November 7, 2022 at 4:32 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Andy Langham of Langham and Sons Roofing and Brandon Burden of DaVinci Roofscapes. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast. 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a long term professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews, and exciting news in the roofing industry today.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Hello and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips from Roofers Coffee Shop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I am here with two prominent gentlemen, Andy Langham of Langham & Sons Roofing, and Brandon Burden of DaVinci Roofscapes. So I’m really excited about us talking about a lot of things that are going on, especially around material shortages and the supply chain. But before we do that, let’s start with some introductions. So Andy, could you introduce yourself first?

Andy Langham:

Sure. Andy Langham with Langham & Sons Roofing here in central Kentucky. We’re a small family owned operation that specializes in equine industry and historic projects as well as just general residential roofing.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow, very cool. Very cool. Brandon, can you introduce yourself?

Brandon Burde:

Brandon Burden with DaVinci Roofscapes. Territory sales manager covering Kentucky, Tennessee, North Alabama, and North Mississippi.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Perfect. Well, let’s start with talking about what you’re hearing everyone talk about, and unfortunately, this last year that has been on supply chain, material shortages and especially around the demand for high end asphalt, real cedar, and other roofing products. It’s been a year. We really have had a hard time with that, but DaVinci has been doing really well.

And so Andy, I would love it if you could maybe start us out with telling us how you’ve been able to open up to your clients with composite. I mean, you just said equine. I think that’s so interesting. So how have you been able to offer DaVinci in the past year and really make it work?

Andy Langham:

Yeah, so the equine industry, obviously, there’s a little bit of cash flow going on there. It’s a higher end world and appearance is really high on their chart as well as performance. But in particular, a lot of them use slate, which is somewhat difficult to get. Lead times are pretty extended as well as wood shake.

So wood shake is an interesting avenue at this point because it’s very hard to even get a price for wood shake these days, let alone get the material. It’s a real easy conversion for me. The performance outweighs, in many aspects, real wood shake. DaVinci’s done a great job with their appearance of it, mimicking, shake, and especially slate.

And Brandon knows, but we’ve done a ton of slate work in the equine industry with horse barns and private homes as well. So it’s been a pretty easy transition for me once they’re already looking at those natural products to be able to switch to synthetics for availability.

Heidi Ellsworth:

And the performance is, I mean … that’s just something that everyone sees and sometimes, I know being from Oregon, which is a long ways from you, but wood products out here just haven’t been able to keep up with the performance of what you’re looking at.

Andy Langham:

Yeah. Certainly. And we do a lot of historic preservation as well. And when they’re specing a cedar product or something of the sort, and the lead times are at months, at times and even many cases I have been told, “I can’t tell you a lead time.”

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow.

Andy Langham:

Can we even get the wood? So synthetics are a shoe in for that. And in our area, especially with the humidity and the sorts, real wood products are really 15 to 20 year product if they’re not taken care of. And no one maintains a roof anymore. They don’t think about it once it’s over their head. So again, it’s a pretty easy sell.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah. Well, and taking care of your customers so that they get it is so important.

Brandon Burde:

It’s actually kind of crazy because where you’re at an Oregon, cedar actually lasts better there than it does here.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Really?

Brandon Burde:

Because you [inaudible 00:04:07] pretty consistent humidity. < sweat all the time. Right? Here, we have 20% humidity in the morning. Can be 80% in the afternoon and back to 10% that night. So with cedar taking on and giving off moisture so rapidly, the grains swell and the product tends to try to curl. So Andy’s absolutely right on that. 10 to 20 years is a max for us. And a lot of times, we’re seeing cedar roofs getting replaced at the eight to 10 year mark.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow. Wow. Well, okay, so Brandon, keep going on that and talking a little bit about what you’re seeing in the demand for shake from DaVinci and how you’ve been able to not only … let’s talk about the performance, and also not having the huge lead times.

Brandon Burde:

Right. So when the tariffs got put on cedar a couple of years ago, plus COVID changed everything and just labor shortage in general to mill and cut the product, we started seeing cedar. At first, it went from … it was normally eight to 10 weeks and then we were starting to see 14 to 12 weeks or 12 to 14 weeks. And then we were seeing 20 to 24 weeks. And then at some point they just said, “We don’t know when it’ll get there.”

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow.

Brandon Burde:

“It’s on a rail car. It’ll get there when it gets there. And we can’t even track it for you.” So it became a really good opportunity for us because as the sole manufacturer of the product, we know exactly how much time it’s going to take from start to finish when an order comes in to when it goes out.

