These days being successful in the countertop fabrication business requires much more than just the craftsman touch. It takes some business sense, a little foresight and a hefty slice of customer service.
So, when Kenny Roesch decided to purchase the company that installed granite countertops in his kitchen in 1996, he tried to think of the business from his customers’ point of view.
“First off, we are in the middle of nowhere,” says Roesch, who, with his son, Tory, owns Billings Marble & Granite in Billings, MT.
“We are 600 miles from Salt Lake, Denver and Minneapolis. So, it made sense for us to start building an inventory of slabs. We became a stocking distributor, which has been integral in us being able to pretty much dominate our market. We now have close to 1,000 slabs in our yard, which is significant for a town of 100,000.”
In 2004 Roesch’s son, Tory, became half owner of the company. Tory brought with him a mechanical engineering degree and a ken for implementing the new technology that was then sweeping the countertop industry.
“We had gone about as far as we could with our ‘old school’ technology,” Kenny explains.
“Tory’s computer and engineering background is what we needed to take us into the 21st Century. We now employ a CNC and the Park Industries Fusion system – which incorporates a water jet and a computerized saw system. It’s phenomenal what that does for our capabilities.”
Starting with one other employee in 1996 and working out of a rented 1,300 sq ft building, using the most basic hand tools and delivering kitchens on a 10 year-old flatbed pickup truck, Kenny put together the makings of a viable business one piece at a time. Shortly after taking over the business, he purchased the building that housed the shop and added a 3,000 sq ft addition. In 2005, Billings Marble & Granite moved into a 13,000 sq ft building.
Covering All The Bases
“We work closely with kitchen and bath dealers and builders,” Kenny explains.
“We also market direct to the public. Our view on marketing is that if we try to do an exemplary job maintaining good quality and a close to perfect schedule then it becomes our marketing tool. We basically dominate the K&Bs and the builders because they have confidence that we can service them properly. Referral business from our retail direct sales is also a huge part of our market. Then, frankly, just being the largest fabricator by far, with the largest inventory makes us very, very visible.”
But, just because they are the biggest game in town doesn’t mean Billings M&G takes its customers for granted. Far from it.
“It is something of a rarity in this business to show up when you say you are going to show up,” Kenny says. “We take great pride in delivering what we say we will, when it is promised. We give a lot of credit to JobTracker, which is a benefit in technology in both scheduling and bidding. Now that we have added CounterGo to the mix it is a huge advancement for us to be able to get bids out incredibly fast that are accurate and look professional.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing, layout, and estimating software. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.