How was everyones season?


#1

Hi all just wondering how everyones seaons was? Was it good, was it ok or was it bad? It has gotten cold enough here where roofing is not a good idea. 25 in the morning and snow in the afternoon at 30 so shingling is out of the question if you want a good seal. Just figured i would throw this out here to see how everyone is doing. Hope all is well and have a great day. Please fill out the poll because enquiring minds want to know.


#2

Well, thats kind of a trick question for me…

As everybody knows, Michigan’s economy is in the tank and no matter who wins on Tuesday, it will be in the tank for a few more years. At the end of last year, after one of my numberous attempts to grow the company, AGAIN it was going down the drain fast. I was working my butt off trying to make things run smoothly. I pulled myself out of the office, like I did many times before, and like many times before, my workers couldn’t get the job done. There was fighting amoungst them, quality hit an all time low, the attitudes were horrible. But I was there trying my hardest to make things run smooth and right. Even though I was trying my hardest, it wasn’t getting done. We we’re losing more money every single week when payroll came around. I though maybe getting another guy to help out would be the ticket. So I picked a guy from one of my other companies. Boy it went from bad to worse, not because of the work habits and ethics of the new guy, but from the attitudes of the other guys. And to make matters worse, with the economy going bad fast, work was getting hard to find. We were getting underbid and losing many more jobs than ever.
So in September of last year, I had to make a decision, keep doing what we were doing and keep losing money, shut the doors and find another job, or go back out in the field AGAIN. So I told my new guy to come in late one Monday morning because I had some things to do. When everybody else came in, I laid them all off. My new guy showed up, looked around and with a funny look on his face, asked where was everybody? I told him its just you and me from now on!

It was the best decision I have ever made. I also changed everything I did running the company. I changed how I run the office, I changed how I advertise, I changed how I sell. So after 12 years of business, this year I am finally on the right track, finally doing the right thing. Yes I am working alot more, yes I am exhausted when I get home most of the time, but I am paying all the back bills, I have a bunch of work, and most importantly, I have almost no stress anymore!!!

So to answer your question, we are doing alot better than last year.

I don’t know if we as a company grossed more money, but we profitted more money, and that it what counts!!


#3

G-Tape, you’re the man. 12 years and still making adjustments. This is a game of willpower, and only the strong survive. I’m with you, the labor force is crapola, too spoiled still by the strong economy of the 90’s. Try to tell a guy that ground cleanup doesnt take all day on a small crew and they look at you like you have 3 heads. Try to tell a guy that not being able to feed two roofers is garbage and you get the same reaction. When I was a kid, it seemed my boss only got two layer strips, and I clearly remember ripping 8-10 squares in the morning with them, then me going down and cleaning up the 16-20 squares and still keeping the roofers fed 3 stories in the air. These guys cant even do HALF the job. The young guys are lazy. The old guys are… well, old. And then you’ve got another group that work so hard, but looking at them, you just know theyre going to fall. Thats just laborers. The roofers are even worse. I’ve tried giving them low pay and putting many, then nobody cares about their jobs. I’ve tried giving them higher pay and then they all become a bunch of prima donna’s. Seems you can’t win!

So, I’m back to just my partner and I also, but that presents its own problems. One of them is, if you do have some kind of setback in scheduling, it is much more difficult to recuperate. Plus, I find myself more gunshy about ripping with the slighest chance of rain. And last but not least, I have to charge my customers for 2 roofing mechanics cleaning up shingles and lumping them too. I don’t know. Decisions, decisions. If it was easy we’d all be millionaires I guess.

But, my vote is I had a bad year. My body wasn’t ready for the shock of roofing everyday again and it didnt respond well until the end of the season. Odd though, you plan to grow at the beginning of the season and find yourself contracted by the end of the season.


#4

S&G, you are so right about the workers!!!

Unfortunetly, for you, I see that with your partner, you have to spread the wealth, and that in itself it tough. I bought out one of my partners in the first year and the other one 2 years later. It just didn’t work out for us. But with another company that I have, the whole partner thing is working out great. But with that, he has his customers, and I have mine. All in all, I think partners are a tough road to take.

You are right also, when you say you have to stick to it and change with the times when its needed. You have to be ready and able to change when change is needed, if you don’t, like now seeing all these guys going under, you will go under after a long stressful unwinnable fight.

I think the days of labor employees is long gone. Now is the days of subs and 1099s.


#5

for some reason i cant vote…but anyway, i vote way better than last year. i grew by leaps and bounds. took my closing rate from 26% to 85% opened new offices, show room & warehouse. however i totally agrree with the crappy work force thing. i had a crew 2 weeks ago leave a compressor on a job site outside running in the rain for 2 days…you would think that a 6 man crew who are all told to do a walk around at the end of a job would notice this!!! Only explanation is NO BODY GIVES A %& because its not thier equipment, money or reputation. but all in all it was an incredible year compared to anything in the past. next year im looking to run even smoother because my brother is coming from florida to be a supervisor and maybe he’ll give a crap as his name also reflects the company.