Like everyone else, we did get some extended lead time during the process just because of raw material shortages, but we never went past that 10 to 12 week mark. And we’ve gotten everything back down under eight weeks now. When these kind of projects come up, it’s not like an emergency project where you have to have product immediately. You’re planning these jobs out.

I know Andy and I talk three or four times a week and we know exactly where every job is in process. So having that control and that aspect of being able to know the line and know when it’s going to come off the line, when it’s going to ship, when it’s going to get there, makes it much easier for the roofing contractor to plan their jobs out.

So cedar, during its life cycle, changes so rapidly. The color changes. Everything changes. With this product, we’re very color fast. So the big thing when we talk design with a homeowner is what color and cedar and lifecycle do you want? Because we have colors in all of our pallets that’ll do all of those things for you. So if you want cedar that’s been on a house for five years, we have the color that works for that, or of you want that just got installed yesterday, have a color that works for that.

We try to make sure that we coach our homeowners to understand that this is not going to do that. It’s not going to change over time. It’s going to look like it does the day it went on 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road. So that’s all important aspects for us when we’re talking with the homeowner on design and color preference.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I love it. I think that’s so important because what we’re seeing is homeowners and consumers with their roofing contractors, there’s a lot of research going on and they’re looking for products that will fit the need, not just today. I mean obviously with material shortages, but also are going to fit that need 10, 20, 30 years down the road.

Andy, what are some of the things that you are seeing as key selling points? Because we were just talking about colors. I love that. Do you want one that looks brand new or five years old? That’s pretty cool. What are some of the key benefits that you’re seeing working with your clients?

Andy Langham:

Well, obviously the DaVinci product isn’t for everyone. But it is for a lot of people because of its performance and quality. So if you have a higher end customer that’s already looking in the higher end asphalt world or these other natural product worlds, it’s really easy to shift them over to this product.

The performance for me, as my history is not a salesman. My history is I’m an installer. That’s what I grew up doing with my dad. So I can talk about the performance of it, how it installs identical to a real slate or real cedar, the enhanced performances against any elements that we see, hail, wind, those sorts of things. So there’s a real value in it along with the look. I mean it stands out far beyond any asphalt roof you would see. And even as many years as I’ve been doing this, I’ll pull up to a DaVinci job and I couldn’t tell you if it was slate or not.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow.

Andy Langham:

Because they do such a good job mimicking it. So all those things are a huge selling point. And then when you get into the world of wood shake in our area, especially, you get algaes and things like that. And again, no homeowner takes care of their roof anymore. It’s above their eye eyesight and they don’t really look up so their product doesn’t grow algae. It doesn’t get streaking like you would on asphalt, those sorts of things. So I guess the short answer would be appearance, performance, and longevity of the product.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah. Now also, I mean Andy, one of the things that DaVinci is very well known for is their lifetime warranty on the products. How does that help you when you’re upgrading homeowners to be able to have that reassurance?

Andy Langham:

So I’m kind of a realist when it comes to selling things. I don’t sell the manufacturer warranty as it is states, I guess is the right way to say it. So an asphalt shingle, you’ve got a prorated warranty out to 40, 50 years on some of these. I’ve never seen an asphalt roof last 50 years. I’ve seen a few that were 40 years and they should have been replaced at 20 years. And that’s kind of a selling point for me. So if they’re going from asphalt to DaVinci, you’re going to get 20 to 25 years out of your asphalt roof at most. Now if you go to DaVinci, that is a true lifetime product for me. So anyone purchasing this is in their 20s and I think this product is going to last you the rest of the time in this home.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow.

Andy Langham:

So that’s a pretty easy sell for me. And again, being a realist of, I’m not an on the paper read the warranty guy. I’m going to tell you real world experience what I’ve seen as far as that goes. And I really think that DaVinci has it nailed as far as a true lifetime warranty.

Heidi Ellsworth:

[inaudible 00:10:51]. So Brandon, to that point with the lifetime warranty, and also I would love to have you comment a little bit on what Andy was saying about low maintenance. Because Andy, I love how you say the homeowners just aren’t looking up. So they need a roof that … I mean they’re looking up to see how beautiful it is of course, but not to worry what should I be doing with it? So that low maintenance I think is a key factor. So I mean Brandon, can you touch on that, the warranty and the low maintenance? Because I think that’s so strong.

Brandon Burde:

Yeah, absolutely. So our warranty is built around what everybody else in the industry’s warranty is built around when we say lifetime warranty, a limited lifetime warranty. We’ve been in business since ’99. We put our first installations on in 2002. We’re pretty comfortable in this being an 80 to a 100 year roof.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow.

