As part of The Startup Magazine Founder Interview Series, we interviewed Mr. Jay Andreas. Jay is the CEO of A.S.I. Construction, a leading contracting and remodeling company in Illinois. His business is family owned and operated with over 30 years of owner experience in the Construction industry. They provide general contracting and exterior remodeling services in the residential and commercial market.
The Construction industry contributes significantly to the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 700,000 construction companies, with over 90% being “Small”, with under 20 employees. These companies employ over 7,000,000 people, providing key products and services to the broader economy.
Jay Andreas, being on the front lines with both residential and commercial customers for several decades, has some great insights into the entrepreneurial challenges in the Construction industry that apply to startups and businesses of all size. Here is more of his story:
TSM: Let’s start with the basics. Describe your product/service in 10 words or less:
Jay: We do storm restoration, commercial and residential roofing, siding, windows, doors, and epoxy floors.
TSM: With a little more detail, what does your firm do?
Jay: A.S.I. Construction offers resources homeowners and business owners need to help them accomplish any exterior project. We specialize in residential and commercial exterior remodeling and restoration services. We process insurance claims from start to finish on a very high level, and we are partnered with a world- class supplement department. We are a well-respected leader in the wind & hail, storm damage market.
Working with any and all insurance companies, is what sets us apart from the competition. We are an insurance-based roofing, siding, window & door company. We offer free roofing / siding / window / door / full eight-point thorough inspections. We also offer retail services involving free estimates for roofing, siding, windows & doors. We offer top of the line products, and we have an incredible network of installers.
TSM: What inspired you to start your firm?
Jay: We started our firm in 2013 because we all worked at different companies in the storm damage restoration market, and we wanted to put together an all-star team. We help people who may not be able to afford roofing, siding and/or gutters. We work with their insurance carrier if they qualify for storm damage, we can get their roofing, siding and/or gutters replaced for their deductible by their insurance carrier.
TSM: How is your firm impacting the world/your clients?
Jay: We are making an impact on the economy by dramatically improving our clients’ property values. For instance, let’s say your home was built in 1975 and we get you approved for a full roofing, siding, and gutter replacement. We are increasing your property value by up to 40 percent. We do this for hundreds and even thousands of clients per year, all the while creating more jobs via sales, installation crews, suppliers, manufactures for all of the top of the line products we sell.
TSM: What are the disruptive factors in your industry that make it so promising?
Jay: As long as there is bad weather, it will always exist. Insurance carriers flip the bill on the “storm damage home repairs” and there is no out of pocket cost to the homeowner other than their insurance deductible
The profit margins and pay structures are staggering in almost every position in our industry, from being an independent insurance adjuster to being a contractor. The disruptive factor is that this industry is “recession proof” because we are not asking people to pay for these home improvements out of their own pockets.
“It’s easy to find crews; it’s hard to find ‘good’ crews who care.”
TSM: As your firm grew, what were the primary challenges? Hiring? Quality control? Capital?
Jay: As we continue to grow, I would say that our biggest challenge would be finding “good” people (i.e. additional crews / sales reps / office help) who are as phenomenal as the ones we already have now. The work is certainly out there; the problem is always finding good crews that score 5-star ratings from our customers… and those crews / good people are not always easy to find. It’s easy to find crews; it’s hard to find “good” crews who care when your company is growing this fast.
TSM: Going back to your early career decisions, tell us what factors influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur in Construction?
Jay: I always wanted to be in control of my own destiny. If I ever failed, I always wanted it to be because of a decision that I made and not a decision made by somebody else. I never want there to be a chance for somebody else to “screw it up for me.” I have an extreme amount of confidence in my abilities and always believed that, when I figure out how to do something, I always figure out the best way to do it.
That’s awesome. Thank you Jay. Good luck with continued success.
More information about A.S.I. Construction can be found here.