Patrick Readyhough| Owner, Pond Roofing
About This Episode
Patrick Readyhough, the owner of Pond Roofing, discusses his life experiences as a long-time entrepreneur. He shares his passion for customer service and his perspective about how customers can either make or break your business. Learn from Patrick the importance of processes when building your business and much more.
Speaker 1 [00:00:02] We just finished up our conversation with Pat Readyhough owner of Pond Roofing. He’s got some incredible stories about how he became the owner of Pine Roofing, as well as how he has dealt with some of the sticky situations that have come up along the way. I hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed our conversation with Pat Readyhough. All right. So, hey, it’s John Jorgenson. And welcome to another episode of the Go at John Show. I’m here today with Pat Readyhough owner of Pond Roofing. Welcome, Pat.
Speaker 2 [00:00:43] Thanks, John. I appreciate it, man.
Speaker 1 [00:00:44] Yeah. So it’s really amazing. I was reading your bio and we were talking we like have lived almost parallel lives. It’s funny. It’s it’s it’s it’s actually
Speaker 2 [00:00:55] maybe a decade apart.
Speaker 1 [00:00:56] Yeah, it’s scary, actually, because my very, very first business I had in my life was a painting business. A new painting. Yeah. So talk a little bit about that. What got you into. You were in college, right?
Speaker 2 [00:01:07] I was in college. And you know, back then there was a company called triple-A Student Painters. Right. And they would recruit college kids and basically give them that, you know, set them up with a franchise and you had a fee for your equipment and everything to get started. Do you remember
Speaker 1 [00:01:24] how much that he was?
Speaker 2 [00:01:25] I’m just hearing it was six hundred bucks, OK? It’s always stuck in my head. Yeah. And so I went all the way to Virginia Tech. And at the end of the school year, there was a guy who had one of those branches up here in North Arlington, and he recruited a couple of us to be his painters for the summer. And I got halfway through the summer and I saw what he was doing and I saw what we were doing and I knew what he was making and what we were making. Yeah. And I drove up to the offices in Maryland, right up in Laurel. And I went and I said, hey, I want to know how I get a branch manager position for next year, like I want my own branch. They said, well, I mean, I was there in paint clothes and stuff. I said, well, you got to interview and all the stuff that whatever it is, set me up. I need that job. Yeah. And and I interviewed and I got, you know, a position that gave me a couple of zip codes as my territory. And I paid the fee and I went to all the training and I recruited my guys and I then I came home every weekend to knock doors and and do estimate’s in the springtime. And it was a I mean, it ruined me in a way, right. Because I could never really work for anybody else. Yeah. Again, it’s an
Speaker 1 [00:02:37] elective, isn’t it? Yeah. I mean, it’s yeah. It’s funny you mentioned doorknocking. I used to do that too. So it’s really I don’t I don’t know if you could do that anymore. Do people again. Yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:02:46] You have a license. Yeah. You know, just just register basically with the county.
Speaker 1 [00:02:49] Yeah. But when I say doorknocking, I mean I don’t I don’t think people are as receptive to door knocking as they used to be 20, 30 years ago.
Speaker 2 [00:02:56] They’re not you know, it’s it’s definitely not as easy. There are companies that do roofing, siding windows and doors. Yeah. That just beat the heck out of people’s doors. And really, Bajram and people are, you know, but they get a live one every now and then. We don’t want everything to do.
Speaker 1 [00:03:14] Well, you know what I started doing? What I got too busy really to just knock doors. Was it used the door hangers, you know? Oh, sure. And every job I did, you know, six or ten houses on either side and in twenty houses across the street, you know, you leave 30 or 40 of those behind every time. It’s amazing. Oh, for sure. How much business you get out of that.
Speaker 2 [00:03:33] That’s something we’re trying to get back to. You know, we might create a position called a brand ambassador who goes in and just does that kind of stuff out in the field, you know, around our job sites.
Speaker 1 [00:03:44] Yeah, it’s good customers. Yeah, it’s it’s good. It’s a good it’s a good process to have in place. Yeah. So another thing and I don’t want to like spend too much time on this, but we’re both bass players for sure. And we both wanted to be guitar players. Right. It’s funny. I bought my there was a place called Rolls Music in, in Falls Church and I walked in there. I can’t remember the owner’s name. I can’t remember what his name was. Rick, I think it was Rick and great shot. And 1995, I walked in there and I told him, hey, I want to be a guitar player. And the guy sold me a 1995 Fender Stratocaster. And plus it was a strapless and a blues divil 212. And I got every penny I had saved in my whole life out of me on that one trip. And I went home and I was going to be a guitar player. And to this day, I still have that guitar and amp. Yeah. And I never, ever, ever could get off the ground with guitar. And and I switched over to bass about five years later and loved it, you know, and it just, you know, there’s nothing there’s nothing better.
Speaker 2 [00:04:49] But no, it’s a lot of fun. And, you know, like I was telling you before we started, I, I wanted to switch to Bass because there were so many guitar players in my high school that were all better than me, but nobody wanted to play bass. It could be in any band I wanted to, yeah, so I was in a few different bands throughout high school. Yeah. And now, you know, I try to find time to play. I’ve got my gear at my office. Yeah. Hang it on the wall. And when everybody goes home, I turn off. I’ve still got my stereo from when I was in high school. Right. That really cranks. And I’ve got my books, CDs and I’ll put on Guns N Roses CD and I’ll just play along as loud as I can for over an hour if I if I
Speaker 1 [00:05:29] can manage it. Yeah, it’s quite a release. Oh for sure. Yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:05:32] You can’t think about anything else. Exactly. You think about the problems of the day when you’re trying to get through a song.
Speaker 1 [00:05:36] Exactly. Exactly. Mental break. So did you ever, did you ever play so in bands out like gigging on a regular
Speaker 2 [00:05:43] basis in high school, you know, playing parties and stuff? It’s it’s funny, I, I played it my wife’s 16th birthday party, but I didn’t know her yet. Oh my God. The drummer had gone out with her once or something and his friends was like, hey, I got us a gig guys. We’re like, how much does it pay? He’s like, well, we’re playing for free. But it’s this girl, Cindy’s birthday party. It’s her 16th birthday. It’s going to be awesome. And we played in the clubhouse at Mantua. Yeah. And and it was awesome. But I didn’t I think I think I saw her once there. I didn’t actually even know her. Met her like a year later.
