In today’s interview we have Jeremiah Broz, CEO and founder of Energy Advantage Roofing & Solar.
| Can you please introduce yourself and maybe tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Jeremiah Broz, the CEO of Energy Advantage Roofing and Solar. Beyond my professional endeavors, I have a fondness for Chinese cuisine, having explored nearly every Chinese restaurant in Denver, Colorado. I envision a future where I might be more challenging to reach through cell phone contact, as I hope to spend my time indulging in one of my top five favorite Chinese restaurants. That could become the surefire way to get in touch with me.
| What about your background? Were you always into solar and roofing, or was it something you kind of stumbled upon?
I’d describe myself as a serial entrepreneur. This venture marks my fifth business, and my experience has largely revolved around the trade sector, specifically construction and trades, spanning over 23 years. My journey through various businesses prompted a realization that higher ticket items with robust gross profit margins and quicker installation timelines often yield stronger financial outcomes. However, I’ve also emphasized the importance of adding substantial long-term value.
My introduction to roofing dates back to 2014, nearly a decade ago. This sector intrigued me due to its high-ticket nature and swift installation turnarounds. However, as I delved deeper, I recognized a recurring pattern: storms would prompt us to replace the same shingles, leading to a troubling issue. The accumulation of non-degrading asphalt shingles in landfills, the financial gain of roofers, insurance companies, and shingle manufacturers, and the burden on average consumers paying high insurance rates with elevated deductibles.
This realization spurred the birth of Energy Advantage. The core idea was to fuse the storm restoration field with the renewable energy sector, channeling funds from storm restoration into transitioning consumers towards renewable energy solutions. This innovative approach allows us to contribute positively to both our industry and the environment, offering sustainable options that minimize landfill waste while benefiting consumers in the long run.
| And did you start the company yourself or did you have someone working with you?
No, I embarked on this journey independently. Initially, the idea was to offer solar components to roofing contractors. However, despite my intentions, not a single roofer adopted my program. Undeterred, I shifted gears and took to door-to-door sales, reverting to my familiar expertise in the field. In a span of six months, I managed to achieve remarkable results, generating $1.2 million in roofing sales through this approach.
| Were you operating independently during the initial six-month period?
Yes, I hired a project coordinator, with the first one coming on board around month four or five. Following that, I brought in sales and an office manager, and gradually expanded the team from there. The main idea behind Energy Advantage was to focus on exceptional customer service rather than being an extensive sales organization. Providing a positive experience during the initial engagement could potentially lead customers to choose us again for future projects. So, if we excel in the first project, it could encourage them to consider us for the second one, whether it’s solar or roofing.
| And how big is your team right now?
Our operations team consists of 15 individuals, including two master electricians, an operations manager, and a Chief Operating Officer (COO). On the roofing side, our team encompasses office managers, project coordinators, six sales representatives, and an eight-member customer service department. Altogether, we currently have a total of 27 employees. As for our financial progress, we recently surpassed the 9 million mark and are projected to potentially reach 17 million by the end of this year. It’s truly been a significant stride in our journey.
| Can you elaborate further on the range of services you offer to your customers?
Certainly. Our array of services includes solar installations, battery storage installations, electric vehicle charging station setups, as well as comprehensive roofing solutions. In the realm of roofing, we cover a wide spectrum, encompassing shingle roofing, tiled roofing, stone-coated steel or metal roofing, standing seam roofing, flat roofing, TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) systems, and coatings systems. Additionally, we’re adept at handling entire insurance claims, even subcontracting services such as window installation, siding, painting, and gutter work. Our designation as a Simonton windows master dealer further solidifies our capabilities in the exterior space.
The fundamental concept behind Energy Advantage is converting storm damage into an opportunity for energy enhancement. When a storm occurs, resulting in hail or wind damage, it often brings insurance money to the homeowner. Our approach is to channel this financial pool into upgrading the home’s energy efficiency. For instance, in roofing projects, we enhance attic ventilation to improve the roof’s breathability, potentially add energy-efficient windows to minimize heat loss, and implement solar and battery systems to increase energy independence. This holistic strategy aims to shift the focus from the immediate cost perspective to viewing storm damage as a chance to make ecologically responsible upgrades and reduce energy expenses.
Rather than settling for the traditional cycle of storm damage claims resulting in repetitive repairs, we aim to redirect these funds toward meaningful energy-saving improvements. The goal is to empower homeowners to transform what could be seen as a negative event into a positive opportunity for the environment, community, and their own long-term benefit. By embracing these opportunities, homeowners can make choices that not only improve their living environment but also contribute to a sustainable future.
| Are you actively seeking to offer more than just solar installations? Is your goal to assist customers in various ways to ultimately lower their energy bills and minimize energy wastage?
Indeed, through the Energy Advantage approach, we’ve had several customers opt to enhance their insurance claims. They’ve chosen to upgrade their roofing to stone-coated steel due to hail concerns. Rather than sticking with regular shingles, we’ve introduced steel roofing and then added solar panels on top of it. This transformation effectively converts their storm damage into an energy advantage. This decision grants them a cooler roof that doesn’t absorb excessive heat and leads to insurance premium reductions. The resilient class four, impact-resistant shingle steel withstands the elements. Consequently, they not only start producing their own electricity but also save money monthly while enhancing energy efficiency. Making this shift has enabled them to embrace ongoing savings and reduce energy consumption.
| How do you reach your customers?
A significant portion of our business comes from referrals, around 40% in fact. I believe this is because our approach is distinct – we offer unique roofing systems and solar installations. In our solar presentations, we consistently emphasize the importance of batteries, believing they should be a standard part of every solar job. People seem to resonate with our story and vision.