#6

Thats great guys hopefully everyone can vote and let us know how all is going.


#7

Started w/ 3 of us and is winding down w/ 6 of us. After 16 years I am like BOSS and making the changes that are necessary, not just the easy ones.
I have had some grief w/ the employees this year and they have made some good days for me. Not as bad as some years and definitley better than most.
Just bought a Roofer’s Buggy and I’m selling the old dump truck. Out of the trash hauling business and zeroing in on what makes us money.

Dollars? I’m not sure of yet. I know we are above last year, in gross and net. I don’t know exactly where we will end up. Busy into December now. I’d like to work up until Christmas anyway.


#8

My first year in business most of the money went back into the business but it has been an exciting ride. I stayed busy pretty much from May and I am still pretty busy now trying to finish these last few jobs before winter hits real strong.


#9

[quote=“G-Tape”]S&G, you are so right about the workers!!!

Unfortunetly, for you, I see that with your partner, you have to spread the wealth, and that in itself it tough.[/quote]

It’s all perspective brother. Yes, I do have to share all the profits. If you look at it that way. I also have someone that I can trust to split the burden with, thats how I see it. I doubt you were best friends with your partner since grade school. In the middle of the winter, if a call comes in, I dont have to scurry to find help. When things go wrong or not according to plan, I’m not the only one taking the loss.

Splitting the money doesnt bother me. The work split is starting to bother me. When we started, I was more financially stable and in a better position to get everything going. I saw to it that we got all set up with the licensing, insurances, Tax I.D. number, etc. I fronted the money for initial equipment. Now, years later, he sits home and plays video games and I’m still stuck doing paper work, estimates… EVERYTHING else that is not roofing that has to be dealt with as a roofing company, on my own time that I’m not being paid anymore for. I expected to be further than this. He is still not financially stable and is never ready to reinvest like I want to. I’ve decided we go ONE more season, and if he cant save his money and be ready to move forward, I have to move on. He’s not even confident enough to keep taking loans from me, so instead we’re just stuck.

For me, my goals are sky’s the limit. Roofing has always been part of a stepping stone plan for me. Right now, I’m doing the residential because its all I can afford to do. I’m trying to flip a property this winter, and hopefully a few more, to raise capital to go to the next level. I also have a mortgage background (one year to raise money for this stepping stone), and I’ve already flipped my own house, per se (remortgaged, appraised $80,000 higher in 6 months with little invested). The point is, I’m reaching all my solo goals and I’m telling him every secret I know about business and life and he’s not applying it or attempting it. Thats more of a problem to me than splitting the wealth.


#10

Have you sat down with him and discused these concerns with him? Does he know that 1 more year is all he has to turn himself around? Im not trying to be nosey here but maybe if you explain to him how serious this is he might change his ways. I hope things get better for you.


#11

Well, my season could have been better if i had been steady with a company. I left my partner last year and had troubles settling down with a company. Some to cheap some just bad quailty i didnt want anything to do with. Lucky i saved money or i would have been in trouble. From aout mid year to now i had an above average year but who knows its going to go south here pretty soon.


#12

It’s only recently begun to bother me. Another year gone by. My resolution is that he take a loan from me to expand and we BOTH do sales and watch over our own seperate crews and combine marketing. I don’t want to be on the roof forever. I’m making pretty much what I was with the union and that was easy work with no stress, and I didn’t have to invest a dime. I’ve said it to him in a round about way, but not a bottom line like that. A bottom line sometimes comes off as an aggressive challenge and not good for a team atmosphere. I guess I’m really just spilling my guts here. Trying to find the right approach so it doesnt backfire. I want to motivate without distracting, if that makes any sense.


#13

S&G, that is EXACTLY how it happened with me and my partner. …er, partners.

I was and did it all. I would come to work the next day, did paperwork the whole night before and they would be talking about TV shows and commercials that were on TV. While I was putting 16-18 hours in a day, 12 on t6he roof and 4-6 more on bids, office paperwork, or buying materials for the next day.
The first partner was bought out easy, the second one was a tough one. I even went and started another company, got other bids and jobs and was ready to have him buy me out and I would be on my way. I talked with him, told him what I wanted, and he said right to me, “I can’t run a company, I don’t know how!” Then it got pretty nasty, his buddies tried to get him to take me to the cleaners with all their advice they were giving him. I told him that if thats the way he wants to play it, then I will have the attorneis and accountants burn up all the money in their fees and we will both walk away with nothing at all, except, I started another company and I had work lined up and an employee ready to go. He took a buyout and we divided up the tools. He went his way, I went mine. We are still friends.

Good luck, I’m always here to talk about it if you need to. I have been through it all with partners.


