Paul Kirkwood, A Man With Multiple Certifications Talks Roofing Education.
As a GAF-certified contractor, Kirkwood knows a lot about the roofing industry, but he doesn’t know everything, and that’s why he continues to take GAF courses. The man simply wants to learn.
“I don’t stop reading just because I know how to read. I want to read more. I want to know more,”
Kirkwood tells Dmitry from the comforts of the Rapid Roofing headquarters in Canton, Michigan.
Kirkwood’s mentality varies from that of other roofers who feel that billion-dollar companies like GAF are working against them, and therefore never do their trainings in order to get certified.
“There are some guys that are not willing to learn,”
Kirkwood agrees, at the same time finding that sort of resistance to be detrimental to one’s growth.
He references football coaching icons like Nick Saban at Alabama and Bill Bellichek of the New England Patriots as guys he admires because they’re well-known for always continuing to learn and evolve.
Kirkwood says that if well-paid and successful guys like Saban and Bellichek never stop learning, then neither should roofers.
“If you know everything, then go know everything,”
“But if you’re smart enough to know that you’re not the smartest person in the room, then have your ears open, use them twice as much as your mouth, pay attention, and follow your dream. If you do these things, and you really apply yourself and you continue your education, there’s a lot of information out there.”
Adopting these ideologies is why Kirkwood and Rapid Roofing are successful.
Rapid Roofing is also part of a rising number of roofers who have transformed their businesses to serve their customers’ needs, and not the needs of their own.
“We are a service business,”
Kirkwood says, going on to explain that consumers will always be able to find a cheaper price, but if he and his staff make a concerted effort to value the homeowner experience, their price will be superseded by the superior service they provide.
“They [other companies] are not delivering what we’re delivering,”
Kirkwood confidently shares.
But Kirkwood is quick to mention that for as much as he values his services, of greater importance is the relationships he’s been able to cultivate with reps from major companies like GAF and CertainTeed.
“One of the things I think the roofing industry struggles with, a lot, is the support of the contractors.”
Kirkwood feels major companies like GAF, CertainTeed, and Owens Corning could do a better job of collaborating with roofers to ensure that quality control is maintained throughout the entire process.
“You need to have relationships in this business,”
“Stop marketing to the contractors. Stop selling to the contractors. Come in, explain your product, why you feel it’s better, what the benefits are, and then show the contractor what you can do for them.”
With a renewed focus on building relationships as much as selling shingles, big companies could work to ensure that roofers are being properly trained, but also that they are incentivized to do the right thing so that everyone from the customer to the CEO goes to bed happy.
As for which shingles brand is considered the best, there will always be a debate between roofing constituents. Kirkwood doesn’t buy into that noise, opting instead to focus on what helps his business and customers.
His thoughts on what others have to say:
“I’m not concerned with their opinion. Their opinion isn’t making me any money.”
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