Speaker 1 [00:06:15] Really. And that’s funny. It’s funny. It is a small world. Yeah, it is a small world. So another thing that we we have in common, I think, is our passion for customer service and processes. And I was reading your bio before you came in. It’s really I mean, the parallels between what you’ve done and your passions and what I’ve done in my passions are just mind boggling,
Speaker 2 [00:06:38] really kind of funny, you know, and I guess that’s kind of a I mean, obviously, we might have been cut from the same cloth to some degree. And then just when you, you know, bootstrap your businesses to begin with. Yes. And you’ve run small businesses that are, you know, very much customer or and I mean, if you’re doing anything at a house with a homeowner, you learn pretty quick. Yeah. That it’s all about that customer experience.
Speaker 1 [00:07:05] It is. Well, that customer is your boss, even if
Speaker 2 [00:07:07] you don’t know it. If you enter the business and home improvements do not have a boss, you get it. That’s right. Well, it’s every day. That’s right. I don’t know. There’s a lot of satisfaction in, you know, getting from, you know, a phone call to, you know, about, hey, can you give me a price on this, too? Right. And and they’re happy with whatever you changed about their house. Right. However short or long that journey is, whether it’s a quick paint job, you know, or one day, you know, put new windows in a house or, you know, put an addition on the house that takes months. Right. You know, they are your boss for a while and you learn that that customer experience is everything. They can get you more clients. It can, you know,
Speaker 1 [00:07:49] get you paid. Yeah, exactly. And I don’t think I don’t think your average homeowner out there has any concept what goes on behind the scenes when they make that phone call to any any company, really. And and, you know, you’re in roofing. You know, I’m building homes with with Stanley Martin. We’ve both been painters. And it does you know, when you’re a really small shop, like when you’re one guy and you’re painting houses and you get that phone call and you go out and you do the estimate and you paint the house and you collect the money, you don’t have any buddy else with you. It’s really pretty simple and straightforward, right? For sure. As soon as you start bringing other humans into your sphere, now you have the whole concept of human error that shows up every day.
Speaker 2 [00:08:36] There can be human error. You’ve got, you know, of course, at a certain point you need those people to. Yeah, you have to help that that experience along. Exactly as the one man band, you can only get to so many of them, right? Yeah. Once you bring other people and you’ve you’ve got to have it scripted, you got to have a system, a process, you got to get into specialization. Yeah. Everybody knows their role and they just pick it up like clockwork. And yeah, there’s a
Speaker 1 [00:09:03] and it costs money. It does. It does. And folks don’t realize that.
Speaker 2 [00:09:06] They don’t realize. I love hearing somebody say, look, I don’t want to pay for your overhead. Right. And it’s like, well you know that I don’t call it overhead. I call it operating expense, operating revenue. And that’s what that that’s what gets you to the materials on the job site. That’s what gets, you know, this drawing done so that my guys show up to do the work, actually know what to do when they get to your house, that, you know, that pays for the supervisor to come by and make sure everything’s OK and all this stuff that you know that you expect.
Speaker 1 [00:09:41] Well, I think the biggest thing, too, is I say to folks, yeah, you actually do want to pay the overhead because you want us to be in business so we can warranty the work that for sure. Yeah, for sure.
Speaker 2 [00:09:53] The funny thing about that is sometimes you get the customers as well. I’m selling the house. I don’t really care about the warranty. Say, OK, that’s fine. You know, I had a. Salesman who got stuck saying that all the time and I said, listen, you need to explain to the customer that you have a great you don’t care about the warranty. What about everything leading up to that? You this going to cost you fifteen thousand dollars. You want to spend that money once you want it to go? Well, you don’t want any hiccups. Yeah, some of it’s going to overhead that ensures that there’s no hiccups. And we’re here if you do have a problem. Exactly. And you know, if you have that conversation with most people, they get it and then they’re very happy to you know, they go, OK, yeah, you’re right. I don’t want to they don’t want to be the guys that have to go find the crew that’s going to install this stuff and manage getting materials there. And they just think of this thing is like, well, you just have this high overhead and they don’t understand what that’s what makes the company. And otherwise you could do it yourself. Exactly. Go find the guys to go put the shingles on the right.
Speaker 1 [00:10:54] Right, right. So so let’s let’s get into this. Right. Because I think, you know, for me, I really understand, like, all the little steps, like we have broken down our entire process into I mean, I want I want to say we probably have 30 or 40 steps that somebody has to go through just in the sales process when they buy when they buy a new home from us. Right. And and we break it down into, you know, when when when a when a prospect contacts us, they go into our system as a prospect. And then we have a several steps that we go through to qualify them. Right. To figure out where do they want to where do they want to build, what’s their budget? Have they have they spoken to a lender about construction financing? So we have all this stuff that we do just to kind of help the the prospect figure out if this is something they really want to do. And then we step by step by step all the way through. And I know when I have my painting company, we had similar process is when I buy water damage company. It was all about processes. So what do you do at your company? When when when with your with your prospects that come in? Let’s talk about the prospects and then let’s also talk about your your employees. So what kind of processes do you have that you think are awesome.
Speaker 2 [00:12:11] Yeah. So. First of all, the whole thing is awesome.
Speaker 1 [00:12:15] It is great.
Speaker 2 [00:12:17] And that’s kind of like where I found myself is just constantly tweaking that process to make it better for the customer. Yeah. You know, and so somebody calls in, they’re getting one of my two sales coordinators and they’re responsible for getting that person an appointment with an estimate or if it’s something, you know, they’ve got their questions that they’re going to ask to make sure it’s something that we do. If it’s, you know, like we don’t do new construction. Right. If they’re calling and they say they want to send us plans, you know what? We don’t do that because when we step outside of the process, we’ve set up. Right. Things go awry. Yeah. We stick to our process.
