Back in 2017, Able Restoration took the roofing industry by storm when they amassed an army of over 100 salespeople and opened offices around the United States.
Yet, as many know, it wasn’t long before Able Restoration imploded and was forced to file for bankruptcy.
Recently, Able Restoration released a documentary that highlighted the rise and fall of the roofing company.
The documentary covers much of what led to Able Restoration ultimately failing, which is why new roofing business owners can use Able Restoration as a case study for how not to operate a roofing company.
Keep reading to learn what Roofing Insights CEO Dmitry Lipinskiy is telling roofing business owners so that they can avoid the same problems that Able Restoration had.
1. If it sounds/looks too good to be true, it probably is
From their inception, Able Restoration was flashy on social media.
They had cultivated a Wolf of Wall Street-like culture for their salespeople, and while this appealed to many online viewers, Able Restoration’s virtual bravado was not indicative of the company’s overall success.
“In the storm restoration industry, we see a lot of people on the rise who are buying boats, Ferraris, and are living a lavish lifestyle. Yet we often later find out what’s really going on behind the scenes,” says Lipinskiy.
At Able Restoration, everything they produced from a content perspective served the company and its salespeople.
There was never any attention being given to what the company did for homeowners. Able Restoration only showcased how their brand was benefitting from selling roofs.
This mentality may generate clicks online, but it won’t lead to fostering a sustainable roofing company.
“I often tell my contractors to stay humble as long as they possibly can. There’s no reason to go buy fancy boats or cars. It’s a recipe for failure,” says Lipinskiy.
“Able Restoration was that kind of company. They were very big. Everybody was looking up to them and then they disappeared. Don’t overreact just because someone is flexing their big checks and their big jobs. Just because someone is showing off on social media does not make them successful.”
It’s important to remember that no matter how much sales a roofing company does, if there are poor systems in place and money is mismanaged, the business will likely fail.
Each of these companies generates millions of dollars in revenue annually, but they also have the systems in place to service customers and address any issues that may arise.
“One thing that those two companies have in common is that they stayed humble for a long time. They paid themselves a modest salary, they did not show off, and they built a solid brand,” notes Lipinskiy.
“Able Restoration was very flashy and today they are nowhere to be found.”
2. You cannot build an empire without good customer service
Earning $60 million in roofing sales is a tremendous feat, but once those jobs are sold, they also have to be managed and later completed to each customer’s satisfaction.
This is one area where Able Restoration fell short.
“I didn’t see them talking about customer service, and if you don’t have that, you’re going to go out of business. It’s only a matter of when,” Lipinskiy acknowledges.
This is also why many storm chasers struggle to remain in business.
They simply do not have the infrastructure needed to take care of homeowners.
“Storm chasers focus so much on sales and culture, and that’s selfish. It’s only about what they can do for their own benefit,” says Lipinskiy.
Once again, no number of sales can save a roofing company if they are not committed to ensuring homeowner satisfaction.
“If you’re not taking care of homeowners, you won’t be successful and you won’t be able to build an empire,” says Lipinskiy.
“For forty minutes [length of the documentary], I heard Justin Casequin [owner of Able Restoration] talk about how his sales guys were benefiting from Able Restoration, but I never heard about what the homeowners were getting. We can never forget that roofing contractors are in business to help homeowners, and that they will fire us if we stop delivering results.”
3. Culture is only 20% of your success
A roofing business should be broken up into five equal parts: administration, accounting, marketing, sales, and production.
Able Restoration had a great sales team, but they were missing out on the other key parts needed to run a roofing business.
“We can never forget that your sales and administration are only small pieces of your roofing business,” says Lipinskiy.
“If you blow up your sales and give it too much emphasis, you will fail everywhere else. The secret to success in the roofing business is to grow each department at the same rate.”
The same can be said for Able Restoration’s company culture, in that the warm and inviting culture of the roofing company was still not enough to offset the lack of attention given to production and accounting.
“What I felt was happening at Able Restoration was they put culture on a pedestal, and they neglected a lot of other departments in their organization, including production, accounting, and marketing,” explains Lipinskiy.
“Able Restoration was excellent at a few things, but they forgot that culture is not everything. When you put culture at the top, sooner or later the organization will blow up.”
4. Numbers don’t lie
Perhaps the biggest fault of Able Restoration was their pay structure.
In the documentary, owner Justin Casequin shows viewers how he was compensating salespeople and the production staff.
To make a long story short, Able Restoration was dipping too far into their profits before the job was ever started.
This created a deficit that the roofing company never could overcome.
“An imbalance in accounting will always get back to you. If you have a bad compensation program or if you don’t understand profit and loss, eventually you will not have money to pay your bills,” says Lipinskiy.
“That’s what happens to a lot of storm chasers. They have good intentions, but when they don’t have their accounting under control, they don’t have money to pay sales guys.”
As mentioned, when roofing business owners don’t have money to pay salespeople or take care of homeowners, often it is because of poor financial discipline.
“Able Restoration was generous. The whole company was built around sales guys, but not around the financial stability of the company,” says Lipinskiy.
“Some owners take too much cash from the business and they never see the trees through the forest.”
5. Sales don’t fix everything
Contrary to what sales guru Grant Cardone preaches, sales cannot fix everything within a business.
That’s why despite Able Restoration employing over 100 salespeople who in combination generated over $60 million in sales, the roofing company still was forced to close its doors.
Attention roofing business owners:
Good salespeople can be replaced, but bad accounting and production departments could spell the end of your roofing business.
“It’s very common for roofing salesmen to think they are irreplaceable,” says Lipinskiy. “Everyone in the roofing industry is guilty of this. We think the company will collapse without us, but owners can always hire another crew or sales guy.”
For Able Restoration, they may still be in business today had they placed as much emphasis on homeowners and production as they did on sales.
But they didn’t, and as we all know, Able Restoration was unable to survive.
“They ultimately failed because they outsold their production department. There was a moment in the documentary where they were looking at all the jobs they had to produce and because they were so imbalanced, their downfall was inevitable,” says Lipinskiy.
To learn more about this story, watch the entire Able Restoration documentary on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe to all of Roofing Insights’ social media channels so you never miss any of their upcoming content!