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Jasper Contractors

A niche in a stormy market

In the volatile world of new building construction, Jasper Contractors has managed to revamp its business model from nature’s volatility—hurricanes. Today Jasper Contractors is one of America’s leading residential roofers and is rapidly expanding its team of roofing experts across the country. This month the American Business Journal sat down with Brian Wedding, CEO, to learn more about how Jasper entered this market segment, and what makes the business work.

Jasper Contractors began as a new-build construction company, and as all business of this kind, felt the highs and lows of the industry. Particularly during the last economic downturn in the U.S., Jasper began to feel the squeeze. It was after a job to fix a roof destroyed by a hurricane that Wedding had the idea to refocus the Jasper business model. Hurricanes are an unfortunate reality in the Midwest, and presented an intriguing niche for Jasper.

Maximizing ups and downs

“There are a lot of peaks and valleys in construction,” says Wedding, noting that the last few years in the industry have been a valley. “The thing about insurance companies,” he adds on a positive note, “is that there is no valley with them.” Wedding realized the golden opportunity when he started receiving a large number of calls in 2004, the year Florida was hit with four hurricanes. Fortunately many people are aware of the risks and have home insurance to cover damages, but are unsure of the detailed processes. This is where Jasper stepped into the ring.

It is not only hurricanes—Jasper is the go-to roof contractor for all kinds of insurance-covered natural occurrences such as hail damage, rain, wind, snow and ice damage, condensation damage, moss and algae damage, tree and leaf damage, and missing and torn shingles, amongst others. As experts in the requirements, building codes and overall process used by insurance companies, Jasper Contractors has built a business on its level of specialization and expertise.

It is this very thing which has been Jasper’s competitive advantage. “We simply don’t know of another company who has built themselves like us,” says Wedding, explaining the situation. “You have contractors who are good contractors, but they are in restrictive mode right now. They can’t hire enough employees and they don’t know how insurance works.”

Rapid growth, new staff

Jasper has capitalized on the circumstances by rapidly expanding its work force in the last few years, and focusing its efforts on the insurance market. “We are built for it,” Wedding explains. “We have a call center for people who are dealing with insurance companies and claims and we just get to the point. We get the claims settled; we get the insurance adjusted; we get the money out.

“We are just built for high volume,” says Wedding, who notes that the labor force has greatly expanded in the last while.  “With us being able to present attractive salaries and complete healthcare and benefits we are getting a lot of good candidates, which is allowing us to expand right now,” he says. “And we’re demanding. We’re demanding on construction crews, on the people who are out there selling, on our administration—we run a tight ship.” In a time when job opportunities have been somewhat scarce in parts of the U.S., Jasper has an incredible advantage by doing its hiring. In fact, Jasper anticipates hitting the 1,000 employee mark next month, a significant achievement.

Wedding hopes that by continually expanding the labor force, all the way from builders and workers to high level management, the flow of work will continue with ease into the new construction side of things as well. “It takes huge amounts of labor for companies coming into this market. Our hope is that instead starting from scratch we have a ready force of labor that is growing and expanding, so when things start coming back and you call us, we have those crews and our employees are readily available.”

Jasper has both residential and commercial clients, but its focus is definitely on the residential side. “The biggest bulk of our work is residential in these high volume situations,” Wedding explains. Jasper often gets calls for multiples houses after hurricanes, and because of its business model, is one of the few contractors who can provide.

Jasper Contractors prides itself on maintaining excellent relationships with its manufacturers and distributors, particularly with its rapid expansion. “Right now it is pretty well-known in the industry that we are pretty much the busiest residential roofing contractor,” says Wedding with pride. “We’re putting on the most shingles per month of anyone and we see huge room to grow because it is a new business and we haven’t seen anyone put it together like we have put it together, so that is exciting.” 

Jasper is focused on perfecting its unique business model as it continues into the future. “We just hope to keep growing through the next few years and fine tune what we already have and just make it better—that is our main goal.” An achievable goal? Absolutely.

www.jaspercontractorsinc.com

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