Monarch Siding & Windows
An Interview with Tom Galgerud, Owner of Monarch Siding & Windows, Inc.
By Dan Dellegrotti and Lexi Zoucha, Creighton University MBA students
Please tell us a little bit about Monarch.
“I started my home improvement business, Monarch Siding & Windows, Inc., in 1996 because I believed that business in the industry could be done better. I wanted to change how customers were treated—to take aggressive salesmanship out of the equation and to replace it with integrity and trust.”
What does “Business Ethics” mean to you?
“To me, ethics means treating people the way you want to be treated. In my business, this means doing things the right way and keeping my promises.”
Who were you greatest professional and personal influences? Do you feel that there is a difference between personal and professional ethics?
“My father was the largest influence on me, by far. However, I do not feel that there is much of a difference between business and personal ethics; I try to run my business as I do my family.”
How does your company address business ethics with your employees?
“Above all, I try to set an example as the owner so that my employees see how you handle things personally. Additionally, our values and principles are literally written on the walls for everyone to see. Lastly, we hold meetings in order to problem-solve, to stay on the same page, and for camaraderie.
“Informally, our organization aspires to engage and inform the customer. In our work, we strive to always be on time and to get things done cleanly. There isn’t much turnover, because I have had the same group of great guys working with me.
“With guidance from the Business Ethics Alliance, we established a written Code of Ethics in the past year. As a small business, it is extremely difficult to get away from the daily grind, so it was very important for me to formally write down what Monarch stood for as a whole.”
“Our involvement with the BBB and our Code of Ethics serves as a constant reminder of what we are here for and how we do business as an organization. We are constantly molding ourselves into who we want to be.”
How are ethical issues with customers handled?
“Luckily, we haven’t had many, due to the strong team in place at Monarch. However, when problems do arise, I make it a point to get personally and directly involved with the job and customer in question. As the saying goes, the customer is always right.‟ As the owner, I try to absorb the complaint, to do everything possible to resolve the issue and, most importantly, to let the customer know that we are there for them.”
Do you believe in Corporate Social Responsibility?
“A few years ago, I would have answered this question very differently. Back then, I would have said, “No.‟ You see, no one helped me get Monarch off the ground. My family’s savings and future were on the line; no government or community grants were available to take off some of the risk. I just went out and did it on my own.
“Now that we are established, I have a much different point of view. My customers are from the local community, and they have always been faithful to the “local guy.‟ I now see that Monarch and the community are tied to each other and, without them, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are now.”
How do you sponsor or participate in CSR?
“We do what we can—donating to local churches and area charities. In addition, I hope to establish a scholarship for a student who wishes to attend trade school but does not have the means to afford it.”
How have you dealt with ethical or unethical actions in your industry?
“If you don’t do business with Monarch, I have absolutely no problem referring you to another company that I am confident will do a great job. However, the home improvement industry has its fair share of less-than-honest individuals and companies.
“For example, as a contractor in the State of Nebraska, you have to be registered and, as a result, there are a variety of ways to document things like state taxes. Sometimes, competitors will bid for a job without including such taxes. At face value, it appears to customers that such a bid is low—when in fact it is intentionally under-bidding offers that actually include taxes. These are not the same offers, and I view the practice as absolutely unethical. At Monarch, we are always open and honest about exactly what the customer gets for their money.
“Taking advantage of the customer is no way to do business. Creating the best product and service will lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty, which leads to a successful business.”
Do you agree that there “something in the water” in Omaha?
“I’m a Midwestern boy, born and raised, so I would like to believe so. I do feel that there may be a difference in terms of work ethic and morals in general; however, it really isn’t my place to make such a judgment. I don’t have the opportunity to see how people do business in other parts of the country.”
Is there anything else you would like the Business Ethics Alliance and community to know about Monarch?
“I started this business to provide customers the most value for their money—the best quality product, labor and value proposition. For over 15 years, we have relied solely on word-of-mouth for referrals. In that time, we have been fortunate to grow year-over-year, which I strongly believe is a testament to our focus on the customer. I hope to continue to develop such honest and long-standing relationships with our customers as Monarch continues to grow well into the future.”