I have a passion


#1

Right or wrong, I have a passion. All day every day I hope to absorb anything beyond my understanding of roofing. I’m a smart kid from the ghetto that made good and was probably saved by an honest living that roofing had to offer.

I never could understand selling drugs or pimping or any other illegal means, because to me it seemed that no matter what you could gain it could all easily be taken either by the law or by the illegal. I was physically ready and mentally open to any other means than an illegal way of life. That was when I was 17.

Now, I’m 30 years old and my one constant in life is roofing. I love it. And either you do or you don’t. I eat, breathe, and sleep roofing. I always like being the underdog, and roofing gave me the legitimate means to prove everyone wrong. And without all the brown nose bs, here I stand, a man. My executive sister once told me to work at McDonalds and was infuriated with me that I wouldnt take 4 dollars an hour to make ends meet, but I never asked for loans and here I am. My bills are paid and I get very few thank you’s. Not to mention my roofs aren’t leaking.

I go out in the freezing cold in the winter and the burning days in the summer. Had to chase contractors for money, chase employers for money. I’ve been robbed by employees for everything I owned. I’ve had to take losses to do what I know was right. But here I am. Unrelenting. I will continue to go at this for as long as it takes to make sure my kids are not roofers.

None of us here are perfect. Many of us are very intelligent and very educated, thats all you can ask. I don’t regret a day of my life, I feel I am gifted for the day to day operations of roofing and that sole fact inspires me. But I wouldn’t wish the associated misery on my worst enemy.

When I see a new roofing entrepeneaur, I can’t help but laugh in disgust, but it’s because I know I’m thick-skinned and don’t think the average man can handle this. Owning a roofing company is so much of a gamble. I’ve at times alienated everyone in my life and stuck to my guns despite them all to finish this job. And its finished when I’m a rotted corpse.

To date, I’m not getting rich roofing. I’m making a living now. I can pay my bills now. I combine roofing with some other abilities I’ve learned along the way, and the way I see it, other things are now paying for this roofing company. But man do I love this! My only challenge nowadays in roofing is how to turn a profit with it. Thats sad when I see myself performong 3 times the work in a day as my associates and theyre making nearly what I do. Do we wonder why I’ve regressed to just me and my best friend/partner to do all the work?

Warren said it nicely in a P.M. to me… we’ve become a big box consumer type nation that wants everything easily and fast. But what does it all mean?

I’m just a roofer and I love life. Isn’t that good enough? Your positive and negative opinions are eagerly awaited.


#2

Easy and fast do not make a good roof…proof positive is my roof repair business. I am VERY bust following behind the uninsured lowballer/crackhead/cant’ pay the bills types that rip people off with low pricing, but terrible roofing.

There is SOOOOO much that goes into a roofing company, that I do not understand why all these schmucks think they are roofers. Some do not even know how to brake a chimney so they goop it. They do not knw how to replace a soil stack flashing, so they goop it. They do not know how to dis-assemble shingles, slate, shakes, so they goop it. The general buying public seems to be so used to quick and cheap that they fail to relaize that they just got ripped and now have big blobs of goop all over their roof.

It is, indeed, very risky if you want to do things right. On the other hand, any idiot can buy a pouch, knife, and hammer and BAM! they call themselves roofers. :frowning: Why dont they go into masonry or carpentry or something? If they did their building like they do their roofing, people would die in the collapse.

My big question is why does everybody seems to want the cheapest everything, even when they know it aint gonna last?


#3

I’m just a roofer too…but I love it!

after 23 years in the business, I am finally seeing my time and knowledge are paying off. And after 14 years owning my own company, I am seing the payoffs of that also. The people that told me years ago that I was doing it all wrong, are now asking me for advice, because I stuck with it and made it happen. I am still standing while most all others are gone.

S&G, I too, laugh at the new guy trying to make it…just like, they all did to me, but deep down I hope they do it right and make it. I would love for one of those guys 10-15 years from now come and tell me that they are still in the business, still going strong. But I know that doesn’t happen very much. We laugh at them, like they all laughed at us.

I wish I could charge for all the advice that I give from day to day, but I am happy to give it. I wish there was someone to give me the advice, even if I would have had to pay for it, it would have been cheaper than learning it my way!!

Yep, I love roofing, even if we don’t get to do it much anymore. The competion is too cut throat and there are way too many guys out there beating our prices…and then going under in a month or two. But like Aaron, thats where we step in and take over with repairs. $$$$$


#4

i started roofing with gramps and dad @ age 13.luggin buckets and luggers full of pitch.now @52 ive come to the conclussion that roofing sucks!!! they dont make roofers like they used to.


#5
At last a question I might answer right!  There seems to be a an override in a homeowner's brain that's triggered by a lowball price which works to immediately shut down any vestiges of common sense.  We become so overwhelmed by the idea of a bargain that nothing else matters!  If 4 roofers bid $5000 and one guy says $3000, it's gotta be cause he's a good guy and not greedy like those other guys.  That  the lowbidder doesn't have an office, a business card or even a phone doesn't matter.  If he needs an advance to buy tools, we miss that clue.

The guy who put my metal roof on TELEGRAPHED exactly how bad he was. He told us with a grin, "The name of the company is 'Duct Tape Roofing'".  He was cheap for sure.  We were so taken with his low price we missed all the clues.  In all fairness to him, it was his first metal roof and it doesn't leak 16 years later.  His edges were not straight and he disappeared for days in the  middle of the job.  He set a window on fire while he stopped to enjoy the view in the middle of torching down the flat roof.  

