A discussion on building a business with Ted Medford, President of Profoam Corporation, which was re-launched in January 2015
By Ryan Spencer
Spray Foam Magazine: Can you give a little background on how you re-launched Profoam?
Ted Medford: Profoam today stems from a long evolution process of two different companies: Medford Insulation in Rutledge, Georgia, which was owned by myself and my father Larry Medford, and Profoam Incorporated in Atlanta, which was owned by David Vaughan and Dale Ledbetter at the time. David and Dale had a unique idea of selling Profoam dealerships throughout the U.S. to help startup spray foam companies learn the basics of becoming a successful SPF contractor. It just so happens that I became the first Profoam dealer in the country when I purchased my spray foam rig from them around 1996. After several years of installing Profoam all over the Southeast, I decided to put my knowledge and experience to work and start a dealership program of my own. That’s when Air Tight Sprayfoam was born. The Air Tight dealership program was largely successful in helping new spray foam business professionals enter into and maintain a long successful tenure in the SPF industry. Meanwhile, David and Dale continued to expand the Profoam dealership network throughout the entire U.S., reaching several hundred dealers at one point. Eventually, David and Dale parted ways, and Profoam was dissolved for several years until I recently acquired the intellectual assets of Profoam.
SFM: What’s your take on providing value to the spray foam market?
TM: It’s important to differentiate your service offerings. Profoam offers many services, including custom mobile spray rigs, spray foam equipment, spray foam insulation and roofing materials, roof coatings, safety supplies, insulation support products, technical service, field and classroom training, marketing assistance, lead generation, professional consultation, and many others.
SFM: What factors go into standing out from the competition?
TM: It’s an incredible advantage to be able to not only sell products to customers, but also to have the ability to show them first hand where to use each product, how to install the products efficiently, how to price each project, how to track margins and profitability, and how to market and sell their services successfully. It’s critical to have substantial knowledge in these areas, and our sales and support staff, myself included, have gained extensive experience over many years of working in the field as SPF contractors in this industry. ‘Contractors serving contractors’ is the best motto I can come up with to explain what we are all about.
SFM: What’s your perspective on positioning in the market?
TM: I’ve always claimed it’s important to specialize in new business start-ups and focus a lot of effort in that department, but the reality is that I think bringing value to existing SPF contractors of all sizes is important as well. I’ve found that all companies have their strengths and weaknesses and when asked, spray foam business owners are very tuned in to what their weaknesses are and where they could use the most help. For many, it’s marketing and lead generation, so working with them to create a customized marketing plan for their specific area is beneficial. For others, it may be application concerns; being able to send a technician out to work with their crew for a few days can do wonders for the efficiency and profitability of their company.
Many contractors would like to diversify and add new product lines to their business so it’s important to leverage staff experience in helping customers offer foam roofing and protective coatings, wall and injection foam insulation, encapsulated crawlspaces, commercial and industrial insulation, polyurea coatings equipment and material, conventional insulation equipment and materials, just to name a few. Then there’s sales training, margin tracking, equipment maintenance and repair, along with many other services customers can benefit from.
SFM: With regard to diversifying service offerings, what do you think about SPF contractors offering conventional insulation products and services?
TM: I think it’s a great idea. I myself started out as conventional insulation contractor in 1987, and Medford Quality Insulation to this day still offers virtually every form of insulation out there. I have found that in a lot of the large custom homes that we insulate, we often use two to three types of insulation to achieve the goals of our contractors and customers. For example, we may spray foam the building envelope, install fiberglass batts in the garage walls and install cotton batts or cellulose between floors for sound deadening. Another advantage in offering conventional insulation is in attic retrofits, where budget may prohibit you from landing the attic retrofit job with spray foam. By having the ability to offer blown in fiberglass or cellulose, contractors can now capitalize on more sales opportunities and add more profit to the bottom line. Lastly, I never liked the idea of only offering one insulation product or service for my customers because it opens the door for my competitors to come in and provide those services and possibly take future spray foam business away from me. For all of these reasons, I firmly believe that all SPF contractors should offer a full line of insulation products and services.
SFM: Going back to marketing, what are some things you’ve noticed about how contractors are reaching customers?
TM: One thing that amazes me as I travel throughout the country and meet with new contractors is the number of SPF companies that do not have a website. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age, with the internet being the number one source for new business opportunities, people are missing the boat with this very simple and necessary marketing tool. What I’ve discovered is that a lot of contractors just don’t know where to begin in setting something like this up. For this reason, pre-built website templates make it as simple as possible for SPF business owners to quickly and easily get their new website up and running. All the customer has to do is provide the web domain and hosting capabilities, which can be acquired through sites like GoDaddy for an incredibly low price. From there, the site can be customized by adding their company name, logo, address, contact numbers, etc. These sites are loaded with existing content, look very professional, are mobile friendly, and display a very successful company to potential customers.
It’s also a good idea to get a contractor listing on SprayFoam.com, which is a great way for contractors and property owners to connect with their local SPF providers at minimal or no cost to our Profoam customers. Brochures, product samples, and free lead generation are other examples of powerful marketing efforts we can provide.
SFM: The industry has grown rapidly in recent years, and it looks like that trend will continue. How do you view the current state of the SPF industry?
TM: I’m not surprised to see the enormous growth that we as an industry have experienced. When I first arrived in spray foam in the mid 1990’s, things were much different. I can remember working a lot of local home shows and customers walking by my booth would look at my spray foam samples as if they were kryptonite. Back then, very few people had ever seen or heard of spray foam insulation in my area. It was a very long, drawn out process to first educate the customers before I could then sell them on the benefits of my products. New SPF contractors entering the industry today aren’t dealing with those same types of issues. Today, customers are aware of the benefits of spray foam and are already sold on using it in their projects in most cases. We just have to make it easy for customers to find us, present our products and services in a professional manner, and offer fair pricing to hopefully land the work. I am concerned with contractor saturation in some markets, the lack of initial training with some new business startups, do-it- yourself programs that rent spray foam equipment to homeowners, and poorly trained contractors doing a poor application job that reflects badly on all of us as an industry. I know that the SPFA, along with most of the material manufacturers, are taking strides to get more contractors trained and educated, which is something that we at Profoam are very passionate about as well. •
Direct any questions about being a spray foam contractor to Profoam:
Photos Courtesy of Profoam Corporation