Head of marketing at Nations Roof, John Geary, sat down with RCS Podcast producer, Megan Ellsworth, to celebrate Nations Roof’s achievement of becoming the December R-Club Roofer of the Month. 

Click here to listen to the podcast interview, or read the full transcript of the interview below:


R-Club Roofer of the Month Interview with Nations Roof

Megan:
Hello, everyone! My name is Megan Ellsworth here at the Roofer’s Coffee Shop, and today I am interviewing John Geary of Nations Roof. We are so excited to have you on and to be honoring Nations as the December Roofer of the Month. Hi, John!

John:
Fantastic! Hi there, Megan! Great to be on with you!

Megan:
Likewise! Let’s just dive right in! Why don’t you introduce yourself and introduce Nations Roof, and tell us a little bit about Nations!

John:
Ok! I am the Chief Marketing Officer for Nations Roof, so hopefully, I’ll be able to answer these questions well. Nations Roof, according to Roofing Contractor Magazine, is the fourth largest roofing contractor in the country. Our national service center is located in Mobile, Alabama (a fantastic place – if you have never been).

We service local, regional, and national accounts – all across the country – with all types of roofing services.

Megan:
Very cool! Awesome! This kind of goes into what you just said, but what type of specialties or services specifically does Nations provide? Do you do anything special?

John:
It’s all special, Megan! If it’s your roof, right?

What we do primarily is commercial roofing – and we do lots of it. We do a surprising amount of steep-slope roofing as well. One of our business units does almost exclusively residential and steep-slope roofing. That’s kind of a neat little niche we’ve got in Florida. We are really glad to have them as a part of our team.

So, we do all types of roofing – whether it’s new construction, maintenance, or repair, or reroofing, we do it with virtually all types of materials as well.

Megan:
That’s great! It’s nice to have a wide range for all sorts of building owners and homeowners.

So, this is my favorite question that I love asking all the companies that we have as Roofers of the Month: share something special that your company celebrates. That can be like actual celebrations for the holidays or maybe you celebrate a certain trait in an employee. So, what does Nations celebrate?

John:
What do we celebrate? You know that we are all over the country, so we have different business units. I think it’s really cool because most of them (if not all of them) have a year-end party or a picnic. It’s a great time for us to bring our crews together (and their families) and celebrate. I’ve had a chance to attend many of those different celebrations. And, (you know what?) it’s fun! And it’s good to get to know people that are in different parts of the country and different parts of the company. And to get together and know their families . . . to see their kids. You know what? I think I’m a big kid at heart, so I like that. We’ll get bounce houses. We’ll give gifts out.

The men and women that are on those crews of the roof – that’s hard work. And they are good at it! They are really good at it! We want to show them our appreciation, and that’s one way we can celebrate that.

Thank you for that question, Megan!

Megan:
It’s always fun to see how different companies – small and big, west coast or east coast, north or south – it’s cool to see how everyone celebrates. Thank you for sharing!

How does Nations define superior customer service?

John:
That’s what it’s all about – superior customer service. We have five core values. The first one is “do the right thing.” Do the right thing! It is amazing how many things you can overcome when you just do the right thing for our customers, for our teammates, for our vendors. When you do the right thing, a lot of the time that means that you’re taking the surprises out of it.

I don’t know about you, but our customers really don’t like surprises when it comes to roofing. When we do the right things and we live by our core values – that shows up in all the little things like letting them know when you are going to show up. Showing up on time. Respecting their property. Respecting their people. It means we are going to be honest and ethical and be upfront with what is going on, which sometimes means you’ve got to deliver bad news.

Sometimes there’s something underneath that roof that we didn’t expect and they didn’t know. We find that the sooner you approach it . . . the sooner you communicate that to your customer . . . and are able to show them what the situation is. Or maybe, I know this is going to be a shocker to all of the listeners, maybe the prices of materials are going up. (I know – big shock this year!) You have to talk with the customers about that so that you can let them know what’s going on.

