Roof Insight Show: Tracey Prociw of Rainier View Construction and Roofing – Ep. 4

roof-insight-show-titleTracey Prociw of Rainier View Construction and Roofing

A focus on customer service — and strength of character — add up to big success in the roofing industry.

Don and Tracey Prociw own and run Rainier View Construction and Roofing in the state of Washington. Don focuses on producing the projects, and Tracey runs the business. In this episode of the Roof Insight Show, Tracey talks about some of the systems she and Don have put in place that work well for their company. Tracey says a big part of the company’s success comes from its focus on service — as she says, service within the company to each employee, and service outside the company to its customers.

Don and Tracey Prociw - Rainier View Construction & Roofing

Don and Tracey Prociw – Rainier View Construction & Roofing


In this interview, Tracey shares how she, her husband, and the company came through a huge — and life-threatening — challenge. She also shares her thoughts on being accountable, dealing with distractions, and going the extra mile for customers.

Check out this great and fun episode below!

Read the interview — or read along with the audio.

ROD:

Hey, everybody, and welcome back to the Roof Insight Show. My name is Rod Menzel. I’m a roofing contractor here in Southern California.

STEVE:
And I’m Steve Wein. I’m a computer guy also from Southern California.

ROD:
We’ve got another terrific episode of the Roof Insight show for you. Today we’re talking to Tracey Prociw — she’s the managing member of Rainier View Construction and Roofing in Washington State.

STEVE:
You know, I think our show is getting better and better — and that’s because our guests are sharing so much great, actionable advice with us. In today’s interview, Tracey talks about how she keeps the business coordinated. Specifically she talks about keeping marketing and sales efforts on the same page. She also discusses how the staff at Rainier View keeps each other accountable.

ROD:
That’s right. Tracey also has a strong background in customer service. She talks about some big and somewhat surprising things her company has done to keep customers happy. I was impressed.

STEVE:
Yep. And don’t let Tracey’s warm and friendly voice fool you. She is an incredibly strong person. On today’s show, she talks about how a life-threatening medical condition caused her and her husband Don to stop operations at their business for two years. Then they built it all back up again.

ROD:
It’s an inspiring story for sure. And when you listen to this interview, keep an ear out for the word “make your business grow.” Tracey says that a couple times today — and it shows where her mind is at. It sounds like she’s often evaluating things in terms of how they contribute to growing the business.

STEVE:
It’s a really great interview. And speaking of growing a business, we should mention that this show is brought to you by Roof Chief, the software that Rod and I developed to help roofing contractors succeed. It helps you run your business in an extremely efficient manner — and it is focused on making a profit.

ROD:
You know, we’ve been getting calls from people who have heard the show and want to learn more about Roof Chief. That’s really exciting for us — it’s our mission to turn the roofing industry upside down, and to help roofing contractors get to the top.

STEVE:
Very true. So we hope you’ll join us on the mission. You can learn more at RoofChief.com.

ROD:
Excellent. And now, let’s talk to Tracey Prociw of Rainier View Construction and Roofing.

STEVE:
Today we have a special guest with us, Tracey Prociw, and she is out of Washington State – Rainier View Construction and Roofing — where she is the managing member. Hi, Tracey.

TRACEY:
Hello! How are you today?

STEVE:
We’re doing great. We’re excited to have you on the show.

TRACEY:
I’m excited to be here.

STEVE:
Excellent. And could you tell us a little about your business today, Tracey?

TRACEY:
Our business today consists of about 75% residential roofing, about 25% other exterior home improvement needs. We have been in business in one form or another for 23 years, and we’re Master Elite GAF roofers — as well as we hold the exclusive for Classic Aluminum Roofing Systems in Washington State and Kassel & Irons in Washington State. We also do PVC and other types of metal and solar, windows, decks, siding, some select remodels and garage builds.

ROD:
Wow. Quite a bit.

TRACEY:
Yeah, we have two different divisions that handle one side of the home improvement envelope – exterior envelope – and then we have one side that handles roofing.

ROD:
Got it.

TRACEY:
But being we’re in Washington State, you have to have something else to do when it rains a lot.

STEVE:
And how did you get into the business in a nutshell, Tracey?

