ACME Home Exteriors is located in Lansing, Michigan and currently has a 4.7 rating on Google.
ACME Home Exteriors has been a staple of the Lansing community since 1957, but owners Dan Smeak and Josh Martin are relatively new to the company.
“I bought the company in 2018 and ran it for a couple years by myself,” says Josh Martin, but it wasn’t long before Dan Smeak became a member of the roofing company.
“I came on in 2019. I come from the home exteriors industry in the Lansing, Michigan area, and I’ve been in this industry for twenty years,” explains Smeak.
The pairing of Smeak and Martin can be traced back to when they were introduced by a mutual friend who worked in distribution.
“We started to form a business relationship and Josh offered me a partnership in ACME. We have been in business together now for a year and a half,” says Smeak.
“When I met Dan, I wasn’t actively looking for a business partner, but roofing is a difficult business to be in and manage by yourself.”
The partnership then made perfect sense, considering Smeak also had aspirations of becoming a roofing business owner, despite his hesitancy to start his own company.
“Personality-wise, we match up really well, so the partnership is a good fit,” notes Martin.
As mentioned, Smeak has over twenty years of experience in the roofing industry, but if it wasn’t for a rejection and then a surprise phone call, Smeak very likely would not be working in the roofing industry.
“Right after high school I needed a job, so I called a builder I knew and he said no, but his son later called me and asked if I wanted to get into roofing,” says Smeak.
“Eventually we had multiple crews and I couldn’t be on the roof anymore because I needed to manage those crews. Later I started selling and found a passion for that. I also became knowledgeable and good at the roofing installation process.”
For Martin, his indoctrination into the roofing industry was much different.
“I grew up in a family business. I started working in my grandpa’s warehouse when I was eleven. I was doing sweeping and learning how to pull orders and put stuff away. He paid me four dollars an hour, and at the end of the summer I had made $1,000,” Martin explains.
“I eventually started taking on more responsibility, got a few raises, and by the time I was eighteen they sent me out on jobs. It got to the point where I was doing bids and project management.”
As Martin slowly became more adept at navigating the roofing business, he then sought to branch out on his own and purchase his own roofing company.
“ACME was for sale, so I talked to the business owner, put a deal together, and bought them out,” recalls Martin.
Today, ACME Home Exteriors does more than just roof installations.
“We do all forms of exteriors: roofing, siding, windows, and decks. I’ve always found roofing to be the easiest to do because we know the products really well,”
While ACME Home Exteriors has hit their stride in the roofing business, that doesn’t mean that there are not constant challenges that are associated with maintaining a roofing company.
“I find that roofing has its ups and downs because if it doesn’t rain for two months, we might not get any leads. If no roofs are leaking, homeowners aren’t calling us,” says Smeak.
Martin also understands the difficulties that come with being a roofing business owner.
“Anytime you’re taking 5,000 pounds of shingles off somebody’s roof, cleaning that up, and then putting 5,000 pounds back on, there will be issues. It’s stressful and hard to manage. The installers are getting beat up because that’s a lot of work for them. Tempers flare and there are always a lot of challenges to work through,” he explains.
Beyond the daily obstacles that come with running a roofing business, Smeak and Martin also have to deal with the unique challenges that the Lansing roofing market offers.
“My perspective on the Lansing market is that it’s a very closed market. I’ve worked as a contractor mostly outside of Lansing, in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. Here in Lansing, all the contractors work for other contractors in this area. It’s a very close-knit community, so once you’re in, you’re in; but when you’re on the outside, you don’t get much work,” Martin says.
“Lansing has been around for a long time. We’re about an hour from the larger metropolitan areas, so we are kind of secluded because there are miles of farmland between us and them.”
“Like Josh said, Lansing is very close-knit, but it’s also growing and sprawling because you have old homes in the center of the city, along with newer homes as you move further out.”
ACME Home Exteriors is a GAF Master Elite Contractor, and one reason Smeak and Martin choose to install GAF shingles is because of the stellar warranties that the shingle manufacturer offers to homeowners.
“We feel GAF does a good job of pushing their warranties, especially the upgraded warranties. We feel confident because since they’re one of the bigger shingles manufacturers, we know they’re going to back up those warranties,”
“That is something that we want to have for our clients because when we sell a homeowner a premium warranty, we want to know that our manufacturer is going to back that up.”
Another reason ACME Home Exteriors installs GAF shingles is because of the various upgrades that GAF has made to their roofing products over the years.
“One of the big complaints we had was that the shingles were slippery when we installed them, especially when the weather started to warm up. The granules would slide off the shingles,” Smeak says, then mentioning that because GAF listens to the concerns that roofing contractors have, both parties have been able to find a resolution.
In addition to installing pristine roofing shingles, ACME Home Exteriors also installs CertainTeed siding.
One benefit to installing this brand of siding is that CertainTeed manufactures that siding in nearby Jackson, Michigan.
“It’s nice to have that local factory supplying some of our products,”
ACME Home Exteriors also installs James Hardie siding, as well as cedar siding.
“We have a lot of neighborhoods that are all wood siding, so we do a lot of cedar repairs,” says Smeak, who then explains that installing cedar siding can be difficult.
“One of the challenges with the cedar siding product that we are using is we have to face-nail that product for it to be stable and stay on the house correctly. It’s not always the most visually appealing, but with a good painter we can hide that because we use a stainless-steel nail. With this nail, you don’t get streaks and the nail will never rust out on you.”
All things considered, ACME Home Exteriors has a good grasp on how to be a successful roofing company in Lansing, Michigan.
Still, Smeak emphasizes how crucial it is to continue doing good work for homeowners in order for ACME Home Exteriors to remain in business. At the same time, he acknowledges that the company will never be perfect.
“It’s important that you do a good job and stand behind your work. It’s something I strive for every day,” says Smeak.
“We are not perfect. We make mistakes, but we will get back out there and take care of anything that comes up. I’ve been in the roofing business for twenty years and I plan on doing another twenty years. I’m not going anywhere. I live in this area. This is my home and my community.”
Want to learn more about ACME Home Exteriors?
Visit their website today or give them a call at 517-321-5890!