Friday, April 29, 2011

Louisiana Company Mends Roofs and Spirits of Residents

by Shannon Prudhomme
Contributor, Gulf Coast Philanthropy

Roof Giveaway Winner Dale Benoit (right) pictured holding
the campaign sign with Billy Savely of Roofing Louisiana
Photo courtesy of Roofing Louisiana, LLC
“Pay it forward,” is the advice Billy Savely, owner of Roofing Louisiana, LLC, gives to recipients of his quarterly roof giveaway to needy families. 

He launched this initiative through his Lafayette, Louisiana-based company in October 2010 after recognizing the impact of the economy on his business.

“It was literally our worst year,” he said. Rather than focus on his lack of clientele, Savely shifted his attention to contributing to the community.

“If I couldn’t sell a roof, I decided to flip the situation: I would give one away to a family in need. Times were hard, but I had faith. I knew that what you give, you get back.”

He promoted the campaign on social media websites and even purchased radio advertisements. Over 1,400 residents applied for the company’s first roof giveaway, and the first recipient was provided with a new roof for Christmas 2010. Overwhelmed by this large response, Savely said he and his staff selected a first and second place winner. “I never knew the level of need for this sort of thing,” he said.

Residents like Dale Benoit, who was selected for the first giveaway, really emphasized the need for this campaign, Savely said.

“She risked getting electrocuted because there was water getting into her light fixtures,” he said. “When it rains some nights, I can’t sleep when I think people who have holes in their roofs and the electrical outlets getting wet.”

The cost of labor and materials for each new roof is approximately $4,000, all of which was initially contributed by Roofing Louisiana.

The company was actually founded as a result of Savely recognizing how contractors were taking advantage of area residents. In 2002, Hurricane Lili ripped through the Gulf of Mexico, including the nearly 48-square mile city of Lafayette. “I saw local and out-of-town contractors really taking advantage of people,” he said.

Armed with previous entrepreneurial experience and an understanding the threat of annual natural disasters in the area, Savely said he launched the construction / roofing company committed to providing honest, good service.

Partial view of roof work done for a recent winner.

Photo courtesy of Roofing Louisiana, LLC
“The slogan we’ve had for 10 years now is ‘We’re Not Leaving Town’,” he said. “I only had a financial management background, but I was experienced in business enough to know you surround yourself with people smarter than yourself or more knowledgeable in the industry,” he said.

Using those skills and the work ethic instilled in him by his mother, Guadalupe Cochran, Savely launched his roofing company the following year. “My mother worked hard to raise six kids by herself – all with morals and values,” he said. “I knew my mother needed help at times, and someone always helped, now I ‘pay it forward’ by helping others.”
Savely said those hardships allowed him to have certain perspective and understand for those in need. “We moved twelve times in one year,” he said. “I know what it is to be in a bad situation or just need help.”

His company’s philanthropic efforts recently garnered the support of other businesses: Owens Corning and GAF/ELK have agreed to donate $3,000 worth of shingles; and Stines Home Improvement and West End Roofing Supply both plan to deliver products and accessories. Further, a local consignment shop owner offered to provide clothing for one of the future roof giveaway recipients.

“This isn’t about glory because we’re already the largest residential roofing company in Lafayette,”he said. “This is sincerely about helping people.”

Savely said he his proudest moment since launching the campaign occurred when one of the recipients unexpectedly contacted him. “A few days after fixing the roof of one of our first recipients I received a text message from them,” he said. “It just said ‘Mr. Billy, thanks again and I just paid it forward.’”

Roofing Louisiana is currently accepting applications for its next roof giveaway. The deadline is June 30, 2011, and applications should be submitted online by visiting the company website.

1 comment:

  1. It's really good to learn about a Lafayette business contributing to the community in this way. I applaud Roofing Louisiana!