From Brentwood, Tennessee, Jaime Westenbarger is the Director of Sales for Bluebird Roofing in Nashville. As an experienced entrepreneur, he has been involved in the sales industry his entire career.
To learn more about Jaime Westenbarger, please visit his website.
- What does your Business specialize in?
Bluebird Roofing is a roofing contractor covering all of the middle Tennessee area. The company is going on its 11th year in business. We are a GAF Master Elite Contractor which puts us in the top 3% of roofers in the country. We handle new roofs and replacement roofs. We concentrate a lot on insurance work and storm damage recovery.
- Why do customers love your organization and how do you ensure that they become customers for life?
The biggest thing that we do is we work as hard for our customers as we would for ourselves. We make sure the yard is impeccable. We make sure everything is clean when we are done. We try to disrupt their lives as little as possible. Our work is a dirty job inherently, and we take that into account and try to make it as clean and as seamless for our customers as possible. We work on a lot of homes in really nice neighborhoods that have pools and patios. We use a lot of different systems to make we sure all of that has been taken care of properly and take the extra time to make sure that all of that is perfected. It takes us to another level and customers refer us and rave about us because we have protected their trees, their plans, their patios, make sure screens on the windows do not get damaged, and that debris did not get inside their pool filter or end up in their driveway causing a flat tire.
We also have a really good communication system with our clients. Our customers are always in the loop on what is going on. That goes a long way too. Contractors are sometimes thought of as someone who may rip you off or not do what they were supposed to do. If there are a few weeks between when they agreed to have us do the roof and when we actually get in there to do it, we make sure that we are in consistent conversation and communication with our customers, so they are the loop and understand what is going on. We never want them to feel like they have been forgotten. We keep in touch via text and phone calls. We are actually rolling out a brand-new system this year where we will actually email the customers with video updates of where they are at in the process and have an idea of the timeline and what to expect at each step. We want to make it a little bit less of a murky process for them.
- What separates your business from the competition?
We take a lot of pride in being a technology-forward company. A lot of times when someone thinks of roofing or construction in general, they think of a dirty pickup truck and a guy with an old tape measure. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I feel like we have taken our company to a different level of professionalism. All of our people are uniformed. We use drones. We use iPad pros. Being so technology forward has been great during COVID because we were already nearly touchless if we wanted to be, and now we can do an entire roof from start to finish, including assessment and inspection, with zero physical contact with the client. Our ability to move and adjust to a changing climate makes us pretty unique in the industry.
It used to be that you climbed up on the roof to takes some pictures to show the customer the damage. We are at a point now where we can literally do a drone video and show the entire video to the customer. They can watch the drone as it is flying and see the video in real-time. There are a lot of things we can do to engage the customer through technology, but also to protect them from COVID.
- What is the one major key to your company’s success?
The key to our success is really putting the customer first. It really is our culture here at Bluebird Roofing. If you are helping people get what they want, you will eventually get what you want, and I think that is a driving motivation in our company. We help our customers in what are sometimes the worst situations of their lives. We did a lot of work after the tornado here in Nashville in March of this year. We met people literally within 24 hours of one of the most terrifying things that have happened to them if they happened to be at home when that tornado came through. We are able to turn things around and help them navigate through the process of filing their claim – something they may have never done before – and at the end of it their home is put back together with the way it is supposed to be and maybe even prettier than it was before. Being part of that is a really rewarding experience. We get paid to do that, but I think as a company our attitude has always been about getting that customer where they need to be. If that is always our motivation, then I believe we will continue to grow. I think that it really comes through when you are being genuine with someone and you really want to help them, and it is not just about how many dollars you can get them to spend on something.
- What tips can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
You really should do something that you love. In the last few years, it seems like people have been focused on ideas like making money through an Amazon dropship store, but if you do not like selling t-shirts or gadgets, then I do not know if that will be all that rewarding long term for you.
