Giving Customers the Royal Treatment
King Quality Construction
Residential roofing, siding, and window firm King Quality Construction has found great success by doing things differently. To start with, the Bohemia, New York-based company offers customers far more options than competitors in terms of products and financing.
As its name suggests, King Quality sets very high standards when it comes to products and customer service. The company enjoys a close relationship with GAF, North America’s leading manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing materials. In fact, it recently received one of GAF’s highest honors.
The company is totally focused on roofing, siding and window products, according to King Quality Construction Vice President Jeff Brett. Of these segments, “siding and roofing are the two biggest and windows third. It’s a forty, forty, twenty [split],” he says.
The company exclusively serves the residential market. Over the years, King Quality has carved out a very successful niche in this sector, and Brett does not want to tamper with this winning strategy by trying to land work doing industrial, government, or commercial structures. “We’re set up really for residential. We give [customers] special warranties and special colors. We have it down to a science. It’s hard opening up a new division,” he states.
Some of the products it offers have unique qualities; the Simonton 9800 window, for example, is not only “the top of the line window they make, it has the most features on it. It has double-strength glass and ‘smart glass’ that reads the angle of the sun. In wintertime, it reflects heat into the house, in the summertime, it reflects heat away,” explains Brett.
Kingwall siding is built with special insulating technology that “stops thermal bridging and wraps the house like a blanket,” he continues. Put simply, thermal bridging refers to spots in a building envelope through which heat can escape, and cold can enter. By using Kingwall siding, homeowners can ensure their houses stay consistently warm, which means greater comfort and lower heating bills.
Roofing materials, including designer shingles, are obtained from one manufacturer. “All the roofing products are made by GAF, largest roofing manufacturer in the world. They make all these different lines. The majority of roofers go to someone’s house and just offer Timberline shingles. What we do is something different. We’re able to take a photograph of the roof, show [the client] different colors, different styles, different designer shingles [from GAF]. What GAF found out, people don’t want the same roof as everybody else. They want something else,” he states. “What we’re great at is giving people the option to get something different.”
The company also offers financing options, which is an unusual move in the roofing business, according to Brett. “When someone buys siding or windows, they’re offered financing over eighty percent of the time. In the roofing industry, financing is only offered six percent of the time. One of the things we’re doing, we offer financing on every job we do. The client might not always take it, but we always offer it. This gives people more buying power to get a designer roof or a better system. In the long run, this will save them money because [the roof] will last longer,” he explains.
The actual installation work is done by subcontractors who are all certified to GAF standards. In addition to using GAF certified workers, it offers a GAF warranty called ‘the Golden Pledge.’ “What that means is, GAF will ensure that the material is defect-free for fifty years – full coverage. And GAF will replace the material for free if there is a defect,” he explains.
This is a company that has worked hard for all of its success. King Quality Construction can trace its roots to the early 1990s when Brett and some partners ran a firm called King Quality Siding and Windows.
“We built the company from scratch – knocking on doors. We tried to find the best product,” he recalls, adding that conditions were “unbelievably hard,” at first “because you have to wear every hat.”
Brett discovered Kingwall products and was deeply impressed. He also began approaching manufacturers directly to set up business arrangements. In this manner, he ended up establishing a lasting relationship with GAF. “We went to GAF and made a deal to get special warranties, special products. Anything new that came out,” he says.
GAF clearly liked what King Quality was doing and made it a Master Elite® Contractor in 1999. This title, shared by less than two percent of roofing contractors in the U.S., is only given to companies that have an excellent reputation and are committed to ongoing professional training efforts, among other attributes.
The company’s fortunes continued to rise. By 2004, “we were doing close to $20 million in business,” he says. Along the way, a new company – King Quality Construction – emerged and Brett bought out his partners. Today, he owns both the original King Quality Siding and Windows and King Quality Construction. His wife Natalie Brett is president of King Quality Construction.
Other things have changed over the years as well. Promotion was once done “mostly with print. Now we do a little bit of print but mostly TV, radio, Internet advertising. We also go to trade shows,” he states.
It also attends events outside of the household improvement industry. When interviewed, Brett was preparing for an upcoming airshow where King Quality would be hosting a booth. While an air show might seem a bit of an incongruous setting for a siding, roofing, and windows firm, such events attract gigantic crowds – which means lots of outreach opportunities with potential customers. “We’ll be at the air show, handing out water, handing out little crowns for King Quality. We do very well at those types of shows and street fairs,” he explains.
The company retains a close bond with GAF. In May 2018, King Quality received The GAF President’s Club Award, the most prestigious contractor award the roofing manufacturer offers. To earn this honor, it had to demonstrate superior performance, reliability, and service.
Winning the President’s Club Award was “unbelievable,” says Brett. “I was very proud. It was justification that when we sell a job, we’re looking to get the best possible [results] to the homeowner.”
It currently employs a small but dedicated team of telemarketers, salespeople, and administrative staff at its head office. “What we want is someone who is not looking at the clock. We’re here to serve. We’re here to help people get things they need and want. We want to get the best for your house. We want that attitude instilled in everybody [including subcontractors]. Put the customer first,” he says.
This strategy had paid dividends in terms of customer loyalty. “We get referrals, recommendations. We’ve done people’s second houses or third houses. We did their house in the past, and they want us back,” says Brett.
Acquiring skilled labor remains an issue, however. “Not just hiring crews, but hiring crews that know what they’re doing and have proper insurance. It’s hard to find the proper guys that really want to do the job correctly and really want to get it done right. There’s a huge [skilled] labor shortage in America right now. It’s definitely putting a strain on us.”
From its Bohemia headquarters, King Quality serves a wide swath of Long Island and other parts of New York State. While licensed to work in Connecticut, the firm is not doing any jobs there at present. The company is, however, contemplating launching new branches outside of its home state.
“We’re thinking about it now that the economy is really starting to roll. We’re thinking about branching out,” states Brett.
“Our goals, five years down the line, include [opening branches in] Connecticut and New Jersey. Those would be the two areas,” he says.