Like many home improvement companies, All County Exteriors in Lakewood, N.J., participates in community causes. These include the American Cancer Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Parents of Autistic Children. The company has also participated in 25 Habitat for Humanity building projects. “We're a benevolent company,” is how vice president of operations Ross Marzarella explains it.
But when Edgewood Properties, a builder that All County installs roofing and siding for, approached the company some months back, the request was on an entirely different scale, one that “separates [All County] from 99.9% of the contractors in New Jersey,” according to Marzarella.
Edgewood Properties wanted All County to install the roofing, siding, and gutters on a home that would be featured on the popular television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This particular Makeover involved restoring the burned-out residence of Beverly Turner, a 54-year-old single mother living with her nine adopted special-needs children.
Hours to Go For its part in this drama, All County had about 15 hours to do the front and sides of the house, half of the roof, and half of a detached garage.
“We started to side at two in the morning,” Marzarella says. The jobsite was illuminated with huge production lights. All County committed 85 workers to the job, slightly more than half its crews (employee and sub). Crews completed what would normally have been a two- to three-day project in a 17-hour period. Marzarella estimates the labor cost at $25,000 to $30,000.
Credibility Builder For All County, there were several benefits. For one thing, Marzarella says, just being invited and being able to fulfill its obligation was “a testament to our expertise, trustworthiness, and quality of work.” At the same time, the sheer scale and energy of the venture called for extraordinary effort on the part of the company's workforce and subs. “These guys worked like you've never seen people work in your life,” Marzarella says. “We left our shop at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and returned at 1 a.m. on Friday. We literally camped out on the site 'til they called us to do our work.”
A week before the show aired, All County ran radio ads, urging listeners to check out the company and the upcoming show. It ran a similar ad during the week following the broadcast, which was viewed by an estimated 12 million people. Now, the company has put the Extreme Makeover logo on its Web site, mailers, ads, and leave-behinds, as well as on proposals and business cards. The message it sends is two-fold: “It says we're here to stay,” Marzarella says. “And if Extreme Makeover trusts us with a roof, why wouldn't you?”