In 1984, Rich Schmerbach (CEO) started Linkville Roofing & Siding with two men and a truck. Now his sons, Eric Schmerbach (VP) and Trever Gray (Project Manager), are leading the ever-growing Linkville team — which shot up to 50 employees at one point.
Linkville Roofing & Siding provides roofing and home improvement services to residential and commercial clients in Klamath Basin and other surrounding areas of Southern Oregon and Northern California. They’re now #teamtrainual as they use the platform to share knowledge with the whole team, relay safety training and processes to employees in the field, and make sure their quality services are consistent from crew to crew.
Getting their business out of their brains
Eric first heard of Trainual from multiple contractors in the industry classes he was taking. “I was looking for a shareable, cloud-based platform where all the information can go and multiple people can connect to build it,” he recalls. And Trainual was the perfect fit.
In the past, they didn’t have any true processes written down on paper. “It was kind of all like in the boss’ head or in my head how stuff was done,” remembers Eric. And let’s face it — keeping jumbled company knowledge stuffed in your brain would make any small business owner go insane.
And it wasn’t just leadership that was keeping important need-to-knows to themselves. According to Eric, each employee had their one “thing.” Whether it was hot sales tips or how to use new equipment, team members were in charge of their “thing” that nobody else had access to. So when the only person with the access and know-how was sick, went on vacation, or resigned, there was a problem.
To solve this, they decided to have the scaffolding expert create the how-to for scaffolding installation, the fall protection pro document important safety training, and so on. Because numerous team members are building out their Trainual, the whole team has access to all important need-to-knows (that were never meant to be secret sauce in the first place).
“Once it’s built and it’s built right, it’s something that can go out and be used over and over and over again.” - Eric Schmerbach, VP
Giving team members 24/7 access to training
Before Trainual, Linkville Roofing & Siding had hands-on training only, which meant it sometimes had to happen on the spot. And yep, that could mean an experienced worker would have to stop what they were doing and drive over to the job site to show someone a how-to in person.
Let’s say one of the team members didn’t know how to do a pipe flash. That meant somebody was about to be voluntold to stop what they were doing and make a 30-minute commute out to the job site. This would make anyone think, “There’s got to be a better way!”
Now, when a question comes up, Eric and Trever can say, “Hey, go into Trainual… this is how we want it done.” Trever gives the example of pipe-flashing. “If you don’t know how to install pipe-flashing, you just go on Trainual and it’s right there. You don’t have to call me,” he says.
[Before Trainual, I’d be] doing a different task and have to stop that task to answer a simple question. [Trainual] just makes everything so much easier.” - Trever Gray, Project Manager
Their team uses Trainual in combination with periodic in-person safety training and other hands-on trainings. But they love how the mobile Trainual app gives their workers 24/7 access to safety material, policies, and more. Because safety always comes first.
“[Before Trainual, our documentation] was all paper-bound which has some limitations,” admitted Eric, “[but an old school binder] is not something you can search, and it’s not something I can send out to the field.”
When their workers are self-sufficient, it allows Eric and Trever to be more productive scaling the business. “I have visions of slow growth and being able to possibly expand in the future,” says Eric, “and so part of this is like, if we do a really good job building our processes and how we do everything, in the future, when it’s time to possibly grow or hire people on… it’s going to grow into something that’s very valuable.”
Providing customers consistent, quality work
Linkville Roofing & Siding continually adds more people to their team as their high-quality work brings in more business. And as they add additional teammates, they need their training to be efficient and consistent.
Eric explained that every day, they have a bunch of crews out at separate locations. And when new hires start, they jump around, working with and learning from the different crews.
“It’s super important that one of the crews is doing [a process] the same way as another crew, so we can train these [new hires] that this is the way it’s done and it’s not getting contradicted out in the field.” - Eric Schmerbach, VP
Trever explained that it’s extremely important to streamline and standardize their processes in the roofing industry. Because not only does it help all their workers get on the same page and get things done smoothly, but it helps their bottom line.
“There are no arguments. It’s right there [in Trainual]. That’s what it says so that’s what you do.” - Trever Gray, Project Manager
That way, Eric and Trever can sleep well at night, knowing each day was a job well done by every crew member. And Linkville Roofing & Siding can continue to hammer away towards their vision of growth, one shingle at a time.