What Is RoofersCoffeeShop? An Interview with an Industry-Leading Resource

What is RoofersCoffeeShop, and how can you utilize it to help further your goals? Heidi Ellsworth discusses all that RoofersCoffee Shop has to offer.

The following is an interview between Thad Barnette, Owner of the Metal Roofing Channel, and Heidi Ellsworth, President of RoofersCoffeeShop. It has been edited for clarity.

Thad: Today we’re looking at RoofersCoffeeShop and talking about the resources that are out there to help contractors with networking and education to improve their skill set, their knowledge of the industry and their general network. Today I have Heidi from RoofersCoffeeShop. Thanks for being here, Heidi.

Heidi: Thank you, Thad. I’m honored. This is great. We love your channel.

Thad: Absolutely, thanks so much. It’s great to be a friend of RoofersCoffeeShop. Tell me a little bit about your mission.

What Is the Goal of RoofersCoffeeShop?

Heidi: RoofersCoffeeShop launched in 2002, before many contractors even had a computer on their desks. We have always had the mission of bringing information to roofing contractors — now we also offer it to metal roofing contractors, coating contractors, and those all across construction to help them grow their businesses. We offer them the information they need for their culture, for their employees, training, education, business, sales, all of that.

That’s what we work at every single day — partnering with companies like Sheffield Metals and others throughout the industry to bring contractors the information they need online and into their office space.

Whereas a lot of times contractors have to travel and go to trade shows to get all this kind of education, we provide it online every day.

Thad: Awesome. Tell me about the nuts and bolts. What does a contractor see when they visit your website?

What Resources Does RoofersCoffeeShop Provide?

Heidi: A contractor is going to get a full multimedia experience when they’re involved with RoofersCoffeeShop, MetalCoffeeShop, or CoatingsCoffeeShop.

When you get to the website, you’re going to see something that we had way back in the day. Before we launched online, we were a newspaper called Roofers Exchange. And we had classified ads, nickel ads.

Today when you go to that website, you’re going to see classified ads where you can buy and sell equipment. You can look for labor. You can look for jobs. The site is about the information you need and education and networking, getting to know other contractors, seeing what’s going on, connecting with your distributors and manufacturers.

Once you get there, you’re also going to have a full directory. We call it the directory of everything. In there, you’re going to find all the different companies in the industry, information, products, everything that you need. You can also find our “Read, Listen, Watch” section. This is what we call our education. “Read, Listen, Watch” because we know some people like to read, some people like to listen, and some people like to watch. So we try to offer our content in various formats, whether it’s podcasts, videos, or articles. We are putting out seven to eight articles every day on every site. It’s very content-rich.

People can find anything they want. We have over 40,000 people coming every month to all of our sites. But we also have social media. So people follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. We have our podcast channel and we also have our YouTube channel. There are a lot of different ways to engage, wherever people feel the most comfortable.

Thad: Is this a paid platform for contractors? Can they view the content for free? What’s that program like?

Do You Have to Pay to Access RoofersCoffeeShop Resources?

Heidi: It’s all free. Everything across the board is free. We do offer what we call our R-Club, which is for contractors who want to do a little bit more with RoofersCoffeeShop. They may want to have a full directory on the site, or they want to get involved with our AskARoofer site, which is a site for homeowners and building owners to engage with contractors, manufacturers, and the industry overall.

And they also get consulting. We have special training every quarter. There is a little cost to join the R-Club. Very minimal. But it really helps all parts of your company, whether that’s marketing, recruiting, education, or training.

They can get everything they need for their company for free just by visiting  rooferscoffeeshop.com or looking for us on their favorite multimedia platforms.

Thad: That’s awesome. Well, I mean, it’s definitely a no-brainer. If I’m looking to grow my business, to learn, to train my employees, you know, what a great resource out there.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s what we try to do. Every day we think, what is going to help a contractor’s business? What is going to help their employees? And you know what? We like to make it fun too. So we have a lot of feel-good stories that we write about people giving back in the industry. We have contests. We do a lot of fun things too.

Thad: Tell me a little bit about how RoofersCoffeeShop is involved in the industry.

New call-to-action

How Does RoofersCoffeeShop Get Involved in the Roofing Industry?

Heidi: We really believe in associations. We’re a member of the Metal Construction Association and the Metal Building Manufacturers Association. We’re a one-voice member of National Roofing Contracts Association and we just joined the Roofing Alliance.

And the reason we do that is because we basically give back free to all the associations. They all have a directory on our site. They have an opportunity to place ads, to run articles, because we believe that the contractors need that connection to the associations. The associations really are the lifeblood.

We attend a good share of the association trade shows. For the larger shows, including METALCON, IRE, and Florida’s show that’s coming up, we have a live soundstage where we will do interviews throughout the entire show live on YouTube, so people who can’t go to the show can see what’s going on.

