BERLIN — Seeing the opportunity to get in on the “ground floor” of a burgeoning service industry, Berlin native Lee Kendall decided last year to create his own roof cleaning business last year, a move he said has seen marked success.
“I finally found my niche,” said Kendall, owner of Kendall Scapes.
While researching possible business opportunities, Kendall explained that he stumbled upon a specific kind of roof treatment service meant to combat Gloeocapsa Magma, an invasive form of algae that can accumulate on and damage roofs.
“When it lands on shingles, it starts to eat them,” said Kendall, adding that it is the limestone filler inside modern shingles that hosts the algae.
Kendall admitted that before hearing about Gloeocapsa from a former teacher and researching the effects, he was unaware of the issues it presented. Once learning about the algae, however, Kendall said that it has become incredibly easy for him to spot and that it is significant on the Eastern Shore. In the local community, he added that Ocean Pines is a relative hotspot.
According to Kendall, Gloeocapsa tends to accumulate on the northern and eastern sections of a roof and can dramatically reduce the effective life of shingles while also marring the appearance of a property.
“I’ve done roofs that looked like putting greens,” he said.
By treating and cleaning the roof for Gloeocapsa, an owner can expect to get another five to 15 years of life from it, estimated Kendall.
The process his company uses isn’t power washing, he noted, but a unique chemical treatment and low-pressure wash. It is bio-degradable and excess runoff is bagged; things like lichen and moss are also combated by the treatment.
“Our company is the only one [in the area] doing proper treating,” said Kendall.
After a cleaning, which takes between two and four hours depending upon the size of the roof, there are “instant results” as far as an improved appearance, said Kendall. “I was shocked at how quick it was,” he said.
A typical treatment can cost $300-$500, but Scapes will do subsequent check-up cleanings of the same roof for a reduced fee. Seeing as how maintaining a roof is both cosmetically appealing and extends the life of the installation, Kendall reasoned that it saves significant money in the long-run.
“A roof is expensive … a lot of people don’t have $10,000 for a new roof,” he said.
Though only 21 years old, Kendall, a Worcester Prep graduate, approached his new business with considerable experience, both in the classroom and in the field.
“I went to school for turf management and business,” he said, adding that he attended both Salisbury University and Wor-Wic Community College.
With that background, the first business venture Kendall made was opening his own landscaping business, which eventually helped provide the financial backing for Scapes.
Landscaping on the Eastern Shore has become a crowded field, however, prompting Kendall to look into less covered areas for a new business. The search led him to Gloeocapsa, which while commonly known in other parts of the country isn’t as well treated in this area.
Kendall also spent time interning at Hardwire, located in Pocomoke, but eventually decided that what he wanted most was to be his own boss.
“I just preferred to work for myself,” he said.
With a year operating Scapes under his belt, Kendall is satisfied with the business he’s getting and hopes that he’ll be able to expand quickly.
“I’d like to run three or four trucks next summer,” he said.
For more information, visit kendallscapes.com or call 443-880-7011