Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Ron Loyd of Kokua Roofing. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.
Megan Ellsworth: Hello, everyone. My name is Megan Ellsworth, here at Roofer's Coffee Shop, and I am back again to chat with Ron Loyd from Kokua Roofing, out of Hawaii. And you're a Roofer of the Month, Ron. Congratulations.
Ron Loyd: Thank you.
Megan Ellsworth: We are so glad to have Kokua Roofing a part of our RCS family and the R-Club, so thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. So let's just start by having you introduce yourself and tell us about your company.
Ron Loyd: Okay, my name is Ron Loyd. I'm the owner of Kokua Roofing Services. We're in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and we're a full-service company: steep slope, flat. Mainly residential, but we do do some commercial. I got my start in roofing a long time ago. This is my 46th year in roofing.
Megan Ellsworth: Wow.
Ron Loyd: I still have a business in Salt Lake City that my son and my business partner run, and I came over to Hawaii about 20-something years ago, just to test the waters. And had some friends that lived here, and it was a good fit, and I never went back. I came on vacation and never went back.
Megan Ellsworth: I love it. So would you say that you have a specialty?
Ron Loyd: My background is in tile. I was a tiler for 17 years, and we still do a fair amount of tile. But in Hawaii, you've got tile, metal roofs, cedar shingles, believe it or not. For whatever reason, cedar shingles are huge.
Megan Ellsworth: Interesting.
Ron Loyd: In the island where I live, the resorts, they have a mandate that you have to use cedar shingles or metal, which is crazy in Hawaii, so we do a lot of cedar shingles.
Megan Ellsworth: Interesting, okay.
Ron Loyd: Yeah, and Hawaii's kind of a diverse place, in that a lot of roofing products fail here. We've seen four or five what appeared to be really good products come to the islands. Four years later, they were gone. It's just the elements are harsh. It's hot. It's sunny for many hours each day, and the salt air is also hard, very corrosive.
Megan Ellsworth: I would love to hear something that your company celebrates, and it can be just your culture. It could be actually celebrating a holiday. What do you guys at Kokua Roofing celebrate?
Ron Loyd: Oh, if you ask my employees, they celebrate Friday. We celebrate birthdays. I have a very hands-on administrative assistant who likes to make sure everyone's reminded of their birthday. And we do tailgate luncheons every week for safety, and she makes sure that whoever's birthday falls during that time, and actually, it was my birthday last week.
Megan Ellsworth: Oh, happy birthday.
Ron Loyd: Thank you. I went out to a job site, and they all sang me Happy Birthday and gave me a card that everyone had signed, which really surprised me. But yeah, I'd say birthdays, more than anything. Hawaii has a lot of holidays, a lot of holidays they don't have on the mainland: Queen Kamehameha Day, Queen Liliuokalani Day, just lots of holidays. And so it seems like there's always a holiday every month in Hawaii.
Megan Ellsworth: I love that.
Ron Loyd: Their state holidays and school is closed, but birthdays would be our big thing, I guess.
Megan Ellsworth: Cool, I love that. So how do you define superior customer service?
Ron Loyd: It's interesting. When I talked to Heidi, we discussed this. At the bottom of all of our signatures on our emails, it says, "We're not in the roofing business. We're in the service industry, and roofing just happens to be the service we provide." And I've always felt that way.
Years and years ago, the very first time I went to a Nordstrom ... And if you've ever been to a Nordstrom, they walk around the counter and hand you your bag, as a personal touch, and I was very impressed by that. And we have a culture of service at Kokua Roofing, where we try and do it better than anybody else. Roofing is roofing; your two hands put on the roofing product. But what happens behind the scenes? What happens from the initial call to the end of the job? And we try and make that a special experience, and it seems to be working.
We get a lot of really good comments, and we gift every customer after the job's done and we've billed them and sent their warranties. We send them a gift, and typically, it's an orchid, because they grow orchids in Hawaii. And some people, you don't make happy, no matter what. They're angry people, but when you send them an orchid, it changes everything. They're like, "Oh, gosh, I feel like maybe I should have been a little nicer to you."
But yeah, I'm a big believer in service, and I admire any company that has a good level of service, and I try and be that.
Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. So why should home or building owners work with your company? What's the draw there?
Ron Loyd: Well, we're very hands-on. We're very proactive. Every phone call gets returned same day, always. Nothing gets sloughed over to the next day. We use EagleView technology, mainly because I service the entire island of Hawaii, which is a big island. It takes two hours to drive to the other side of the island. So if I went and drove to every single job to measure it, I would do nothing but drive.
So we use EagleView, and yesterday's a good example. We had a nice referral, and the guy said, "Can you come out and meet me?" And I said, "Well, let me get you a price first, and then we can come out and talk." And I had a bid to him in about 45 minutes, and he was just blown away. And I said, "Well, that's what technology will do for you," and we got the sale. We get a lot of our sales just because how quickly we respond, and I think we take a lot of pride in that. We don't avoid conflict. We don't avoid problems. And I think that's part of the level of service, is if there's an issue, deal with it. Nip it in the bud and move on.
Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely.
Ron Loyd: I say being communicative and very proactive, I think, is attractive to our customer base.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, for sure. What's one thing that you would like to share about your company that you're really proud of, that you haven't mentioned? Maybe a story or something that emulates being Roofer of the Month?
Ron Loyd: I had the same conversation with Heidi, and I'm sitting at my desk in my office right now, and you can't see it, but behind my computer is a wall full of plaques and awards and magazine covers and things that nobody sees them, because I work out of my home. So no one ever comes in this office except me, so nobody sees them but me. But it reminds me that we do make a difference.
We've been involved with Habitat for Humanity for a long, long time and done a lot of roofs for them. I guess one of the coolest stories is Extreme Home Makeover. And at my Utah branch, we got a phone call one day from one of our best customers, general contractor, and said, "Would you like to be a part of Extreme Home Makeover?" And I said, "Yeah." I didn't really like the show, but I thought, "Yeah, that would be kind of cool to do." And so we got to do it, and it wasn't sexy or glamorous at all. We put the roof on at 2:30 in the morning, under floodlights. And we never met Ty whatever his name is, the guy. We never met him; he was never there.
But we did do our roof, and it was on TV, and they interviewed. Actually, my son was the project manager, and they interviewed Travis. But a year later, we were at a trade show, my business partner and I, and a young man came up to me and said, "Do you own this company?" And I said, "Yes, I do." And he said, "My mother would like to talk to you," and it was the lady we did the house for. Sorry.
Megan Ellsworth: Oh, no, that's amazing.
Ron Loyd: She came up and said, "I've tried to track down everyone that worked on our house," because they weren't there the whole time. They ship them away, and they come back, and the house is done. And she wanted to personally thank us. It's still very moving, and it's been 15 years, but we made a difference, and that's something that'll stick with me forever, because sometimes you forget. You touch people in different ways. I can't sing or dance or write music or do anything like that, but I can put a roof on. And I guess that was our give-back, and it's one of our best memories.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, oh, my gosh, as it should be. I'm teary. That's amazing. Oh, man, and to have that feedback is so moving. It's amazing, Ron. Wow, thank you for sharing that, and thank you so much for being a part of the R-Club and the Roofers Coffee Shop family. We so appreciate you and all of your involvement, and that's why we're so honored to have you and Kokua and your Utah branch be our Roofer of the Month. So thank you.
Ron Loyd: Well, thanks for all you guys do. I look forward to your podcasts. I look forward to your e-blast every week, and yeah, it's good information.
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