Making Its Own Luck, One Guarantee at a Time
The Exterior Company
Extreme North American winters demand expert roofing. Trusted by Lancaster, Pennsylvania residents for nearly a decade, The Exterior Company (TEC) is a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing contractor that has grown mainly through referrals from customers impressed by its quality, generosity, and customer care.
In a world where the bottom line is all too often the only measure of success, discovering a service provider for which doing the right thing takes precedence over profit is always exciting, and a telling sign of this is when a company’s growth is driven mainly by word-of-mouth referrals.
TEC goes above and beyond to make happy customers. Like when its roofing teams went shopping for clients who were not at ease with venturing to supermarkets by themselves during the COVID-19 lockdown period. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that demand for its work has been skyrocketing.
The philosophy of putting people before money includes its employees. This approach to business has proven prudent and a lot more lucrative than many would think. Listed on Inc. 5000 for the past five years in a row as one of the U.S.’ fastest expanding, privately-held roofing firms, the company has established that organizational skills and unwavering service win every time.
TEC specializes in quality asphalt shingle roofs that are complemented by supplier-backed accessory products from insulation, siding, and complete gutter systems. Every roof comes with a TEC craftsmanship guarantee and optional manufacturer backed lifetime coverage.
The TEC team speedily executes jobs by ensuring that every project is staffed with enough professionals to complete smaller jobs within days as opposed to weeks. Larger, more complex projects are completed in several weeks as opposed to several months for other contractors. The company is recognized by GAF as a GAF Master Elite™ contractor – an honor that, according to Business Development Manager Joseph Hydrick, is bestowed on fewer than two percent of roofing contractors. “Installing the best systems in the business gives us a significant leg-up,” Hydrick says.
Of course, its people-positive approach to business meant that the company weathered the COVID-19 storm with grace and team spirit. “What we lost in numbers, we certainly gained in gratitude and morale. The ability to keep working and be deemed essential was a huge thing for us. It really reinforced to our employees and our market that what we are doing is, in fact, important,” says Hydrick. “With that came a resounding sense of pride. I think, culturally, we weathered COVID-19 fairly well. It strengthened some of our internal bonds during the pandemic.”
The company followed the guidelines proffered by Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf. It put in place work-from-home protocols as far as possible, made sure there was enough branded personal protection equipment to go around and installed Plexiglas in the office to keep the possibility of infection to a minimum.
Naturally, the weather waited for no pandemic, and TEC’s crews had to perform several emergency replacements during the shelter-in-place period. While this presented new challenges, such as observing strict social distancing on job sites, the company is committed to giving clients its best safety practices to safeguard their peace of mind. “It takes a tremendous amount of effort to ensure that everyone was taking safety 100 percent seriously and delivering on our word and not putting people at further risk,” says Hydrick.
It is not just clients who benefit from TEC’s largesse. Every year, its local communities are happy recipients of several drives that support charitable causes. Amongst these is the company’s very own annual event called TECSGIVING, where its staff join for a morning of doing good at the Water Street Mission in Lancaster. Last year, the company also donated around $US150, 000 to an early education program in need of support. “These are the rare checks that I love writing,” says Shana Kondor, Financial Manager.
Hydrick joined the company a year ago, just in time to join other staff members in pulling together like never before. “Starting at that time set the tone for me about the culture here. It showed me that people come first. That the company really is about doing the right thing,” he says. “It’s so authentic it almost feels surreal as it is so uncommon today.”
The company insists on staying atop the latest developments in technology to improve its overall services, as well as its speed and accuracy. One of the most recent is aerial photography to gather the exact dimensions of every roof before presenting a quote to the client. It saves time and the effort of measuring surfaces manually, removing the physical danger that always exists when getting onto a ladder or scaffolding is removed. “Construction is an old school business, but technology waits for no one,” Says Darren Baker, COO. “We are constantly refining our back end processes and increasing our efficiency.”
TEC is forever upgrading to keep its equipment up to date and very proud of its beautiful fleet of around eighty shiny black GMC Sierra pickup trucks that have become part of its signature style. In the past year, the company also started partnering with Equipter for the latest roof demolition collections carts to catch shingles as they are removed or pushed from roofs.
The business’ focus on customer care was born of Owner Ryan Hoke being tired of how badly clients were generally treated by the industry nearly a decade ago. He set out to change this and introduced a business ethos of kindness, generosity, and integrity when he founded the company in 2012. Word about his team and their work quickly spread and so did the company’s footprint. Within nine years, TEC has established its presence in multiple locations along the entire east coast.
As the company’s secret is its team of one hundred people, the process of finding new employees receives much time and attention with a thorough vetting preceding every new hire. Being on Pennsylvania’s ‘Best Places to Work’ list four years running stands testimony to the fact that the team works well together. Currently, TEC is in the running for the fifth consecutive year, and is excited to receive the results in July this year. “From an HR perspective, there is something incredibly satisfying about providing and protecting a work culture that leverages the power of a group while promoting individual growth,” says Abby John, TEC’s Office Manager/HR.
The firm ensures that it employs people who fit the TEC culture and then provides them with only the best of everything. It ensures that its crews drive only the best vehicles and receive only the best training. There are also several opportunities for staff to spend time together away from work, often alongside their partners, as a token of thanks for their support and being away from home to take care of work.
Authenticity and professionalism regularly win TEC rather large contracts. It recently completed the Garden Spot project in New Holland, Pennsylvania for Warfel Construction, where it was responsible for completing roofing, siding, gutters, and exterior trimmings on a complex of fifty cottages. “It was such a joy to be on that project for a little over a year. It was a really nice process to integrate with all the other subcontractors and reinforce our skills in that regard,” Hydrick says.
Growth aside, however, this year’s big news is that the company headquarters are relocating to Lancaster City where its new building is being completed. This well-equipped office space is in a former nineteenth-century tobacco warehouse that forms part of the city’s historic landscape. “It’s going to be such an inspiring workplace for our staff. It’s all for them. We actually have a sky-deck that overlooks the Clipper Magazine Stadium, home to the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball team. It’s going to be fantastic,” says Hydrick.
Looking toward the rest of 2021 and beyond, Hydrick notes a marked rise in integrated solar technology and green roof systems, offering consumers more choices. As a result, the TEC team drives perpetual improvement through innovation. “One strategic decision this year is that we double down on what we do best, branching further into the commercial market—owning that niche and doing the best we possibly can,” says Hydrick. The company is also looking at further developing its role as advisor to clients, educating them, helping them choose materials, and incorporating more environmentally responsible materials and practices as the need for conserving energy and the planet grows.
“We can respond, or we can lead. By focusing on making our own luck, it forces us to take ownership for the direction that we’re heading in,” Hydrick says.