Making Referrals Matter

by RaeAnne Marsh

Briefs_SunvekThe name proved to be key to Bill and Eric Skoog expanding their roofing business. The company they’d built on new construction and custom homes suffered in the housing market downturn in 2007, and they felt residential and commercial reroofing would be a more stable market, Eric Skoog explains. Sunvek had the name, and the Skoogs bought it out of bankruptcy in 2008. Their assessment was that the bankruptcy was the result of that company getting into residential remodeling, but that “in reroofing, it had no problem,” according to Skoog. “It was an opportunity for us to move into a new market with a company that has a good reputation and a well-known name — and a customer base,” he says. “The day we turned on the phones, we got a call for a commercial project in Downtown Phoenix, and that project paid for our investment.” However, they worked for two years to rebuild Sunvek’s name recognition, then officially changed their company name from Skytop to Sunvek in 2010.

The roofing work itself didn’t change, but there was a learning curve associated with the new market. Skoog relates that, since they had previously worked on new homes, they had to learn to be more conscientious about not disturbing the occupants during a reroofing project.

Another big difference between the new home and reroofing markets has been referrals. Says Skoog, “We noticed in new construction it’s not so easy to get referrals; one contractor is not going to refer you to another contractor.” With building owners and homeowners, “referrals are very nice,” Skoog says, noting the business has doubled in the past four years.     

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