Case Studies

Allstar Building Materials Ltd.

Supplying lumber and millwork with same-day service

Tom Crowe founded Allstar Building Materials Ltd. in 1987 as a commercial and residential building material supplier with a primary focus on lumber. Located in Ormand Beach, Florida, Allstar Building Materials has earned a reputation for its exceptional customer service. “Our commitment to customer service is what sets us apart from the competition,” says Crowe. “We keep tabs on our partners and customers and keep them happy with that they want and the service that they deserve.”

Crowe has been in the lumber supply industry for nearly 40 years. After a short stint in the NFL, Crowe initially went into the education field, utilizing his teaching certificate that he earned from the University of Kentucky. “I was with the New Orleans Saints and broke my arm in the first game,” recalls Crowe. “After I was released from the Saints I decided to use my degree and started teaching at the high school level.” After a few years of teaching, Crowe found that he was not enjoying it and decided to look elsewhere for a career.

After receiving a job lead with a lumber company through his wife’s coworker, Crowe interviewed with the company and was offered a position. “I got in with the company and have enjoyed the lumber business ever since.” When the opportunity arose for Crowe to buy his own company, he reached out to investors and received enough support to start Allstar Building Materials in 1987.

Creating efficiency

Allstar Building Materials has discovered methods to assist its customers when they are on the jobsite. “We stay in communication with the framers and trim carpenters to find out when and where they need their materials,” Crowe explains. “We don’t want to send trim to a jobsite when it isn’t ready to be used. So we coordinate everything with the carpenters so that’s one less thing for the general contractor to worry about. Our customers have always appreciated that aspect of what we do.”

Not only does this method of conducting business give Crowe and his team a great amount of pride, it also gives them repeat business. “A contractor would compare us to another supplier and even if our price is a bit higher he’ll think about what we’re saving him by helping to coordinate deliveries with the carpenters,” says Crowe. “We basically consider ourselves an employee of the contractor.”

The relationships that Allstar Building Materials has established, has also created efficient payment methods from contractors. “We collect 100 percent of the money owed to us on a monthly basis,” says Crowe. “We work with some contractors so often that we’re in their billing cycle and we get a check from them every other week.”

The decision to send invoices out immediately upon delivery proved to be significant in surviving the recession. “The ability to collect 100 percent of the money owed to us monthly really gave us a cushion when it comes to buying and paying for things,” says Crowe. “Through the recession the suppliers got really tough on independent distributors like us about collecting payment, so the fact that we had great customers who were able to pay us made it in turn easier to pay our bills and managed to get us through the recession.”

Allstar Building Materials employs 25 people, including many who work part time. Crowe has established a fleet of drivers who are content with part-time hours, while his full-time crews are comprised of employees with full benefits packages. “All my workers are very dependable,” says Crowe. “Some of my guys have been with me for about 25 years.”

Creating partners

Crowe instills a philosophy into his workers of getting to know the customers. “My advice to anyone is to get involved with your customers,” says Crowe. “Become partners with your clients and don’t treat them like a number.” Allstar Materials takes this philosophy full-on as daily interactions with customers can include visits to clients’ offices, taking them out to lunch, or even an afternoon of golf. “I play golf every other week with some of my biggest contractors and we rarely talk business.”

After a successful 2014, Allstar Building Materials is looking maintain steady growth while achieving a revenue boost of nearly 100 percent. With Crowe’s connections to numerous mills, he is confident that cost of materials should not be a major issue for him or his customers. “We went back to the basics a couple of years ago during the recession,” says Crowe. “We decided to not be a supplier of everything for everybody. We’ve gone back to what we do best which is delivering lumber and millwork as well as emphasizing same-day service which has really given us an edge on our competitors.”

As the company moves forward, Allstar Building Materials Ltd. will continue to build lasting relationships with contractors.

Published on: August 4, 2015

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