By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Anyone who’s been in St. Louis for a few years – or a few decades – has probably heard Frederic Roofing’s jingle: “For a hole in your roof or a whole new roof – Frederic Roofing.”
Advertising featuring that jingle has made 86-year-old Frederic a household name in the St. Louis area. The company, a 2015 TORCH Award winner, was founded in St. Louis. It has been at its current location at Brentwood Boulevard and Hanley Road in Brentwood since 1972.
The slogan has been great for branding, says Gene Frederic III, vice president and the fourth generation in the business, “but that only takes you so far. You have to follow through.”
His father, Gene R. “Bob” Frederic Jr., adds, “It’s all about the customer. From start to finish, it’s 110 percent about the customer.”
The elder Frederic’s grandfather started the business in 1929 with a $250 loan from Bremen Bank. The company still banks there, and Bob Frederic serves on the bank’s board.
Bob Frederic attributes the company’s success to two things:
- “We answer the phone.
- “We don’t subcontract.
“It’s all employees,” Frederic said, from the people who answer the phone to the roofers at the job site. The only subcontractors hired are those who do work outside of Frederic’s expertise, such as when a customer wants Frederic to act as general contractor for a project that goes beyond roofing and guttering.
When he asks Gary Bahr, residential superintendent, for the secret to the company’s success, he says, simply, “Do good work. We have to perform higher than other roofing companies. People expect quality roofs and quality service” from Frederic.
Customers get a signed contract and an explanation of the work before the project begins. There’s a foreman on each job and a superintendent for each division.
Most customers receive a third-party survey after the job. “It has shown that we are doing the right thing,” said Gene Frederic, adding that Frederic often gets the highest ratings.
Frederic also owns its fleet of red trucks – each branded with Frederic’s logo and slogan – and red dumpster bins for roofing waste. A special company truck delivers and removes each bin, lifting it from the ground rather than sliding it to prevent damage to a customer’s driveway.
Frederic employs union roofers for its commercial flat roof crews. Commercial roofing is about 70 percent of Frederic’s business. The company has separate crews for residential roofs, including asphalt, tile and a new crew that installs solar panels on commercial and residential roofs. A solar array on Frederic’s building supplies almost all the electricity the company needs.
Training at Frederic focuses on safety – the mandated OSHA training as well as the company’s own safety training.
“There’s not a roof that we can’t handle,” Bob Frederic said. “We can do everything in roofing.”
Frederic has been a BBB Accredited Business for 58 years. Bob Frederic has served on BBB’s board of directors in the past, and his father once was board chair. The company frequently suggests that customers check the company’s BBB Business Review if they have any hesitation about signing a contract.
“It helps with customers who are on the fence,” Gene Frederic said.
Frederic sponsors a number of charitable golf tournaments, and it has participated in providing roofs for charities who need it as well as donating time and talent to Habitat for Humanity projects through the Roofing & Siding Contractors Alliance. Gene Frederic is involved with Urban Future and the Loyola Academy, and Bob also has served on several community boards.
Frederic has an annual appreciation dinner for company leaders and employees with five years or more of experience. Last year, 24 people at the dinner represented had a collective 500 years of service.
“It’s really a family organization,” Gene Frederic said. And it’s likely to stay that way. Gene is Bob Frederic’s eldest son, and the younger ones – aged 12, 17 and 20 – are working in the summer.
“I assume at least one of them will want to stay in the business,” Bob Frederic said.
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses, non-accredited businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. To register for this year’s TORCH Awards luncheon on Nov. 13, go to http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/events.