Brandon Burde:

I talk about that with homeowners all the time. So I tell a homeowner when I’m speaking with them or [inaudible 00:11:48] with Andy or one of my other contractors, we talk about, look, this is the last roof you’ll ever put on this house. And it doesn’t matter their age. Homeowner’s 20. Last roof they’re going to put on that house. Homeowner’s 50. Last roof they’re going to put on the house.

We do a tremendous amount of work on our material science and our formulation make sure that our product is going to perform and exceed expectations. We know we’re a premium product. So we expect a premium result when the product goes on the roof. We also carry a class A fire rating with the right [inaudible 00:12:22]. That’s something we talk about a lot in certain areas of the country. For [inaudible 00:12:27] Lexington, it’s not as big a deal for the most part, but if you get in to California, it’s a huge deal. Right?

Heidi Ellsworth:

Huge.

Brandon Burde:

They worry about it with wildfire. In my territory, if you get over into Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, where the entire Smokey Mountains caught fire about [inaudible 00:12:44], they adopted Firewise building code. So that’s a very important thing for us. We don’t have to add any formulation to our product to make it class A. You just have to use the right underlayment because you have to test the entire roof system.

So our warranty is bar none the best warranty in the business on this type of product. We’re one of the few manufacturers in the synthetic industry that actually have a fate warranty on our product. So we’re very colored fast. Class four impact rated, anything less than a baseball sized hail is going to bounce off the product. It’s just built to last forever.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah, well I love that too because I think we all talk. Right? So if you’re in the same community of houses, you’re going to be talking about what’s the best roof for it? Ooh, look at so and so got that new roof. It’s so beautiful. And especially when you’re in with a specialty community like the equine community. Right? I grew up on it. I grew up out in ranches and Barnes and everything and everybody’s watching everybody else and what they’re doing. So Andy, when you’re looking at that and what are you hearing from some of those customers and how much word of mouth are you seeing around the DaVinci products?

Andy Langham:

Word of mouth is huge. My business model and how I’ve operated since the start is all word of mouth referral basis, 100%. I think my advertising budget’s like 2,500 bucks a year or something like that.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow. Awesome.

Andy Langham:

So word of mouth is huge. The equine industry is definitely keeping up with the Joneses type thing. So they all are looking at what each other have and have not and that sort of thing. So we’ve done a few farms that really, it grabbed hold heavy on one farm that we did. And I mean we did several structures on that farm.

Once that happened, they’re all having dinner together and whatnot. And it really led to a kind of takeoff point there. Now most of these farms in Kentucky are very private and it’s hard for me to show any customers my work and that sort of thing, which is fine. And Brandon and I tried to get in there and get them to get some publicity going with these things, but they’re not having it.

But yeah, word of mouth is huge and the equine world is specific too for not just roofing but cleanliness and making sure that if a horse gets a nail in the foot or something like that, it’s devastating to them. So that’s huge for us. Word of mouth has been a 100% our model here. And DaVinci, once we’re done with the appearance of it, everyone’s talking about it.

Heidi Ellsworth:

People are loving it.

Andy Langham:

Yeah, for sure.

Heidi Ellsworth:

They’re telling everybody else they should be getting that. Yeah. And working with you, obviously.

Andy Langham:

That’s the goal.

Heidi Ellsworth:

That’s the goal. We want to keep more people coming your way. Well, okay. So now, again, I’m not don’t know how much you get hit by storms there Andy, but what have you been seeing? Do you see too much around the insurance benefits or what homeowners and business owners are kind of … I mean, it’s kind of nice when if you’re going to get hit with high winds class four hail or something like that, it’s going to bounce right off. I mean that’s the kind of roof you want.

Andy Langham:

Yeah, absolutely. I talked to Brandon about this the other day. Because I’m not an insurance based company, I’m pretty ignorant to the insurance world and rates and what they approve and don’t approve. I’ve had several customers that got paid for a roof that was an asphalt roof that has now switched to a DaVinci product. We just did one here locally because they’re sick of dealing with an asphalt roof and having to replace it every time a storm rolls through.

As far as rates and their savings on it, I think every insurance company is probably a little different. Kentucky Farm Bureau I was told doesn’t have any claw for hell or wind rating right now, so that’s tough to speak about. But Brandon probably has more information on that because he just had to kind of recently deal with that himself on his home.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah. Brandon, and you see it all over across the country.

Brandon Burde:

[inaudible 00:16:51] all over Kentucky. And we actually took a direct hit from the F4 tornado in December.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow.

