Republic Roofing – San Diego California – January 8, 2021 – E1

Kameron:    00:00:00    In today’s episode of the Blue Collar Brain Trust podcast. We welcome Matt Menotti. He’s the owner of Republic roofing in San Diego, California. Welcome to our podcast, Matt, just to let everybody know Matt and I worked together previously, not actually hired me. We worked together in roofing. I started out as a roof inspector and then later got promoted to do inside sales and help promote the company. So Matt, thank you very much for that. I appreciate it. I Enjoyed working with you very much. 

Matt:    00:00:33    Absolutely. No, it was good. It was a good one while it lasted. Yeah.  

Kameron:    00:00:37    So I know that in the past you’ve had several companies, you’ve built up a roofing company, you sold it and now you’re starting another one, Republic Roofing. Tell our guests a little bit about Republic Roofing and how that’s going. 

Matt:    00:00:53    Well, it’s, it’s been a slow go because of COVID it was difficult, not difficult, but time consuming to get your license because everything got pushed back, all the testing dates. But you know, after, after 10 years we’re working with the company that you and I worked for and working for them after being my own boss for a long time, uh, it just wasn’t working out. And I thought, you know, it’s just time for me to start my own business for myself and be my own boss again. I was just so used to it, but I thought, ah, you know, I’ll work for somebody for a while. And I did, and it worked out okay for awhile, but then things kind of fell apart and I thought I’ll just go my own way and do my own thing. And that’s when I started Republic roofing and with COVID things were a little tight and it took a while to get the license, but things are starting to pick up, so things are improving. 

Kameron:    00:01:40    Okay. And how long have you been a, a roofer? Matt? How long have you been the, 

Matt:    00:01:44    And my first roof, uh, in two. And what was it? 2009. So it’s been about 11, 12 years. 

Kameron:    00:01:52    Excellent. All right. And what made you decide to get into that? 

Matt:    00:01:58    Prior to my roofing career, I worked in a business, it was a family business and it sold, took a little bit of time off. It was a business where I was always in an office with the tie or shirt or, and I liked being outside. I love construction. I like working with my hands. Right. I took, took a year or two off and went to all the kids’ games, uh, and then started back to work and looked for an opportunity outside. I worked a little bit for a construction company and did a little hands-on and then this opportunity through a realtor, I know introduced me to the company that you and I actually worked for. And this was in 2009. And I thought, you know, this is, this is kind of an opportunity for me to own and operate San Diego kind of like a, uh, what do you call it when you own a, um, like a Jack in the box? You’re a franchise where it’s like a franchise is what it was. Right. So I, I thought, you know, this will be great. It would be like my own business. And it was for a number of years and I can learn the business and get into it and I can be outside and use my hands and do construction and I was introduced to it and it just fit what I thought it would be. 

Kameron:    00:03:09    Yeah. And I’m sure you learned a lot during that time. Is there anything that happened during your career that changed the way you’ve done business? What, what do you think you’ve learned? 

Matt:    00:03:20    Um, in the, in the last 14 years, I things, when, when I first got in, we were, we were advertising. Imagine this in the newspaper, the things have taken, you know, a total, one 80, everything is digital from ordering materials to marketing yourself. I was used to very old school stuff. And we learned very quickly as, as, as back in 19 in 2009, but 2011 and 12, that we weren’t doing it the way it should be done. We needed to get digital. We needed to be able to take photographs, show them to people. You know, this is, this is what your roof looks like. This is what, this is what the problem is. This is where the leak is coming from. So people could put their eyes on it and really get a grasp of what we’re telling them, because nobody really spends time on the roof. They don’t know what it looks like, but if you can explain it to them and make it make sense, it’s, it’s, it’s a good sale. It’s an easy sell. Yeah. 

Kameron:    00:04:18    That’s yeah, that’s definitely true. Times have definitely changed for marketing. You know, I can remember back in the day when everybody wanted to be in the front page of the yellow pages. And, uh, I think if you asked any of my kids, what the yellow pages is, they’d be like, what is that? What are you talking? 

