A good crew is priceless


#1

i been roofing a few years for a guy who has been in the business for a looong time and he knows his shit, i personally have learnt alot from him and i was considered a skilled roofer before we ever met. long story short he is 78 years old and last year had 2 open heart surgeries and keeps swearing hes gonna just quit. he actually did before the cold season before christmas and everybody was out of work. well its still cold in the pittsburgh area and he offered me the chance to run the jobs for him and currently were doing a good size church roof – hes just doing the bidding and getting me work lined up so im busy. the crew i had last summer was great and everyone of them found employment elsewhere so i had to start from scratch. ive been working 3 weeks now on my 4th job and have already gone through a half dozen men - they all say they are roofers when i meet them wich is complete bullshit and in 3 weeks ive seen it all i think –

-had a guy petrified of heights and ladders -made him a laborer to clean the ground and be a go-for --if i wasnt within sight of him he was warming up or doing god knows what
-had one that spent half the day on the cellphone
-found one that i thaught was actually a great worker and come monday after payday learned he was a heroin junkie
-had 2 no call no shows within their first 3 days but called right on time to get paid
had to fire them all
i finally got a friend of mine who was working for a bigger roofing company and offered him more than he was making and hes great wich makes me happy i almost thaught i was doing this roof alone
now its me and my buddy with a pretty consistent laborer and things are going alot better
im gonna have to find 2 more people when the weathers nicer but for now i would rather spend an extra couple days finishing this job with a small solid crew than dealing with the bs
thank god i havnt done a job that the customer is around alot plus its cold so the customer dont wanna go outside because we got a great reputation and get most of our work from referalls and because people hear how well weve done in the past and it would look awful to a homeowner to see different people on the job everyday or to have to hear me gettin mad at someone for being lazy or just plain stupid
most of the summer work we do is for homeowners and by the 2nd 3rd day they know all our names and like us and our work
i would kill to have our old crew again hahaha or even just to be a roofer without the added stress of babysitting grown adults


#2

I’ve been in business a bit over 5 yrs now and dealt with employee problems the whole way. I finally have 2 great guys with great attitudes and great skills, and I now keep it to 1 crew with me running it. I was up to 2 crews and 8 guys at one point but profit margin, quality and customer satisfaction go downhill quickly without the right guys. I said to hell with all that and if people want me to do their work they can wait for a small crew full of professionals, not a group of yahoos who show up the next day cause no one else will hire them.
It sounds like you are becoming responsible for running the business in the field. Before I went into business for myself i was working for an older guy in pretty much the same situation (except it was a framing crew, not roofing). The only advice I have is to develop a strict set of guidelines for your employees to follow. Even put it on paper and give a copy to anyone you hire. If they can’t follow the rules move on to the next guy. You’ll find a good group eventually, especially in this job market. There’s a lot of guys out of work with good attitudes and skills. Until then however, I’m afraid you’ll have to be part time roofer and part time adult day care supervisor. I think most business owners go through it.


#3

Hi,

Good guys will always work.

Why not talk to your old employees. They will probably come back.