TRACEY:
I joined the business in 2002. My husband, Don Prociw, had his business started in 1993. And I had a medical transcription company and a couple other businesses that I had run. And I sold my business in 2002. And I was, you know, doing a little eBay and taking a little time off, and I kept poking into his business saying, “You know, you’re not doing this right. The state says you should do that right, this differently. Oh, you can’t do that, you need to do this.”
And pretty soon then I was running the business. So, I should probably have kept my mouth shut, and I could have stayed the “lady of leisure,” but that’s just not in my temperament. I took over the whole operations side of the business and let him do what he does best which is sell and build wonderful things for people. That’s how this all came to be.

ROD:
Wow, that’s very cool. So operations, do you do any of the marketing stuff as well or is it just you’re focused mostly on the operations?

TRACEY:
No, I run the marketing department. We have a social media marketing director — he has two assistants. We have a really, pretty well thought out marketing approach that consists of not only social media, but television advertising, print media, trade shows – we do 37 to 42 trade shows a year. And they work together with our marketing department that’s in house that is our telemarketing department that sets all of our appointments and with our canvassers that go out and canvass, and leads them. All of that works together under one roof and sets all of our appointments for our sales department to go out and make wonderful sales. It’s evolved over the last several years so we just keep building on that.

ROD:
That’s awesome. And how many guys do you have out there selling roofs?

TRACEY:
We have seven sales people in our sales force right at the moment. They are all well-honed people that have been in the business for a long time, and we’re very lucky to have them. They’re all great producers and very knowledgeable. We have a couple that focus more on the remodels and decks and other exterior envelope packages for residential and the rest of the guys are just straight roofing.

STEVE:
I’ve seen a lot of your marketing Tracey and it seems well thought out. It seems that you must be talking to both entities – the sales people and the marketing, because it seems it’s cohesive.

TRACEY:
Well, we have a lot of meetings. Let’s back up the train. Monday is my marketing meeting where we sit down and hash out everything that we’re doing, everything that maybe we’re doing wrong, things that we haven’t caught up on, things that we’re not aware of. I hear things in the office and I wonder to myself, “Why doesn’t that person know when that iPad giveaway is?” And things like that.
Then on Tuesday we have a manager’s meeting where we talk to all the managers of the departments, make sure that everybody’s on the same page. Friday is our sales meeting where our marketing department goes in and at least has 45 minutes in our sales meeting and goes over everything that we’re doing, every tradeshow that were entering, where we’re canvassing, how we’re making appointments, “are your appointments good and solid, are we getting VHOs, are you getting one-legged, how is this working for you?”
And so we can feed all of that back. We have a huge board in our office that has everything that’s going on, every different promotion and everything. We try to make sure that everybody is promoting everything all across the board. So when I’m talking to someone on the phone, and they’re asking me a question about No Roof Left Behind for instance, I’m not going, “Umm, hmm, I don’t know what that is…” because we have a lot of different things going on. That is a big promotion that we’re running right now, we’re giving away three roofs in three counties for a less fortunate person and there’s nominations going on, and it’s really a wonderful program that is sponsored by GAF and Allied, so we’re working on that right now. We have a lot of other things going on, different trade show promotions and everything. It takes a lot of people to keep everybody informed and all on the same page, because if you’re going to run a solid promotion, and it’s going to be effective, everybody’s got to be on board with it.

STEVE:
Got it, ya, well it shows.

ROD:
Yeah, definitely, I would definitely say it shows. Can you tell us a little bit more about the No Roof Let Behind?

TRACEY:
No Roof Left Behind is a program that GAF and Allied sponsor. We do the labor, GAF and Allied provide the materials. How it works is you sponsor a certain county. Basically, the promotion, we go out and we let the community know that, do you have a friend who needs a roof, or a neighbor who needs a roof, and you know they can’t afford it? Nominate these people. There’s several weeks that are open for nominations. They go to a microsite that has been set up on the No Roof Left Behind, and they nominate the person that they’re interested in. When nominations close, then we go to all of these folks, and we interview them, make sure that they qualify for the program. Then, at that point in time, those folks go out and market themselves to get votes. Basically, the person in each county with the most votes for themselves, they will win a new roof. And so then it’s a big party, we go out and we do the roof. Allied and GAF are there, we’re there, hopefully the press is there. We bring out the hotdog cart, everything else, the bouncy house for the kids. It basically gives you the opportunity to show you what you can do to a lot of neighbors, but it also gives you the opportunity to fulfill something that someone really needs. Perhaps they’re older people, or they’re just down on their luck or this or that, but they need that roof, and it gives us an opportunity to give back to the community, too.