Matt:    00:04:38    I don’t know. It’s like a rotary phone. I have no idea. 

Kameron:    00:04:45    All right. And going back to Republic roofing, what does your company specialize in and what is it you really focus on? 

Matt:    00:04:52    Well, I really want to focus on repair and maintenance because that’s where my expertise lies. I have done complete reroutes. As a matter of fact, it hasn’t rained for quite a while. And then the last five jobs I have done have been complete rebirth, but that is not where I want to go. But in the meantime, that’s business has business. And if you’re going to make a book, you’ve got to make a buck people. And I mean, I’m spending Cal San Diego people don’t understand roof mate. And we haven’t had rain enough rain for any leaks to occur. You try to explain maintenance. You know, it’s just like changing the oil in your car. You should do it every couple of years. Get up there to check the pipes and bands, look for broken tile. You know, things that you and I have done in the past, but out here, unless you get a leak, nobody, I don’t care. The Midwest very different. They understand the maintenance snow’s there. You got to get up there. And a couple of years making sure everything is tight, but out here, it’s really hard to educate the public. That regular maintenance is going to extend the life of your roof and save you a bunch of money in the long run. It’s a tough education out here for individuals. I can 

Kameron:   00:05:58    Literally remember times when I was on a roof and I was literally looking down through a hole where I could see the homeowner inside their house, but it was the summertime and they, they just weren’t concerned at all with fixing it. It hasn’t rained here. And, uh, it hasn’t rained here. I can’t remember the last time it rained. I’ll I’ll wait. And then of course, once it does start raining, the thousands of people that didn’t want to fix their problem when they had it, they, they all call you at once and can’t understand why you can’t come over immediately. 

Matt:    00:06:33    Right? Yeah, exactly. So, no, that’s just the, that’s just the nature of repair and maintenance. You know, it is what it is. 

Kameron:    00:06:43    What, what should folks look out for? If you’re talking directly to the audience, what should folks look out for when they’re choosing a roof? 

Matt:    00:06:51    You know, it’s, first of all, that they’re licensed and insured. You’d like to get some referrals, somebody like that, that they could talk to about the job, previous jobs you’ve done. I would certainly go online and look them up. And it’s somebody you need to be comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable, if it’s a lowest price, I’m going to go to that guy. But I didn’t like him that much watch out. Um, there are lots of rumors out there who are fly by night, who are not licensed, who are not insured. And if you have a problem, you’ll never find them again. And, uh, that’s kind of been the bane of the roofing industry is they’re here one minute gone. The next you have, you have, you have nobody to fall back on or nothing to fall back on. Right. And Lord, God forbid, somebody falls off your roof and he’s not insured or licensed guess who’s homeowner’s insurance is going to handle this 

Kameron:    00:07:45    There. 

Matt:    00:07:47    Yes, exactly. Yeah. Just do your due diligence, you know, just common sense stuff. 

Kameron:    00:07:55    Wow. Yeah. I think that’s really great advice. I’ll bet that most people wouldn’t even think about something like that, that they could actually wind up getting sued if someone were to fall off of their roof, just because they didn’t make sure that that person was licensed. 

Matt:    00:08:12    Yeah. They’re, you know, they got nothing to fall back on. You can’t do a guy who has no insurance and he probably doesn’t have any, doesn’t have a nickel, you know, two nickels to rub together. They’re going to go after the deep pocket. And that would be your homeowners policy. They’re on your property doing work on your roof. And they got nobody else to go to. But you know, workman’s comp general liability, nothing. You end up putting the bill. You’re 

Kameron:    00:08:39    Not going to fall off their roof or you 

Matt:    00:08:41    Not as pure harness then no. And that is the law. Now you need to be harnessed in. It’s a huge, fine from OSHA. If you, if they catch you and you are not hoarding, understand, okay. Um, it does down work. Um, you, you have to be because if there are three or four people working on a roof and they’re all harnessed, there’s lines, running all over the place, you have to stop every once in a while and undo the spider web because you’re crossing over each other. They’re getting materials and tools. So it does slow things down, but you know, it can save, it’ll save your life. And you might, you might be dangling from the roof, but at least you didn’t smack into the Smith at the bottom. 

