Three Awkward Roofing Experiences that Helped Me Make a Better Company
Freelancer or Contractor?
In the early days of my roofing career, I freelanced for a big box chain. I’d still roof for my day job, give people estimates, and hope they’d choose me. But many times, they’d choose the big box store with the big box store prices. I was routinely 50% lower on the bid, and people got scared because the price was too low for what they wanted done to their roof, so they’d choose the big box store and that would be the end of our relationship.
But in this instance, they chose the big box store where I was the freelance contractor. Meaning, I showed up to their house to do the installation of the roofing system and they had a double-take moment. They recognized me, recognized that they were paying a big box store price for something a freelance roofer was going to, and they were surprised by the situation. The look on their face said everything.
Three Stories of Exhaustion
One time in the Avenues of Salt Lake City, we showed up to a job and it was a three-story home. It was the three of us roofers. They didn’t have much land to build on, so they built the house straight up. They had some power lines nearby and we couldn’t really extend the boom on the truck to load the shingles to the top of the house. We knew that going into the job. Normally we just talk to the neighbors and get their permission to use their driveway for a morning or afternoon. Whatever works best for them. You can see where this is headed.
Their neighbor said, “No way. You touch my land, you cross my property line, and I’ll call the police.” So that was out. And there we were. We didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. So, we started ground loading the bundles of shingles up two different ladders to traverse the three stories. We had 75 bundles of shingles, so each of us had to take 25 different trips up and down the ladders to get the shingles onto the roof to start the job. Yeah, that was a long, long day. It took us, it took us just a long time to get those shingles up on the roof. Then we had to roof the home. We were exhausted.
Did We Really Just Reroof the Wrong House?
To be clear, I haven’t reroofed the wrong house. I haven’t. But one of my guys has. They just wrote the house number down wrong. Simple mistake.
They showed up, started working on it and did a good job. It was a new construction property, so all the homes looked similar with virtually no landscaping to tell them apart. It’s one of those experiences where you just look at your employee and you both start laughing at the situation. You chalk it up to a learning experience.
I did roofing for eight years. I was on the roof. I know what it’s like. It’s hard work. It’s really hard work. So, when you find a hard worker that does a good job you can look past some mistakes and just laugh at the situation. He’s still on my payroll. I like to keep good guys around. And he’s a great roofer.