When the founder of Arry’s Roofing Services Inc. says his company operates in good faith, he means that literally. As head of a devout Christian family, James “Arry” Housh sees a higher calling to roofing and reroofing mostly high-end houses and commercial buildings in the booming Tampa Bay region of west-central Florida.
“My wife Becky [company financial manager] and I feel God will bless His people as long we bless others,” says Housh, who in 1990 founded the company that he runs with sons, Matthew and Stephen in the picturesque little city of Tarpon Springs on the Gulf of Mexico. “We give glory to God and he blesses us with wisdom and fortitude.”
Such wisdom and fortitude is needed in the secular as well as spiritual sense in the Florida building trades, as the heavens above aren’t always merciful to those who toil below.
Locals swear they can set their watches by the heavy rains that mark the summer’s late afternoons. The sun swelters almost year-round, adding further stress to shingles, tiles, vents and barriers, and the materials used to hold them together. Mold and moss never sleep, and rooftop leaks stain ceilings and walls and can even threaten the integrity of an otherwise sturdy structure. Tropical storms blow in from the gulf or South Florida with such ferocity that insurers may be left scrambling for quality roofers.
So while Florida roofing may be a day in the sun, it’s no picnic. It takes quality work to get in the good graces of homeowners and homebuilders, and Housh paraphrases scripture when emphasizing his company’s mission statement.
“We won’t do unto others that we won’t do unto ourselves,” he vows. “We build every roof as if it’s our own. We understand, as most people do, that we are not perfect and mistakes will happen, but as long as we know about it, we will do everything in our power to make it right—every time. In fact, one of our mantras around here is that ‘your character is not necessarily defined when things are going right, but rather when things go wrong.'”
Start to finish
With 135 employees, many there for the long haul and trained in all the complexities of roofing, ventilation, insulation, storm repair, skylights, gutters, insurance mitigation and creative long-term payment plans, Arry’s Roofing is a one-stop operation. A thorough inspection and free estimate precedes a project that doesn’t end with installation and repair; Arry’s Roofing sets up a maintenance plan, schedules roof cleanings and provides inspections after the inevitable storms.
Master Elite-certified to work with GAF shingles—a rugged make perennially ranked best or near-best by homebuilders—Arry’s Roofing is confident its work will stand up to whatever challenges time and nature may pose, even if it costs more in the short term.
“People should look upon a roof as a need, not a want,” Housh says. “When you use the best components & workmanship, as we do, your roof lasts much longer and it’s worth paying more. You can’t buy Michelin tires for the same price as an off-the-shelf brand. The same goes with roofing; spending a couple thousand dollars more could extend the life of your roof another 10 or 15 years, and that’s a very affordable price to pay. But if price is all you’re concerned with, you might just get five to seven years out of your roof.”
Housh adds that to achieve that Master Elite designation—shared by just 3 percent of roofing contractors nationwide—the company’s executives and crews had to complete rigorous training to ensure that its installation methods and procedures met the standards established by North America’s leading manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing.
And with the best components and a crew that includes many men and women who are making a career at Arry’s Roofing, Housh can confidently offer a comprehensive 20-year workmanship warranty on all services (new roof systems), in addition to the guarantees provided by the manufacturers.
“You can rest assured that if anything goes wrong after the work is completed, we’ll be right there to repair or replace the problem area,” Housh emphasizes.
Going by the Good Book
With sheltering the unfortunate a prominent part of Christian teachings, Arry’s Roofing does its part through various charitable endeavors, often enlisting its vendors to contribute materials and manpower for a genuine community effort.
Arry’s Roofing is the regional sponsor of a national coalition called No Roof Left Behind, which takes applications from needy residents and lets the community decide who’s most in need of a free roof replacement valued between $12,000 and $15,000. The company also has topped off houses built by Habitat for Humanity, and has aided many veterans who have had trouble keeping up with home repairs.
“These projects are a lot of fun, and no one bears too much of the cost,” says Housh, explaining that GAF can be counted upon to supply shingles while another national company, Allied Building Products, provides the underlayments. A couple of local businesses, Boyle’s Aluminum and Screening, and Bozarth Contractors, pitch in. There may be a catered lunch (provided by Sonny’s BBQ) and activities such as fun houses and face-painting for the children.
“We do our part to help people undergoing hardships,” he says. “We believe in relationships. We’re not in it for the recognition.”
That said, word of mouth remains his preferred way of marketing Arry’s Roofing, and if the charity work contributes to bringing in other business, Housh can see it as part of a greater plan.
Customers come first, he says, with employees a close second. The folks who toil under that Florida sun have incentives that include bonus pay and the ongoing opportunity to advance, educate and grow themselves. Housh would rather retain good people than rely on journeymen and day laborers, as a lot of contractors do.
“We are family owned & operated and this premise extends to our employees,” he says.
And should his workers need spiritual counseling, Becky Housh presides over regular bible study.
One teaching might seem especially appropriate: Matthew 7:24-29, which symbolically beckons everyone to build their house—be it literal or metaphoric—on a strong foundation. Housh sees to it that faith is the foundation at Arry’s Roofing Services Inc., and he’s happy to provide a reliable covering as well.