Kameron:    00:09:24    Yes. I mean some and boy, some of those roofs are slick and they’re, and they’re way high up. I remember it was airy sometimes, you know, even when you’re being safe. 

Matt:    00:09:39    Yeah. Oh yeah. Well, as you know, as an inspector, you don’t have to be harnessed in, right. You get up to do work and you’re carrying tools up there. You need to harness in and as an inspector, you do not need it. But once you start to work, you need to be hard to stand. But let me say it again, doing inspection work in the morning when it’s well damn, maybe slick out and you’re on a tile roof. Yeah, man. I’m going to have to come back afternoon. Let this dry out safely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. 

Kameron:    00:10:14    Even ice frost even sometimes. 

Matt:    00:10:17    Oh yeah. And people, people generally understand. Yeah. I know. Cause they don’t want to go on the roofs to begin with. Right. And they don’t want you falling or sliding off their road. So if you know, they’re generally pretty good at take your time, be safe. I appreciate it. Thanks. 

Kameron:    00:10:35    Absolutely. So that actually leads us to, uh, it’s a good lead into another question that I had. And let’s talk about something that I know is very important in your line of work and that is safety as a roofer. How do you know, how do you make sure that at the end of the day, you’re going home to your family and to be safe? How do you do that? 

Matt:    00:11:00    Oh yeah. You know, once again, you just need to, if you follow the guidelines that are, that are set forth by OSHA and hopefully by whoever’s running your roofing company or you’re running it, you need to set these guidelines yourself. You know, in, in the previous 12 years that I’ve been in this business, I’ve seen two accidents and both of them occurred when, when a gentleman was stepping off a ladder onto a roof. So the first thing you need to do is to tie your ladder down to the Eve. So it doesn’t slide when you’re stepping off it onto the roof. Um, then once you’re on the roof, if it has, you know, four foot or six foot parapet walls, and then you don’t have to wear a harness because you cannot fall over that wall, but on a, on a typical roof, like any, most of the homes in Southern California, once you get on a roof and the roof, I believe it’s seven. 

Matt:    00:11:53    The roof eave is higher than seven foot. You need to go up and harness in before you begin your work, you need to be smart about it, but it’s wet. You know, just, just wait, where are the appropriate shoes? Something with a little bit of traction, something that has a little give to it, not these real hard bottom boots. You need something that the little grab a little bit, you know, be very cautious of tile roofs. They’re generally more slick on a shingle roof. You generally have a better traction. I’ll look at the slope of the roof. It’s if it’s a six, 12, and you got that at 45 degree angle, and it’s a little bit damp out, you’re just going to have to wait and just explain to the homeowner. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you had that steeper roof. I should’ve made your appointment for the afternoon. 

Matt:    00:12:37    And when things dried out, I’ll be back this afternoon or we can set it for tomorrow or whatever you’d like to do, but it’s unsafe at this time to go in your room and people generally understand that. So you need to do your due diligence and just follow the guidelines that are set out. These guidelines are out there and they’ve been over the years they’ve been developed. This is how you stay safe. Roofing and tree trimming are very two of the most dangerous jobs you can do. Right? But walking on a slope all day long, it’s easy to lose your balance and you need to be careful and you need to take precautions to keep yourself safe. 

Kameron:    00:13:11    Yeah. In my experience, all the roofers out there and all the things that are getting done, there’s people who get hurt all the time. It doesn’t take that much of a fall to hurt yourself. Safety is always taking is very, very important. So thanks for that. 