STEVE:
That’s really nice.

TRACEY:
Yeah, it’s a cool program. It’s the first time we’ve done it.

STEVE:
Ah.

TRACEY:
We’re about halfway into the nomination process right now, and we’ve got people being nominated. And the word’s out, people are getting excited about it. It’s just something, I think it’s really fun.

ROD:
That’s awesome.

STEVE:
Yeah.

ROD:
It’s nice to be able to give back like that. There’s the feel good side of it, there’s the promotional side of it, that’s not why you do it, but just to be able to go out there and take somebody and do it. What I find interesting, though, is the approach, because you’re not just picking somebody. There’s a little more to it, I think that’s kind of cool.

TRACEY:
Well, yeah, because it would be easy to – I mean, human nature – if I was picking someone, “Oh well, there’s a twelve square roof, we’ll go do that one.” But, no, these people have to get involved, they’ve gotta get behind it. They have to put some work into it, too, which I think is exciting. They’re calling their friends, their neighbors, “Vote for me! Vote for me!”
So by the time that it’s all said and done, they’ve collected their votes, they’ve gotten people behind them, they’ve gotten invested in the process, too, which I think is super important, because it just makes it so much more fun for everybody, and all those people who’ve voted for them are going to come out the day that we’re putting the roof on, and they’re going to be excited and everybody’s going to be involved. I just think it makes it just that much more special.

STEVE:
Yeah.

ROD:
Absolutely. I wanted to go back to something, hearing you talk about your meetings. You have your Monday meetings. You’ve got your Tuesday, sounds like management meetings, and I think Friday, sales meetings. There is no place to hide within you organization. You better be producing or else, it sounds like.

TRACEY:
Yeah, we have boards everything, there is no place to hide. You’re right.

ROD:
It reminds me of an old sales quote. It says, “You’re born on Monday, you die on Friday, and you’re reborn again on Monday.” It’s what have you done this week? It sounds like you definitely got a culture of accountability. Is there anything else you do in addition to the meetings to keep that accountability, because truthfully the culture sounds great and exciting when everyone is making strides and moving forward to a common goal. Is there anything else you guys do?

TRACEY:
We do a lot of fun things as a group. When we started, it was just Don and I, and then we started to add people, and now we’ve got 40, 50 employees. One of the things I try to do is, our Friday sales meetings, we try to make sure that we funnel everybody back into the office about 11:30 on Fridays, and we bring food, and lots of food. Everybody eats, then we have the meeting and new people are introduced. People maybe that are having birthdays, we have one Friday a month that we celebrate all the birthdays for one particular month. Everybody gets their birthday card. The salesmen of the month for the previous month gets announced, the employee of the quarter — those kinds of things, because we try to keep people excited.
If we’ve got spiffs that are internal for the person who sets the most appointments, or this or that, or somebody needs to be patted on the back, we try to do it very publicly, because we want to encourage everybody to rise to that level. It’s kind of “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job that you want.” Well, don’t aspire just for the job you have, aspire for the job that you want. Because as we grow, all of those opportunities are going to be there, and I would rather move people up from internally than just go out and find more people.
It is a family operation. Really, truly it is. We try to treat everybody like family. Obviously, it’s still a business, but we really try to create a unit where I don’t believe anyone should ever look at someone and say, “It’s not my job.” It is your job. This is our job. Whether it’s customer service to our customers or customer service to each other, it’s our job. That might mean I’m in the bathroom changing the toilet paper rolls and the hand towels one morning because nobody else did it, or unloading the dishwasher or what have you. If we all support each other, we can be that much more successful.

ROD:
No, I agree.

TRACEY:
And that’s the culture we’ve tried to build.

