It was the summer of 2010 when I received a frantic call from my mom. “Issa, how can you schedule work at my house without telling me?”
“Mom,” I answered, “What are you talking about? I haven’t scheduled any work at your house.”
“Well, I am looking at five guys on top of my roof and they are very busy tearing it off,” she replied. I dropped what I was doing and rushed to her house. Sure enough, there was a full crew atop her roof tearing off and throwing down shingles into a dump truck in the driveway. I called one of them down, and after firing questions his way, he realized he had gotten the address wrong.
After assurances, promises and apologies by the company’s owner, I was given the guarantee that the roof would be fully replaced and in better condition than its original state. Part of the confusion, he explained, may have to do with the fact that they are from another state and they simply had the address recorded incorrectly. A year earlier, Colorado had experienced wide-spread hail damage resulting in an onslaught of out-of-state roofing contractors (aka storm chasers).
I am the owner of NuBilt Restoration & Construction in Denver, CO and have been fortunate to serve the community for nearly 18 years now. In this capacity, I have had a great deal of exposure to the roofing industry trade and took the promises from this unfamiliar, out-of-state company claiming years of experience with a pretty sizable grain of salt.
For numerous reasons, roofing had always been NuBilt’s albatross. With the management of subcontracted trades to meet our clients’ needs in conjunction with water intrusion, the difficulty in engaging the service of the roofing specialty companies available to us was always a challenge. After all, it was our name and reputation on the line if the roofing company failed to meet the needs of our clients.
It was often that NuBilt was on-site mitigating water damage from a leaking roof while a roofing contractor was working on the roof repair, or we found ourselves in the position of fielding client inquiries for roofing services to have the roof repaired. I became very motivated to solve a problem which we were facing with great regularity.
As an entrepreneur, many discussions had been had regarding other services the company might offer to clients who would ask for home remodeling and basement finishing services. While these were services we were well positioned to perform, operating a division dedicated to it and marketing it seemed disjointed and not complimentary to our focus, our passion and what we simply excel at, which is property restoration of all materials related to its preservation. Roofing is different and the company began the research and development phase to our roofing division. I also had the perfect opportunity with the re-roofing project at my mom’s own home.
I called a roofer friend of mine who had recently retired and asked if I could hire him to supervise this roof installation. For almost 10 days, both him and I struggled with these “professional roofers” who broke every rule you could imagine in trying to put back my mom’s roof. Not unlike past observations with other roofing contractors, there was a tendency toward sub-standard material usage, workers who lacked experience, an absence of quality control, insufficient safety protocols and a minimum of code requirements being adhered to.
For the next 12 months, I absorbed the various manufacturer performance qualities, but also the esoteric preference toward various water intrusion prevention methodology. Once we secured HAAG certification, our roofing division was born.
NuBilt began marketing to our already solid relationships within the insurance industry and furthered our reputation as a full service restoration general contractor by offering single trade roofing services. Clients who now called us to mitigate water damage due to a roof leak were now secured for roof repairs or full replacements.
As with the restoration business, my intention was to grow the business slowly, be the best but not necessarily the biggest. We have found roofing to be a very complimentary business and we are currently hiring support staff for this newly developed division.
My intent is not to paint a picture with nothing but sunshine and rainbows. We experience some real growing pains. With roofing material costs skyrocketing, tremendous competition and counteracting negative public perception of roofing contractors, we sometimes need reminding that having this added service truly serves as a benefit in meeting our clients’ needs.
Roofing really is a different animal but one complimentary enough to the very different beast of restoration and reconstruction.
About the Author
Issa Ashour is Founder & President of Nubilt Restoration & Construction, Inc in Denver, CO. He has been actively engaged in water, fire and smoke damage restoration and mitigation, structural damage and repair and reconstruction since 1995. Issa can be reached at 303-368-4688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.