Speaker 1 [00:12:56] And let me let me just I want to interrupt you there, because that is that is probably the hardest lesson I had to learn. And you probably had to learn it, too, right. You’re a young entrepreneur and you’re out there working and you’ve got your kind of stuff that you do. And then somebody says, wow, man, he did a really good job on that roof down there. I wonder if he can put a new front door in for me. Sure. Yeah. And you’re right. Being true to your processes and staying in your lane. Exactly. So, um, stay
Speaker 2 [00:13:20] in your lane or have a good. It’s funny you mentioned roof and then door because that’s how I got my start with porn, which we can get into later. But we’re doing roofing and they wanted to get indoors. Yeah. And that’s how I came into the picture
Speaker 1 [00:13:33] and I knew that I
Speaker 2 [00:13:34] knew better than to just dabble, you know. And so that’s that’s how we found each other. But yeah. So, you know, we get him an appointment. Yep. We sent an estimate. It’s at a specific time, right. Yes. He is going to show up and then he has his own step process show needs to gather some information needs to go do an inspection. He’s to measure, create a proposal, talk about options and move on from there. We have an electronic proposal, you know, system that we have a screen share built into it. So we can especially in these days, you know, we can do our presentation remotely.
Speaker 1 [00:14:14] Yeah, that’s the guys can
Speaker 2 [00:14:15] you know, they can sit in their truck in the in the driveway. Yeah. Get the customer on the phone and present their proposal to him while they. That’s fantastic. On their iPad or something. Yeah. E-signature all that. Right. But you know, all the details, all the selections before that customer signs off and gives us a deposit. They have to choose everything. We don’t want any options left for them to choose, like the way our system set up the proposal. It’s really neat. It’s a program called One Click Contractor, but right. You one click, gets you to a proposal and another click gets you to an agreement. Right. And before it can go to agreement, everything has to be chosen. So there’s no potential later for there’s. Well, I, I haven’t picked my site in color yet. Right. You know, we don’t want those hiccups later in the process. Right. So then, you know, paperwork makes its way back through the office. Deposits get recorded. You know, the accountant does her thing, the sales coordinator do their part to get it into our moved along further in our CRM, which has a great project management aspect,
Speaker 1 [00:15:25] which CRM do you
Speaker 2 [00:15:26] use? We use one call it contractors Cloke. We used to be on a program called Improver three sixty. It’s a Salesforce platform. It’s great. We didn’t have the ability to manage the the production process, OK, the way we wanted. And this was very customizable because we already had our process and we wanted to capture that electronically. And this contractors’ cloud allowed us to do that by setting up milestones in and it creates tasks and it can’t, you know, the contracts not allowed to move forward if there’s not a photo that’s labeled
Speaker 1 [00:15:57] ADIC right in
Speaker 2 [00:15:58] the in the in the file. Right. It just won’t allow somebody better go get that photo of the attic. Right. Stuff like that. So it’s kind of, you know, that’s kind of cool. And then it makes its way through production. Right. We’ve got I’ve got an operations manager. If it’s a repair, we have a repair department manager, we’ve got a production coordinator named Natalie, who’s awesome at taking the the proposal and the drawing that the estimate her did of, let’s say it’s a roof job. And recreating that into this form that we have, that is is basically the work order for the day of the installation. It’s got every little detail on it. It’s going to have the list of materials, any special instructions, things like that. But we don’t skip that. You know, there’s not a roof that goes to the field without all of these pieces.
Speaker 1 [00:16:44] You have to create the sales order. Yeah. Then you have to fill the sales order exactly like building a house. Our our sales orders are a little more complicated than the roofing sales orders.
Speaker 2 [00:16:55] Exactly. You know, we’ve got some touch points along the way with communication. Like when that contract first came in, the sales coordinators send out a welcome email and then a reminder of things for the day of installation. And then that’s production coordinator sends the same reminders and she has a. Script that she goes through when she calls to confirm, and it’s a list of about 12 items that she has to tell them about.
Speaker 1 [00:17:21] So tell us, who’s the homeowner? The homeowner?
Speaker 2 [00:17:23] Yeah, the owner of the homeowner. It’s like, hey, don’t forget, if you’ve got things in your attic, get them covered or pull them out, or they might take your cars out of the driveway. These types of things, common sense, common sense, things that people need to be told and reminded.
Speaker 1 [00:17:37] And that is that is the hardest part about business, are all the little things that are happening around you every day that you have to control that are literally out of your control.
Speaker 2 [00:17:49] They are in a lot of them. Like you just said, they’re common sense. Right. So we’d love to say, well, come on, Mr. Smith, like you knew, we were bringing in materials in a dump truck. Why did you leave your cars in the garage and now you can’t get out and you’re mad at us, right? It’s common sense. Well, over the years, we take note of all these things and they come and do a list. And yet we’re going to send it to you electronically, you know, in writing. Well, we’re going to take the most important ones and we’re going to review them with you because we’re not going to just assume that you have common sense. Not right.
Speaker 1 [00:18:18] And really, you know. No, and I don’t think you will. But the homeowner is not doing this every day. Right. So it wouldn’t even occur to them that you’re bringing in, you know, a hundred and fifty tons of equipment right away in their car.
Speaker 2 [00:18:29] Yeah. Every now and then you get a homeowner says, oh, boy, I sure wish somebody would have told me such and such. Yeah, well, we told you three different ways.
Speaker 1 [00:18:36] Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:18:37] You know, and when I hear it’s something, you know, for the fifth time in a short amount of time that like, I wish I had known X.. Well then it’s time to look at our process and see, well, what do we need to do.
Speaker 1 [00:18:48] Yeah, you’re exactly like I said. Yeah. You know, if the same issue comes up repeatedly, then it’s not really the customer. It’s you. Right. And you’ve got to take ownership of it. Got to take ownership.
Speaker 2 [00:19:00] You fix it, you fix the process, put something, put a system in place, you know, like we were like when you tear off a roof, there’s 10000 nails on an average roof. So you’re tearing off ten thousand nails that need to make it in a dumpster. Yeah. And then you’re putting a new ten thousand nails up. Yeah. And you probably brought 12000 with you and some of those coils get, you know, spun.