ROD:
And that didn’t just come out of thin air. It sounds like you’ve had this, maybe you were born that way, but it sounds like you brought a lot to the table with your prior experience as well.

TRACEY:
Yeah, I think a lot of that came from Nordstrom. When I was fifteen, I went to work at Nordstrom for two weeks for the half yearly sale, and I was there like 6 or 7 years later. I was a manager, I was a buyer there, and one of the things that was really important and still is — and that’s why Nordstrom is such a successful company — is because the owners came last. It was the customers, and the employees, and then managers and then owners. Kind of flipped the pyramid upside down. If you treat the people that are on the front line as well as you can, you get a lot better response, which trickles down obviously to run the business. This is a sales organization, the customer has to come first. You can’t just sit in your ivory tower and think, “Ooh, I’m so wonderful. Look at what I’ve built.” No, you’ve got to get right back in there because it’s a sales organization. And if you want to produce sales, you have to remember what produces sales, and that’s how you treat people. Whether it’s your employees or your customers, it’s how you treat each other.

ROD:
Yeah, that’s true. And it sounds like you’re really consistent with this all the way throughout because I’ve seen companies say, “Hey, this is what we stand for, we treat our customers well, we treat our employees well: until the economy went sideways and all that stuff went out the door. How did you guys deal with that? You know, ’08 was a tough year for everybody, and ’09. How did you guys handle that?

TRACEY:
Actually, well… actually… ’08 and ’09 were even tougher than for us than they probably were for other people, because in ’08 and ’09, I was diagnosed with a very strange heart condition that no one could figure out how to fix. And so we actually shut down our operations for a year and half, because I was so sick — no one knew if I was going to live or die. It that was a really hard thing for us to do, but I was very blessed after doing a lot of research and with my medical transcription background, that was very helpful. I did a lot of research and came back around to the Cleveland Clinic which pointed me back out to actually a Swedish hospital here in Washington state in Seattle, to a heart surgeon name David Gartman. I was the thirteenth person to have the surgery that I had on November 6th of 2009.
By 2011, I was healthy and perfect and back in shape and we moved forward confidently at that point in time with Rainier View Construction and Roofing. You know, we were very blessed. A lot of people said, “You’re crazy, I can’t believe that you’re even thinking about jump starting this.” It’s like, I’ve already faced my worst fear. I’ve got through the worst possible things that I could possibly go through. And we did it. We came back with barrels a-blazin’, and it was really exciting to rebuild everything. Sometimes you have to stop and think what’s important and what was important for us in 2009 was to get me well. I was very blessed to be well. And I’ve had no problems since then.

ROD:
So, I’m going to keep peeling back the onion here, because it blows my mind that you actually went through that, it was a tough economy, you had to shut the business down, and now you’re out doing research. I mean, it doesn’t sound like it even knocked you down. It hit you hard, I’m sure, but where did you get the strength to keep doing that?

TRACEY:
God. Seriously. You go through things like that, and you kind of reevaluate what’s important in your life. And what’s really important is your faith and the people around you and your family. After we went through that whole thing, we really reevaluated our priorities and what was important. And what was important to us was to start everything back up again when I was healthy, but it was also important that we made sure that we gave back, and that’s where the culture in our company of giving back really comes from because so many people were there and supported us and helped us through all of that and didn’t turn their back. It’s important. Your faith really plays a huge importance to that. People can say that’s schmaltzy, but no, not really, not really, because there were people that I barely knew from our church that were coming and cleaning my house, and cooking food for my seven children and stuff when I was bedridden. It was like, wow, those are the kind of people and that’s the kind of person that I want to be. You learn a lot from things. Everyone always says, “Oh, you went through this horrible time,” but gosh when you get a little bit further past it, and you’re up on the hill and you’re not down in the valley and you’re looking back over it, bad times give you a lot of really great learning experiences.

ROD:
Oh yes. I really love your great analogy too.

TRACEY:
If you pitch your tent in the valley and you stay down there, you’re never going to get further. You just have to keep climbing back up the hill and once you get to the top you go, “Wow, that was kind of a cool detour. It was kind of sucky, but hey, I’m back!” If you remember that lesson, you can take that with you, no matter how bad it gets.

