Brett Huizenga understands the relentless desire to strive, progress, and earn. He also has a unique, shrewd perspective on the roofing industry, thanks to his personal background in the investment industry. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Brett grew up in a sales-driven environment for much of his formative years. Even in college, he supported his studies by selling premium steaks and specialty knives.
In his early career, Brett worked for TD Ameritrade as part of a stock options division. A post-recession environment taught him the heavy consequences of dangerous investment practices, knowledge he would carry with him along his business management journey.
In 2018, Brett purchased Hometown Roofing, located (quite appropriately) in his hometown of Omaha. While his ownership story may be very different from those we’ve previously shared on the Roofer’s Paradise Podcast, we can extract some very valuable lessons from it. Be sure to take notes from Brett’s keen insights on smart expansion and investing in your future self!
Pick Your Battles, and Expenses.
Ambition drives progress, but it can also lead to some sticky situations. Plotting your roofing company’s growth rate, and balancing risk and rewards, can all be quite challenging. One question will help keep your course clear as the company grows: If you expand your business and take on more expenses, will it leave you wanting or needing to earn more money?
There are three flavors of expansion:
- Growth of service area.
- Advancement in service capacity.
- Expansion of service offerings.
Each type comes with its own investments in equipment, personnel, and more. What too many business owners don’t realize is the rate of return sometimes makes not expanding more profitable. On the happier end of the spectrum, some roofers discover a sweet spot market (like Brett’s situation in Omaha) that offers limited competition, but great profit potential!
“Yes, there’s a lot of competition. I think competition is a good thing, because it pushes people to the next level. But…this brand has been around for a while, here in Omaha. If I can continue that and grab market share here, I don’t know that I necessarily need to expand to other cities.”
As we’ve mentioned in some of our prior discussions at Roofer’s Paradise, expansion into additional cities and states typically comes with considerable SEO difficulties due to lost “local business” status. Add in the additional complexities of increased personnel and equipment expenses, and you’ll quickly see why premature expansion has killed so many businesses! If you find your future self set on growing your business into new markets, be sure to take all these factors into account before you pull the trigger.
Extend the Lead (into Referrals)
In commercial-centric roofing, it’s easy to hang up your hat at the end of a job. In residential roofing, however, every installation project represents a networking opportunity with neighbors and friends. Extending one lead into many takes practice and confidence, but it’s also much easier than cold calling.
Here are some incredible tips to maximize referral opportunities during a roofing job:
- Maximize your passive brand exposure with yard signs and vehicle wraps.
- Door knock on nearby homes to introduce yourself and your company.
- Turn active clients into word-of-mouth representatives via referral incentives.
As Brett shares, physical branded assets offer incredible exposure for your business. While yard signs and truck wraps may not have the same prestige as billboard ads or similar marketing venues, they offer superb branding opportunities at a fraction of the cost. With these assets laying the groundwork around your job site, it’s almost like you already have a foot in the door when you start door-knocking down the boulevard.
Share Your Business History on Roofer’s Paradise!
Have your own hot take on the roofing industry and business management? Share your story on Roofer’s Paradise! We’re always exploring new ideas here on the show, and we’d love to hear yours. Contact the team to schedule your talk.
If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our podcast to be notified of all the latest content. Investing in your future starts with learning from others’ successes and mistakes, and you’ll find all the best pointers on Roofer’s Paradise!