Roofco Ontario Inc.
Photos Stephen Plumley
It was 1994 when Gary Kopp opened the doors to Roofco Ontario Inc. Today, with over 20 years of commercial flat roofing experience, it is easy to see why Gary and his team have earned their esteemed reputation for quality workmanship and innovation in the highly competitive commercial and residential roofing industry.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend time with Gary and members of the Roofco team. It was refreshing to experience first-hand how the rising success of the Roofco enterprise has created a strength within the company’s structure, while securing a deeply rooted commitment to their valued customers. When asked to describe what makes his roofing company special, Gary’s succinct answer impressed me: “We are problem solvers.”
Gary entered the roofing business following many years in technical sales and service. Recognizing that there is no one-application-fits-all solution in the roofing industry, and pulling from his vast experience as an analyst of safety systems and technical program development, Gary is continually identifying ways to deliver the best possible products and solutions to his customers.
“We work with portfolio managers who need information to do their job and to make the best decisions for their company. They need to be able to manage their projects with the right information.”
Roofco’s invaluable “leak report” is just one of the ways in which the company has differentiated itself from other roofing companies. Following careful inspection, measuring, photographs and information gathering, the team thoroughly reviews their findings and makes the necessary recommendations in written form. The leak report gives prospective clients several options to resolve their roofing needs, and provides builders, owners and managers with a clear understanding of the extent of the problem and the solution.
Sheldon Gowen, head of sales for the commercial side of the business explains: “It is imperative to not only give prospective clients the specs for the job, but to also offer cost-effective solutions so that managers can do their jobs more effectively.”
This type of dedication to customer education has been a key element to the integrity of the Roofco brand. Recognizing their responsibility to bring the best roofing solutions to the table, and that every prospective client comes with varying degrees of knowledge about roofing systems, the Roofco team sees each exchange with commercial and residential customers as an opportunity to educate and empower the consumer.
“We put ourselves in the information business and we are an educator for the consumer. If we can help the consumer to make a more informed decision, then we are all about that,” adds Sheldon.
Roofco is always looking for new innovative roofing products and maintains a close relationship with manufacturers. Their hands-on approach to material testing helps them understand installation methods before sending products to market.
“We take new materials to the shop and our senior people use and test them. I am told that is unusual in this business, but we feel it is necessary. What may work well in a California climate may not necessarily work well in Ontario,” says Gary.
Roofco’s reputation for service and customer support has earned them well-deserved recognition in a highly competitive industry. It is their commitment to exceed expectations that has helped the team to expand portfolios and win new business. Sheldon admits, “Sometimes it can take two or three years to get the opportunity to stand in front of a client to offer our services and let them see what the difference is. When that does happen, we generally get the business.”
Backed by a savvy customer service department, the Roofco team has made it a priority for each client, big or small, to feel comfortable with their investment and the team that works alongside them.
At the heart of the business is Gary’s daughter Amanda, Roofco’s office manager. Amanda is the first point of contact for clients and tracks every stage of a project’s lifecycle.
With an honours degree in business and 17 years at Roofco, she has earned the respect of many in roofing’s male-dominated industry. Amanda is quick to give credit to Tammy and Andrea for the smooth running of the office’s daily operations, as she oversees Roofco’s receivables, payables, payroll and produces each leak report.
“It is a business that I find extremely rewarding. There is a lot of return business and word of mouth, so I develop very good relationships with managers and can help navigate the process and anticipate what they need,” says Amanda.
Amanda works in close contact with Justin Malcolm, Roofco’s superintendent of operations and chief problem solver. Justin manages day-to-day operations, oversees the placement of work crews, and is responsible for quality control and customer relations on Roofco job sites. “If things don’t go according to plan, Justin is the first person we turn to for a solution to the problem,” says Amanda.
Gary insists that safety remains a top priority for Roofco. By using state-of-the-art technology, they have taken significant steps to make the estimation process safe, and to avoid any hazards with customers or team members climbing onto roofs.
“We have invested in technology that allows us to use satellite information to develop the estimate. We can produce an estimate right from your driveway.”
The residential side of the business has opened up over the years, with prospective clients investing in new home builds, and cottagers looking to replace and upgrade to higher-quality, weather-resistant roofing materials.
As a certified installer for Owens Corning, CertainTeed and Euroshield, Roofco is able to fulfill requests for a wide range of clients who are looking to guarantee the lifetime of their roof, or interested in improving the overall aesthetic of their home’s exterior.
Roofco takes pride in partnering with local custom builders and looks forward to growing this side of the business. According to Gary, “Partnering with custom builders has allowed us to work closely with clients who are looking for quality products as well as an exceptional experience.”
The enthusiasm and passion of the Roofco team is inspiring. As our time together comes to a close, I am drawn in by the camaraderie and dedication of the team before me. Amanda admits that the people she works with are more like an extension of her own family. With this, it is easy for me to see why the company has made such a lasting impression within the community, and we can be certain that the success of Roofco will continue for many years to come