Safety and Skill as Standard
A commercial roofing company based out of Dallas, Texas, Supreme Roofing Systems has been on the roofing map since 1987. This award-winning commercial roofing company can handle everything from small offices to the largest high-rise structures. Supreme not only installs, but maintains, repairs, restores or replaces roof systems.
Time after time, family-run businesses are shown to benefit from the common bonds and shared vision that a familial link provides. Maintaining a collective purpose over generations is one of the greatest challenges that a family-operated company can face, and the value of support and commitment that comes from being family run is unquantifiable in the modern business world. Supreme Roofing Systems is a prime example just such a company.
Craig Rainey is the son of founding member and now sole owner Tim Rainey. Craig had been “working off and on through high school, and then, once I graduated from university, I came in full time.” Craig is therefore perfectly positioned to describe the journey that Supreme has embarked on over the past twenty-eight years. This is an eternity in a world of overnight booms and busts.
Start-up companies often require years of grueling ground work and perseverance before growth and success are attained, and Supreme Roofing started out on a considerably smaller scale than it currently operates.
“When we first started, we started out doing just service work. We borrowed a truck and rented a trailer, doing just service work for customers, and then, as our reputation just grew over the years, we started doing small reroofs.”
However, Craig notes that the company now has a much more sustainable and healthy level. “Now we have eleven full-time service crews, and all that they do is service and repair work. On our re-roofing side, we have, I don’t even know how many crews, but we are busy.”
He attributes the level of activity to a dedication to maintaining high-quality work and service. “It is because of our employees, customer service. Our attention to detail in our operations provides a quality product for the customers. Then, it simply spreads by word of mouth.”
Craig identifies the high skill set of Supreme’s workers alongside an unwavering attention to workplace safety as primary attributes in securing high-profile contracts such as its just-completed work on Texas A&M’s football stadium. “We had to come to them with a certain level of experience and obviously the ability to do it – manpower, safety.”
In fact, safety is such a key focus for Supreme Roofing that the company can boast of an unrivaled safety record. “We do a lot of work with Kellogg’s, Philip Morris. These require an EMR (experienced modifier rating) to be a certain point, and that is based on how many hours you have worked compared to injuries. Now we have one of the best – the lowest – in the industry.”
One way that Supreme Roofing ensures the workplace safety of its employees is to meet regularly with the particular goal of reiterating the company’s safety messages and protocols.
“We have a mandatory safety meeting every Monday morning where all of the field guys, superintendents attend it, and we go over full protection, any issues that may have come up last week, basically anything you could think of. We just have to make sure we have constant reminders. Sometimes it is one hundred degrees outside; you have to make sure you are getting water every fifteen minutes, stay hydrated, get out of the heat, all that kind of stuff.”
Being at the forefront of the roofing industry has led to Supreme Roofing being recognized by its peers and regulatory bodies. Both the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and North Texas Roofing Contractors Association have awarded Supreme Roofing for its work across a range of disciplines. Many of these awards were given due to the complexity and level of skill displayed in Supreme Roofing’s work.
“The one through the NRCA is what they call the Golden Circle award, and the North Texas one is called the Golden Hammer award. The awards can differ depending on the category. We have won a couple for working on projects that are particularly complex. It is not so much the sheer size, but if you are working in a place with high security, if there are time restrictions, more specialist jobs than just going up on a square building and throwing down a piece of rubber, it is a lot more specialized, attention to detail.”
One example of this complex work is to be found in the deeply impressive Dallas Baptist Church. This building acts as a marquee project for Supreme Roofing and offers the people of Dallas a clear picture of the capabilities of the company. However, Craig acknowledges that this project had obstacles that the company had to overcome.
“The challenges of that project were time constraints. You are working downtown, so there is always the consideration of not blocking traffic, as minimal as possible, permits and working with all the other trades that are involved, really working as a team to coordinate and stay on track, staying on time, meeting budgets.”
Another aspect of the company that Craig believes sets Supreme Roofing apart from its competitors is the level with which it engages with its customers. Supreme has a full-time service department that can assist the client in completely managing the project, and this has hugely simplified the process for the customer.
“We can help the client manage their roofing portfolio through a customer portal that we have where they have access to all their facilities. They get to see all their budgets, before and after photos, invoices, everything. They can see all this without leaving their office chair. It is a really good tool for the client to manage their assets a lot easier.”
Once a company reaches a certain level, there is always the possibility that it can lose focus and take the industry for granted. However, this attitude is utterly alien to those at Supreme Roofing, and Craig insists that the company is extremely involved in the industry on both a macro and micro level.
“We don’t just sit back; we are concerned with how the industry is changing and how it is evolving. How do we stay at the forefront of it? Is it technology and helping our customers access the information? But then also staying involved and working with the manufacturers on feedback with products and testing new products.”
With such a focus on the progression of the industry, Craig feels that Supreme Roofing is ideally placed to identify any issues facing the industry as a whole. Craig says that unreliable roofing contractors are a scourge on the industry and a very real threat to clients.
“A big challenge is with some people just going in bottom dollar. They aren’t going to be in the roofing industry in five years, so they don’t care. You could spend the money on a good quality roof because they know they are going to be there for a while.”
This challenge, according to Craig, is the knock-on effect of loose regulation within the roofing industry. A lack of licensing, in particular, is proving to have some of the most detrimental effects.
“One thing that we struggle with here in Texas is that you don’t have to be licensed to be a roofer, whether it is commercial or residential. We have a lot of problems, especially in storm season, with these ‘fly by nighters’ who appear to be roofers. They go in, get down-payments, then just leave, and there is no way to track them or find them. We are one of the few states left in the nation where you don’t have to be licensed. You have to be licensed to cut someone’s hair or paint their nails but not to put a ten thousand dollar roof on somebody’s house or a million dollar roof on a brand new stadium. We have been trying to get licensing passed in Texas for years.”
Regardless of the outcomes on this contentious issue, one thing is for certain, the attention to detail, high level of skill and execution and a winning attitude to value and service will ensure that Supreme Roofing will outlast any speed bumps that face the industry.