Brandon Burde:

I was out of my house for almost six months.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Oh sorry.

Brandon Burde:

Oh yeah. We’re all good. Everybody was alive.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Good.

Brandon Burde:

Way luckier than a lot of folks. We had several fatalities in my city and it was a tremendous amount of damage. But my house was almost a complete remodel and I was lucky enough to be able to go back with the product that I selled as my personal roof. So I can speak to this uniquely. It equated to a 15% reduction in my homeowner’s premiums.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Nice.

Brandon Burde:

Just for putting on a class four impact rated roof. So it really varies. The insurance reduction or deduction or discount, however you want to look at that, that is based on location. It’s based on the carrier that you’re with. It’s based on a lot of things.

Some of them have what they call a Roof it Right document that you have to do. Most of the time, if you’re going to get a discount based on a class four impact rated roof that you do have to sign a cosmetics clause, because even though it’s not going to damage the product, what they’re saying then is if it doesn’t damage the product, then they may not replace for cosmetic appearance problems. Right?

And they do that mostly because of metal. With a metal roof, most of the time hail’s not going to damage it to the point of leaking, but it’s going to make it look like somebody went up with a sack full of golf balls and just beat it all the pieces. Right?

Heidi Ellsworth:

Right.

Brandon Burde:

I went ahead and signed that cosmetic clause on my house because I know that anything less than baseball size hail, I’m not even going to take cosmetic damage. If it’s bigger than that, I mean, if you’re getting in softball size hail or something like that, then it’s a catastrophic storm event. You’re going to damage the product anyway. So I felt very comfortable in signing a cosmetic clause with my product on my proof because I know what that’s going to look like over time.

So also with class A fire rating, depending on where you’re located, class A fire rating might also give you another discount on your homeowner’s insurance or on your business insurance. So you really just have to check with your insurance agent and you have to look at the zone you’re in. You have to do some digging and some research because there’s not one standardized thing that works across the board.

The good thing about putting on a product that has very high wind adding and a very high hail rating and all those things is the little storms that often will take out asphalt won’t even touch. I have one of my contractors in Louisville, Kentucky called me. He put DaVinci on his personal home. And he called me, I don’t know, three or four months ago and said that they had had the F3 tornado. Didn’t touch down, but went over the top of his house and he took zero damage. And all of his neighbors had lost tons of shingles off their home. And he’s actually sold several jobs based on that alone.

So when you’re talking about a product that just outperforms all of its competitors, then you get all of that outperformance in any kind of storm event, as well. And that’s the peace of mind that we talk about when we’re selling our home.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I think so many [inaudible 00:20:18]. Oh sorry. Oh sorry. Go ahead, Andy.

Andy Langham:

I think I would be doing DaVinci a disservice without telling a little story. And I don’t want to trail too much, but I had a customer of mine. We put a DaVinci roof on, I don’t know what, two or three years ago. They had a chimney that lightning hit and lightning blew out. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It blew out the entire side of this chimney, which then went into pieces and blew all over this roof. And I’m talking chunks of brick, four and five pieces with mortar still attached onto the roof. Did so much damage that broke rafters, sheeting, all of that.

It had two punctures in the DaVinci product on the whole thing. So we’re talking about a product here that is stronger than the structure that’s under it. It’s more forgiving than the structure that’s under it. Now, unfortunately, because it’s damaged the rafters and cheating, we’ve got to take the whole section off. But by all intents and purposes, it damaged two DaVinci tiles.

So the customer calls me. We went and looked at it. I said, “Look, we can do a quick patch while we wait on the insurance, whatnot. The piece of mind that they have now, knowing that they don’t have to have a tarp over their roof for the next three months or whatever it takes for this to get repaired is huge. And that customer loan has sold by word of mouth, I don’t know, 10 or 12 roofs using DaVinci since. So just a testament to the product there.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I think that’s so important. And you know what I like too? And having known a lot of the DaVinci representatives like Brandon who work across the country, you’re always there for the contractors, Brandon. And let’s figure this insurance out. Let’s figure out whether there’s class A, class four, what are we doing? I think that’s really important.

And Andy, I know we talked about at the beginning of this that you talked two or three times a week as you’re working on scheduling and making sure you have materials on the job. What does that mean for your business?