ROD:
Yeah, my dad says, you know, he says “Walk through the valley of the shadow of darkness, don’t set camp.” Keep walking.

TRACEY:
Yeah, absolutely.

ROD:
Sounds exactly like what you just said. Well, that’s great. I just love it so much because then you started talking about priorities, and I think in today’s world we’re moving at such a fast pace that we don’t know what to do. It’s just, it’s not that anything’s overly difficult, but there’s just so much, and you can only do so much. It sounds like this is obviously, you just said we’re going to focus on what matters most, and you selected some of those things

TRACEY:
Oh, absolutely. I mean, in the world that we have today with all of our technology, like how we’re talking right now, and your cell phone, and you’ve got your instant email, sometimes you forget, sometimes you have to tune off. We just got back from Disneyland with our kids for Spring Break, and it was — people are calling from the office. Finally, it was just I need to turn off my phone because every time I get on the phone, I look at my son or my daughter, and they were being very tolerant, because they understand that we own a business and that we have to do what we do, but I’d look at their face and it was like, ah, there they go again. So finally, you know what, I said, “I’m turning off my phone, I’m putting it in the backpack. We’re gonna have fun, that’s what we came here for. Nothing is going to happen that I can’t fix in the next four hours. Let’s just go on these rides and have a good time.” And sometimes you have to do that, and that’s not being irresponsible or unresponsive to your staff or your customers, but sometimes you just have to stop and say, “You know what? I need a day that I just spend with my family.” Most people can respect that.

ROD:
I sure hope so.

STEVE:
And maybe the staff grows a little bit, too. Maybe they start taking more initiative without you there as well.

TRACEY:
Well, absolutely. My husband and I were talking about that, and I said this is why everyone’s calling us, is because we’re both really strong leaders and we do things a certain way, and we want our staff to do things a certain way, but they don’t want to disappoint us. And I said, part of pulling back, like when we hired our accounting manager, Lynn, I was having a really hard time with that, because I had to let go of that, I had to let go of the money, and that scared me. But she was a perfect hire, perfect fit, she does a great job. You have to start to let go of things as your business grows and trust people to do them and empower them. If they make a mistake, don’t rip them to shreds, because then they’re going to be afraid. It’s kind of a lesson to us. We need to empower people more, tell them step out. We have to stop micromanaging, we need to pull back a little bit if we want people to grow. It’s a lesson that’s hard to learn as business owner because your business is kind of like your child, you want your child to flourish. The only person that can make that child flourish is the parent? No, not really. Because you’ve got all the outside people – the teachers, their friends – that are part of their life. You have to keep your finger on the pulse of your business — or your children, or what have you — but at the same time, you have to let people step out and do things because that’s how they learn and that’s how your business grows. So, we both had no one to blame but ourselves for being disturbed.

ROD:
You learned from it though. That’s what’s impressive.

STEVE:
Exactly.

ROD:
I think that would be a great topic at Western States for you to get up there and talk about, because I think that we think that it’s so obvious, but I think we all need to be reminded of it. That’s great.

TRACEY:
Yeah, you try to take a little bit out of everything that — I always try to find some lesson in everything, because my deal is if I’m not figuring something new out every day or I’m not growing, then I probably am doing something wrong. Whether it’s the book that I’m reading on my nightstand, or the articles that I’m reading online, or the fifty-seven magazines that I get every month that I sit down and try to read at least an hour’s worth of each one every night or what have you. It’s about learning and you can learn nuggets from the strangest places if you’re just paying attention. Whether it’s your children or your employees or the state coming in and doing their audit, you pick up nuggets and these are nuggets that can make your business grow. You don’t have to look at it as being a negative thing. If something opens your eyes to something, you should say, “Oh, that’s cool, let me put this in my little deck of cards,” because you’re going to use it at some point.

ROD:
I like that.

STEVE:
Yeah, it’s inspiring. So much of it boils down to attitude. When you were going through your travails of 2008, it sounds like you were able to maintain your attitude and it sounds like your attitude helps your business day-to-day thrive and be successful.

