We’re extremely proud of the industry leading professional roofing company we have become since our founding. Yet, we’re still as humble and focused as ever on the principles and values our company was founded on. One of those founding principles was our desire to provide roofing solutions through relationships. We love the communities in which we serve, and all of the clients, individuals and organizations that we’ve gotten to know over the past nearly two decades. However, we want you to know us too. Below, we invite you to learn more about us as our President and Co-Owner, Chad Collins, revisits the history and growth of BDR since day one.
“Back in October of 2002, Sabrina and I got engaged and that was actually the trigger for the thought process of opening a roofing company in Athens, GA. At the time, I had been living in Savannah and working for a commercial roofing company down there. Sabrina was in pharmaceutical sales and lived in Athens. We had dated from afar for our entire relationship and after getting engaged, we knew figuring out where we would live was our next big decision. The short version is, it made no sense for Sabrina to quit her job or try to relocate to Savannah, so with a little courage, and a whole lot of uncertainty, the decision was made and I moved to Athens. By January 1, 2003 Bone Dry Roofing was born.
My background and prior work experience in the roofing industry served us well as a start-up. In my previous position, I had started a service department for the roofing contractor I worked for. Understanding service needs, customer expectations, communication, and most importantly, how to fix roof leaks and roof-related issues, was already part of my day-to-day skill set. Growing service customers into long-term roofing relationships was the focus and goal of Bone Dry Roofing Company from day one.
“Growing service customers into long-term roofing relationships was the focus and goal of Bone Dry Roofing Company from day one.”
My business partner, Travis Webb and I met in 2003 as well. We were introduced by a mutual friend who was also a customer — and still is to this day! Bone Dry actually performed a couple of roofing projects for Travis, who at the time, owned a local general contracting firm. Our quick friendship and mutual love of the Lord ultimately resulted in us deciding to partner up. With Travis’ construction background and field experience, our growth began with his focus on the operations side of the business, while I focused on sales and estimating and growing our customer base.
Much of the early years are a blur. Lots of learning by trial and error. As a small business, we were very hands-on and even performed a lot of repair work ourselves. It took us a little while to find the right mix of employees to help us grow strategically. We began to understand who our ideal customer was and also learned what types of work we needed to say “no” to. Surviving the first few years felt like a major accomplishment in and of itself. We were growing each year and had bigger goals and an even bigger vision as we got more and more established.
We survived the economic downturn years because of great customers and solid relationships. Looking back, because we were still such a young organization, those years were spent scratching and clawing, just like all of the previous years. We just kept our heads down and focused on the opportunities that we had in front of us. We also were growing to a size where overhead and obligations were beginning to exceed our initial plans. Although there was a lot of excitement with that growth, it was also pretty scary to know we had so many employees and families depending on us being successful day after day, and week after week. To diversify and not have all of our resources wrapped up in one geographic location, we began knocking around in the St. Simons Island area.
SSI is a natural fit for us. I still had a handful of roofing relationships in the area from my Savannah days, and Sabrina’s family were all from the SSI/Brunswick/Jesup area, which was both convenient and strategic in terms of making connections, contacts, etc. Adding a second location was a lot like our first in many regards. We made lots of missteps, and banged our heads trying to figure out how to manage people from 300 miles away — but never doubted that we could make a second office location work. One of the really unique benefits of the Coastal Georgia area is there are a lot of ties to Athens that just naturally occur. That helped us tremendously in the early stages. Several of our customers in SSI were either repeat customers from Athens or had direct ties to Athens and knew who Bone Dry Roofing was when we showed up on the island. That certainly helped us gain traction and get established in a new market early on.
With the same motivation of growth, opportunity, and diversification, we opened our third location in 2015 in Charleston, SC. In many ways, Charleston was an effort in what we had learned over the years and so getting established there from an organizational standpoint had some advantages. We were certainly a larger and more capable business in 2015 than we were back in 2003, so those advantages were obvious. Charleston presented its own challenges though in the sense that it is just a much larger market than either Athens or St. Simons Island. Although there was always great opportunity in Charleston, it took us a little longer than expected to establish a presence and make inroads to the right customers, contractors, and partners. Today, our team in Charleston is thriving and we are excited about the growth and continued development of that incredible market.
2021 will be a great year for Bone Dry Roofing Company because we have great people. The three markets that we operate in are successful because of the talent and skill set of the individuals that show up and get the work done each and every day. We couldn’t be more proud of our employees and the shared commitment we all have to our company’s core values and continued growth and success. The real success story from 2003 till now has been the ability to attract and retain the employees that work here. We are poised for great things today and beyond because of our people.”