Speaker 1 [00:19:20] I’ve seen it been there and up in the bushes.
Speaker 2 [00:19:22] So the guys drag magnets when they’re done. We’ve got tarps on the ground and we’ve got things in place to try to, you know, eliminate as much of that as possible. But before those guys leave, they’ve got to drag the magnet, check the Bushes one last time. Despite all of that and despite us jumping up and down on the cruise, you know, all the time, we still would get complaints sometimes about cleanup.
Speaker 1 [00:19:44] There would be one nail. Yeah, one now. And it would end up in the homeowners
Speaker 2 [00:19:47] tie in their tires. I don’t care. You know, they’ve got a dog that carried one up to the back door. Oh, my gosh. So we added a guy who his job is to go back to the job site and and just double check cleanup, drag the magnet one more time. He’s it’s the day after. He’s not tired from installing a roof all day and trying to get home. It’s just that’s part of his job now. He’s a he’s a roaming supervisor. It’s just something we added to that role. Except go back and check yesterday’s customers. Yeah. One more time.
Speaker 1 [00:20:19] That’s fantastic. And now we
Speaker 2 [00:20:20] don’t get there’s nobody complaining about. Right.
Speaker 1 [00:20:23] Right. That’s awesome. Yeah. It’s just the simple thing. And you feel good. I feel great because you have eliminated a problem and you’re providing a better experience for your customer, which helps you sleep better at night.
Speaker 2 [00:20:37] We hated getting that call. Of course, that’s certainly not what we intended for our customer to have to worry about cleaning up some nails. Yeah. You know, so how can we fix it? Let’s just add it to
Speaker 1 [00:20:47] this role now. That’s awesome. Fantastic.
Speaker 2 [00:20:49] And that’s part of the process. Right. Again, back to the process. You know, we’ve got the roaming supervisor. He’s going to show up on the job site. He’s going to help make sure everything’s safe, that the guys have what they need, that the customers happy. They’re going to be questions, make sure the job gets done right and then go back one last time. And then then the estimator goes back and does a a true final inspection, make sure it was done the way he sold it. Yeah. And we don’t ask for, you know, their final payment until that’s done.
Speaker 1 [00:21:17] Makes Yeah. Makes sense. That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Speaker 2 [00:21:20] And there’s some little steps in there. You know, on top of that
Speaker 1 [00:21:23] there’s a million, but
Speaker 2 [00:21:25] it’s a basic, you know, anywhere along the way, any of those big steps. If we can tweak something, that’s what we’re doing.
Speaker 1 [00:21:32] Yeah. So so, you know, homeowners that are calling you, they just want a new roof. That’s right. You know, and all this other stuff you have to do really behind the scenes, I think is really awesome. And I think some of those things I think folks are going to really care deeply about. But at the end of the day, they want to call you. They want a fair price and they want the roof on the house. And they probably would prefer if it kept the weather out.
Speaker 2 [00:21:56] Right. They want it done right. And they yeah, they they don’t they don’t think about what a big project it is. You know, we’re ripping the the lid off of your house right now. You’re right. They just want it. They just want it done. So that’s our job. That’s. What we get paid to do is make it as seamless as possible through the whole process and, you know, especially the day of rage, we don’t want any problems that day.
Speaker 1 [00:22:22] Absolutely. All right. We’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to be back with more from Patrick, owner of Pond Roofing. I’m John Jorgenson, and if you want to learn more about buying a home or selling your existing home, contact us through the show. We work with an incredible network of professionals who can help you get through the process smoothly. Again, that’s go with John Dotcom. All right. We’re back with Patrick Readyhough with owner of Pond Roofing. So let’s I want to go back for a second because we were talking a lot about processes in the first segment. And you brought up during the break that, you know, you feel that you probably picked up some of this process, DNA from being in the restaurant business for sure.
Speaker 2 [00:23:23] You know, I mean, my first job was in high school working as a dishwasher for a pizza place called Pecos. And, you know, there’s a there’s a process for everything in a restaurant. Yes. Right. In any decent restaurant, you know, and if you work for the right restaurant group, they’ve some places are going to have more processes than others. And. Yes, and but you’ve got customers. You’ve got to make happy. You know, if you’re the dishwasher, you’ve got to keep, you know, the cooks and the waitstaff happy with dishes. Yeah, I moved on to making pizzas. And so I’ve got to make the waitresses happy and get their pizzas out right enough, you know, and that’s making the customers happy. And, you know, it’s like if you’re if you’re making this type of pizza, there’s a process for how to layer the toppings. So everything’s process and customer. Yes.
Speaker 1 [00:24:13] Oh, yeah. Yeah. So then you get out in your in your and and then you also got some process experience with your your painting franchise.
Speaker 2 [00:24:19] Yeah. That painting franchise, they had some great processes and you know they had some great tools for breaking down, you know, OK, if you want to sell this much work, like if you want to produce this much work and make this much money, let’s reverse engineer that. So back then, if you could do sixty thousand dollars worth of painting in a summer, that was great. So how many weeks do you have? How many thousands of dollars worth of painting do you have to do a week to get there. Right, OK, if you can sell twenty five percent of everything you look at, then how many customers do you need to get in front of. And so then how many doors and you need to knock on to get those people to do estimates for whom you just work it backwards and then put the formula to work for you. Right. You know, there are some guys who they didn’t buy into the process. They didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, let’s say. Yeah. And halfway through the summer, they’d be like, yeah, I got screwed by student painters. Right. You know, they got my six hundred dollars for my, you know, my startup kit and I got screwed by them. Well, those guys didn’t want that. Six hundred bucks. No, they didn’t know they wanted a cut of all that. Sixty thousand dollars worth the painting
Speaker 1 [00:25:25] you were going to. Right. Right.
Speaker 2 [00:25:27] They gave you every opportunity to succeed coaching the formulas. You just didn’t put it to work. I put it to work. Yeah. And I love that. So I always have felt like really any business, especially anything in home services, can be run very similarly. Right. You have a formula to pay attention to customer experience. Yeah. Pay attention and process and work your formula and you can you can be successful at it. It’s got to kind of stick to the to the plan.