TRACEY:
Yeah, but I had to have an attitude adjustment. When we first started going through all of it when I got the diagnosis, and I was told I had to basically sit down and not do anything, I was pretty depressed there for a while. Then I really started to think about how that was affecting the rest of my family, and my marriage, and the people around me. You can face this with strength, or you can face this and be snarly and nasty and feel sorry for yourself. What are you going to do? I chose to take the high road and figure it out and put a smile on my face. Not to say every day was rosy, but you know what, we found a way to stay together, keep our family together, and that’s the most important thing. Get healthy and get back on the right track. It’s all about your attitude, you’re absolutely right.

ROD:
So you’ve gone through this challenge, and I think that you came out a better person because of that, you talked about that. You also talked about priorities, and changing priorities and reprioritizing. Just based on your experience, what would you say is the biggest waste of time for business owners to deal with on a daily basis? What are the bigger distractions that you say, hey those really aren’t worth it, and how did you learn from that?

TRACEY:
Well, there’s distractions in everything in life, and I think that you just have to — I sit down every morning — I usually wake up about 4:30 in the morning, I read all my email, I pull out a yellow pad because I’m old school. In fact, I’m going to be 50 in another week and a half. I’m old school. I pull out my yellow pad and I prioritize what I need to get done. A lot of times I don’t get done, I don’t even get close to getting done everything, but then I roll it over to the next day. But I think that the distractions… I try to take at least two hours of my day, I close the door and focus on the things that I need to do, the things that I need to do to make the business grow, the things that I need to do to better what we have for our employees or our customers, correspondence, what have you. Then I try to be available to our employees, and I think what probably can really derail a lot of people is not having just a good plan of action. You have to have a plan because there’s 97,000 fires that crop up every day. You have to take the time to work on your things because otherwise you’re just running around with your hair on fire all day long. And the day — it’s 7 o’clock and it’s ugh, I haven’t even gotten to anything on my list today. So what I try to do is take scheduled time, get through the things that I need to get through that are the most important, and then get myself back to the business. If it’s a quiet day, I can get even more stuff done, so it’s all good. You just have to stay on track because there’s just so many ridiculous distractions. The other thing is setting meetings. People tend to wander in all the time, whether it’s vendors, manufacturers, people trying to sell you things for the business, or this or that. Really, you don’t need to talk to everybody. There are certain people you want to take time out for if they just drop by, but for the most part, I ask people, make appointments. “I’d love to talk to you, but can we make an appointment to do this? Because my time is really valuable, and right now I’m in the middle of something.” And most people understand that and if you can take the time to make the appointments, it tends to work out a lot better.

STEVE:
Absolutely, and there’s a power… it’s a benefit to everyone in you saying, “No, not right now.” I think everyone gains from that.

TRACEY:
Well, I do too. If someone comes in and they’ve got something they really want to show you, I’d rather say, “You know what, now’s not a good time, but if you can make an appointment next week I’ll give you 45 minutes of my undivided attention.” That’s better for the person who’s presenting and a lot better for you.

ROD:
Oh yeah, that’s a great answer right there.

STEVE:
And it’s a great way to phrase it, too. You’re not just saying “no”, you’re saying, “Well, let’s really focus at this later date”.

TRACEY:
Right, exactly. Because sometimes I’ll have my phone ring and I’ll have someone sitting in front of me and I’m trying to type an email, and I’m not giving anybody really my undivided attention. I’m half listening to the person on the phone, I’m typing an email, and the other person that’s sitting in front of me has been interrupted trying to tell me something important. Sometimes I’ll catch myself doing that and I’ll go, “Okay, I’m going to call you back. I’m going to stop the email. I’m going to turn to this person, I’m going to finish my conversation, then I’m going to finish the other two things.” Because they talk about multitasking, and yes, you can multitask to a point, but you need to give people your undivided attention, even if it’s five minutes, because otherwise you’re going to spend 25 minutes being interrupted trying to hear the same thing you could’ve heard in 5 minutes and moved to the next focus.

STEVE:
Right – yeah. So to shift gears a little, Tracey, I know from talking to you that you and Don take a lot of pride in all your projects. Are there any recent jobs that are interesting or that you care to mention?