We’re also on several boards and we give back. People in our association are on different boards, work with different groups. We feel that it’s really important to be part of the industry and then bring all that information back to all the contractors.

Thad: I’d really love to ask about stories that you’ve heard, feedback, and what contractors have really said about the benefits of RoofersCoffeeShop.

What Feedback Have You Gotten from Contractors About RoofersCoffeeShop?

Heidi: You know, what we really hear is that RoofersCoffeeShop provides information that they really can’t get anywhere else, and that they can access on their own time.

We have a number of contractors who will say, yep, every morning I get my cup of coffee and I sit down in front of a Coffee Shop, whether that’s Metal, Roofing, or Coatings, and I get my information for the day.

Then we have other people who are interacting on their phones. They’re watching videos and they’re going through social media. And then we have a large number of people who are listening to our podcasts as they’re driving in their trucks.

I had an amazing young lady who just came into the roofing industry and she’s spent probably two months with her company. And she said, “You have saved me. I’ve been able to listen to the podcast, go to the webinars.” She says, “I’ve learned so much about the industry.”

Otherwise, she would have had to search and go to all these different places, whereas we bring it all into one spot. And I think that’s really one of the biggest benefits – it’s easy for contractors to find the information they need. And that’s the feedback we get from them.

The other advantage that’s really big is networking. They feel like they’re a part of the Coffee Shop and they make friends there. We have peer forums where contractors can get involved through the R-Club. We have our monthly Coffee Breaks. They’ve met people across the country who they would have probably never met. Now they’re able to do that virtually.

Thad: We know that contractors are super busy, so any way that we can help them consume content in their own time and on their terms is super beneficial. But still, you have to put in the effort to learn and improve. Why should contractors care about continuing that educational journey?

Why Is it Important for Roofing Contractors to Continue Educating Themselves on Industry Topics?

Heidi: I’m going to start with Sheffield Metals. Sheffield is constantly looking at research and development to bring the best products with time-saving solutions. How do you get that in front of the contractors? And then how do the contractors get that to their team, to the whole company?

This gives us the opportunity to stay at the forefront of new product launches, of new initiatives, and new technology. Everything is moving so fast, no matter how you’re marketing your business. Maybe you’re looking to differentiate your business from everyone else out there.

Where are you going to find that information? This is what the Coffee Shops do. They give contractors a place to go and we have everybody there. Across the board, they’re able to find information about new products, events that are coming up, and trainings that are happening.

For contractors, that is so important if they are going to have their business remain relevant because right now there are a lot of contractors who have not adopted technology and who have not adopted new ways or labor-saving products, who are being left behind.

And we don’t want that. We want everyone to be getting the information they need, to be able to incorporate it into their business easily so that they can be successful.

So really, I don’t think it’s a choice anymore. I think it’s a necessity that they continue getting the education and the training they need to take their business into this new economy. I mean, everything that’s going on, especially around technology, is critical.

Thad: I love that you brought that point up because, you know, our CEO here at Mazzella Companies always says, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. There’s no such thing as standing still.”

And, you know, in this current economy, in this current age of technology, everything is so much more accelerated. And you’re so right about that. It’s important to stay on that forefront.

Heidi: I think education is important. It just takes your company way above the others.

Thad: So tell me what’s next. What excites you about this coming year as we move into the second half of 2024?

What’s Coming Up This Year for RoofersCoffeeShop?

Heidi: I’m always looking forward to METALCON. I think METALCON is just a great show. We’re going to be there and we’re going to have a live soundstage. We are going to be launching in the next month or so a contest for Super Passes. And we’ve done this in the past, where companies can come in and they can do this contest and possibly get a free Super Pass to METALCON.

That’s always exciting. We really love that show. In the meantime, we’re also going to be at the Florida show coming up in just a month. We are really looking at how we can continue to bring critical information to the contractors.

One of the things that everyone should watch for, and this is across all of our platforms – we’re going to be launching a new newscast called “Contractor Outlook.” It’s going to be focused on bringing experts from outside the construction industry to talk about economics, policies, regulations, weather, and anything we’re going to be bringing those types of experts in for. And we’ve already done our first podcast and it’ll be launching in Florida in June.

So everyone should stay tuned for that. And that will be, like I said, across all of our Coffee Shops and really meant for all contractors, not just certain trades.

Thad: Yeah, and we’ll see you at METALCON. We’re going to be on the soundstage. Super excited for that.

Heidi: Yes. That is such a fun time. And we love the interviews. Talk about bringing what’s happening right now and relevant to everyone. All you have to do is get onto YouTube and follow us.

Thad: Well, Heidi, thank you so much. I really appreciate the information and I can’t wait to see more contractors check out RoofersCoffeeShop and the other sites.

Heidi: Thank you. I am so honored to be here today, Thad, and we love working with you all. Great channel, great information. Thank you.

Visit rooferscoffeeshop.com for more information.