So we’re really open on that. We think that when you do the right thing and you communicate effectively, you reduce the amount of surprises that they have, and that is a better customer experience. And that’s what we strive for. Take the surprises out. Give them what they want. (Give them more than what they want is even better!) And then those customers will come back to you.

Megan:
That’s so true! I love what you said – “take the surprises out of it!” Yes – Absolutely! No one wants surprises on their roof!

John:
Megan, I’ve been around way too long. I’ve been in this business for 40 years, and I still have yet to meet the first customer who wants to buy a roof! They just don’t. But they have to. They need it. So, we try to help them make good decisions and get the most out of their money and extend the life of their roof. If we can do that, we think customers will come back to us.

Megan:
Absolutely! I love it!

So, going off of that, why should building owners or homeowners work with Nations?

John:
I think that quality is a big deal. Service is a big deal. But, do you know what may be the biggest deal? Safety! Safety is a huge thing. In one year, we spent almost 2 million dollars just on railings to put up as temporary rails while we are on the roof. It shows our customers that we are concerned about the people on the roof and the people on the ground too! We think that’s a really important thing. We are the only company that received the National Underwriters Excellence in Worker’s Compensation Award. We are the only roofing contractor to ever get that! That’s kind of a big deal. We think that reflects the safety culture that we have. That’s important to our customers and to our crews and their families. We don’t want to have that hard conversation about a fall or an injury. Sometimes they happen – this is a dangerous industry. When our crews see that we care, and we have safety parameters that we put in place . . .

We don’t just want to do what OSHA says, we want to do what is right. We want to do the right thing and keep them safe while they’re on the roof. They like that.

When you combine that with the right compensation and the right benefits, and they see the safety commitment we have, our crews – they tend to stay with us. That’s important to us because they are doing the real work there. We want them to know that we care. That we have the safety measures in place. Our EMR rating is great, which means lower prices for our customers too.

So, safety is a super big thing for us. And that’s the reason our crews are doing great work. We use first-rate materials. We have people that are trained and are committed – and they see roofing as their career. It’s a rewarding career. We think that’s one reason we have high retention and that is reinforced to our customers. They know we are going to do it right.

I can give you an example.

We were doing a very large industrial job, and they saw our railings and safety set-up and our cones and everything we had at that property. There was a guy who managed a plant right down the road. He drove by that every day. When it was time to get his roof, he called that business owner and said, “that’s the kind of company I want working on my roof.” That’s what opened the door and was a huge factor for us to get that. So, safety counts. And safety helps us get more business.

Megan:
That’s so awesome! I love hearing stories like that when contractors go out of their way and people see it.

John:
People watch. I believe that in all phases of life, people watch what’s going on. That was very rewarding for us – to know that our customer appreciated it but also another customer appreciated it. It turned out to be a big win. They were happy with the way we took care of them. They saw the respect for all of the people – for our team, for their team, their customers, the trucks that were coming in and out of the facility. That’s important!

Megan:
That’s great!

That was our last question, but I like to leave this space open for you to say any last words about Nations being the Roofer of the Month. And, again, thank you so much for all you do at Nations and for what Nations does nationwide.

John:
Thank you! I think that is one point that I would like to emphasize now that I have a chance. We do work in all states – mostly the contiguous 48 states, but we also do work in Hawaii and Alaska. We try to make it easy for our customers. We have clients with thousands of buildings all across the country. With one phone call or one email, they can say, “take care of that” and it’s taken care of.

So, being easy to work with – there’s something to it. It’s not easy to do though.

Megan:
I’m sure!

John:
Thank you, Megan, for the chance to share a little bit about Nations Roof and to be a part of your Roofer’s Coffee Shop Network. It’s been very fun for me.

Megan:
We are so happy to have you! We are very happy to honor Nations as the December Roofer of the Month!

John:
Thank you so much! We appreciate that!

 

Listen to this entire podcast and more at rooferscoffeeshop.com.