Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO of Mr. Roofing in San Francisco, CA, shares some values and customer service expectations of his company that are very similar to our own.
After meeting at a CCN Summit, Carlos and I began exchanging some of our ideas and the core values within our business models. Since that meeting, we’ve often bounced ideas off of each other and shared our successes and challenges in the roofing business.
Through this relationship, we can better assess our customers’ needs and learn how to become better businesses overall.
Sit back and enjoy taking a little time out of your day to meet Carlos and find out why he is so well-respected around here as an ally and a fellow business associate.
How It All Started
Carlos’ father started the business back in 1989, and this year they’ll be celebrating their 25th anniversary.
Carlos became part of the family business in 1998 after his father said that he needed his son’s help. At first, Carlos wasn’t too sure he wanted to join his father, and he often teased that “no one is in roofing because they want to be.”
He didn’t see the roofing business as a very exciting or “glamorous” venture.
However, Carlos decided to take a unique view of the family business and really dove into it by doing his own due diligence about the industry as a whole.
What he found was that in the roofing/contracting business, there was generally poor regard for customer service, a lack of training for the installers/employees (except in union companies), and an overall lack of education for the clients or prospective customers.
Carlos saw this as a huge opportunity and decided to model his family business with the idea that customers would feel they were treated as professionally as possible and that they were properly educated about their opportunities.
Having attended UC Berkeley in California, Carlos has a great mind for business. He implemented a proper training system for his employees and created a systematized and streamlined process for his sales and marketing system.
Carlos knew the importance of understanding all aspects of the business. When he asked someone to fill a certain role on his team, it was important to him to know everything that was involved in that position (or to physically do it himself) so that he could train someone with a realistic expectation of how productive he or she should be within the position.
But Carlos’ drive didn’t stop there. He also understood that there was more to running a successful business than just the nuts and bolts of proper training and education.
He came up with a mission statement or vision that defined the core values his business still practices today:
- willingness (to learn and follow specifications within a changing industry)
- openness (being open in communication)
Carlos was inspired to create this mission statement while he was looking for an appropriate model to replicate; he came to it by honestly looking at the most challenging aspects of the business and deciding how to make it better.
The mission statement includes everyone Carlos does business with, whether it’s those he considers his internal customers (or teammates/employees), or his external customers, who are the ones hiring his team to install home improvement projects.
Raising the Bar
There are a lot of contractors who might install a great roof but will leave something out of the overall experience of customer service.
Carlos’ company focuses on experience; he wants his clients to be completely satisfied. He makes it a point to let his customers know that the success of the business relies heavily on their referrals.
When giving an estimate to a client, the Mr. Roofing team provides what they call a “needs assessment,” where they figure out what’s going on with the roof and decide if it is something they can help the client with. If they aren’t able to help the client, rather than write the customer off, they’ll actually point the person in the direction of someone who can help.
If they are able to do the work, they use what’s called the good, better, bestsolution formula, which is exactly what it sounds like. They look at what would be a “good” plan, come up with a “better” idea, and finally implement the “best” solution.
The most surprising thing about providing this kind of customer service is that most people not only really appreciate the great customer service they’re getting but are also totally amazed that they’re shown professionalism and absolute respect—things that should never be compromised.
In addition to their outstanding customer service, Carlos and his team pride themselves on their descriptive, detailed, and comprehensive proposals, as well as the fact that their crews are friendly, polite, and technically proficient.
They use several touchpoints to communicate with their clients and and let them know they are there for them, even going so far as sending them a tin of cookies after a completed job.
They believe their business is raising the bar for overall customer satisfaction, as their colleagues are improving their own proposals, making them more comprehensive as well as providing better presentations.
Words of Wisdom
We wanted to know what kind of advice Carlos has for anyone who is looking for a good contractor (since he has such great business sense), and here’s what he had to offer:
- Make sure your contractor is licensed and insured. It may sound clichéd, and we’ve all heard it before, but it really makes a difference if something goes wrong.
- Make sure the contractor has a permanent location for the business. You don’t want to do business with someone who has a temporary address or is working out of his or her home. It’s better to have a professional office that you can enter in case there is something you need to discuss.
- Pay attention to how contractors represent themselves during the initial consultation. If they drive by the job site and give you an estimate through email, that’s most likely how they’ll respond if you have a problem. However, If contractors are “live,” respond quickly to your inquiries and questions, take time to educate themselves, and are helpful when you’re barely interacting with them…once you hire them, their crews and their company will most likely fulfill their obligation. In other words, the way they represent themselves and the way they talk about the company up front is a direct reflection of how they’re going to do business overall.
Here’s a short story Carlos shared with us that directly relates to what he’s talking about:
“We have a couple of clients in the Bay area who also have properties located in Southern California, which is approximately six hours from where we’re located. Both clients had problems with their homes in SoCal. We offered to help them find a reputable and reliable contractor in that area, since it really was so far away. After some discussion, they both insisted that we do the work for them because they trusted us and didn’t want anyone else to do the work. Although the cost was considerably more due to the extra drive time and lodging for the crew, they still insisted on using our business. We ended up doing several jobs for each client while we were there. We were pleased to make the customers happy, and it provided us with a team-building opportunity, so it was a great experience for everyone.”
Because of this kind of exceptional customer service, Carlos has many repeat clients who remembered his company after several years had passed and have recently called him to do additional projects.
We’re proud to have Carlos and his company as an ally in the roofing industry. We will continue to raise the bar for all contractors from the East to the West Coast, and everywhere in between.