Crown Roofing co-founder Guil Geneau is poised for growth.
The strong housing market in the Gulfshore area isn’t just a boon for sellers and investors. Home-improvement companies and builders have been riding the waves of economic recovery in the region as well, and those who’ve built a reputation for high-quality work and fair pricing have enjoyed tremendous growth during the past few years.
Crown Roofing is one of those companies. The contractor has four locations around the state, including Orlando, Pompano Beach and its headquarters in Sarasota. But Fort Myers is the largest market the company serves, and the home of its largest satellite office. “Housing starts in Fort Myers helped build us,” says Guil Geneau, Crown Roofing’s co-founder and company president.
The roofing industry helped define the lower Gulf Coast as well: Tiled rooftops are one of the defining architectural details of the region. According to Geneau, concrete tile has been a signature roofing material since the local housing market began its growth curve 50 or 60 years ago. He explains that concrete is widely available as a local building material, and “tile just caught on. It’s a look and aesthetic that people coming from the north really bought into, that Mediterranean and Tuscan look.” The Mediterranean style seems at home in the Florida sunshine.
And given that we live in a subtropical climate, the question arises: Is it tough
for laborers to work on rooftops in the heat? “Your body gets acclimated,” says Geneau. “Our guys like heat better than cold. They’ll actually joke during cold spells about wishing it would get hot again.
We take care of them, give them plenty of breaks. New guys coming in grow to understand that they won’t be clocking in and putting in eight hours straight on a shift. We work for an hour or two then break for water.”
If Geneau talks like a man who spends time in the trenches with work crews, it’s because he does.
He says part of his management approach comes from the fact that he and his partner have done every job in the company. “We lead from the front. Our attitude is ‘I’m here for you, I’m here with you every day.’”
The company was founded with the intention of sustaining high quality and service while meeting consumer demand for low pricing. To meet that goal, the company needs a streamlined, efficient operation. Geneau credits Crown Roofing’s success to its management philosophy, which aims to remove emotion from the decision-making process and focus on numbers. The result is a modern, lean organization that uses cloud-based software for mobile management and makes shrewd decisions based on well-defined fiscal formulas.
The approach seems to be working well. Crown Roofing’s headquarters has recently doubled in size to absorb the rapid staff growth. Fort Myers will be the next location to expand. Geneau has already purchased land and will be building the new office this year.