Featured Contractor - Lee Stoltzfus with Foam-Tech Insulation

Posted By DEMILEC || 31-Oct-2011

This month’s Featured Contractor is Lee Stoltzfus with Foam-Tech Insulation Service, Inc. out of Lancaster, PA. Foam-Tech has been in business for the last 4 years and has seen their business grow by providing quality service, a great product and by taking diversified projects. Of particular note is the work they have done for the theater and art world.

How long have you been in business?

We’re coming up on 4 years.

How big is your current operation?

We have 2 rigs, 4 guys in the field and 3 people in the office.

Why did you get into spray foam?

That’s a very good question. Want to hear something? I had somebody spray foam my addition on my house. And I told the guy… oh man it was like 10 years ago… when you retire, I want to buy your business from you. And that’s basically what happened. I left my own company where I was a 45 percent minority shareholder in Lancaster, PA and settled in on this foam insulation. I’ve been trained at BPI and also at Demilec. The first few years were really a struggle. Were doing work in 10 days that used to take 3 months to do. Last year we did about 750k and this year were on target for a million.

That’s great to hear! What was your background before spray foam?

I was in the painting industry and grew up working for the company I left to start in spray foam. I was cleaning out buckets when I was 12 years old and I eventually became a shareholder in the company.

What are some of the unique challenges you face when working with Pour in Place foam?

Ryan: One thing I would say, the spray foam equipment needs a lot of maintenance and taking care of. When you’re going 6 days a week, it’s definitely a challenge to keep up with that.

Lee: I think one thing that’s really important is that you have the right team of guys working together. If you have the right team of guys working together, it’s amazing what happens. I’m reflecting on a proverb that says that one strand can be easily broken and two strands are hard to break, but three strands are almost impossible to break. I think there is a certain synergy when you get the right people together and they’re all on the same team. Recently, I was working on trying to get a water tank done. I and the other guy spraying were just feeding off each other’s energy and it was absolutely amazing what we accomplished. We sprayed around 1/3 of a million gallon tank in about 4 hours.

That’s really impressive. Don told me that you have done some work on theater sets. Tell me about some of the unique projects you have done outside of insulation.

theater set made with spray foamWe were doing all of their 2 lb spray and hard coating on their sets and they would go and carve them out and take them to get painted. We’ve done at least 3 sets with them so far and we just finished doing another set for them. We also did the raceway monster for a NASCAR race which you can see on our website. It was a huge statue over 40 feet high and we sprayed over 10k worth of foam on that statue.

We are really looking at diversification. It’s amazing what I learn from my customers by researching the questions that they ask and I always answer their questions. If I don’t know, I’ll look into it. If I know, I’ll give them educational material. One thing that really helps us with educating people is the heat flow charts. They are a very visual material that people can look at and see the dollar return on their investment.

That’s awesome because I feel that education is so important to the success of our industry. Where do you see the SPF industry going in the next 5 years?

That’s a very good question. I think it’s going to continue to grow. I think it’s getting more competitive right now and will continue to do so. I think the current business models will be changing and we need to continue to tweak and change things. We in the foam industry really need to guard our overhead. Maintenance is super important.

Ryan: I started with Lee 3 years ago now. Before I started with him, I really wondered if this was going to take off because I wasn’t familiar with foam at all. He had one rig and one guy working for him at the time and Lee was doing all the spraying himself. I didn’t really see this becoming a big company or growing that fast. Lee educated me about the foam and I got really into it and took the full time position with him. It was just me and one other sprayer for the longest time, and all of a sudden out of nowhere we just blew up with business. I would be surprised if in 5 years we weren’t doing double of what we’re doing now. And that’s a conservative estimate.

Lee: We did a job for a guy who was a local heating and air conditioning contractor. He was arguing with us back and forth about the merits of 2 lb vs. ½ lb foam and I said ‘look, if you really are stuck on this 2lb, let’s put an inch and a half or two inches to get the vapor barrier and spray open cell over that’ but he wanted to put 3 inches on it. ¼ of the way through spraying the attic he said ‘stop Lee, I get it.’ He said ‘let’s go ahead and do it your way and back it up with ½ lb.’ This guy has been such an avid educator of all of his customers. He took 30 of my business cards and I told him that ill hold his bill and for every job he gives me that ill give him 100 bucks off his invoice. Hes given me 8-12 jobs in the last 3 months. Can you believe that?

We’ve developed relationships with other companies as well. You have to keep looking at your business and thinking “how can we tweak this? How can we get more out of this?” Now when we do business for a homeowner, I would say within 6-8 months, we have gotten another job from that homeowner. That exponentially grows your business. Like you said, we need to educate and that’s a part of the process. If I can get into your home, and your wife and children notice the impact, I’ll not only get your business but I’ll get your heart and I’ll get your pocketbook because you can’t help but talk about this. It’s a total experience if you have it in your home and it works.

Why do you use Demilec Spray Foam?

I have never seen a supplier that is so crazy about delivering an excellent product. And not only about getting the contractors to apply it, but supporting them in the whole process. Even today I can’t believe the support you guys give us and the service you provide for us as a team on the front line. Don Waltz (Territory Manager) is amazing. He came out here and helped us land a 50k job when we first got started. It was a 15,000 square foot, 7 million dollar house and he helped us land the job. Who else would come out and do that for us? And those first 2 years were brutal but with the support you guys brought to the table, it really made the difference.

That’s great to hear and that’s an awesome compliment for us. We really appreciate it Lee. Thank you so much for your time and your continued business and loyalty.

Thank you.

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