Topped with Integrity
Custom Roof Company, Inc. earns trust with commitment to customer service
Roofing is the only industry that Rick Cedano has ever known. When clients hire his company, they are signing on to more than 30 years of his expertise plus his steadfast commitment to integrity and customer service. Custom Roof Company, Inc. (Custom Roof), based in Pomona, California, has been installing, replacing and repairing roofs in Southern California since 2005.
“I have been in the trade since before I graduated high school,” says Rick, recalling the early days on residential tracts, cleaning up after crews, loading tiles and repairing roofs. “After 15 years of swinging a hammer, it was time to start my own shop,” he adds.
Custom Roof serves both residential and commercial clients, with revenue split evenly between the two—though there is more volume on the residential side. Installation services include asphalt shingle, clay tile, concrete tile, slate tile, metal roofing, stone-coated steel and solar tiles for residential customers. Commercial services include hot asphalt, standing seam metal and single-ply roofing systems as well as silicone, emulsion, polyester and elastomeric restoration systems.
Each job is accepted with the goal of complete customer satisfaction, Rick says. “Clients aren’t just a source of a living for me. I really, truly, honestly care about their experiences and how they feel about us when it’s all said and done,” he shares.
Rick’s focus on the customer stems from years in the industry before he launched his own company. “Before I started my business, I was in project management, sales, general management, repair. You name it, I’ve had the position. I’ve learned a lot of do’s and don’ts,” he says.
At one point in his career, Rick was working for one of the largest roofing companies in Los Angeles. He was placed in charge of receivables. “They had about $1.25 million in receivables,” Rick recalls. “Some jobs had been done a year ago. Most of the reason why customers weren’t paying was workmanship issues on the job. They wanted to pay, but they never got what they were promised.”
Rick jumped in to correct the laundry list of problems, scheduling repairs, trying to make good on his employer’s promises and eventually collecting money. When he started Custom Roof, he was determined to treat customers better. “I wanted to be more customer-oriented. I wanted to make sure that every customer was treated the exact same way, whether a small repair or a complete reroof of an apartment complex,” he says.
That dedication has paid off in multiple ways—strong receivables, repeat business and consistent year-over-year growth. “I’ve never had anyone owe me money,” Rick says, whether the invoice is for $1,000 or $250,000. “We are always paid. I can take their money only once they are 100% happy.”
Custom Roof has grown beyond Rick’s expectations. “Growth has been huge. In 15 years, every year we’ve managed to have a better year than the one before. We have grown every single year,” he says. That includes 2008 and the years following the onset of the Great Recession.
“We have a fleet of trucks. I own the facility that we work out of. [The business] has grown into something I never thought it would,” Rick says. “I pinch myself every day. Only in this country can you come from nothing and do so well.”
Setting up shop in the Los Angeles area has helped, too. “We are so populated here. There are so many homes, and roofs only last so long sitting in the sun,” Rick explains. “They age out.” Custom Roof crews cover Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura counties and beyond as needed.
Rick gives credit to his team for his company’s success. He employs eight journeyman roofers, an office manager and an estimator—many of them for more than a decade. He outsources some specific commercial jobs to a reliable crew that accepts work throughout the year.
“Coming from that background where I worked my butt off for more than 15 years, I know what the work is worth,” Rick says. “I pay everybody well. I treat the guys with respect and as equals. I treat them as if they are my family because I couldn’t do it without them. If they ever need anything, they know they can ask me.”
He says that the small staff is able to complete an impressive volume of work because it makes few mistakes. “We are very organized, and every job is run in a professional manner,” Rick says. “We anticipate every little issue that could come up. We’re ready for anything.” That preparation includes weekly meetings to review projects and expectations. Rick spends significant time on job sites, interacting with customers and making decisions that benefit them.
Crews stay busy with residential work—about two to three days per project—and commercial work that can take up to a month or longer. Last year, Custom Roof took on the biggest roof Rick has ever seen—250,000 square feet. A crew spent November and December resurfacing the commercial building’s roof.
Rick notes that a trend in commercial work is to restore rather than replace. “It’s a lot cheaper and lasts the same amount of time,” he says.
Building on Trust
Rick doesn’t like to boast about projects. “We’re just putting roofs on,” he says. But he does take pride in the trust that he and his employees have earned.
“Everything we do is based on trust. I can’t sleep at night if we’re not doing the right thing,” he adds. “We don’t cut corners. When I take money, we have done exactly what we set forth to do.”
That level of integrity translates to a steady stream of referrals. “We are 70 to 80% referrals with generations of families and their friends calling us,” he says. And when those Custom Roof clients need help outside of roofing, they know they can ask Rick for advice on who to hire. “People wind up trusting us so much that I have helped a couple of general contractors develop strong businesses of their own,” he adds.
Rick’s contacts have been built over a lifetime in Southern California. This is where he grew up, initially cleaning up after other roofing crews. He worked hard to learn the trade, raised his own family and developed a company with a sterling reputation.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to build,” he says. “It’s a great feeling when someone trusts you. It’s like gold.”