TRACEY:
We have a lot of really wonderful customers that we do business with that actually we become friends with too. We spend so much time with them, it’s so nice to have. We’ve done some pretty awesome work with churches. We did the St. Peter and Paul Parish that is on Portland Avenue in Tacoma. We did a beautiful Zappone Copper steeple on that and that was a really interesting job because we had to do it all on a boom. We have some beautiful pictures from that particular job. Then we went back and did a standing seam steel on their actual parish hall. But we just did a really neat job over on Decatur Island, which is an island you can only get to by boat. It’s all cabins that are owned by different owners that just come at different times. All of our roofing materials, we had to have picked up by a boat, and load them all in and make several trips back and forth to do the metal roofing over there on this island. We had to transport our crew over there, and they stayed in one of the cabins while they were working on it. It turned out just beautifully. We’re going to be doing several different cabins over there over time. That was a pretty interesting job, because there was a lot of logistics going into, how are we going to get all of this material over there, and how are we going to get the break over there and how are we going to do this and that, because this is all personal water craft — they’re not a ferry or anything like that. There’s nothing like that that goes to the island. And there’s several islands out here that, of course, there’s the San Juans that you can get to by different means, but there’s a lot of these smaller islands in the Puget Sound that have their challenges to actually get the materials out to.

ROD:
Sure. So how about this one then? How about a customer service story? You being involved with Nordstrom’s, I’m sure you’ve got some great ones there, but what about with the roofing company? Can you think of just one story where you guys just did something that was unbelievable?

TRACEY:
Well, we do a lot of things. We bend over backwards a lot for customers, whether it’s somebody, we actually had one person who — we put the whole roof on, and they didn’t like the color, and they were just sick about it, and we actually reroofed the house for them to make them happy.

ROD:
That’s pretty good!

TRACEY:
Even though that wasn’t in the contract. It made them happy, we re-did the whole roof. And that was kind of a nightmare, but we took care of it. We try to really, whenever someone is displeased, we really do bend over backwards, whether it’s doing something extra for them, or going out and talking to them, doing something that they want. It just kind of goes on and on. We really do try. Sometimes it’s impossible, so there are a few people that it’s impossible to make happy, I have found that out in life. But for the most part, I would say 98% of our customer surveys are positive, and our people are very happy with what we do. We did have a gentleman just recently that we had done some French doors for with the windows job, and he had wanted screens on his French doors which was something that really, obviously, that’s a difficult situation because there’s not screens particularly for French doors. He’s an older guy, and he was very upset, because what he had chosen to do was the little hanging screens with the Velcro down the middle — and that wasn’t working out well for him.
Then he had taken the French doors that we had installed off, because he had decided he wanted them a different color, and reinstalled them and was having some problems, they weren’t balanced correctly. None of this was really a warranty issue, but I told our project manager for the exterior side to just go out and make him happy. So it was kind of interesting. Jerry went out, he rehung the doors, and then he was really trying hard to figure out what to do about this screen situation.
So we had another customer that we were working with that is very high up in a window manufacturing company, so he was talking to him about it while we were remodeling his bathroom, and he said, “I know what to do!” He hooked Jerry up with exactly, this really cool screen idea. Jerry was able to purchase it and go out and install this for the gentleman in Enumclaw. We didn’t charge him a dime, we just did it, and it made him happy. It took us a couple weeks to rehang doors, reinstall this whole thing, and none of this was our deal, but it made him happy, and that’s what it’s all about.

ROD:
It’s nice to be in a position to do that, too.

TRACEY:
Yeah. Hopefully, he’ll tell somebody something nice. Unfortunately, the way that the world works is usually negativity propagates. You do one thing wrong and they’ll tell 50 people. You go out of your way to do something nice — meh, they may mention it to one or two, so you have to do a lot of nice things in this world.

ROD:
Well, the roofing business is so very tough and to hear stories like that, it’s nice. It makes me feel good. So what is it you really love about this industry of ours?