Considering the insurance landscape in Colorado, where premiums are projected to increase from $1,000 to $2,000 to around 1% to 2% of a home’s value, the costs have become prohibitively high due to numerous claims. With insurance companies potentially pulling out and charging more, we offer an alternative solution through our maintenance program. This program involves an annual visit to check steel roofs and rooftop solar installations, providing an 18-point inspection checklist. This way, homeowners can avoid insurance claims altogether. Additionally, if a steel roof is dented by hail, we would replace it for free, and our steel is recyclable. Alternatively, instead of homeowners dealing with a $16,000 claim cost, they could pay us $100 to handle the issue. This prompts the question: Do we really need traditional insurance anymore? Similarly, the shift toward self-sufficiency through solar and battery solutions challenges the necessity of relying on traditional energy companies. Ultimately, our aim is to create a paradigm shift where people embrace independence and sustainability.
The essence here is renewable energy, the ability to generate your own power, achieving energy independence, and liberating oneself from burdensome insurance premiums. With the projected doubling of insurance costs, we strive to offer a solution. Instead of repeatedly enduring the impact of storms every few years and facing a hefty $16,000 expense, we propose a different path through the Energy Advantage.
Consider installing durable steel roofing, coupled with our maintenance program. For a modest fee, perhaps around 200 or 300 dollars per year, we conduct annual inspections, ensure module cleanliness, assess the integrity of components like the credit guard, and voila, you’re all set. Embrace the next hailstorm with confidence, knowing that if any dents appear, we’ll swiftly replace the affected panels. This approach eliminates the need for recurring insurance claims and transforms the way homeowners handle storm-related challenges.
Currently, many individuals are grappling with distressing situations. They’ve experienced damage, submitted insurance claims, only to realize that their coverage falls short, leaving them in a difficult predicament. Faced with the reality that they lack the funds required to cover the repairs – be it $10,000 or $15,000 – they find themselves in a precarious situation. To make matters worse, by initiating a claim, their insurance provider now holds a record of their vulnerability. Consequently, the insurance company threatens to terminate their coverage if the issue isn’t promptly addressed.
This scenario is akin to a trap, and I am deeply motivated to alleviate this hardship for the public. My objective is to offer an alternative solution, shielding people from these pitfalls and ensuring that they are not ensnared in a cycle of vulnerability. I am dedicated to creating a safeguard against such challenges.
| How do you see your future of the company? Where do you want to take it?
If the concept gains traction, which I believe it will, our maintenance program could become franchisable. We might create license agreements to support small business owners within communities and foster micro communities. Imagine this scenario: this year, let’s say I managed a thousand homes. As a franchisee over these homes, I wouldn’t charge a franchise fee, but I would require visits to these properties for quality checks.
So, looking ahead, if the concept takes off and proves its value, insurance companies could find it appealing. By intertwining our approach with insurance, and once we start effectively caring for both people and their assets, the next step is expanding our reach. Let’s consider that I’ve managed a thousand homes this year. Now, with franchisees who only need to invest in a truck, their responsibility is to visit these customers. With a year’s worth of about 50 weeks, they’d only need to see around 20 people per week.
| And what would your business model be with them?
Imagine this: they visit about 20 homes per week, conducting an 18-point inspection covering modules, roofs, and all components. If everything checks out, that’s great. Now, around 30% to 40% of them might request additional services like gutter cleaning for $300, window washing twice a year for $300 each time, and solar module cleaning, which could lead to increased production for a while after each cleaning, also at $300, twice a year.
Here’s the deal: for those customers who perhaps faced issues like hail damage or didn’t opt for steel roofing, we’ll manage the claims, handle roof maintenance, and take care of the cleanup. As this cycle continues and customers keep availing these services, the need for maintenance managers and system caretakers will grow.
| So, will you be doing the installations, and have your franchisees go and do the maintenance for the sites?
Absolutely. If only a quarter or thirty percent of our jobs involve battery installations, and let’s assume ten percent of these customers are interested in batteries next year, that’s an additional hundred battery installs. Now, let’s say another ten percent decide to go for electric vehicles, resulting in a hundred EV charging station installations. The service aspect will always be integral. As people grasp the importance of maintaining their homes or assets, they’ll naturally want to build upon that foundation of protection, preserving their energy independence, and guarding against the escalating costs of insurance.
We’ve maintained honesty and integrity right from the start. If the price point is reasonable, there’s no reason not to give individuals an opportunity. By doing so, we foster a sense of relationship and community. It’s like having business owners who treat every customer as their own family – mothers, aunts, fathers, cousins – rather than merely focusing on profit margins. This approach could cultivate a stronger community.
Our goal is to create a promising future for the community. If we step outside the box a little and anticipate the common issues the public might face, we can design solutions that address those concerns, such as the increase in insurance costs and energy expenses. Our main focus is on offering products that safeguard against hailstorms, windstorms, and provide solar battery backup. And we’ll wrap it all up with a comprehensive maintenance program to ensure that people are never left on their own.
Discover your solar saving potential
The most common frustration people express about having solar is the absence of maintenance and the difficulty in getting a response when they reach out for assistance. I got two bills and the company’s out of business, and now I don’t know who’s going to fix my system. And the concern arises from that very issue. This is particularly relevant to the energy aspect. Our aim is to prevent such scenarios. We’re committed to ensuring that you won’t have to deal with two bills. If your inverter malfunctions, we’ll cover the bill.
Shifting to the insurance side of things, we’re well aware of the challenges with rising premiums and exorbitant deductibles. It often leaves people feeling like they’re either overpaying each month or being unfairly burdened when an accident occurs. Our approach is to introduce a product that lowers their premiums and couple that with a maintenance program that eliminates the need to file frequent claims. We’re dedicated to getting ahead of these concerns and providing effective solutions.