The "price overrides common sense" is similar to what happens to guys when they think they're gonna get laid.  They lose all reasoning powers while focussed on the short term pleasure.

#6

I dont think everyone wants it for the cheapeast but like to think people want the best value for the money. I realize that getting price as a craftsman is tough. and it is tougher than it was in the past. SOmehow you have to be able to get the customers to understand the level of detail they will get compared to the next guy.

I had pricing down 15 years ago and then the knock off guys copied and did way less for the same price. Good salesman and with contacts well ahead of the jobs that I had. I went away for a while in fact doing work for people in the states and they competed against each other up here. What was a 10k job one guy would bid 8k to get it, the next time the other would big 7k to get it from him.

Ten years before that I would have been getting 10k for that job. They took a good market and ruined it. I hear one of them has had to have his bills paid by other people a number of times. Pretty sad as he did good work when he started, good quality at the proper price for a shop to run.

When I bought the main machinery for my shop orginally I shopped around and got the best price. The best price was he same machinery, the same service but one guy saved me enough to buy one more machine so a bandsaw came free with the other five machines over all the other dealers, plus he delivered. So in that case I was the guy looking for the lowest price. However it was apples to apples and I have dealt with that dealer many times over the years, if his price was higher he matched others and always gave me good service.

I hear in Europe people arent allowed to just hang up a shingle and say I am a so and so. People are trained and there is a certain level they all work to, a fair playing field with intergrity. Years ago I worked for an Austrian master and he was the biggest scammer I ever met. If the plans called for fire proofing on work for the Trump tower he would spray it with sanding sealer as that was all he had around. So much for the level of integrity or maybe he just lost it when he came here and coudn’t get away with it there.

I still meet craftsman in different fields where they put everything into it, if stuff is wrong they eat it at their own cost. Know a high end automotive guy 150k plus to restore your car and have seen him restrip and paint car hoods cause there is a fleck of black the size of a pin head that I would have never found but he does it at his cost cause he would not feel right.

You guys have one of the hardest trades there is, in some ways reminds me of farmers.

In the little time that I have been rebuilding this roof to get it ready so it is how I want to be reshingling I am in better shape than ever, even noticed my skin is way better cause I am outside breathing fresh air instead of the dust in the shop. All this up and down on the ladder is good as well. You guys don’t have any reason to go to a gym. I have had several roofers as well tell me they never get sick, not sure if that is the norm but it was the case with the ones when I asked how they hold up to the work.

Personally I think bundles that are 80 pounds or more is a bit much, hell thats half my body weight but i see guys who weigh less than me put them on their shoulders like it is a pack of laser printer paper.

You guys have to educate us. If I went with any of two or three roofers I had asked and found I would end up with IKO 3 tabs, a row of tar paper and that is about it. I would not known about anything else. As the same time I do this my moms home was done, iko, 30 pound felt on the edges, 15 pound on the rest of the home. Family business doing it 40 years, my brother in law hired them and he has been in construction 50 years plus.

Cause I spent a mass of time and really cause I found this site I will end up with a job that I will be happy with. To find out what I had known now later on say a year later I would be just plain pissed. I dont think I could have even found any of the roofers that I have now found from buying Certainteed then going back to the company and having them recommend some roofers to me, these guys are above what is out there. One of them made a comment one of many last week that the Landmark I choose even match the hip cottage style roof on the home, something I never thought of but just part of the things he thinks about.

It is a sad fact that people are drawn to the cheapest in many cases. Then we have the Mercedes and the Porsches and Ferraris and on and on where people pay the big dollars cause they are seen.

I really see this at the Detroit Autorama where people pay 500k or even over a million to build custom cars. I asked why and was told it is bragging rights.

Money is out there, it depends on where we work and so many things. I saw this in LA years ago, I could have endless work there compared to where I live. Totally different market.

So lots of respect for you all and the things you face in the course of making a living as you do. Seems to me five to ten years working as a roofer would be a good prerequisite for politicians.

Warren


#7

ditto G-tape.

gweedo.


#8

AS for the question, why does everybody want it so cheap???

Thank the Big Box stores for that. And also thank them for letting the customer know that all they have to do is complain about anything and its free, or they get their money back.

I don’t even waste my time with people that are going for the cheapest price. I don’t try to win their business, I don’t try to sell, sell, sell to them. Its not worth my time. There are plenty of customers out there that want and will pay for a decent quality job. You just have to know how to get them to call you.

The cheap customer will always be cheap, and its not worth the time to try to convince them or educate them otherwise. Most already know the dangers, but will take the chance. I think your time could be more productive in most any other thing you do.

Let the cheap guys get the cheap customers.

A few weeks ago I had a talk with a roofer that was bragging that he was getting all these jobs. In one week, he got 7 jobs. I asked him what price he got. I then told him that did he know that I only have to do 1 job to make the money he does with 7 jobs. And in doing that, I can give the best and highest quality job to my customer. I can go the extra mile without worrying if I will lose money. I can sit and have a nice talk and a cup of coffee with the customer after or during the job. Letting the customer know I am there for him any and all the time. Unlike the other roofer that has to throw and go without even getting to know the customers. Their loss if you ask me. I’ll keep doing it my way, putting on roofs, making friends and getting lifelong customers. Thats how you become successful!


#9

I agree with Gtape


#10

ditto