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The Time We Fired An Entire Crew In The Middle Of A Massive Labor Shortage

June 15, 2022
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The Time We Fired An Entire Crew In The
Middle Of A Massive Labor Shortage

And Why We’d Do It Again
In A Heartbeat – If Needed


All Seattle area roofing companies are only as good as their installers. And installers are only as good as the training and oversight they receive.

Unfortunately, good companies can hire crews that look good on paper – but not so great on the job site. And if there is little to no oversight, those crews can leave behind a trail of destruction that won’t be noticed for months or even years.

What’s worse is that these crews have no idea they are doing bad work since they never have to deal with feedback. By the time the problems show up, they have moved on to a new company, long ago.

We made the mistake of hiring one such crew, but thanks to our high level of oversight, that “trail of destruction” was just one job.


What We Expect From Our Crews

When we hire a roofing crew, we look for experience, a positive attitude, and the personal drive to want to do things the right way. It’s what used to be called plain old Craftsmanship.

Even then, we try them out under direct supervision to ensure that what they claim to know actually matches what they do – all while training them on the methods developed by our “Egghead” roofing experts.

If they look good during that process, we sign them on and let them fly solo – but we still keep a close eye, just in case.


Everyone Deserves A Second Chance

On their first solo job, our Project Manager discovered early on that they weren’t following the RoofSmart program. We’re Meticulous Roofing Nerds. We sweat the small stuff. It all matters.

The shingle pattern was poorly laid out, which can allow water to seep through to the underlayment and decking. It wasn’t a little off though. It was “going to leak within a few years” level of bad.

Nails were poorly placed or missing, which lowers the roof’s wind resistance and can cause shingles to fly free in moderately high winds. It can also allow rivulets of water to seep through the shingle (because there are holes where they don’t belong).

All in all, it was a good representation of sloppy work. So, our project manager took them in hand, explained what was wrong, and had them fix their mistakes.

Lesson learned – or so we thought.


Third Chances? Not At RoofSmart!

When the project manager inspected the new crew’s second job, it was even worse than the first!

There was a huge labor shortage at the time, and the roofing industry was reeling from a lack of available installers. But allowing this crew to continue putting up sub-standard roofs in our name was not an option.

So we fired them on the spot!

Then we tore the roof down to the decking and paid a trusted crew to do it right – the RoofSmart way!

The homeowner didn’t see what we saw and was confused by what we did. In their mind, we tore down a beautiful new roof and put up another for free.

But we knew what they didn’t – that pretty roof would have been leaking and throwing shingles in a few years (if not months), which is simply unacceptable.

In the end, the homeowner received a fantastic new roof guaranteed to last for decades, but that’s not the end of the story.


Why We Fired A Whole Crew


They’re Still Out There Installing Bad Roofs

Since oversight is an extra expense, RoofSmart is virtually alone in the Seattle roofing industry when it comes to actively supervising our crews.

Most roofers will, at best, send a senior roofer to check out finished installations but otherwise leave their crews to police themselves.

More often, the only time anyone comes to take a look at the work is when the customer calls – and then, they only look to the one spot called out. Not the system as a whole!

The results of such limited oversight can be disastrous and almost impossible to track.

It’s certain that the substandard crew got hired by another local roofing company – because we know where they went. They were hired by one of our “top competitors” and are still there seven months later.

Just imagine, they probably do 3 roofs a week there – what a time bomb!

And since they think of themselves as good, professional roofers, they’ll keep doing what got them fired from RoofSmart. They will say we were crazy, unreasonable, hypersensitive, and too demanding!

Months or years from now, this Seattle roofing company will find themselves drowning in warranty issues that they can’t afford to address.

More often than not, these issues can cause companies go bankrupt, leaving their customers hung out to dry.

Not because they planned it that way, but because they failed to plan against it from happening.

Some are penny wise but pound foolish. Others simply grow too fast. But always, it comes down to lack of oversight.

Sadly, whatever the reason, it costs them little to fail so spectacularly.

They may lose their company, but their customers pay the price. While the roofers carry on under a new name, the homeowners are stuck with massive repair bills and nobody to turn to because the company that did them harm no longer exists.

It’s a terrible reality and why, here at RoofSmart, we treasure our reputation for integrity and fantastic results that last.


Reputation Is Everything – And Never Accidental

Our decision to send that failed crew to our competitor, hardly easy, took dedication to our ideals.

Losing a crew in the best of times is painful – losing one when no replacements are available is expensive.

Schedules tighten, pressures double, and capacity takes a tumble. But all that difficulty is nothing compared to letting a bad crew create long-term trouble for our customers.

Our reputation for well-designed and carefully installed roofs that look amazing didn’t happen by accident. It comes from deep knowledge, a perfected process, rigorous oversight, and implacable standards. Plus, a willingness to accept the cost of protecting our reputation by never accepting anything less than the best. The best designs.

The best materials.

The best products.

The best people.

How else can we warranty our work for life, and really mean it?

If you need a new roof and want to get it from Seattle’s zero-compromise, meticulous roofing experts, call RoofSmart today for a free estimate.