By Linda Schmid
If you’ve ever watched a NASCAR team in action, then you know the kind of synergy Eustis Roofing of Tavares, Florida, strives for.
Jason Reisman, General Manager, worked in the company as a teen, but left to chase his dream of working for NASCAR. There he tried on just about every hat available: mechanic, fabricator, and pit crew chief. He learned a lot about marketing, teams, and the value of reputation and branding … some good lessons for life. Jason chose to bring them back to Eustis Roofing.
The result? The company won Roofing Company of the Year in 2021 for Roofing Insights Magazine and they’ve won Best Roofer four years running in Lake & Sumter Style (a local publication). They also have a perpetual backlog of work.
A Meteoric Rise
Eustis was founded in 1959 by Joe Driggers. Rod Reisman went to work for Joe Driggers in 1982. Joe hired him to do site cleanup. It was a good decision, for Reisman Sr. proved to be a willing and able worker quickly rising through the ranks to installer, then crew chief, salesman, and in 1987, he purchased the company.
Rod and Jason Reisman have collaborated to build the company. Over the last dozen years or so they have grown from 8 to 150 workers, all in-house employees. They do not subcontract. As a company that puts emphasis on being reputable and confident in their quality of work , Eustis Roofing believes in a brick and mortar style of business. Instead of prioritizing the sales portion of roofing, Eustis Roofing prioritizes the installation process. Jason is also concerned that subcontractors may not provide insurance. Having in-house employees allows the company to provide health insurance. Furthermore, it allows Jason to get to know the team on a more personal level and understand their talents. This results in a better distribution of the expertise needed for certain crews when creating a team. Eustis Roofing can assure homeowners that they will receive careful, quality work because the company knows its roofers.
Digital marketing is one of the larger factors that Jason attributes the company’s recent growth to. One look at the website and you will see what he is talking about. There are videos of the crew at work on the home page. You’ll find reviews, blogs, and videos called “Roof Talks.”
“We market how talented our roofers are,” Jason said. “That made people want to work for us and it brought us customers too.”
Talented people apply because they want to be on a team with good people. The Reismans have developed a culture that spotlights the importance of each individual on their team and makes sure all employees feel valued and appreciated.
Rolling Down the Track
Eustis does almost every style of roof, but they specialize in metal. They have their own CNC Roll Forming Machines so they can do custom work. However, when customers see the price of a metal roof, which requires more time and material than a traditional shingled roof, many opt for the shingled roof. Although metal roofs are a more cost effective option over the long run, often lasting 3-4 times as long as shingled roofs, homeowners may not have the budget for the metal roof.
The company also offers roof rejuvenation; they can revive an ugly, faded shingle roof with a natural, biodegradable oil spraying process that can add 5 years onto the life of the roof. This process can be used three times to extend the roof for a total of 15 years.
Servicing central Florida, their main suppliers are JGA and Beacon.
“We are probably the only roofers in Florida that don’t like storms,” Jason said. “We are happy to help people who have had storm damage,” he continued, “but storms tend to draw in roofers from outside the area, and they do the job and disappear, often leaving homeowners with roofing problems.”
Don’t Let the Pitfalls Keep You Down!
Quick growth, while a positive thing, brings challenges of its own. The company had to quickly update processes and procedures to maintain customer service.
Jason believes that while marketing helped get employees in the door, the biggest reason they are able to maintain their crew is that they have overcome the “inconsistency problem” that so many companies face. He is referring to constant layoffs either due to lack of work or lack of materials to keep working.
With plenty of work to go around, the biggest threat the company faced was the supply chain issues and supply shortages. When COVID-19 hit, other companies were laying off while Eustis Roofing starting gearing up. This was during unknown times and was a bit of a gamble, however with multiple highly talented people looking for work, Jason seized this opportunity to hire more crews to alleviate the backlog of work. Eustis Roofing went from a 6-8 month wait list down to 8-10 weeks.
Having work scheduled months in advance is great, but it can cause issues for homeowners who need help more immediately. The company does a free temporary patch job for customers who experience leaking while they are waiting for their new roof.
Every roof is different. Sometimes when tearing off a roof, there can be surprises like wood rot which can complicate job sites. Jason and his team have that challenge under control because every one of their crew vehicles and project manager’s trucks is equipped with plywood, fasteners, nearly everything they could need for repairs is at their fingertips … just like NASCAR.
The company culture is all about being part of the team; the employees work together and they play together. They go on fishing trips, have potlucks, race go-carts, and get involved in community activities.
At Christmastime they throw a party for all the employees and their families. They gift the kids with company backpacks and try to instill pride in them regarding their dads’ work. The Reismans want to be the best employers they can be.
The company goal is to connect with people and solve their long-term problems, and their rave reviews say they are doing just that. It’s a win for the company and a win for their customers too.