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Spark Solar Transcription
February 17, 2023 at 12:28 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Seth Wells of Spark Solar. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.


Megan Ellsworth: Hello, everyone. My name is Megan Ellsworth here at rooferscoffeeshop.com, and I'm really excited. These are my favorite interviews to do. The Roofer of the Month for January 2023 is Spark Solar. I'm here with Seth Wells. Hi, Seth. How are you doing today?

Seth Wells: I'm doing good. How are you?

Megan Ellsworth: Doing well. I'm excited to hear all about your company. So, let's dive right in and why don't you introduce yourself and tell us about Spark Solar.

Seth Wells: So, my name is Seth Wells. I'm the owner of Spark Solar. I used to be a partner here now. I now fully own the company. A little bit about myself, well, born in Missouri, raised in Texas. We are really rooted in Texas and we focused on being able to truly service all of Texas. And so, that's something that we're passionate about, started in Corpus and we've had offices everywhere and sales reps everywhere. And, that's really something that I was passionate about from the beginning like, "Hey, let's really hit all of Texas." And so, Spark Solar started out as a residential solar company. That's all we were doing. We had your cookie cutter, hardcore sales organization, knocking doors, sales meetings every day, the whole thing. And really COVID, that whole thing just really changed what we're doing.

And, a lot of our salespeople were so used to a lot happening. They just left during COVID to either do nothing or got paid a lot less. And so, we morphed the company and we've been transitioning and changing into a commercial solar organization and that's been going really, really well for us. And so, we're primarily working on West Texas and North Texas, and we have some strategies on how we're doing commercial solar because the door hasn't fully opened for commercial solar in Texas. So, we've created some strategies on how to... We're opening the doors and that's what we say. We're prying them open.

Megan Ellsworth: I love that, that's great. It's really cool that you're making that transition to fully commercial, congratulations. That's exciting.

Seth Wells: Thank you, definitely.

Megan Ellsworth: You covered this already, but what type of services does your company provide? What's your specialty?

Seth Wells: So, we have a couple different things that we do. We still do residential solar, even though it's not our focus, but residential solar requires a lot of hands on. It's a lot faster moving and stuff, and I have six kids and part of this whole change and moving into commercial solar was for my family, so I could work really hard and then also play hard. So on the commercial solar side, something special that we do with that is we work directly with commercial roofing contractors. I would say 80% of all of the projects that we're working on are partnered with commercial roofers, and so that's our thing.

So residential solar, yes, but on the commercial solar, we're partnering with roofing companies or a roofing salesperson or the owner himself or herself, and thirdly, we do detach and resets. That's really what keeps the guys going all day long is when residential roofers go and sell a roof, solar's got to come off, we take them off, put them back on, and a warranty on anything we touch because most of those we don't install originally. And so, I'd say those are our three services, but we're really trying to get down to the second and third one. So, that's what we do.

Megan Ellsworth: Awesome. This is my favorite question that I ask every roofer of the month, and it is, share something special that your company celebrates. So, I'm excited to hear.

Seth Wells: So, I have two things actually. One, we celebrate that we're a small company. We did grow really, really quickly, and I mentioned the COVID thing, and now we are a lot smaller and we love it and we aim to keep it that way the best that we can. Any new thing that's happening or our new opportunity, new venture, we're trying to keep the company condensed and small the best we can and share responsibility instead of delegating everything out to a new hire and it's working. So, we celebrate that we're a small company, we talk about it all the time. We like it, it's easier to communicate. There's almost [inaudible 00:04:48], so we do celebrate that. Secondly, we celebrate that we're advancing solar. I think that is something that everybody's passionate about. That's actually a part of one of our core values, which is fervency.

Megan Ellsworth: Ooh.

Seth Wells: [Inaudible 00:05:05] being zealous and really about it. So, we aim to do that with solar and just continue to bring solar into Texas. So, also we celebrate that a lot as well.

Megan Ellsworth: That's so exciting. I wish I had solar panels on my house because in Colorado we have so much sun all [inaudible 00:05:24]-

Seth Wells: Oh, you're in Colorado?

Megan Ellsworth: Mm-hmm.

Seth Wells: Colorado is a great market for solar, for sure.

Megan Ellsworth: So, how does Spark Solar define superior customer service?

