Homestead Roofing was incorporated on March 6th, 2013 and we did our first roof the first week of April that year. Prior to 3/6/13, I had worked for a different roofing company, but not long after starting with that company, I began to see why the roofing industry has such a bad reputation in Colorado Springs. I got pretty desperate to part ways with this company and after a couple years, with the encouragement of a local realtor and the owner of a competing roofing company, I started Homestead Roofing.
Our First Roof
Karsten Musaeus, the Keller Williams realtor who had urged me to launch out on my own, was the listing agent for a house in the Sun Hills neighborhood. The house needed a new roof because it had damaged T-Lock shingles. For those who don't know what T-Locks are, they are an obsolete style of shingle which can present obstacles for those who are trying to sell a home.
Karsten asked me to begin working with the home seller and the buyer to arrange the selection of the new roofing materials and get the project started. There's a certain procedure that needs to be followed when inspecting and measuring a roof that will be replaced, and even though I had some years of experience and knew what to look for, inexplicably, I forgot to do one of my standard checks. I forgot to check the pitch (or angle) of the roof. That's the “rise-over-run” measurement which tells you how many vertical inches of rise you have for every 12 inches of horizontal (run) measurement exists. It's expressed in numbers like, 6/12 or 4/12, which would mean either 6 or 4 inches of rise for every 12 inches of run. That's how you can know how steep the roof is.
The day came to begin the work and everything was proceeding as planned – or so I thought. Later that day, I was outside at the home, talking with the owner of the house about some of the project details. My roofing foreman at the time was on the roof right above us. All of a sudden the light in my head came on and I asked him if he had checked the pitch of the roof. The reason this is important is because if the pitch is between 2/12 and 4/12, there has to be a double layer of the felt underlayment on the roof. The foreman gave me an answer, but I was caught in the middle of trying to talk to the owner, and I completely spaced what he told me.
The day after the work was completed, I went to the house to do my routine post-job inspection, and that's when it hit me! This roof had a 3/12 pitch and we hadn't put double felt on it. In order to do this roof correctly, we would have to tear off the shingles, lay down another layer of felt, and re-roof it. My mind was racing! Maybe there was some other way. Some way that wouldn't be so incredibly expensive. This was a very large roof and the materials cost quite a bit! I called Pikes Peak Regional Building Department and spoke to the Inspections Supervisor. He was very sympathetic, but said that it would fail inspection like it was.
So, I had to swallow my pride, knock on the door of the house and have an uncomfortable conversation with the brand new owner. She was busy doing all kinds of renovations in her new home and I had to tell her that I made a mistake and we were going to have to do the roof all over again. That was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life and certainly one in which I felt the dumbest. But she was very gracious and understanding, so we made plans to do the job again. But what about the realtor? Next, I had to call him and explain my mistake all over again! He was also gracious and understanding and continues to refer business to us despite my awkward beginning.
Since it was my mistake, not only did I have to spend a few thousand dollars to buy new materials, but even had to pay the roofing crew to do it again. Thankfully, the roofing crew we have now, led by Juan Lomeli, is always checking things like this for us. They're a great group of workers who really know what they're doing, so we've never had a mistake like this again. The crew that did that job for me on our first project? That was the last roof they ever did for us.
With bruised pride and several thousands of dollars forfeited, we finished the roof, it passed inspection, and the seller, the buyer, and Karsten were all pleased with our work and the integrity in admitting the mistake and making it right.
I tell my kids that education is expensive and to not worry about financial mistakes because they help you to gain wisdom so you'll hopefully never make the same mistake again. There's always a cost to gaining knowledge and wisdom and thankfully, I've never made that mistake again.
The real moral to the story, however, is not about learning from mistakes. It's really about my commitment to you, our clients. Regardless of how painful it is for us, if we've messed up, we'll admit it, own it, and fix it. The really great thing is that as Homestead Roofing has grown, we've added employees, and they all think the same way. Even Juan, our roofing crew foreman has this same philosophy. God has given Homestead Roofing a great team, and I'm blessed to get to work with a bunch of men who all want to serve first, and receive second. We hope to get to continue to serve you, your family, friends, and neighbors.