Matt:    00:13:23    Yeah. Those, those, those two, those two accidents I told you about they were, they were at the first story. They were only one, was it six foot fall along with an eight foot fall. Right. You know, thank goodness. It wasn’t from the second story. And you know, both of those gentlemen are fine and okay. But man, Holy moly. Yeah. I’ve seen the damage from the first story on an individual, but never from the second. And I don’t really care for care to see that. 

Kameron:    00:13:48    Yeah. So what advice would you give someone who was looking to get into roofing, maybe thinking about making that a career? What advice would you give that person 

Matt:    00:13:57    Be prepared to work? Roofing is it can be very profitable and it doesn’t require a whole bunch of equipment or investment upfront. There is some expense there, but not a whole bunch compared to some other industries and go hands on. Don’t just get your license and hire people and have them do the work, go hands on, learn what is correct. And what is not correct. When, when doing a roof it’s physical work, you gotta be prepared to work. Hiring these days is a difficult thing. Cameron, um, it’s hard to find a young, healthy individual who wants to work that physically hard sometimes. I mean, most of these young kids, these days, they want to develop an app and sell it online and be done. You know, be the president of some company, be prepared to work and go hands on. And if you do things right, you can make a great living and being a roofer. 

Kameron:    00:14:47    Thank you. Any questions that you would have liked me to have you that, that I didn’t get to 

Matt:    00:14:52    A one. And this is one. When Chris got into roofing, I thought I fixed a leak. No problem. You fix it. You’re done. What I found out was that fixing a leak on a roof, you truly don’t know whether you fixed it or not until it rains, right? Not like a plumber where you got a problem with the toilet, you fixed it, you flush it at work. You’re good to go. You can fix a leak and it may not rain for six months, but you don’t know, truly know whether you fixed it or not. Until you get that good rate. And nobody is perfect. The company you and I worked for actually did a pretty good job. We had about a 3%, you know, recall factor or a warranty call factor, which was excellent. But I did not take that into consideration when I started in this business and I thought, Oh, you just, you fix it. You fix it. It’s like, it’s like a light bulb or it’s not, you don’t know whether you did a good job until it rains. And then you find out how good you really are or bad, 

Kameron:    00:15:51    Any common myths in the roofing industry that you would like to call. Uh, you’d like to call it John. 

Matt:    00:15:59    Um, and it’s, it’s related to what I was just speaking about. You know, most people, they call a roofer, Hey, I’ve got a leak or I’ve got a problem. The roofer shows up, Oh, you need a whole new roof. Our landfills are full of roofing material that only use half its lags on the roof. If you make a proper repair and do proper maintenance on your roof, it’s a 20 year roof. You can get 25 or 30 years out of it. If you stay on top of it. And I don’t mean you gotta be up there every six months. I mean every two to three years, have somebody walk your roof and do do general maintenance. The huge myth is you. You’ve got a leak. You need a new roof, baloney. You and I have been to lots of houses. I’ve been on hundreds of them where Alaska. 

Matt:    00:16:38    I said, I needed a roof. I home was your real well, the house was built 10 years ago. Okay. You don’t need any roof. You need a proper repair and you should be good for another 10 or 20 years. Right? Well, that’s not what I understand what he said. Here are the photographs. Here’s, what’s wrong with your roof. Here’s this tile crack. And it opened up and your underlayment burnt up here. We can open this up, make a proper repair, put it back together. And you’re good for 10 years, you don’t need to spend 20 grand on a new roof. Right. You know, you can do it for 1500 bucks and you’re good for 10 years. Now you should do general maintenance over that 15 year period. But that’s a, that’s a huge misconception that, that roofers, because everybody wants the whole roof. Nobody wants to do the repairs too small. It takes too long. Doesn’t pay enough, blah, blah, blah. That’s a huge misconception. 

Kameron:    00:17:24    Would you say that a lot of times roofers might try to push somebody to replace a roof when it just needs repaired. 