TRACEY:
Oh, I just love making people happy. I mean, there’s commercial, which I’m really not that interested in. I like doing the residential, and residential is hard, because you’re dealing with people who — whether they are rich or poor or what have you — your home generally speaking is your biggest investment that you’ll make in your life. And whether you’ve got a $150,000 home or a $1.5 million home, it’s your home, it’s your castle.
You want to make it as nice as possible for them and I love that. I love being able to go in, and someone’s got a really ugly bathroom, and we turn it into something that’s really pretty. Or their roof is falling apart, their trusses are sagging, and it looks nasty, and you get done and take the pictures, the before and after, and there is a quantifiable difference. And they’re happy. You get comments like, “Oh my yard looks better after you roofed my house than it did before, they raked out all my flower beds,” or “did this or that,” those are things that make me happy. Obviously, you’re going to have issues. You’re going to have issues everyday with this, that or the other thing, but we get to the final product, and the project is done and the people are happy, and you meet with them and their house looks great, I mean, there’s a sense of satisfaction there and that’s what keeps you going every day.

ROD:
I love it, because what you’re saying is you still come back to it, even down to the flower beds, even down to the smallest things, you’re finding joy in satisfying somebody and doing a good job. And it sounds like you’ve taken that approach to your whole life. That’s great.

TRACEY:
Yeah, well, why be negative, why be sad?

ROD:
I agree!

TRACEY:
There’s too much time wasted on that. Life gives you lemons, make lemonade, add some vodka, you’re all good.

ROD:
I like your last step there, that’s great.

STEVE:
Absolutely.

TRACEY:
Life is what you make of it.

STEVE:
One last quick question before we wrap up and that is I wanted to ask about your involvement with Western States. Can we talk about that for a moment?

TRACEY:
Oh, absolutely. I am a board member for the Western States Roofing Contractors Association, which is a complete honor. I’m on both the Steep Slope Committee and the Membership Committee. Meeting all of these other people from across the Western states that are on the board that give so selflessly of their time and energy to build this great program for all of the other contractors, it’s just a wonderful thing to do. It was something that kind of came out of left field, and — this has been really fun because not only have I met so many cool people like you guys, but I’ve also been able to just network and learn so many things that I didn’t know. All of the things, like the young contractor program that they’re putting together to help younger people that are coming into the industry and develop them, and all of the wonderful engineering things and bulletins, technical bulletins that they put out, it’s just really wonderful for our industry.

ROD:
Absolutely, I think that’s great.

STEVE:
Yeah. Well, excellent. Well, Tracey, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. I think you had a lot of great stuff to say. Your story is inspiring. The person you are — who lived through this story — is inspiring. And I appreciate you taking the time to be with us today.

TRACEY:
Well, thank you for thinking about me. I’m very honored that you thought about me and thought that I was an interesting enough person for your podcast. I really was excited about doing this.

ROD:
That’s great. You’re truly an inspiration and put a little more pep in my step today.

TRACEY:
Good, good. And I’m looking forward to seeing you both here in another month at the expo, which is in Las Vegas. All you people who are listening, check it out. Go to the WSRCA website and check out the expo. It starts June 8th in Las Vegas, and it is a phenomenal time. Speakers, all of the manufacturers that are at the trade show, it really is a phenomenal time.

ROD:
Well, thank you again and we look forward to seeing you in Vegas.

TRACEY:
Okay, take care, thank you.

ROD:
That was a lot of fun. There was a ton of great stuff there.

STEVE:
I totally agree. Tracey has really accomplished a lot — and yet she’s totally down to Earth, too. That was very cool.

ROD:
And by the way, Steve and I will be attending WSRCA in Las Vegas this June. It’s always a great time. I feel like you can learn a lot there, you can meet a lot of great people, and you can have plenty of fun.

STEVE:
Very true. We’ll be at the Expo showing off Roof Chief, that’s the software that Rod and I developed specifically to help roofing contractors. We think it’s easy and fast to use — and it contains a lot of ways to help you run your jobs and maximize your profit.

ROD:
It tracks your leads, your costs, and your margin. You can easily send professional contracts, material lists — you name it. We’re very proud of what this does for you and how it can make your life better.

STEVE:
So get in touch with us so we can tell you more. And you can check out Roof Chief at roofchief.com

ROD:
Until then, thank you again to Tracey Prociw. And thank you everybody for listening.

STEVE:
We’ve got another episode of the Roof Insight Show on the way soon. Keep looking out for it.

ROD:
Thanks again.

STEVE:
Thank you.

 

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