When it comes to growing their business, most people are motivated by money. For roofer and family man Will Miller, it was a burning conviction to keep his word that scaled his business larger than he ever could have imagined.
If you’re after roofing in Texas and beyond, it’s a safe bet you’ll run into a team from Priority Roofing. This trusted name in the exterior construction space continues to grow well past what everyone was expecting, to the benefit of the thousands of homes and properties who have found shelter below their handiwork.
10 locations, managed by 7 distinct entities. Seven years into the ride, things are going gangbusters at Priority. But scaling a company like this wasn’t always the vision of Owner and President Will Miller.
“I honestly never really thought I was that guy,” Miller says.
In 2016, he had decided to go out on his own and founded Priority Roofing. As a guy who had spent years selling door to door in the roofing business, Miller knew that this industry was his best bet for providing for his growing family. Quiet success was the goal.
The dream was to have a team of four or five, sell 20 roofs a month, and allow everyone to enjoy a simple and stable life with their families.
“I’m not the guy that wears the owner’s hat and builds a massive brand,” Miller recalls thinking, “I’m just the guy that knows how to work hard.”
Miller and his team set off in the summer of 2016 to hit that target: 20 roofs a month. It did not take long for the seasoned roofing vet to lead Priority to that promised land: in November, they hit it, after only four months in business.
For Miller, who had the work ethic, but was yet to discover the aspirations of growth, the answer was to keep doing what was working. They went on to do 20 roofs a month through the winter.
Then, in the merry month of May, a storm hit, one that would forever change Miller’s career, his business, and the roofing industry as a whole.
It was an above average year for hail in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. Ready to serve homeowners and businesses that desperately needed repairs, Priority sold 89 roofs in that month alone.
To put it mildly, Miller was suffering from success. It’s one thing to go out and sell almost ninety roofs. Having all of them installed was a different beast. Contracting the work would mean scaling Priority Roofing at an unprecedented rate. Miller needed growth, fast.
Many scale their businesses in the hopes of making more money. For Miller, his motivation was integrity. His customers desperately needed repairs, renovations, and upgrades. His team was counting on the commission that would come from these jobs. On principle, Miller had never taken deposits, which put him in a tough spot: the money to pay for these massive amounts of roofs would only come when the roofs were already installed.
Cash flow was tight – they would need upwards of $200,000 to cash flow all those roofs in a single month. With no option to borrow that amount of money, the best course was to turn to a hard-money lender. Despite having to live off maxed out credit cards for five months, Miller made it work.
“It was extremely stressful for me and my family,” Miller recalls. “I was working six days a week, leaving my house at six in the morning and getting back at like ten or eleven at night. When I wasn’t working, my phone was blowing up – it was a difficult season.”
At the same time, Miller had a one year old and a newborn at home. Family time was sparse, he and his wife were struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, his reps were making good money on commission. Thinking maybe he wasn’t the guy to build a massive business, Miller longed for the days when he worked for someone else (who took on all the risk).
But following this would mean shutting down the business – despite having promised customers 5 to 10 year warranties. “If you give someone your word,” Miller says, “you have to do it.”
These were all the motivators that kept Priority Roofing going. What started in 2016 as a guy trying to sell 20 roofs a month finished 2017 doing over 550 on the year. Through the difficulty and momentous effort of a man just trying to keep his word, something powerful had been established.
For the next seven years, Miller grew his team and reach. As this article goes to press, the company has 10 different locations managed from seven different entities, all with their own general manager. In 2022, Priority did over $66 million in revenue company-wide.
Roofing in Houston or Dallas, residential roof inspections in Austin or Fort Worth, brand new shingles in San Antonio or even out in California; Priority covers residential and commercial property in these areas and beyond.
Expect this expansive geography to only grow as Miller continues to change the face of the roofing industry.
Miller has learned that it’s just about growth, it’s about stability. “We’re still not perfect,” Miller jokes, “but from our mistakes we’ve learned how to stay in business. Five, ten, twenty, forty years from now, we’ll still be here.”
Despite what he once thought about himself, Will Miller is that guy.
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