Speaker 1 [00:25:55] Yeah. Sticking to it. That’s hard to do also is. Yeah. So let’s so let’s talk about, let’s talk about because I know I’ve been a contractor my whole life. Sure. And things go wrong and you know, you get a couple of contractors around and you’re drinking a beer on a Friday night. There’s not a week goes by that you don’t have a news story. Oh, so so tell us like what are some of the crazy things that you’ve had to deal with as a business owner or just anything at all? Sure.
Speaker 2 [00:26:25] A couple of things come to mind. One, which, you know, you and I briefly spoke about was we put a roof on a house and it was sometime in the first six months after the roof went on, we got a call and they were frantic and they were mad and they were cussing. And they not only did they call and leave messages for everybody they knew right in the company, they sent emails and, you know, and they’d already put a review up. Right. You know, that had a bad review. You know, they had done a nice review right now.
Speaker 1 [00:26:54] So you so you put the roof on the house, put the roof on, and then everything’s fine.
Speaker 2 [00:26:58] Everything’s fine.
Speaker 1 [00:26:58] Everything’s fine.
Speaker 2 [00:27:00] They were happy as can be. It rained on the house for months, months, four months. No problem.
Speaker 1 [00:27:06] And then what happened from the homeowner’s perspective?
Speaker 2 [00:27:09] What happened from the homeowner’s perspective? These guys did a terrible job. My roof is now leaking. OK, is water coming? Water’s coming. And it was coming through the ceiling. They’re freaking out there, you know, and we’re like, OK, no problem. We have a process. Yes. We got a guy who’s going to come look at this. Right, right. Yeah, right. And he went out there and he came back with. A photo of a tree branch that had stuck to the roof like a missile, right? You know, it fell out of this large oak tree right above the house. Right. Who knows how long it had been sitting there? Yeah. And when it rained hard, the water poured in around there and dropped part of their ceiling. And it was a big mess. Didn’t have anything to do with our roof. Right. And to be honest, we fixed it for free. Yeah. Not their interior damage. Right. But we patched the roof up because, hey, we’re here. We can pull the tree branch out. We’ll fix it. But but yeah, it was a whole lot of yelling and screaming. Yeah. You know, thinking that we did something wrong.
Speaker 1 [00:28:03] So so they obviously probably happened over a weekend. Right. Because this kind of stuff never happens.
Speaker 2 [00:28:08] Oh yes. I know. It was definitely like it started on a Sunday and they were you know, by Monday morning we were getting blown up and we were like, what? What just happened? Yeah. So they did the reviews online and they took it down and they they apologized and they were, you know, very happy and went back to being a happy customer. But, you know, honestly, we’ve had a couple of those. That one was like the biggest. Right. Right. But we’ve had other ones where similar things happen. They call up, they’re mad. You’ve just put this roof on last year. Yeah. And look, roofs don’t just go bad all of a sudden, if it’s rained on it for a year, there’s something else going on. Yeah. We will never try to diagnose that over the phone. Sure. We’ve got a process. We’ve got a guy. Right. He’s coming. Right. And but we find tree branches and roofs.
Speaker 1 [00:28:51] Yeah. And I think that’s you know, that’s a great you know, one of the things I’ve learned because, you know, being in business, we have processes for all those things. You know, when I I’m a consumer, I spend money, I buy things, I do research, I choose companies. And things go wrong sometimes. And what I do personally now is I’ll call the company and I’ll say, hey, I bought X, Y, Z, and ABC just happened. What is your process for this? So I just actually and and I’ve found I’ve had really good success with with I get a really good reception from the company because they know now that this is just stuff happens. Right. It’s just a fact of life. Nothing is perfect and you’ve got to work through it. So what else you got?
Speaker 2 [00:29:31] Another one of my favorite ones, I, I keep a voicemail on my phone. It’s been there since 2014 and it’s a reminder that, you know, if you just do the right thing, everything’s going to turn out right. Yeah. So we were doing a townhouse roof and my guys pulled up and they backed the dump truck up. You know, townhouses are tough, right? You got parking right up against houses. So, yeah, he he put this dump truck right up against the curb and he went knocking on doors to ask customers to move their cars away from either side of our dump truck. And this lady came out and she said, yeah, that’s my car right next to your truck. And we just barely started tearing off the roof. I don’t think anything had even been carried to the truck yet. She backed her car straight across the parking lot into another spot. And she got out. She walked around and looked at her tires and she went and got him and she got my form and Don and she said, hey, there’s a roofing nail in my tire. Right? And he’s like, well, how can that be? Like, Yeah, OK. And goes. And he looks at it. And and the nail had been worn off like there was no nail. It was rusted. You know, you can see she’d been driving with this nail in her car for some time. Right. But and he he kind of pointed that out to her as nice as he could, she said. But it wasn’t there before. That’s all she said. Right. And she kept saying that. So he called me and he sent me the picture of the nail. And I and I got on the phone with her and I tried to explain to and she just kept saying, but it wasn’t there before. And I just, you know, at that point, what are you going to do? I’m not going to win this. So I said, no problem. I’d love to have the tire, you know, plug for you. Where do you want to take it? I’m going to take you to this place down the road. Is it great? Call me when you get there. I’ll give them my credit card, whatever we need to do. Well, she got there and it was an all wheel drive car and they said, no, you have to you know, there’s ten thousand miles on the tire. So we got to replace the two back tires. Right. So now we’re not just, you know, it’s in the sidewall or something. We can’t just plug the tire. Yeah, it’s got to be replaced. Oh, by the way, it’s two tires and, you know, it’s like five, six hundred bucks worth of tires. For a nail that wasn’t ours, right, and I said I so I got the guy on the phone at the tire place and said, you know, that’s not my nail, right? He said, oh, yeah. I said, Anything you do on price, please help me. No problem. He took like 80 bucks off. I paid the bill and and and and that was kind of the end of it. She was, you know, kind of thankful. But, you know, whatever pissed
Speaker 1 [00:32:01] off that you didn’t put the nail in her tire, that she’s giving you credit,
Speaker 2 [00:32:05] you know, so. OK, everything’s fine. I’m thinking it’s done. The next day, which happened to be a Saturday, I got an angry call from our customer. She’s mad because this lady’s husband came over and burned her up about the two tires that had to be replaced. How we popped two tires. This is what he was saying. And I said to our customer, I said, well, hold on, ma’am. Let me tell you the story of what happened here. And I explained it to her. I said, do you understand? That was in our nail. And I did everything possible to try to avoid just this type of situation. She said, yeah, I get it, no problem. And she was very happy with us already. But yeah, yeah. Glowing reviews, all this stuff, they go above and beyond because we had and then I got a voicemail from the lady. Going on and on, talking about, you know, thank you so much for being so kind and so nice and taking care of this, and it’s like she must have seen how her husband reacted with the neighbor, realized, you know what? That guy did the right thing. Yeah. You know, so it’s just a reminder, I still have it on my phone, that’s all. So we listen to it every now and then. And I tell my guys I’m like, this was not our problem. Yeah, we fixed it anyway. Yeah. And if you know, that’s five, six hundred dollars we spent on those tires would if we hadn’t done that it would have cost us thousands and thousands in business. Right. With that lady taken to the Internet crushing us. Yeah.
