term profits, Ellis worries his company would not be able to provide the same level of consistency that his clients have come to expect.
Windtop uses the same installation crews for all projects. Ellis said he considers them, as well as his sales and operations staff, family who share the same goal of working together to be successful.
And so far, Windtop has been extremely successful, garnering scores of residential and commercial projects around the area. And while the connections he made in the real estate business helped get it started, Ellis believes that the level of service he provides will be what keeps it thriving.
“I’d rather not make money on a deal than do something shoddy,” Ellis said. “My reputation is here. We live in North Texas where there are lots of storms, and I want people to come to me every single time.”