Andy Langham:

Well, it’s huge. And that’s actually one of the things I would wanted to speak about also, was a relationship with the manufacturer rep, or if the manufacturer doesn’t have a rep, someone inside the factory. Brandon is huge for me to rely on for questions, answers, any of that stuff. Well, I don’t know that we’ve ever talked a warranty issue with this product. So there’s none of that. But you know, you run into questions with lead time and colors and, hey, can you quickly get me a sample? I’ve got a customer switching colors on me. There’s all these things that if you have a good rep like Brandon, and honestly everyone in the DaVinci company, all of the inside people that I’ve never talked to on the phone but emailed back and forth and those sorts of things, it’s huge for the success start to finish on a sale of a roof like this.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah. I know. It is all the difference. And Brandon, as you have built all these relationships with the contractors, I mean just the quality of DaVinci contractors, it just continues to impress me.

Brandon Burde:

We’re very fortunate, right? We’re fortunate in the fact that we own a great share of this market as far as the synthetic segment goes. And we can be pretty choosy on the people that we interact with. So you’re fortunate in the fact that when we sit down with a contractor to start this process and to talk about what their business looks like and all of the things that we do as territory managers, we can pretty much gauge, okay, is this somebody that’s going to be invested in my business like I’m going to be invested in theirs? Can we make this a true partnership, a true relationship? And go forward that way.

We’re very proud of our contractor base and we defend them and bolster them and they become our best friends. Right? Andy and I have hung out together outside of work situations. I mean, you just become friends with these people, friends with their families, because they’re important to you and you hope you’re important to them.

And so if it’s done right, it’s as simple as that. I tell people all the time, “My job’s great, it’s easy.” I get to travel and make friends with people and then my friends end up buying things from me. So if I keep it that simple, then it’s beautiful, right? When we start to get mired down in all the day to day of, oh my God, this is going wrong and that and this and that, then we over-complicate things and we shouldn’t over-complicate that. We should just be, hey, I get to go hang out with my friend on a roof today. And that’s kind of how I look at life. We just keep it simple.

We’re fortunate also in the fact that even though we’re a big company, we have a small company mentality. So I tell my contractors all the time, “Look, I’m not too busy. I’m not too busy. If you need me to meet with your homeowner and sit at the and help you sell a job, call me. I’ll get it on the schedule and go do it.”

So when you have that kind of freedom, and kudos to my company for allowing us to have that kind of freedom, you have that kind of freedom that you can realistically use your time in the way that makes the most sense for you. It makes things a lot easier to deal with. So …

Heidi Ellsworth:

It really does.

Brandon Burde:

Like I said, we’re really happy about our contractor base and we really think the world of them and without those guys out doing what they do, there’s no reason for me to be there. So …

Heidi Ellsworth:

Well, it sounds like it’s mutual, both ways.

Andy Langham:

I feel the love.

Heidi Ellsworth:

You feel the love. I love it. And you know what? I wanted to just kind of, as you were saying that Brandon, I just want to say, this is so roofing. This is what roofing industry is all about. I love that so much. So …

Brandon Burde:

The house that he was talking about with the chimney that exploded was the first job that he and I did together. That was the end of 2018. And that homeowner still calls me every three months to tell me that she loves her roof.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Oh my gosh, that’s the best story ever. I love that. After being hit by lightning and then to have the best roof ever.

Brandon Burde:

She and her husband have invited us into the community that they live in for their little HOA cookouts and I mean, they’re great people, right?

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah. I love it. I love it. Well-

Brandon Burde:

[inaudible 00:27:11] we deal with every day.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Gentlemen, I just have to say thank you. You’ve really made my day. I kind of am like … this has just been so amazing because it really shows the heart and soul of the roofing industry and what it means to put on quality products and really take care of your customers and also how manufacturers are taking care of their contractors. You know? Like you said Brandan, it doesn’t work unless everybody’s working together to make it right and do the right things. So thank you both for being on the show today.

Andy Langham:

Yeah, happy to be here.

Brandon Burde:

Yeah, thanks for having us. [inaudible 00:27:46].

Heidi Ellsworth:

Thank you. Thank you. And thank you to everyone for listening. You can find out all about DaVinci on Roofer’s Coffee Shop in the DaVinci directory. Also, just so you know, DaVinci is one of our top folks on our Ask a Roofer site. So askaroofer.com, check it out. Great information for homeowners. DaVinci just offers so many great articles and information.

So between the rooferscoffeeshop.com and askaroofer.com, you can find all the information you need. And of course, be sure to listen to all of our podcasts. You can find all of our podcasts under the read, listen, watch navigation at rooferscoffeeshop.com or subscribe on your favorite podcast channel and be sure to hit those notifications so you don’t miss a single episode. And we will see you next time on Roofing Road Trips.

Speaker 1:

Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips with Heidi from the rooferscoffeeshop.com.





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