Speaker 1 [00:33:29] So just do the right thing. Yeah. Yeah. Well yeah. You know the the Internet’s an amazing thing. It’s good. It’s good and bad. You know, do the right thing is important. But, you know, it’s funny. That reminds me of a story that I’ve told for years and years. I don’t know if Nick’s heard this one or not yet. The the the side of beef. So so when I owned a water damage company, we used to have to move stuff around to get carpet out. Right. If you have a flood in your house, you got to pull up the carpet. You’ve got to get the pad out. You got to throw the pad away. So we would always run into all this bizarre stuff. I have ten thousand stories that I’m not going to tell, but this one in particular stuck with me. So I get a call one day from from a homeowner that we had serviced. And she said, hey, your your guys were here yesterday and they unplugged my freezer that was downstairs and they moved it to get the pad out. It was some on some carpet and they forgot to plug it back in. And I had some meat in there and the meat went bad and I had to throw it away. And I would like you to replace and I was like, great, well, what was in there? And she told me it was like fifty dollars worth of of of meat. Right. The next day she calls back again and she said, you know, I didn’t realize exactly how much was in the freezer. It’s more like two hundred and fifty dollars worth of meat. And I’ve got it thrown out and I would appreciate if you would pay for it. I originally told her, sure, you know what? I’ll take care of it. Right. I didn’t even ask. So now it’s two fifty. The next day she calls back again. Now, they had just bought a side of beef and they had thrown the whole thing away. So at this point, I had to get the insurance company involved. But, you know, sometimes that do the right thing as a business owner could totally work against you because once they get you kind of going, they keep you coming, you know, and it’s
Speaker 2 [00:35:26] well, it’s painful. I had something like that years ago before I owned porn. I was a one man band selling roofing, siding windows and doors. And I I did a siding job for a customer. And we have this reminder, you know, for the day of siding installation that says, you know, anything you have hanging on the walls, it’s delicate, you know, whatever, fragile. Take it down because there’s a lot of pounding. And she swore up and down that I never told her that this could happen. But I you know, I always deliver that. Yeah. Anyway, Hummel figures she was this German woman. She’s very nice, but her Hummel figures and I said, you know, her husband was no help. Right. He was a very nice man, but he was afraid of her. Yeah. And he said he’s just kind of stood back with his hands up and, you know, and I said, well, look, I don’t want to ruin this. I had done there is a pipestem of house, six houses. I put windows in every one of the houses on there. I got a package deal working for everybody, did some signing for some of them, some doors. I mean, I wasn’t going to ruin this over some Hummel figures. And I said, well, look. You know, I gave you this, right, you didn’t read it, but whatever you think is fair, you know, I’ll I’ll take my shit. She charged me like six hundred dollars. Wow. You know, for, you know, she was relentless, 600 bucks. And it was probably honestly I mean, I didn’t know I wasn’t probably pricing things right back then. So that was probably all my profit on the right, you know, but, you know, I paid her the 600 bucks because. But yeah, I think she thinks she heard me say, I’ll do whatever you think is fair. And we’re most people. Yeah, I believe we’ll come up with something fair. She just went for the jugular.
Speaker 1 [00:37:11] Yeah. Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s crazy. Yeah. People smell an opportunity and yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:37:15] It’s funny, you know, because I don’t think about these very often, you know. Right. But you, you ask the question.
Speaker 1 [00:37:21] Yeah, I think I think I mean, part of what I’m trying to do with this with this podcast is try to show a different light on what’s really going on out there. You know, you know, people are calling you for a roof and they don’t realize that 20 minutes ago you just got off the phone with with a customer that’s ready to take your head off because their roof is leaking, not because of something you did wrong, but because a branch fell through. And we get shot first and people ask questions later. All day long. We do. And then and then at the same time, you may have just taken a bullet. You’ve got to answer the phone and talk to Mrs. Jones down the street and she wants a roof. And you got to put your happy face on and you’re still trying to dress your wounds. Right.
Speaker 2 [00:38:06] And your last call trying to recover.
Speaker 1 [00:38:08] Yeah. So it’s an interesting I mean, I think it’s I love it. I thrive on it. And I think obviously you do, too. I think anybody, anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur, you have got to thrive on overcoming obstacles. Oh, for
Speaker 2 [00:38:23] sure. You have to you have to be ready to just dig in and see it through. You know, you can’t just in the middle of one of those, throw your hands up and say, I don’t know and just walk away. You have to see it through. Now, the guys that there are guys that just walk away and they’re the ones that create all these terrible stories about contractors. Right. They don’t respond when they do respond and they fire, they come up against something tough. They throw up their hands and walk away. And that’s when you got to dig in and just got to see this through. Yeah, it’s kind of like not burning the bridge with your, you know, previous employer, something, you know, you just things get rough and you you’re leaving. Just got to
Speaker 1 [00:39:05] stick it out through it, get through
Speaker 2 [00:39:07] it and then leave. Right. Then leave. Yeah. You know, you don’t like this girl anymore. You’re not going to dator right through the tough part. You break up with her. It’s going to be rough. Exactly. But it’s doesn’t have to be a war of the roses.
