Fueled by Flexibility
Willingness to change ensures growth for Statewide Sheetmetal and Roofing
If there’s one thing that Scott Bailey, Owner and President of Statewide Sheetmetal and Roofing (Statewide), in Elm City, North Carolina, has learned since buying the company in 2017, it’s this: When opportunity comes knocking, answer the door. Conversely, when one door closes, find another to open.
Established in 1977 by the late Joe Godwin, Statewide has shifted its focus repeatedly over the years—from its early days as a residential roofing company to one with a greater emphasis on commercial projects beginning in the late 1980s. That’s when North Carolina’s tobacco companies called on Statewide to meet its metal roofing and building needs, contributing to Statewide’s then 80/20 commercial-residential business mix, to somewhere in between.
“Well before I bought the company, Statewide was doing a ton of commercial fabricating work,” Bailey says. But as demand for cigarettes softened and leading tobacco companies closed facilities, Statewide’s commercial business did a slow burn, and Bailey, with his business and sales background, found ways to rekindle the company’s residential business. He flipped it back to a near 80/20 residential-commercial split.
“I received a lot of great advice from Godwin, but the business had changed,” Bailey says. Together with Vice President Lee Gold, a 25-year construction veteran, Statewide established a partnership with Opendoor, a nationwide buyer and seller of houses with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, and eight other U.S. cities. “We were doing 60 to 80 roofing repairs and 20 new roofs monthly,” Bailey says, “but then that work went away as Opendoor changed its business philosophy.”
Bailey found a way to replace the Opendoor roofing business by partnering with Scottsdale, Arizona-based Progress Residential, a provider of single-family rental homes, with offices in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, and 12 additional U.S. cities.
Another arrangement, this one with GM Brantley Construction Co. & Real Estate, a general contractor in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, helped Statewide gain custom home and metal roof experience. “Through this partnership,” says Bailey, “we’ve built two custom homes and have done six metal roofs, including a 10/12 pitch (the roof rises 10 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal roof) black standing seam roof that camouflages the screws for enhanced aesthetics.”
An additional move forward comes in the form of Statewide’s use of drones, especially on two-story houses with steeply pitched roofs requiring minor repairs that could go unnoticed by crew members who are watching how and where they step. “With the drones, you get nice aerial videos and pictures without having to be concerned about worker safety,” Bailey says. “The drones show the whole roof and help diagnose what needs to be done.”
However, it’s the commercial business Bailey now looks to grow. “We have several bids out on new commercial construction, including military base work,” he says. “Residential work fluctuates, but federal work is steady.”
Statewide’s current 50/50 business split isn’t quite where Bailey wants it to be. “With our current bidding at 80% commercial versus 20% residential, my ultimate goal is to return to an 80/20 commercial-residential split,” he says.
Driven to Diversify
Statewide’s commercial roofing jobs present an interesting mix of projects, especially when compared to its metal residential roofing and on-the-ground (windows and siding) business.
“We’re always looking to diversify,” Bailey says. “Eventually, we’d like to add offices in Charlotte, Greensboro, Atlanta and Charleston and jobs sites in South Carolina, Virginia and even Georgia, Florida and Alabama as we work toward establishing ourselves as a full-service regional company for the Southeast.”
Recent commercial projects include an 80,000-square-foot torch down roof for a nuclear power plant in Columbia, South Carolina. This roof type uses a flame torch for bonding modified bitumen to layers of fiberglass. The result: a better-sealed roof, an important requirement for a nuclear power plant where leaks can pose dangerous hazards.
Another commercial project is the Quality Inn Roanoke Near Lake Gaston in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, where a 30,000-square-foot thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roof was installed. “Using a 45-foot skid loader to hoist the roofing materials in the North Carolina summer heat while keeping our guys hydrated and safe presented challenges,” Bailey says.
And then there’s the 17,000-square-foot roof installed at the Hix Recreation Complex gymnasium in Oxford, North Carolina. “The facility had leaks since the 1990s,” says Bailey. “We replaced the failing roof with a gray TPO that meshes well with the building, resulting in a great looking and functional facility.”
Keeping a Good Thing
With 30% year-over-year growth for 2019-2020, Statewide stands as a $2.3 million business, says Bailey. Not bad for a company that did $1.7 million in 2019 and $965,000 in 2018. Looking ahead, Bailey projects 3-5% year-over-year growth for the next several years.
Even so, Bailey doesn’t expect company growth to overshadow the company’s family-oriented culture. With a tight-knit team of 14 employees, he wants to protect Statewide’s “laid-back” culture. “We work and play hard,” Bailey says, “and we enjoy joking around.” When it comes to the work part of Bailey’s statement, he says regular infield and video training on myriad tasks—from roofing repairs to proper installation techniques—is ongoing. “We dedicate about two hours of training per month per employee.”
As for the play part, Bailey says monthly cookouts and holiday parties, coupled with paid time off, competitive pay and a health insurance plan—“unusual for a company our size”—help contribute to a positive employee experience.
This, he says, is of utmost importance to him and the company’s Co-Owners: his mother and sister, Sandra and Misty Bailey, and his wife, Shawn, and father-in-law, Gary Case. “We want our team to have lives away from here,” Bailey says, “and not have to work 70-80 hours a week.”
The flexibility and willingness to shift between commercial and residential projects that Bailey has built into his business model enables him and his team to achieve this goal, while keeping a steady stream of work flowing to and through Statewide.