Seth Wells: Being in in-home sales since I was 19, I'm 33 now, I've seen and met and worked with all types of salespeople, and no matter what you do, if you're presenting proposals or quotes and getting contracts signed, you're a salesperson. So, I really think it's extremely important in the service industry that your salespeople are in it for the long haul. So, we tell anybody that is going to be a salesperson here, "Hey, if you're going to make a deal or if you're going to make an agreement with this customer, you need to always answer your phone." So I think answering your phone, text or email is one of the most important things, and the service industry in regards to customer service because so many people forward it, they forward it, forward it, forward it. They don't call them back, they wait a week later, then they feel guilty for not calling them and they don't call them at all, and the customer is fully left hanging.

So, I think superior customer service is talking to the customer and doing your very best to resolve it, even if you're the problem like, "Okay, I messed up, I said the wrong thing," whatever. Communicate with the customer, be nice, be honest. Also, we have a zero tolerance policy for lying and exaggeration, so that's really, really big. I think never exaggerate, never lie, and keep communication streams open and follow through, following through is that happens from the first time you talk to, for example, say your salesperson has left and he's gone three years and you're still dealing with the bad deal he sold, just communicating and being there.

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely.

Seth Wells: I think that's really made a huge difference for us in the solar space because so many solar companies aren't that great.

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely, putting the right face out there and the good intentions and just follow... I love that what you said, follow through, absolutely.

Seth Wells: You have to follow through.

Megan Ellsworth: So, why should building owners work with Spark Solar?

Seth Wells: Well, I think a lot of business and building owners are interested in solar and they don't really know where to start, but when they do, oftentimes it's on Google or a referral, and that solar person they talk to, I don't think they really know how to handle the whole commercial solar thing. And either they present something to the business owner and it doesn't make sense, or two, the salesperson or the solar company just doesn't know how to put a proper proposal together to show the customer. So, we've figured out the process, it's very, very smooth. We make it easy for the business owner. As long as the business owner is interested and will communicate and give us the few things that we need, we can have them a design and a proposal within three days. So, I think that makes it really easy for business owners, and business owners are busy.

Most of them have tons of irons on the fire, some not so much, but most do. So, they don't have time to mess around. So we gather information, get it together, and we present, and when we present it, it typically makes sense. Of course we can all... But, I think the answer, to give you a simple answer, is we make it easy. We really have created an internal process that has very few pit stops, and it's a short sales cycle from intro to presenting and then presenting to contract, so we make it easy.

Megan Ellsworth: I love that, and that's all a homeowner wants or a building owner I mean. Anyone buying solar or buying a roof, that's all they want.

Seth Wells: I think so. I was just talking to a solar company at an expo a couple months ago and they're like, "How are you doing commercial solar?" And, they're telling me all this stuff and they get their engineer involved, I'm telling them, "Well, it sounds like you're over complicating it, and business owners don't have time for that.

Megan Ellsworth: They're busy running their own company, absolutely.

Seth Wells: Definitely.

Megan Ellsworth: Well, everyone here at RoofersCoffeeShop is so happy that Spark Solar is the Roofer of the Month. Thank you so much for being a part of the art club and being a part of our community, so congratulations and thank you so much.

Seth Wells: Thank you, and one of the services we actually forgot to mention was we do solar shingles and so that's-

Megan Ellsworth: Whoa.

Seth Wells: Some of the people up there at RoofersCoffeeClub, we were talking about that. So, we've done three now. They're not super popular yet, but we've done a couple of really successful solar shingle jobs, which the solar shingles aren't from edge to edge of the roof. They're set in. All the jobs we've done have had batteries, a lot of them had an EV charger with it. So, it's a pretty cool thing. I think it's up and coming for sure. It just hasn't really taken off yet.

Megan Ellsworth: Wow, that is so cool. I would love to see what those look like. I can't even picture them in my mind. It's so cool. You should send me a picture.

Seth Wells: Well, I'm just excited to be a part of the club, [inaudible 00:11:05] people and to assist. So, a lot of people are asking about how they can integrate solar into their company, and I'm just happy to talk about it and to help people out.

Megan Ellsworth: That's great. Well, for everyone listening, you can hear more about Seth and his story and Spark Solar and how to integrate solar into your company at this month's coffee break. Thank you again, Seth. I hope you have a great day.

Seth Wells: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

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