Speaker 1 [00:39:19] Exactly. You’re exactly right.
Speaker 2 [00:39:21] Let people get people get stuck. The I maintain and I tell my guys every day, I’m like, listen, the contractors that are out there giving contracting a bad reputation, everybody’s got a terrible story about a contractor. Right. Kind of screwing home or something, you know?
Speaker 1 [00:39:40] Well, there’s plenty of them out there. Yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:39:41] Yeah. You know, it’s because guys don’t have a process, right? They don’t have systems to try to eliminate the problems that could come up and show the customer, hey, look, we have these fail safes. Yeah. So that there’s this level of trust that, OK, I feel good. You’ve got a way to get through this.
Speaker 1 [00:39:57] Yeah, well, it’s even worse than that. It’s not that they don’t have a process. They don’t even know they’re supposed to have a process.
Speaker 2 [00:40:03] Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1 [00:40:05] All right. We’re going to take another quick break. And when we come back, I want to close out the final segment. I want to hear the story about how you ended up at Pond Roofing as the as the owner. Sounds good. A lot of folks think that building a custom home is a complicated and arduous process. It doesn’t have to be at Stanley Martin custom homes. We have the process down to a science. We will bring you through the buying design and building phase one step at a time. Head on over to we build on your lot dotcom and check us out. Reach out to us if you want to get started on the path to your very own Stanley Martin custom home. So we are back with Patrick Readyhough from Pod Roofing, and so, Patrick, let’s wrap up because you’ve got a great story. So you went to Virginia Tech. Yep. You started a painting company here and then just kind of kind of step us through quickly, like what happened and how did you end up at working with pornography?
Speaker 2 [00:41:20] So I after college, buddy said, come to Richmond and sell windows for me. And I said, that sounds like selling paint job. Yeah, that sounds great. So I did that. And and then I ended up working for Toll Brothers back up here in Northern Virginia. I was in their project management training program and I like that. But it was a little too much corporate stuff for me. Right. And so I ended up going back to work for the first window company, but their branch up here in Fairfax as their operations manager. OK, so I got you know, I knew the sales side. I knew sales and production from running the painting business. Right now I know some corporate tricks, you know, more process stuff. And I went, you know, and learned the operation side of the remodeling business. At a certain point, it was time to, you know, start my own company. Right. And so I did that and I started I was out painting again and I’d be on the ladder painting a painting, a piece of crown molding that I had hung. And then up I got a sales appointment.
Speaker 1 [00:42:18] That’s so tough. And run from
Speaker 2 [00:42:19] Mount Vernon to Reston, you know, and and that was great fun. And I sold that company and went to North Carolina with my wife. We we didn’t have any kids said we’re going to live somewhere cheaper. I went there and started a homebuilding business with a buddy of mine in Charlotte. And then and we built two homes on spec. Got them sold right before 2008.
Speaker 1 [00:42:38] Did you? Yeah. Right.
Speaker 2 [00:42:40] Yeah. And then we were remodelers, you know. And so then it took a couple of years to sell our house and get back up here. I just wanted to get back here where family was our whole you know, we grew up together and and I knew I could make money in remodeling in the D.C. market. Sure. Regardless of, you know, what the economy was doing. So we came back and I started up another small company, roofing, siding windows and doors, got all my old installers back. And pretty quickly I was introduced to Betsy Pond. So that was 2010. There was a mutual supplier representative who was just an awesome guy. He always had looked out for me with my my earlier businesses and he said, hey, do you want to do, you know, pond roofing? I said, I know who the company is, I don’t know anything about. And he said, well, why don’t you go meet Betsy Ponce. She’s got some doors that need to be installed. And he knew I had a great window and door installed. So I said, OK. And I went and Betsy and her cousin Margie were working there and they said, they grilled me for two hours. Right. I didn’t understand what was going on, really. I didn’t really know why I was there. But when they were done, they said, well, so we’ve got a customer who wants these doors and they wanted to get into selling more doors and windows. They just didn’t know how to do it and. And they said, so how how do we make this work? I thought the doors were sold and I just need them installed. Mm hmm. I said, well, they said, well, should we just refer them to you? And it was one of those moments where I was like, OK. I got to make the right decision, right? So I said, here’s the deal, if you give that lady to me, I’m going to go sell her door. I’m going to do a really good job, and then she’s going to be my customer. She’s not going to call you again. I’m going to be her new contractor. Mm hmm. And you have an almost 50 year old company. I don’t think you should give away your customers like that. So give me some shirts. Give me your contracts. Here’s my price book. I make me a part time salesperson for you, and you can have my company install the products. Right. And they thought that was great. And we worked out, you know, how the money was going to work. Right. And every time I walked into that office, they asked me to do something else. Right. You know, hey, can you do this? Can you. We’re really swamped with Ruth estimates. Can you do some rough estimates? Sure. And it didn’t take long for me to see that, you know, that company had grown from when Betsy had taken over from her dad. Right. That her employees were asking me some questions. Right. About how to do things. And I heard her talking about retiring and playing golf and traveling. And so I waited till everybody was gone one day and I said, hey, what’s your plan? Right. I heard you talking about retiring. What’s the plan? She said, I don’t know, but I could use a little help. I said, All right, well, you I’ve got a little company. I want a bigger company. Right. You got a nice sized company and you want no company. Right. And we we need to help each other. We didn’t figure out you can sell me your company. You know, there’s a lot of different ways to make this happen. You can I can run it for you for a few years and you can give it to me. Right. Start a buyout process, whatever you think. And so we talked and talked and then we figured the best way was for me to come on board on a handshake emerged my little company right with Pond. I brought my installers over, brought my contacts and
Speaker 1 [00:46:00] I said, what year was
Speaker 2 [00:46:00] that? That was 2010. OK, well, sorry, we were working together through 2010. It was right at the beginning of eleven, OK, that I became the vice president upon roofing in charge of sales and production. Right. And what else is there? That’s right. She was in charge of finance. She kept a hold of the numbers and and we got to kind of test drive each other while we hammered out the details. And in at the end of September of 2012, we had a closing date, like buying a house. Right. We went to the lawyer’s office. We signed the paperwork. Our fiscal year ended September back then. So it was, you know, on October one, that was a new year. And I was the new owner and she took a note and, you know, I gave her some money up front and she got a salary. And I had a few years to pay her off. And she stayed on board and, you know, did some marketing stuff with me. And it was great. You know, she’s kind of like my aunt now, you know, that’s awesome. So that’s how I I got in. I just saw, you know, growing up around here, I always had this idea that I wanted to own a piece of Fairfax history. In my mind, that was going to be I was going to buy some old house.
