When I started in the roofing business, in Hampton Virginia, I was fortunate to meet up with Bill Taylor who was the representative for Certainteed Shingles in the Hampton Roads Area – an area which includes Yorktown, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth. Bill has since moved on to bigger and better things and now is the Sales Manager at Air Vent, the developers of the best ridgevent on the market (in my humble but totally accurate opinion), Shinglevent 2.
Certainteed has, in my opinion, the best educational program for contractors and it was a huge help for me just getting started. I quickly moved up in their certification program by taking courses and becoming certified in all of their product lines. I have held their top designation for “Select ShingleMaster” for quite some time, among other certifications for their siding, trim and other products
In the course of time, once Bill left Certainteed, we were beset by some “less than competent” representatives that made our job of servicing our customers harder, despite Certainteed’s great products. We turned to Certainteed’s #1 competitor GAF for help. Luckily, at that time the GAF rep was great and helped us a lot. We soon had started selling GAF shingles for 90% of our work and became GAF’s #1 Master Elite Contractor in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What happened with Certainteed’s representative, also happened with GAF’s: no company is immune to the Peter Principle where the great people get promoted. We lost our Super GAF rep and she was replaced by a less than competent one. During that time, Certainteed had developed a great rep and we sought his help in servicing our customers.
So, as of today, I use Certainteed shingles primarily. I have installed Tamko Shingles, Owens Corning Shingles, and IKO Shingles as well. My personal feeling is that Certainteed and GAF produce the highest quality product on the market right now and you would be well served with either company. That being said, I think Certainteed’s Landmark Shingles has an edge in quality and weight over the GAF Timberline and Certainteed is the only company that will publish their shingle weights – which is a very big determinant of the amount of asphalt in the shingle.
As a contractor, I have learned that when you have two products of comparable quality and price – as we do in Certainteed and GAF – the key determinant in which roofing shingle product your customer will be better served by here in the Hampton Roads area is the attitude of the company and their representative in the area. A great representative has authority from a great company to fix problems fast. A great representative can make a contractor look like a hero to the client, and a bad representative can make a contractor look like a goat. Without relating story after story, suffice to say it is CRITICAL to have a great relationship with your shingle representative and CRITICAL that he has the authority and backing of his company to make decisions in the field to solve problems without having to submit silly requests for approval up a long chain of command.
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In the meantime, during this election season, make sure your home votes for Jim Hicks: Pro-Improvement & Anti-Bad Things!
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