Mike Hansen started White Castle Roofing in Lincoln, Nebraska with a partner in 1985 after a severe hailstorm. Both partners had previous experience in construction, but ultimately, they both wanted to do a really good job for their community.
“We were interested in referral business,” Hansen said. “We weren’t chasing hail storms or storm damage, it wasn’t insurance work — we just want to try and do a good roof for a homeowner and have them have us back, whether it be 20 years down the road and we’ve been doing this long enough to have had that happen.”
Over the years, White Castle Roofing has become the most reliable roofing company in the eastern Nebraska area and we at CompanyCam have taken it upon ourselves to ask Hansen about his secrets for success.
1. Hire your family
Hansen’s advice is not to be taken quite literally, though his son Dane, his middle son works here Lincoln with him, the youngest son, Jacob, is running the business in Omaha, and Hansen’s oldest son, Luke, with CompanyCam started with White Castle years ago.
“We’d much rather have a new employee be one that an existing employee had referred to us,” Hansen said. “We just started growing — taking a family residential business to more of a commercial business — working on more than roofing with gutters, siding and exterior projects.”
2. Take photos of your work
Photos are quite important in a lot of different ways. They can substantiate things that you think are true or disprove things that you think are true. So, it’s really helpful to take a lot of pictures. Hansen encourages his guys to take pictures all day long of all the things they’re doing. Early on, the pictures White Castle had been taking were to demonstrate that projects were completed with quality and zero issues. Once they felt more comfortable using CompanyCam, Hansen’s teams started taking pictures from the moment they drive up to a job site till the time they leave.
“CompanyCam is incredibly easy, fully-organized, we have our pictures available to us all the time, and evidence of a job all the way through,” Hansen said. “What seemed like a pretty good idea became much more than that. Today, we’d be lost if we didn’t have those pictures available to us to just validate the things we’re doing, demonstrate that we’re doing a good job, and show a homeowner all the things that have happened on their roof.”
For example, White Castle replaces a lot of damaged plywood. It’s always a concern and they need to have pictures to show that they’re doing the right thing on the roof. Hansen said it’s just one small thing his team can do to go the extra mile for the customer.
Hansen and sons started CompanyCam a few years ago after having issues trying to do things with pictures. “Pictures do say a lot about everything you’re doing and it’s nice to have a picture to demonstrate to a homeowner, ‘This is what it looked like before and this is what it can look like after.’” He said his team had been doing a lot of things with pictures and trying to organize them became a full-time job.
“It seemed ridiculous and there had to be an easier way and so we started working at it and found that, what would become CompanyCam, was a software we knew we’d really like and obviously other contractors should, too,” Hansen said. “From then on, Jacob and Luke really pushed at it to try and come up with something and Luke moved forward to develop something out of it. Eventually we realized this was something that a lot of people could find useful and we wanted to offer to other contractors as well.”
3. Strive to be “The Good Guy”
White Castle Roofing’s goal was to establish a business that everybody would like to have work for them. Hansen wanted to be honest about what he was doing, to do a very high-quality job, and wanted to be able to do the things that he said he’d do.
“We’ve tried to maintain that over the years and I feel pretty confident that we’ve done that. It gets more difficult as we grow, but that’s going to be the core of what we are and what we can do,” he said.
White Castle Roofing gets a lot of calls here in Lincoln, but Hansen is interested in growth toward some of the other towns in Nebraska. He’d love to establish that same kind of business that people feel like they know and can trust.
“If we come out and do something for them they can feel good about it and not be too worried about the quality of work or the people that are coming,” Hansen said.
4. If you’re uncertain about trying out something new, just try it.
“The first thing I would say to a contractor on the fence about signing up for CompanyCam is that they ought to try it, because I almost guarantee them they won’t stop using it,” Hansen said. “You’re going to want to have information and communication.”
Information and communication are two of the hardest things contractors do in this business, and if you have more than one person within your business, there’s a lot of information being passed around. Any time you can pass information quicker through your organization and get the right information your business will grow much faster.
“CompanyCam helps us do that more than anything else,” Hansen said. “We are on the same page all the time. I can see what my guys are doing and I can see all of my projects. Everybody on your team will be better at what they’re doing, because they can understand everything new that pops up.”
CompanyCam is there for Hansen every morning in the office to check-in. From an owner perspective, it lets him know if people are actually working. “If you’re a sales person and you’re not taking pictures, then what are you doing?” Hansen said he gets an enormous amount of information from CompanyCam.
“I don’t take any time out of my day to sit and check CompanyCam, but here and there I can look at any of the diverse jobs,” he said.
Here’s a great example of the future-use of CompanyCam: Sometimes customers call White Castle Roofing and say the company did a job for them 10 years ago. They’ll send someone back over to your job to take a look, but they don’t have any information on that in the office. There’s a pretty good chance 10 years from now, White Castle is going to have that information.
“As the owner, I should be more in-tune with the exact cost,” Hansen said. “I don’t know what we pay for it and I don’t know how much we pay for it, but the reason I don’t is because I don’t care. This tool is so helpful for us and we couldn’t do a lot of the things we do without it. If CompanyCam were to double the price on us, we’d pay it.”
Standard pricing for CompanyCam starts at $12 a user and is negotiable for enterprise deals. Please contact our office with any questions or try it free today for 14 days.