Speaker 1 [00:47:16] Right.
Speaker 2 [00:47:17] And and renovated and stuff. And, you know, over the years, I learned to you know, you have to be open to what’s coming. Yeah. It’s going to look different than you thought. Exactly. And that was my opportunity. I mean, here’s this company that started in 1964. You know, it was a well-known company, like it couldn’t just disappear, have the wrong guy get it and run it out of business. Exactly. And so I figured, OK, this is my thing. You know, I’m going to take this and I’m going to they had some great employees, great reputation, great, you know, some process, some specialization. And I thought, OK, I can slowly mold this into something. Better and bigger and keep it going, and that’s all what we’ve been doing,
Speaker 1 [00:47:59] that’s really amazing. It’s really cool. Yeah, yeah. So so it’s it’s a great company. You run it. Well, I had an opportunity to work with your company, albeit it was a really small job. Yeah. Some gutta work in 2013, but we really enjoyed working with your with your folks. It was a great, great experience. So in wrapping and I know we didn’t talk at all about this, I’m kind of throwing you a curve ball. So what advice do you have inclosing. Do you have, you know, anything you want to add to your story or what advice do you have to a youngster out there who’s thinking, I want to be an entrepreneur? You know, we’ve talked about some of the difficulties. I mean, you’ve got to be ready for the good and the bad because what it is. Yeah, but what advice do you have to folks out there that want to go into business, either in home improvement or any line of business? Yeah, sure.
Speaker 2 [00:48:48] What I’d say is, you know, I didn’t know this then, but there is an association or group for just about every industry. And, you know, so the things that reverberate with me now are kopi your way to the top, right? Don’t you know, you don’t have to do this alone. There’s always some group you can join that has already done what you’re doing, you know, unless there’s some sort of innovator and inventor and you’re coming up with the next iPhone or something. Right? Right. I’m not talking about those types of you’re
Speaker 1 [00:49:21] talking like trade associates,
Speaker 2 [00:49:22] talking about trade associations, whether it’s, you know, whether your restaurants or your home improvement stuff. And there’s a lot that falls under that. And your home services, car mechanics, like pretty much any industry, there’s somebody that’s done it and can help you in. Some of the advice is free, you know, so you have to seek those people out. And that’s what, you know, I’ve been doing a lot of in the last however many you know, a handful of years, I’ve found some great groups to work with. And I’ve got buddies all across the country now that I can call up and say, you know, hey, Chris in Massachusetts, like, let me see what some of your marketing stuff looks like. Right. He’ll send me a package of all of his stuff. Yeah, I’ll send him a package of my stuff.
Speaker 1 [00:50:07] And I think that’s a really, really great point, because if you can find a peer in another market. Yeah, that’s where you guys can communicate freely and you don’t you’re not going to feel threatened that you’re that your techniques are going to get used against you. That is fantastic,
Speaker 2 [00:50:23] because those guys will definitely share. I mean, I’m friends with some of my peers around here and, you know, we’ll trade a few ideas. Right. But it’s not the same as, you know, me getting on the phone with, you know, my buddy in Kansas City. Yeah. You know, and talking to him about how he’s, you know, marketing windows. Right. And so, yeah, I would say, you know, seek seek those things out and just, you know, learn and be be ready to dig in. You know, you have to see it through and it takes time. You know, everybody’s impatient these days. You know, they want it. They they’re the the Instagram. The Internet. Yeah. It’s like, you know, they see guys flash and stacks of cash like they earned it yesterday and say that’s borrowed money. Right. You know, and you’ve got to just you’ve got to sit down, of course. And that doesn’t mean that you won’t kind of change how you’re going about it as you go like. But you know what’s get clear on your destination, right. And then set out for it, you know, and it takes some turns, but like, got to have that end goal in mind.
Speaker 1 [00:51:23] Yeah, that’s all good advice. So so, you know, the funny thing is, twenty years ago, thirty years ago before the Internet. So most of the folks listening don’t even realize that the Internet didn’t exist for you and me when we were sure. Young and getting started. Right. I mean, the Internet to me didn’t exist really before 2000. Sure. That’s absolutely, you know, late, late 90s, I remember we were trying to use it as humans and we sort of had websites.
Speaker 2 [00:51:50] And I mean, it was a really this email.
Speaker 1 [00:51:53] Exactly. That was it. But but, yeah, it was really hard back in the day to get business today. You can set up a Facebook page, a business page, and you can set up a mechanism to get phone calls. But you’ve got to be ready to do the work. You got
Speaker 2 [00:52:09] to be ready to do the work for
Speaker 1 [00:52:10] sure. Yeah. Yeah. All right, Patrick, thanks for coming in. Patrick Readyhough the owner of Pond Roofing and keeping the legacy alive. Thank you, Patrick.
Speaker 2 [00:52:20] Thanks, John.
Speaker 1 [00:52:26] Hey, thanks for joining us today, Pat. We appreciate you coming in. And we’re now out of time. If you want to learn more about pondroofing, you can find a link to their website at Go with John .com. Simply find the episode page for page segment and we’ll link to his website until next time. This is John Jorgenson. Go build something extraordinary.