Eddie Prchal is the Co-Founder of Gunner Roofing, which brings together the best workmanship, unparalleled customer service, and a brand new online quoting platform, all of which shows their commitment to stress-free and seamless projects for their customers whom they service in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
Eddie and his wife, Casey, the owner of a women’s clothing boutique in Fairfield named ONE 5, have a 7 month old daughter and are loving bringing her up in Byram.
Eddie shares with us what makes his business unique to others in the industry, what it’s like to run a company with his brother and how their family balances having two entrepreneurs and a young daughter!
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally? Names/ages of kids, etc.?
My name is Eddie Prchal and my wife is Casey Prchal. We have a daughter named Stetson who is 7 months old. I’m originally from AZ but moved to CT when I met my wife and knew I wanted to grow my business in this area. We are both local business owners – I co-own Gunner Roofing with my brother, Andrew, and my wife owns a women’s clothing boutique in Fairfield, CT named ONE 5.
We are so excited about the new innovative technology at Gunner Roofing, for those of us who are not familiar, can you tell us more about it?
Of course! We kept it under wraps for almost two years so there’s nothing I like to do more right now than talk about it! You will hear me mention “The Customer Experience” a lot because its engrained in what we do. The new technology/ website we launched allows you to go online, put in your name and address and within 2-4 hours, have a rendering of your actual home, a quote that is as accurate online as it would be in person and the industry’s first ability to buy your roof right online!
The website is just another commitment to our customers to build on that customer experience. We saw the headaches in the quoting process so we decided to change it. Pair that with our high-quality install process, and we believe we bring the best roofing experience in the country!
What is your professional background and what did you do before starting Gunner Roofing?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, from selling gadgets in middle school to a smoothie nutrition store at the University of Arizona. I’ve always looked up to and been inspired by people who own their own business. Every opportunity I’ve had to learn and grow from them personally and in business has led me to where I am today and where we will go in the future. I am always eager to learn more and push myself to the limit.
Before Gunner, I was running a water filter business with my brother, Andrew. We invented a new type of filter that allowed you to gain access to clean water at home. That business was coming to a fork in the road and we decided to close things down and head to the Northeast, where an opportunity to start a roofing company came up.
The Northeast was not just a random spot on the map; after two years of long distance with my-now wife things all seemed to come together for me to move there with her while starting Gunner with my brother.
What led you to start Gunner Roofing? Tell us more about starting a business with your brother?
We just saw a huge lack of customer service for the industry and observed that a lot of things could be updated and changed such as how appointments were set and quotes were given, and we wanted to shake things up a bit. When we started, the general consensus was that more people had a bad experience than a good experience with contractors. We believed that we could change that, and in the last few years, I believe that we have!
My brother and I are very close and have always ventured into things together. The reason we work well together is because we both have the same goals and complement each other strengths and weakness. We both want to change the industry and change the lives of the people who work for us. Some people say never go into business with family but I could never imagine doing it without him. We are usually at the forefront in the industry so having someone to figure out things that have never been done before is an amazing advantage.
Can you share what separates Gunner Roofing from other roofing companies out there? And why would you recommend hiring a roofing company directly as opposed to through a contractor?
Customer experience. You know, a lot of guys can install roofs, windows or siding, but with ours, it comes at a higher level of customer experience where the customer gets constant communication. They know what’s going on with the project. If a change comes up, they’re comfortable with it and work through it with us. They know we have their best interest in mind and aren’t trying to pull one over on them. We are confident that we install better than our competition because we have the best crews and the best team internally. Most customers don’t notice the tiny technical details that take part in an efficient installation but what they do notice and appreciate is their pleasant experience. This is why we built our whole business on the customer experience.
We work with a lot of great contractors whose specialty is bringing together multiple trades to complete a project. With that being said, price is usually the driving factor. A general contractor is responsible for the entire project so they are the person you communicate with. When you call Gunner for a roof replacement, that’s our only concern so we are able to offer a really amazing customer experience.
Often times, young families are homeowners for the first time, any advice for how to make updates to your home/ caring for your home easier?
Yes! I would say understanding the project before you embark on it. One example – when we do a siding project, it is usually a great time to replace windows since the siding is already removed. Also, if a window or door needs to be reframed, it is much easier to do it at this time. With that being said, it is great to understand costs that can’t be determined until you start the project. In the Northeast, we have a lot of plywood that needs replacing on roofs. On an average home, this could be an additional cost of $6-8 thousand dollars. We like to give our homeowners a heads up of possible costs that could arise through a project, but if you don’t have that knowledge, that could be a very shocking surprise.
When it comes to caring for your home, I would say to address things before they get out of hand. A small roof leak could lead to major interior damage. Overflowing gutters can lead to foundation damage. Both of these could be simple fixes but if left too long, they can become major problems.
What do you like most/ least about being a small business owner?
We can make our own decisions since we are a smaller company, such as putting a paid maternity policy in place without a lot of red tape. We’re able to respond quickly and provide feedback without waiting on other stakeholders to make decisions.
It’s also exciting when new team members come on board and see how innovative we are compared to where they used to work. It’s about the people who are a part of our team. We’ve got the best team, crews, etc. and that’s what makes it work. Yeah, we do a great job at roofing, siding and windows, but it all comes down to the customer service we offer and we wouldn’t be able to do that without the Gunner team.
How do you handle the life/work juggle with kids, what are your favorite activities with your kids?
A lot of friends I have are currently having kids for the first time and I tell them the most important thing is having a good partner. My wife is the most amazing partner I could ask for and without her, there would be no life/work juggle. With the growth and innovation of this business it requires a lot of hours. One of my favorite things my wife does is when it’s been a late day at the office, she’ll push Stetson’s bed time just a little bit longer so I can get a little bit of time to play with her before bed.
Before Stetson was born, my wife and I always said we wanted her to be a part of our life and make sure not to change our life based around having another human to take care of. We’ve been doing a pretty good job at sticking to that. We bring Stetson everywhere – from walking down the street to get a quick drink and apps to heading to Antigua in February (I’ve never seen a cuter passport photo!). Every time we embark on one of these adventures, no matter how big or small, it creates a special memory.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I might be biased but my wife owns an awesome women’s clothing boutique in Fairfield. Go check it out in person or shop it online at one5boutique.com you can also find it on Instagram @one5_boutique.