Making roofs built to last in the Windy City, Champion Roofing Inc. serves residential and commercial clients.
ROOFING – DONE WELL – can be a great business. It’s unlikely that roof repairs ever will become a thing of the past, and every new structure needs a solid and, hopefully, attractive roof overhead.
But it’s also rewarding, Champion Roofing Inc. owner Harry Friedman says.
“I enjoy roofing because you have a sense of satisfaction that you helped somebody in their time of need,” he says. Thank-you notes he receives from clients are a point of pride for the suburban Chicago contractor, a sign that their experience and dedication to getting a job done the right way are worthwhile.
“Besides the fact you can make money, there’s the satisfaction that you served people and did something good for them,” Friedman reiterates.
With foremen that average up to 20 years of experience in the Chicago roofing industry, Champion Roofing is well-equipped to handle changes in the industry, Friedman says. “There has been a lot of change in the past 15 to 20 years,” he said. “Commercial roofing has become much more expensive, and we’ve seen the transition from asphalt products to TPO [thermoplastic polyolefin] and PVC [polyvinyl chloride]. It’s driven by code changes and material pricing.”
Some is for the better, he says. PVC and TPO are better suited to withstand extreme weather and regular wear and tear, and they’re virtually maintenance free.
On the residential side, costs also have risen, Friedman says.
“When I started, a square of shingles cost $20. Now it’s $80 a square. ” Friedman says. “It’s from the same company, the same packaging and the exact same material. Materials have become expensive.”
That means a new roof is a larger investment, and it’s now even more important that families and general contractors choose a roofer with a solid background in the field and a good reputation.
Champion has both.
“I think particularly when it comes to residential roofing for the homeowner, 90 percent of the problems you see are due to workmanship,” Friedman says. “You need to select a quality company. You can buy the shingles anywhere. The company that’s going to stand behind the workmanship is going to make the difference.”
Fully licensed, bonded and insured, the company offers warranties for its work – part of letting clients know their investment is in good hands. Champion’s process starts with detailed written estimates that lay out exact specifications and costs. Friedman says the company has worked to select only proven products from top manufacturers – and all work is performed to manufacturer’s specifications. Clients can expect skilled tradesmen offering attention to each piece of the project through completion, he says.
“I think the experience plays a big role,” Friedman says. “People want a company that has a foundation in the industry. Now, we have customers looking to us to put a second or third roof on for their kids.
“They trusted us and want to use us again,” he adds.
Homeowners can choose from shingles in a variety of grades and colors. To provide the service and quality Champion is known for, the company sticks to trusted manufacturers GAF, Owens Corning and Tamko.
Friedman says that’s because of the exceptional quality of their materials, and they bring an array of options to the table. The manufacturers’ shingles are renowned for their durability and quality – critical due to the Chicago area’s windy climate.
To offer longevity, Champion looks fo suppliers who offer the top wind-resistant materials as well as meaningful warranties. The company offers warranties that last between 25 years and a lifetime for its installations and materials.
Champion has more than 30 years of commercial roofing experience so far – a track record for immediate responses, advanced equipment and skill, Friedman says.
“If you do the background checks on our company, you’ll find that everything we say is true,” he says. “The key to being successful in the roofing business is communication with the customer.
“People are calling you at a time of need,” Friedman adds. “They’re not calling you if they’re not leaking.”
Champion can offer those assurances. “They want to know someone is going to take care of their issue,” Friedman says. “If you can stay on top of their concern – from the initial phone call to the estimate and follow up to when the job is complete – they are going to want to stay with you.”
Online client testimonials show families and businesses have appreciated Champion’s dedication, a virtual version of those thank-you notes that make the Champion team continue their vision.
Clients say the company is prompt, professional and quick with sound advice and cost-effective solutions. That reputation has helped the company achieve a busy schedule, especially as commercial work picks up with an improving economy, Friedman says.
At peak building season, the company now has about 65 people on the job. The company is performing more than 800 residential roofs annually, plus 30 to 50 commercial projects.
“When the bottom fell out in 2008, people said, ‘Give me a repair,’ even if they needed a whole roof,” Friedman says. “As a homeowner, you do what you can do. We’re past that now.
“On the commercial side, business owners had been holding off as long as possible,” Friedman adds. “As a whole, the economy is much better and people are starting major projects again.”