A longtime resident of Tallahassee, Florida, Dale Tadlock—whose father worked as an insurance representative—moved several times as a kid before returning home when he was 8 years old. At that point, Dale realized he never wanted to leave again. Not long after high school, while he was working in construction, Dale took the opportunity to manage production for a roofing company.
He immediately recognized this occupation suited his personality because he enjoyed relating to customers, working outside and providing quality craftsmanship. In 1980 Dale founded Tadlock Roofing to serve Tallahassee and its surrounding communities. Seeking to optimize operations and streamline internal communications, in 2021 Dale hired Jason Bellflower, also a Tallahassee native, as corporate operations manager. In 2022 Tadlock Roofing hit $42.4 million in revenue.
“Someone I knew really got me interested in the quality of life this industry could provide,” says Bellflower, who previously managed operations in the mortgage, boat and recreational vehicle industries. “[It’s] a lot of efficiency to accomplish what we do in the hours we work. Consumer behaviors, sales dealership life—it’s operational and transactional just like the roofing business.”
Bellflower oversees the residential division of Tadlock Roofing, which forms about 80 percent of the company (Insurance and commercial each account for roughly 10 percent of annual revenue). The organization operates seven locations throughout Florida, and Bellflower develops strategic initiatives and collaborates with local onsite managers on day-to-day operations in their markets.
“In the RV business, probably one of my greatest strengths was predicting,” he says. “If you look at placing a $10 [million] or $12 million order with a manufacturer, you get into trends of what might be hot and what might not be hot as far as interiors, colors, options and features. [It’s also about] when you need the RV to land, how long it’s going to sit, when you’re going to sell it, and when you will need the replacement, so you don’t have so much sitting in one space at one time.
“It’s allowed us to work with our manufacturers and be a better steward of the relationship and call out what we see because each market in Florida is a little different. On the coast I’ll sell blue and green shingles. If you get up into north Florida in the woods, you’re selling black and browns and darker colors. Just knowing our data, knowing our trends and getting our hands on products that make sense to the marketplace has really shaped up our path to what we achieved in 2022.”
Insurance demands have been driving roof replacements in Florida, which has spent the last few years educating consumers on contractor solicitation and fraud, he notes. As a result, insurance companies have become more selective on the age of roof that they will insure a new policy. A lot of replacement letters are sent notifying homeowners their roof is 15 years old, and they have two years to replace it—or they will have to pay hazard insurance or find a new carrier, he adds.
“With that in mind, nobody’s really prepared for it. The average household, I don’t know if you save up money for a roof replacement. The consumers are forced into a situation with money not readily available, so they’re not fancy roofs. I’m seeing here lately that the consumers are going from an architectural shingle down to a three tab, a very basic shingle, because of affordability.”
Tadlock Roofing is aiming for $50 million in revenue for 2023 and will have a better idea over the next couple of months when their season picks up, Bellflower says. This year, the company will be launching a gutter division location by location. By the end of the year, Tadlock Roofing should have each location outfitted with a gutter team or teams as it broadens the scope of work.
Nearly 80 percent of the re-roofs done by the company are asphalt; metal and tile make up the rest of the product varieties, Bellflower notes. “I try to mirror the national stats on shingle or roofing types and try to keep that mix within the business, so we’re tapping on all cylinders.”
Finding additional workers as the business continues to grow remains an obstacle—especially since the organization does not subcontract any labor, he says. “They’re your No. 1 asset, so it’s the most important piece of the puzzle. I don’t know anybody who grows up thinking, I want to be a roofer. It’s likely an intimidating job for most [people] as we look to build upon our team.
“The challenge with our business is educating potential [job] candidates about the industry,” Bellflower adds. “What specifically can you do within roofing that’s not physically doing the hard part—the roofing? The biggest challenge is getting people to fall in love with roofing.” QR