Interview with RooferGirl Samanntha De Coteau: Will She Make a Move to Florida from Canada?

Marisa Sanfilippo
Marisa Sanfilippo
Apr 7, 2023

In our first YouTube episode of Jeepin’ it Real with iink, our Co-founder, President, and Chief Revenue Officer, Ryan Holliday, sat down with Samanntha De Coteau, aka RooferGirl. We discussed the differences in the roofing process between Canada and the USA, how iink helps contractors and homeowners with home insurance claim checks along with the funding available to eliminate having to float resources on jobs, and a possible move by Sam in the future to Florida? Read on or click play for the full interview.

Hey everybody! I'm here with Samanntha De Coteau, otherwise known as RooferGirl online. We are at SVG Win the Storm here in Fort Lauderdale and we wanted to talk a little bit today about some of the differences in how roofing works up in Canada as opposed to down here in the States. Before we get into that, Sam if you could a little introduction about yourself and tell us a little bit about RooferGirl.

Sam: Hey everyone! Sam here, obviously RooferGirl. I've been in the roofing industry for over nine years now and I guess Canada is a lot more different than the United States because out there- a lot of our work is retail, where out here- it's insurance work.

How is Canada different from the USA in the roofing process?

Home insurance Claim Payments vs. Personal Checks

Ryan: Yeah! A lot (of insurance work), especially in Florida. Florida, Texas, all over the southeast, anywhere in the United States. We are very different from a lot of other countries that don't have all the coverages we do or are required to have them but here- we're kind of bound to the insurance game. So up there (in Canada), with retail checks I would say is the process, do you take a down payment to get started and then once the job is done, you collect the rest?

Sam: Yeah, usually the homeowner writes us a check. Sometimes we do e-transfer and that's as far as it goes.

Ryan: Pretty simple, I guess.

Sam: Very similar process.

Ryan: If I could, I'm going to give you a quick scenario on what would happen if your roof gets torn off during a hurricane.

Sam: OK.

Ryan: Here in the United States, they will send out an adjuster to your house. Someone from the insurance company or someone who represents the insurance company is going to come out to adjust the loss and confirm that yes in fact- your roof was ripped off and you either have coverage or you don't.

If they decide yes you have coverage, they cut you a check. That check is not going to be for the entire roof. That check is going to be for what they believe the property was worth at the time of the loss. So, if you have a 15 year old or a 20 year old roof, they may only give you $3,000 for a roof that may cost $15,000 to replace. Most folks don't have that extra money sitting around in their bank account just to say, “Hey roofer, would you mind coming out and taking care of my roof and I'll just worry about getting the insurance money later.” They're usually only focused on paying their deductible, which could be maybe a thousand dollars, a couple thousand if it's a hurricane.

Why the Insurance Roofing Process is Not Beneficial for Roofer’s Cash Flow

Ryan: Imagine, if as a roofer, you were only able to collect maybe 30 percent of the job and then you'd have to complete the job and then you wouldn't get the remainder for another four to six or maybe eight weeks. Maybe longer depending on the process. Do you think that would be beneficial to your cash flow?

Sam: Absolutely not, especially if you're doing multiple jobs at once, you're going to need that cash flow.

Ryan: That's one of the biggest problems that roofers and contractors in the United States run into, especially during that situation. They'll have a lot of jobs at once and they can turn those jobs over but they don't realize the amount of cash flow that's required to cover you know their labor, cover their materials, and keep their business operable while they're waiting on the final money coming in from the insurance company. Definitely a big challenge. It's one of the things we fix here at iink. I know RooferGirl can't use iink up in Canada just yet for anything.

Sam: But maybe I'll come out here and I'll use it.

Ryan: That's right. We're hoping she comes out to the States and it gets a little warmer down here in Florida. I like the sand, not the snow- that's why I chose. I came from Pennsylvania. So I used to be in the snow. How long does it take you to do a roof replacement typically?

Sam: About a day.

Ryan: What if it took you three months to get paid on a one day job? Would that be frustrating for you?

Sam: It would be very frustrating. Yes! Because I still have to pay my workers and other things too, right?

Ryan: That's sometimes the reality for a lot of roofers here in the United States because even after a hurricane or after a major storm event, a tornado, a hailstorm. They could be out there signing up 20, 30, 40 jobs a day and when those jobs kind of come to fruition. In the insurance process, they may only have 25 to 30 percent of those funds to really get all those jobs going and then they need to float the rest.

Sam: So if I started using iink, how how would you benefit me, how would you benefit my Company?

Ryan: So if you're out here having to deal with a lot of insurance work as a roofer or any type of contractor here in the states, we would help take those insurance claims and turn them into a cash job or a retail job or as close to that as we possibly can keeping your cash flow moving so that way you're not having to float all of your funds.

You're able to grow your business. You're able to keep your employees, your crews paid, keeping all your materials, bills paid on time. Possibly even earning those rewards back for paying early on your materials bills. So, we keep your cash flow moving as a contractor especially if you're doing a lot of insurance work. It's just much easier to transact on our platform, digitally endorse. You don’t have to run around picking up the checks. You don't have to wait on getting the money or wait on everybody to sign it, particularly the mortgage company before you get access to those funds. Trying to turn your insurance job into a retail job from a payments perspective, as much as we possibly can.

How much does iink charge for their services?

Sam: I was talking to Agatha and she was asking about it too and I think the person that she said she uses is like at 3 percent or something like that.

Ryan: Yeah, it's pretty expensive. I mean most merchant fees are right around 3 percent. I don't think anybody has a fee structure close to what we have (at 1.95% of the claim check), especially because you're getting processing with it. You're getting the advance on the funds with it. So we're handling all that communication with the mortgage company but also giving you the money now, so you can get started with the job.

If you decided to make the jump and come across the border, move from Canada down to let's say Florida and start doing roofing jobs down here where there's a lot of insurance work, do you think iink would be beneficial to your company?

Sam: Absolutely! Because I am not waiting three months to get paid. I want to survive and if I come out here I want to make sure that I can make it.

Ryan: 100%! We do have tons of contractors and roofers on the platform especially those that are first couple years in, maybe doing between one and five million a year. Maybe between five and ten (million a year). They are looking for ways to improve their cash flow and never have those restrictions.

You might not have all those resources in the bank especially after a move like that moving an entire business and you want to have that extra capital freed up so you can scale up your business once you get here.

Sam: This is actually good information to know ahead of time. Like this is actually beneficial for me.

How does the homeowner benefit from using iink?

Ryan: In consideration of coming down here, “what kind of challenges would I have as a roofer?” A lot of homeowners, in fact, don't even know that this is a thing until it happens, right? They're “in the fire” when the check arrives—I hate to use that terminology. But they're in the middle of it and finding out, “Oh great! I got my money from the insurance company. Ugh! What do I do with this now? It's got six people on it that need to sign it before I can even put it in the bank and pay my contractor.” So, it's a learning curve for them. We try to educate them as best we can. And provide our customers with all of those tools.

Sam: Typically, what you do is you get it all done at once with this digital online thing, right?

Ryan: Yes, they get an FDIC insured platform where everybody sees what's going on with the payment. You can have four people who are on the check and maybe someone like a contractor who is not on the check- they can receive funds off of that check even though they're not listed as a payee. And you can pay multiple people. So, maybe you have some subs handling some interior work and you're doing the roof. You can pay separate people off the same check—even send some money back to the homeowner, if you need to.

Sam: That’s amazing, awesome!

Ryan: Just making things easy to move money. Save time. Get paid.