Organizations and industry associations like the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) Young Contractors Committee (YCC) are the backbone of the roofing business, continuously striving to educate young professionals on emerging technologies and best practices.

The YCC is comprised of leaders from across the roofing industry that are dedicated to developing and retaining the future generations of roofing contractors. 

Roofing Contractor recently checked in with YCC Committee Chairman Chase Lecklider to discuss prominent industry trends and challenges, as well as what the YCC has planned for 2019.

Chase Lecklider is owner of On Site Roofing LLC of Indianapolis. He is chairman of the NRCA Young Contractors Committee.

RC: Tell us how you got your start with the NRCA’s YCC.

CL: I was in the infancy of owning my first business and joined the NRCA at the request of my distributor at the time. When I started getting the announcements in the mail, I received the Fall Meetings notice.  Being naïve and not reading through it thoroughly, I assumed these meeting were mandatory for members.  Why else would they have sent it to me?  Chicago is 3 hours from Indianapolis, why not? 

I arrive at the Four Seasons in Chicago and check in…no reservation anywhere.  After the laughter subsided, I was placed in the YCC meeting for the day.  There weren’t many people in that year’s meeting, so I was given ample opportunity to speak freely.  I joined the YCC that afternoon.  A couple years later (and 100% attendance), I was recommended to Chair the YCC and enjoy that responsibility today.

RC: What’s the best advice or specific tip for a young roofing contractor just starting out?

CL: Find out how much it costs to run your business and stick to a strict budget.  It can be tempting to go out and purchase a brand new truck or buy expensive computers for the office after you make a couple sales, but that sustainability doesn’t happen overnight.  Build your company in the image that represents your values and grow at a pace that you can handle.  If your business operates in a seasonal market, like Indianapolis, save for the off season.  Financial discipline is the most important trait for a new business.  It’s important for the roofers who have been around for 100 years, too.

RC: What are some of the traits the younger generation of roofers must have in order to be successful in today’s market?

CL: You need to be patient.  Our generation was raised with instant gratification.  We don’t like to wait for things.  We have iphones, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to name a few.  All of these things push information to and from us, instantly.  Slow down and learn from the people who have forgotten more about roofing than you’ll hope to learn.  If your business explodes in a year or two due to a large hail or wind storm, have the foresight to understand that it won’t always be that easy and you can’t set your financial goals on an outlier storm year.  Be smart, be patient and make good financial decisions.

RC: What do you see as the biggest challenge(s) facing young roofers? What can they do to overcome them?

CL: Young roofers, young workers in general, want to succeed.  They are hungry.  They want to perform at a high level and they want to be recognized for doing so.  They become discouraged when an older generation treats their success simply as doing their job.  Don’t get frustrated.  The generations to follow always rebel and do things their own way.  Work with the people who have paved the way for you to have an opportunity with patience.  They will come around.  They don’t realize how badly they need you until the time comes for them to edit a PDF.  That’s your moment to shine! 

RC: What impact is technology having on the roofing contractor and what are some of the concerns of YCC members (i.e. training, obsolete equipment, cost?)

CL: We are entering a new era in roofing.  We can create solutions for customers without setting foot on a roof by using drones and aerial measurement providers.  Many of the companies don’t provide adequate training on these opportunities to work smarter.  Find the companies who have embraced the paradigm shift and learn from them.  I have taken trips to the top roofing contractors learned as much as they were willing to share.  Not taking advantage of technological advancement is like cutting the grass with a pair of scissors.  Use the technology that is available to you.

RC: What else do you hope attendees walk away with from your session?

CL: I hope that everyone learns something that makes the trip worth it. If you did nothing else but came to our session and walked out thinking that your trip was worth the expense, then we did our job. Make a couple of professional connections. Exchange contact information and share ideas.  Follow up quarterly and book your travel to the next IRE together.  If you can develop a cohort of professionals to share the ups and downs with, you’ll get every penny out of your trip to the 2019 IRE.

RC: What are some common best practices to foster and grow professional, mutually-beneficial relationships among peers in such a competitive industry?

CL: You want to make sure that you’re offering something that is mutually beneficial.  If the other person simply doesn’t get anything out of the connection, it won’t work.  You need to put in effort to make time for the discussions.  Don’t simply meet at the IRE and exchange ideas at the surface level and then never follow up.  Go out of your way to check in and keep the exchange of ideas fresh.  If you can visit each other at your home offices, that’s really where the partnership grows.  It’s basically dating.

RC: What can we expect from YCC in 2019?

CL: We expect to get more involved with the local markets.  We have committee members from all over the country and our aim is to utilize them to network with local young contractors.  We all share the same successes and failures.  We want to help people avoid the common pitfalls and take advantage of the things that lead us down the path of long-term success.