#14

No way. This is my best friend. I’m not a fag, but he’s like my soulmate. We will never not be friends and neither of us will purposely screw the other. NEVER. We talk to eachother civilized even when the the news is not good. GTP asked, did I talk to him about what I said here… its not backstabbing the way I feel, I talk casually to him as his friend about what I’ve mentioned, I just haven’t given altimatums. An altimatum given to the wrong person is a setup for failure. If a time comes that we should seperate, our friendship will not tarnish. I KNOW IT. As a friend, I don’t want to jump to snap conclusions. Anyone else it would have been messy already. He does have some pride, so if I get to the point that I feel I’ve been abused, I’ll just end it fairly and we’ll split evenly and move on and still be friends. I’m with him because I think that when he gives his effort and doesnt think with too much testosterone and listens to me like I listen to him, I’m better with him than without him.

I think he’s getting too cocky with everything. I’ve got a jump on him. I had another friend that was my former partner and he was really cocky and tried to get physical with me. Bad mistake. He’s flipping burgers somewhere now having ruined his life with multiple child supports and assault and battery charges, but I knew he was like that but was young and stupid and went forward with him on roofing ability alone. This friend is smarter than that. And he listens to reason without taking too much offense to it. It’s just a matter of showing him that money makes money, instead of trying to hoard the money and sit home. I just need to communicate that reinvesting pays the bills far better than being timid. I’ve tried and tried and I’ll try some more.


#15

Well i hope all works out for you sev. Anyone else on there season or are we being bashful again?


#16

Well.

The season has been not great, There is work but not like the 90’s or early this decade, but everything in my gut tells me it is turning around. November was bursting, but December is a shock as it is every year.

I am just trying to get through the purge. Everytime it gets bad for a few years in a row, everyone lowers their prices to try to get the work. The Crappy contractors, crews, and employees don’t last no matter their prices. Unfortunately some of the better guys get lost too. Can’t feed your kids if you don’t work. But I find if you lower your prices a reasonable amount and keep your quality up you get through.

I also understand the crappy employee thing, but I also know I can’t do it alone. My Subcompany does 200 jobs in a busy year and I alone or with a few guys could never match that.
I have found that if you pay fair but bonus high quality fast work you get better results. It makes the guys decide how much they want. I expect a 5 day job done in 5 days. But if they do it in 3 days with the same quality as 5 days and in fewer hours, I give then more money. If they can’t keep up or their quality goes down, I always have more guys I can find. I have three partial partners and I full Partner. In the height of the season I have 12 guys on payroll. If they leave a compressor out in the rain for three days ( the first time I talk to them about how horrible it is, The second time they pay for it). I don’t yell at my guys or embarass them in front of other employees. It is a business. I also find that having four or five guys on a crew is good if you set up safe guards. Crew Leader make part of the profit for the crew, SO it is in their best interest not just mine to do it like they have been taught.

I also find the best guy to work for me is someone I have trained what a hammer and nail is. I prefer guys with no experience. I start them for a week and have them fetch and clean. See how hard they are willing to work. If they show up on time and are wlling to bust their ass, I take them on a job by myself and start teaching them the basics in a one on one setting. Then I give them to the crew they are going to join. I also find have a few crews let’s you mesh personalities better. If you don’t get alone with one guy for what ever reason you will most likely find a good home on another crew.
I hire guys based on simple criteria, hard working, shows up on time, cares about their life(ie no drup addicts). dress presentably(we are going into someone home afterall) and my own gut feelings. I find with few exceptions that if someone has been doing this for several years with more than one company they either aren’t good at it, or they are unwilling to change to do it my way. All I know is that when my self or one of the salesmen tell a customer that something is going to be done a certain way they expect it done that way or there is a problem even if it is done another acceptable way and a green guy who is only taught it my way is more likely not to screw it up.

Just my sense I could be wrong.


#17

very nice post.


#18

nov and dec.
deadly.

gweedo.


#19

It is illegal to charge your employees for leaving your equipment out in the rain.


#20

It is not illegal to charge someone for willful destruction of property. No matter the business implications of a contract.
Deductions of salary for any cause based incompetence is allowed both in Mass law and Federal law. as long as you can show training in the subject has freely been given. Besides after the first speech I give I have never actually had to make someone pay for any equipment. The threat seems to work adequately. I am not some hard ass, I trust my guys with equipment and I insure, comp, and treat them better than most employers.

I am sorry you are not fully aware of the laws involved but that is not my problem. I run a corporate enitity and therefore have a law firm that works for me and I check all my new policies with them. I suggest you do the same and don’t take legal advice from the guys online or at home depot because as with most things people will repeat what they hear and claim to be an expert just to look good at it.

I am on this message board for roofing suggestions and to give roofing advice not to to get legal consults, I already pay entirely to much for that already.