A new roof above their heads
By Samantha Egan
Photos by Emma Highfill, Rose Wheat Photography
Appelhanz Roofing turns 40 this year. Better than cake and balloons, their celebration involved moving to a new location that is larger and more accessible than the original storefront Matt Appelhanz’s father opened in 1979. After a search lasting more than five years, Appelhanz found the location he was looking for on 2015 NW Brickyard Road.
“It has absolutely everything for us, as far as being on the corridor of I-70 and Highway 75,” he said. “We can dispatch anybody extremely quickly.”
Back in 2011, there was no need for a new, larger space. Appelhanz was a one man show, going from house to house, still doing paper estimates. But when a major hailstorm sent the demand for new roofs sky high, Appelhanz found himself struggling to keep up with that demand— and missed a lot of opportunities as a result. To manage the company’s sudden and dramatic growth spurt, Appelhanz brought one of his part-time workers on as a project manager. Then he added another.
Eight years later, Appelhanz has a team of seven, including five project managers and a two-person office operations team. Since the 2011 surge, Appelhanz Roofing has sustained steady growth, but now Appelhanz is better prepared to handle it. Building a solid team was a huge piece of the puzzle.
“Without a doubt, I couldn’t do it without our team,” he said. “Everyone gets along and anybody can do anybody else’s job if they had to.”
Their agility has paid big dividends. Prior to 2011, Appelhanz estimates the business completed 200 new roofs each year. Five years later, they finished over 600 annually.
In addition to growing staff, the company has upgraded their processes using new technologies, like a cloud-based system for estimates (replacing the carbon paper system Appelhanz used in his solo days) and an app
that allows project managers to instantly upload on-site photos and send them directly to the main office computer, cutting out hours of lag time.
“The logistics of ramping up to handle the growth is a nightmare, but it’s also absolutely fun to figure it out and get it done,” Appelhanz said.
Now settled in to the new storefront, Appelhanz is excited for the warm weather to bring clients into the new showroom, where they can see and touch roof materials and even take samples home with them.
“It’s hard for a customer to know what they are going to want until they see everything right there,” Appelhanz said.
The new location also puts Appelhanz Roofing in an ideal position}for its next goal: expanding into Lawrence and Manhattan.