Editor's Note: Thirty Lessons Learned in Thirty Years with Roofing Contractor
It was around this time 30 years ago when I submitted my first feature article to Roofer Magazine. The publisher at the time, Danny Carson, was a customer of mine back in the days when I sold roofing equipment, and he had been suggesting this to me since founding the publication in 1981.
I was not a writer, and Carson was more of a roofing contractor than a publisher, but with the help of some talented professionals, we managed to make it work. He left the publishing business when he sold Roofer Magazine, and in spite of the fact that I am still not a writer, I am proud to continue being a part of Roofing Contractor.
Much of what I have learned these past 30 years of my tenure in the roofing industry came from the roofing contractors with whom I had contact every business day and from trade periodicals — especially this one. Roofing Contractor is edited to bring the valuable information to roofing contractors that helps them prevail in their market and succeed in their business.
I am not a roofing contractor, but working in the roofing industry has always required me to observe it as a contractor would. This, I believe, is what has enabled me to have success in my work, which has always involved delivering service to roofing contractors.
So, just for the fun of it, here are 30 of the things that I learned in my 30 years associated with Roofing Contractor (in no particular order of importance):
- Words are powerful things.
- Listen. Listen a lot. Listen way more than you speak.
- Human relationships are the highest-value commodity in this or any other business.
- Humility is part of life, and being humbled is part of business.
- It’s not about me. Keeping others’ interests first has been the cornerstone of my sustainability in this and every other venture in my life.
- Roofing is a team sport (making it, selling it, putting it down).
- Burning bridges in an industry this small can be devastating.
- Nothing lasts forever, but roofing materials like slate, copper, slag and river rock are extremely long-lasting and timeless.
- Giving back to the community is always more selfish than selfless.
- Be prepared for the worst, even as you are enjoying the best that life and business offer.
- I owe my living to more people than I can name (and some of you just read that … you know who you are).
- Seeking continuous improvement is a good and honorable thing to do in any enterprise.
- My grandchildren are, for some reason, so much easier to get along with than my children were at the same ages. And arguably better behaved.
- It’s a new day. Just because print publications have been around and available all my business life does not mean they will be around forever. Thank you, BNP Media, for keeping the Roofing Contractor brand competitive in the world of business information delivery.
- Always drive the traffic from one platform to the other — like from print to the Web.
- It is better to be digging out than digging in.
- Always, always put a date and time on any notation, including something as simple as a phone message.
- Return phone calls promptly.
- Ask for the order.
- Dress appropriately in every business situation, but always dress like what you want to be.
- You cannot do business with every customer.
- You should not do business with every customer.
- Bullies suck — especially in business.
- My faith, family and friends are still more important than roofing.
- Keep a pen on you at all times. You never know when someone will offer you a valuable piece of advice, a lead, or an order.
- The manufacturers and suppliers who support this publication have been responsible for much of what I have learned in these thirty years.
- This is a damned dangerous business. And still many fail to recognize it.
- In spite of the fact that roofing is still a damned dangerous business, it is less so than it was last year, and certainly less so than thirty years ago.
- Roofers are underappreciated in their community and even in their industry. They deserve my respect.
- There are a lot of good people working in the business-to-business publishing business that make hacks like me look pretty good sometimes.