For the past four consecutive years, the Hargrove Roofing & Construction company of Shreveport, Louisiana, experts in both residential and commercial roofing (including installations, insurance claims, and repairs), has been ranked in the Top 100 in the entire country by Roofing Contractors Magazine.
That is a great accomplishment, but what makes it startling, even, is that the family-owned company only started up in 2017, just three years before its recognition by the roofing industry’s leading magazine. Hargrove was also recognized three years in a row by Louisiana State University (LSU) which publishes its own annual Top 100 lists, celebrating the 100 fastest-growing LSU graduate-owned or graduate-led businesses in the world.
The company has indeed grown in its seven years: from one office to seven; from a handful of employees to over 90; from three million dollars in its first year of operation to five, then eight, then eighteen, then twenty-four million dollars, with a projection of $32 million or higher at the end of 2023. And Hargrove’s catchy invitation, “Know Who’s On Your Roof,” seems to be everywhere.
Starting at the top
We spoke with Billy Hargrove, who brings to his role of company President and CEO a unique skill set derived from his formal studies in architecture at LSU, his experience as a licensed architect working mainly in the health care sector, and his experience as a member of a musical band which saw him touring across the U.S., from Los Angeles to New York and even playing live shows in London.
Initially, the company provided roofing services to residential customers only, but in its second year of operation, Hargrove went back to his architectural roots where he had specialized in medical and health care facilities. “I reached out to my hospital contacts and started doing roofs for them, and so our commercial division was established with 70 percent of its work in health care,” he explains.
In case you’re wondering how time in a touring band can enhance your success in the roofing industry, wonder no more. “The music industry teaches you to sink or swim,” Hargrove says. “Some nights we didn’t have enough money for gas, and after the show, I’d be selling CDs and t-shirts. It taught me to see other perspectives and to be thankful for any money I earned; it taught me leadership and helped me deal with chaos.”
Certainly, there are chaotic times in the roofing industry, particularly in the southern U.S. where hurricanes and tornados can rip off roofs in a matter of seconds; where ‘storm chasers’ arrive in town to take advantage of residential customers and then disappear with the insurance check. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all ‘storm chasers’ and there are good ones too, Hargrove says, who get the job done—but it’s simply not his company’s style.
In contrast to the out-of-town storm chasers, Hargrove Roofing has established seven regional offices in two states. In Louisiana, the company has a presence in Shreveport, Natchitoches, and Lafayette/Baton Rouge, while in Texas, there are offices in Austin, Tyler, Texarkana, Dallas, and Houston. The Houston office, the second to open after Shreveport, focuses on commercial roofing and is led by Hargrove’s sister, Mae Hargrove O’Brien and good friend, Brad Frost.
“Our model is to be entrenched in the local region,” Hargrove says, “and not go chasing storms. Yes, we do make money after a hurricane, but we also look to see how we can help the families whose homes have been severely damaged and see what we can do to get them watertight as quickly as possible. We just want to do our job as good citizens of Louisiana and Texas.”
Communication is quality
Hargrove explains how important it is to communicate with the client during every step of any project, whether it involves a roof replacement or a specific service such as attic venting, gutter installation, or window replacement. “Sometimes people will say we communicate too much, but that’s a good problem to have, and something I’ve tried to drill into the culture,” he says.
It’s also important to maintain open communication channels with suppliers, and of course, with employees, so that everyone is on the same page.
In addition, Hargrove believes in educating clients so they can make informed decisions about whether to repair or replace a roof, and in choosing materials not only by cost but also from the perspective of longevity, building performance, and environmental impact.
More pies and more slices
Billy Hargrove says he’s very happy with the locations the company has now and won’t be acquiring more any time soon; instead, his focus is to make the current operations as successful as possible while driving the standard of quality the company has set to new heights.
“We need to focus on what we do best: talking to clients and making sure they have a maximum quality of experience with us. I’m not going to grow if I can’t do that. This company is only eight years old, and I want to be doing this work for the next 30 years. I can’t do that if I have a bad reputation,” he says.
“I’m going to spend a bit more money than my competitors and do it the right way, (which will give myself a smaller piece of the pie regarding profits), but eventually, we’ll end up with a lot more pies, and that’s how we’ll continue to be successful.”