Money is great, but at the end of the day if you are not doing something you genuinely enjoy and that you think you can do better than someone else, then you are probably just adding noise to the conversation. You are not really bettering other’s lives and may not even be bettering your own. If you are not going to do it differently or not going to do it better, then you should probably do something else.
- What advice would you give an entrepreneur when they are facing a challenge?
If you really enjoy your work, then it is challenging, but it is not the end of the world when you face difficulties. You are still trying to figure out the challenges and that is the greatest time to innovate.
COVID has crushed a lot of small businesses around the country. Some unfortunately are in an industry where there may not have been anything they could have done about it, but the flip side is the ones that are surviving are becoming innovative. They are creating apps to make ordering takeout easier. They are setting up structures outside so you can still “dine there” in a safe manner.
For example, we started to push this contactless appointment. We literally can do everything that needs to be done to your roof and you can be safely inside your home. Companies that thrive in challenging situations can do so because they see the opportunity, not to make more money, but to better the situation and possibly handle it differently than everyone else. If you have that mindset, even in the challenging times, you can come out on the better end of the situation and you may even come out better than you were before. You have been forced to be creative and to come up with a new way of doing something.
- Considering how fast the world changes, how do you stay on top of the market?
Using technology in a smart way is really important, though it is easy to get bogged down if you do not have a way to filter out unnecessary information. Twenty years ago, if a new book came out you would have to dedicate time to sit down and read it. I “read” multiple books each month by playing them through my stereo while I am driving around in my car. As I travel from job site to job site, I can listen to the newest book on marketing, customer service, or roof construction. I think that is amazing that we live in a time when we can utilize those technologies. The key is to use my time to learn how to better myself and the company.
- What is your motivation in your position?
I really get excited about innovating and taking what seems like a mundane product that we all need, like roofs and shelter, and figure out a way to make it more interesting. I like figuring out how to integrate new technologies and systems to make our company stand out and be different than everyone else’s. In the process of doing that, we are able help hundreds, if not thousands, of customers each year to better their situation as well.
I recently had the chance to talk recently to a retired older gentleman who is living on a fixed income. A friend of his referred us to him. His roof was in very bad shape. He had roof damage from a storm, but he did not realize his insurance could help him because his roof was so old. He thought he would have to come up with $7,000 to $8,000 that he did not have to repair his roof, but we helped him through the process, and he was able to get a new roof with just the cost of his insurance deductible. It did not seem possible to him, but we were able to help him and now he will not have to worry about that again.
- What makes a great leader?
You have to be able to understand what truly motivates your people because not everyone is motivated by the same things.
- Why are customers the foundation of your business?
Without our customers and our raving fans giving us five-star reviews and referring us to their friends and family, we would not be even one-tenth of the company that we are.
- How can technology make the world a better place?
Technology has a phenomenal opportunity to make the world a better place as long as it solves problems and is not a distraction.
- Tell our readers something motivating given the hardships of the past year.
This has certainly been one of our most challenging years, but amazing innovation comes from tragedy, economic issues, and pandemics. If ever there was a time to come up with the newest and greatest products, services, businesses, and technology, you are staring at it.
- How do you like to start your day?
I try to get all of the stuff that I do not want to do done first, so I am not dragging it through the rest of the day. Then I am pretty energized to move on with the rest of my day because those tougher tasks are already done.
- How do you handle rejection and setbacks?
Rejection and setback in business to me just get us that much closer to the next customer who we can help, so I don’t really dwell on it. I look at it that we may not be right for everybody. We are never going to be the cheapest roofing company because we don’t use cheap materials or cheap labor, so if somebody says no, I understand, and I move on to the next person who will appreciate the value that we bring.
- How do you pick your employees?
A lot of things can be taught, but we hire for attitude, personality, and the overall chemistry of our team because we want to find positive people with an optimistic outlook on the world and who want to help people.
- How do you handle the competitive business environment?
I surround myself with great people who are trusted to do the jobs that they were hired to do. I am also consistently looking to make us even better than we are.
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