Innovative Construction & Roofing
Together, co-owners Christian Larson, Patrick McNichols and Brian Benson founded Innovative Construction & Roofing (ICR) in 2008. “It was just after working on repairs and renovations in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina,” explains McNichols. “It seemed like with our knowledge, it was the right time to set out on our own. Of course, we started very small. In the last five to six years, though, we have grown rapidly.”
In 2012 ICR ranked No. 2 among contractors on Inc. Magazine’s annual list of fastest-growing companies. Then in 2013 ICR was recognized as one of St. Louis’ 25 fastest growing companies by the St. Louis Business Journal, making No. 2 on that list, as well.
ICR specializes in commercial and specialty roofing, completing more than 5,000 roofs since inception. After dealing with a multitude of damaged slate and tile roofs in New Orleans, the owners saw a need for high-quality slate and tile roof repair and replacement for St. Louis’ historic neighborhoods; ICR has completed more than 400 slate and tile roof replacements to-date.
ICR is now a member of the National Slate Association and the Slate Roofing Contractors Association. The company carries commercial installer certifications from many manufactures, including Carlisle, CertainTeed, Polyglass, Uniflex, GAF and others.
“We provide a lifetime guarantee on our workmanship,” McNichols elaborates. “That is one of the key components to our success. We use high-quality products on our roofs, which allow us to provide a guarantee. For example, for residential roofs, we use synthetic underlay for all of our projects. We don’t use any traditional felt. This gives the homeowner an added level quality, as well as piece of mind and reduces any future issues with the roof.”
Word Gets Around
“We rarely advertise through traditional means such as television or radio,” Benson explains. “Most of our business comes in through referrals, as well as through the reviews prospects read online. If you look at our YP.com listing for example, you see over 125 reviews as of today. That’s over 10 more than any other roofer. Our focus on cultivating reviews and referrals has helped grow both our residential and commercial business significantly.”
According to Benson, social media has also played a role in growing business for ICR. The crew was even featured in a British business publication highlighting its strategy for using the Internet and social media to grow business for contractors.
Larson, McNichols and Benson are big on communication, as evidenced by the team’s online presence. This has been a major component in building lasting relationships with both clients and strategic partners.
Customers can locate ICR offices in St. Louis, Kansas City and Oklahoma City. “Outside of the city, my crew has worked everywhere in between and beyond,” Benson elaborates. “The crew has performed a number of unique projects all over the region and highlights specialty projects and new products on our company blog.”
The company’s impressive geographic footprint has led to numerous avenues of growth for ICR. Growth, naturally, means that the team will have to bulk up its staff. According to Benson, growth has been the only major challenge since the business got rolling.
“We want to find the right people who are motivated,” McNichols explains. “We have been able to succeed with a combination of drive, work ethic and our ability to instill that in our employees. You can’t necessarily teach that, but we try to encourage it. That inner drive is what propels us. We three have done a lot of sales, but now we have a team that does it very well and we have taken on more of a management role.”
According to Larson, the company is currently trying to find more employees with the same goals and agenda in mind from a sales and project management standpoint. “We want to do things right, so if you’re out here to make a buck, move along,” Larson says.
The strong and growing team continues to make headway, building a national brand in commercial roofing, specialty roofing and exterior restoration. Larson, McNichols and Benson are taking on a shifting leadership role to determine the next steps for the business. Despite the challenges of operation in the current market, Innovative Construction & Roofing is building a legacy on a strong foundation of lasting relationships.
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