Connor Jones is the owner of Midcon Exteriors, a roofing company based out of Lowell, Arkansas.
Born and raised just north of Joplin, Missouri, Jones was the oldest of eight kids who grew up in a family that prided themselves on the importance of hard work.
Growing up, Jones never dreamt of becoming a roofing business owner, but when he was fifteen a family friend needed help installing a roof, which led to Jones ascending a steep slope in order to help a homeowner.
“That first job was installing a metal roof,” Jones recalls, adding that the family friend asked him back the next day after experiencing firsthand just how hard-working and detail-oriented Jones was.
“And then the next day turned into the next four and a half years. I would roof with him [family friend] in the summers, and then part-time in the winters when school was out.”
That’s how Jones learned to install roofs the right way, but after high school Jones left The Natural State and went down to Texas to work for a disaster relief organization.
Four years after that, Jones got involved in doing custom carpentry, and not long afterward he returned to the Joplin area to undertake remodeling jobs.
“I had tried to get out of roofing and construction multiple times since I was a teenager,” Jones says with a laugh, but he never did, simply because the opportunities associated with roofing never ceased to disappear.
By 2010, Jones reconnected with a friend who taught him about insurance restoration work, and how much money roofing contractors could make by working with homeowners and their insurance companies to replace roofs afflicted with hail damage.
“I knew roofing, but I knew nothing about sales or insurance,” Jones says, but after going over the numbers with his friend, he then realized that hail was pervasive throughout most of the United States.
Moreover, due to the fact that the United States economy was slowly recovering from the misfortunes of 2007-2009, Jones believed that insurance restoration work was a recession-proof industry that could afford him a solid path toward financial stability.
Convinced of the ability to earn money through assisting homeowners with insurance claims, Jones packed his things and went down to Oklahoma City, where many roofs had been decimated by hail.
“In OKC, my approach was simple: I would hop out of my truck, knock on doors, explain to homeowners where to sign [a contingency agreement; which is common practice in roofing insurance claims], and that we would meet with their adjuster,” Jones says.
“That was basically the pitch because that was all I knew.”
For the next seven years, Jones moved around the country helping homeowners navigate the insurance claims process and helping get their hail-damaged roofs replaced.
“At the same time, I helped them [former employer] build their business, to the point that they were licensed general contractors in 17 states. This spanned everywhere from Long Island, New York; to Phoenix, Arizona; to Sheraton, Wyoming.”
But things changed in 2018 when Jones and his wife opted to move to Lowell, Arkansas.
For starters, Jones and his wife wanted to be closer to family in Joplin, but having spent several years traversing the country, Jones also saw northwest Arkansas as a fast-developing part of the country.
In turn, as northwest Arkansas continued to grow, new homes would be built, people would move into the area, and opening a roofing company in the area suddenly became a viable business opportunity.
“Given my work history, making the leap to roofing business owner made sense,” Jones says, and soon Midcon Exteriors was helping homeowners in Lowell and the surrounding areas repair and replace their roofs.
“Things have taken off since then,” Jones notes of the last four years.
During this stretch, Jones had grown a lot as an individual, embarking on an entrepreneurial journey he never envisioned when he first helped install a metal roof all those years ago.
But beyond personal and professional development, Jones has also discovered something more crucial, namely the value and peace of mind he can provide to other people, which is why today Midcon Exteriors works tirelessly to give their clients an exceptional customer service experience.
Whereas some roofing contractors in Lowell rave about the brand of shingles they install, or the speed and precision with which their crews can replace a roof, Jones and his team have employed a different tact.
“We learned that customers are most satisfied when we do something as simple as sending them a text if we are running a couple minutes behind for an appointment, or when we shoot a post-install video of the roof and send it to them,” Jones explains, adding that in the vast majority of conversations he has had with homeowners, addressing the technical elements of the roof replacement isn’t something customers prioritize.
“During my meetings with homeowners, nobody mentions the shingle brand that we use. Nobody wants to go in-depth on synthetic underlayment or chimney flashings. All of the things that other contractors in the industry brag about, from the customer’s perspective, is in the bottom 20% of things that homeowners are the most satisfied with.”
For context, in 2020 Midcon Exteriors sold more Owens Corning shingles than any other roofing company in the state of Arkansas.
Internally, Jones and the brass at Midcon Exteriors were ecstatic, but their accomplishment wasn’t broadcast to future clients, because Jones emphasizes how doing so would only detract from his team’s mission to deliver an outstanding service to his clients.
“Again, we don’t spend time emphasizing our products and their features, or our certifications with Owens Corning. We are much more focused on minor things,” Jones says.
One such example of this was when Jones had a customer who pre-install had many questions related to his roof, to the point that Jones was concerned the customer may not be fully satisfied with the project.
Yet, upon the completion of the roof replacement, Jones’ client wasn’t looking to discuss how many nails were drilled into each shingle, or what type of ridge vent was installed.
Instead, the customer was grateful for one simple act.
“He said the fact that I texted him to let him know that our crew was running fifteen minutes behind on the day of install meant more to him than anything else our company did,” Jones shares.
“He added that he worked with a lot of contractors in the past, and surprisingly nobody had ever been willing to take the time to do that.”
This customer-centric approach appears primed to continue allowing Midcon Exteriors to assist homeowners with their roofs for years to come, which is why going into 2023 Jones and his staff are building out a deeper repair division to help homeowners who have problems with their roof, but may not necessarily need a new roof replacement.
As for how other roofing contractors can emulate the success of Midcon Exteriors, the strategy of providing excellent customer service is straightforward, but if roofing business owners are unwilling to prioritize people over profits, they may never ingratiate themselves to their community in the same way Jones and Midcon Exteriors have.
“Roofing contractors shouldn’t make business decisions based on how it is going to make them feel, or how it will appear to their competitors, because that’s a waste of energy,” Jones says.
“I don’t want to sound redundant, but roofing contractors should just do this: focus on what your customer really wants and how you can give them an exceptional experience.” QS
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