David Schulte is the founder and board member of Schulte Roofing®. Schulte Roofing® has been providing the Brazos Valley and its surrounding areas with professional commercial and residential roofing for the last 25 years.
Career in roofing began with a start up firm in Pearland, TX. He was the first and only employee, and, at the time, the owners were still working at their current jobs. Days were lonely at first. An empty office, no fellow workers, no policy or procedures, no leads, no previous customers, and no name recognition to build on. It was, ”Hello I’m in the roofing business and I don’t know anything.” It was endless days of knocking doors and fumbling through very limited roofing knowledge. Luckily, stumbling into a neighborhood with some old hail damage, and the sincere desire to understand roofing and insurance, wanting to honestly help people, and….the desire to eat and provide for his family, proved to be a recipe for success.
The new company began to grow rapidly. The strong work ethic in David, coupled with his strong people skills and desire to be the best, soon saw him at the head of 5 other salespeople as the sales manager. The company had a lot of quick successes and the future seemed bright. However, appx a year and a half into this endeavor, a struggle of business differences began between the two owners and left David with no option but to leave.
That was December 1994. All that he had just put into this new company was now wasted. But was it really? God has through his divine wisdom had put him in the best situation possible. What David soon realized was that he had just spent the last year and half helping to build a roofing company from the ground up. Why not do it for himself? And so at that moment, Schulte Roofing was born.
It was hard at first but the desire was strong. He took the small amount of savings he had, which was less than $2000 and used it as a downpayment on a new truck for his new company. Now, he had no idea where his next dollar would come from. He was broke, lived in a trailer, and was determined to provide for his wife and family. The days of door knocking began again. Everywhere he went he talked roofing and everyone he came in contact with soon learned what he did. His philosophy at the time was to eat, sleep, breath, talk, think roofing!
Then a catapult! It seemed to be a confirmation from above in his decision to start his own business. A hail storm right in his hometown of Alvin, TX just 4 months later! As with the other roofing business he helped to build, his own began to show signs of the same results. Business took off and a motto of “committed to excellence” was adopted not only as a slogan but a way of doing business. His sincere desire to make sure that every customer was attended to built lasting relationships that would be remembered years into the future. Every person that bought a roof from David was given his personal attention. Even when the business got to a point to where multiple jobs were going on at different locations, sometimes different cities, David never missed being at those jobs and was always fully aware of its progress, the details needed, and the pulse of his customer.
In 1996, David and family moved to Navasota, located in the southern part of the Brazos Valley in Grimes County. At the time, he was traveling from Navasota, south to Alvin and the surrounding areas, and as far northeast as Lufkin and Livingston, as he had business in all of these areas. Days were long, starting early and finishing late and always putting in hundreds of miles of travel and hours on the phone. Still, he made every job and spoke to every customer at every location. Always walking every roof and checking behind the things he had promised.
Soon, after relocating in Navasota, putting up a sign on the highway in front of his house, buying space in the local yellow pages, shopping around town and talking to folks, the local calls starting coming in and the Brazos Valley business had begun. It was a juggle trying to be everywhere and now began the growth outside of just himself. He used a small guest house that was part of his home and property purchase as his first office. A receptionist was added as well as another project manager. The sub contractor crews that had been with him since the beginning followed him as well.
Its been 26 years now and a lot has changed. There is a new office and shop of 7500sf with an additional 4500sf added on in 2016. That’s 12000sf, a long way from the original small guest house office of 400sf and it includes a sheet metal shop and 3 standing seam roll formers. We have a full staff consisting of a President, Vice President, General Manager, Office Manager, Quality Control Manager, Safety Manager, Job Superintendents, Production Manager, 10 Project Managers, a Shop Manager, and a whole lot more employees that do roofing, deliveries, and various other clerical duties.
The one thing that never changed… an undying “commitment to excellence!”
I often wonder: “Why are we still here after 25 years when so many in the same trade have fallen by the wayside?” There are lots of reasons: honesty, sincerity, hard work, and integrity, to name a few. Like many others, we have our issues, but how do we persevere?
The answer is the same defining reason a customer should choose to do business with us: commitment. When our team sells or does a job, we must have all those previous things (honesty, sincerity, hard work, and integrity), but most importantly, we must have the ability to fulfill the customer’s needs after the sale. That’s the commitment I’m talking about. “Should you ever have a problem, we’ll be here for you.” I live by that.
Sales organizations are notorious for the ”say what you have to, get the sale, that’s all that matters” mindset and they will sell at any cost. They’ll blow wind up your skirt, sugarcoat it, do whatever it takes, and lack the integrity to just be sincere and honest. In other words, most companies shine when they are giving you their opening performance, and that performance comes in many ways. It could be the sales presentation, the great website, what they say and promise, or just the “great price.” But by not giving you realistic expectations, not being truthful, and/or selling at any cost, they set the consumer and themselves up for future disappointment and failure.
Schulte Roofing® has always shined on the opening act, most companies do, but we shine the brightest and will continue to after the sale because of our commitment! Commitment to our roofing customers in Bryan, College Station, the surrounding Brazos Valley, and to our people. I believe our mission statement says it best:
“To provide roofing installations that exceed manufacturer specifications and to provide competitive pricing for our customers while not sacrificing quality to ensure our slogan “committed to excellence”. To maintain profitability to underwrite our company’s growth and stability in our marketplace for today and in the future for both the customer and our employees.”
I pray God gives all of us here the opportunity to continue to shine for another 25 years!