Matt:    00:17:31    Exactly. If I get on a roof and there’s a leak and this roof is shot, you know, I’ll tell him, Hey, your roof is shot. You know, don’t spend, I mean, I can fix that one area, but it’s going to leak in another next year. So just get your roof done. Don’t sell people what they don’t need, because it will come and bite you in the assets important. Yeah. Be honest, be upfront. Show him what’s going on. Explain the situation and let your reputation grow on honesty and integrity.

Kameron:    00:17:58    That your customers will be well-served by you

Matt:    00:18:01    I appreciate that. Selling things you don’t need just never works out well in the end. Somewhere along the line, you’re going to get bitten a tail for doing that. 

Kameron:    00:18:10    You mentioned how COVID-19 has affected the roofing business. Can you tell us how that’s affected you and maybe other businesses? 

Matt:    00:18:19    Because all roofing is known on the outside, unless you have damage on the inside that needs repair, but you leave that up to a dry wall or, or a contractor. Uh, as, as far as roofing contractors go, you wear the mask, you greet the client, you go up and you do an inspection. You continue you’re up. You’re in the air. You’re generally by yourself. It really hasn’t affected the repair or maintenance or reroofing portions of it to go and get material. Yes. Now you have to stand in line, wait your turn. It’s it’s taking a little longer to get material talking with a client, you know, gloves mask. It used to be that way. So it’s as far as doing the physical work and getting it completed, really not too much, but the ancillary, the getting materials standing in line, talking to the client with a mask that’s where that’s, where it’s been a COVID has had an effect, but it hasn’t been near as much on the roofing industry as it has on some others. 

Kameron:    00:19:11    I actually have, uh, I actually have a surprise for you. I actually found a video that you asked me to send in that remember the ladder video found that you wanted to make sure that the guy you hired knew how to, uh, to use a lot of money. 

Matt:    00:19:29    I do remember. Yeah. 

Kameron:    00:19:31    All right. So hold on one sec. There we go. You see that? All right. 

Matt:    00:19:35    Yep. There it is. 

Kameron:    00:19:38    So there’s me on my roof and this is part two. I couldn’t find part one, but this is just part two. You’re talking about securing the ladder to the gutter later. You obviously taught me to use a clamp and a strap to get it a little tighter on there, on the eaves better. But there’s actually a funny part in this video. I wanted to show you it’s when I’m coming down Too much of my rear end in this video though. 

Matt:    00:20:05    Yeah. 

Kameron:    00:20:08    And my rear end, I was, I’m surprised you guys hired me. 

Matt:    00:20:11    Let me tell you what you were. One of the few people that actually tied their ladder off in the demo, in the demos. Well, 

Kameron:    00:20:17    Well, I’ll tell you, uh, that saved my life probably more than once because I always make sure that was behind me whenever I was going up a roof. I’d always make sure that was behind me. I slipped a couple of times and I was careful, but I slipped a couple of times and having that ladder below 

Matt:    00:20:35    Me too high 

Kameron:    00:20:38    Down stopped me from going off the edge. 

Matt:    00:20:41    Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Kameron:    00:20:43    It wouldn’t have been tied down. I would’ve just gone right through it and it’s here. Hold on. Let me pause it right there. You see my, you see the lower foot here. Hold on one second. Let me make it bigger. See my lower foot right there. It’s a, 

Matt:    00:20:58    Yeah. You missed it wrong there. 

Kameron:    00:21:00    Well, I missed a wrong because my shoe wasn’t tied my shoe. Wasn’t tied. It came off and look, there’s my guilty look. I’m looking at the camera know, I just recorded that. Right. My shoe coming off. And then what I did to fix it was I fast forwarded. So nobody would notice it. 

Matt:    00:21:20    Isn’t that funny? Yeah. I never noticed that. I never noticed that. 

Kameron:    00:21:24    So I just fast forwarded me climbing down really fast. So you guys would never see it. Yeah. 

Matt:    00:21:31    That’s great. 

Kameron:    00:21:32    I really appreciate you coming on. Sure. And anything, you know, before we go that you’d like to say to the audience, as far as you know, why should people choose you? I know you’ve said a lot of great stuff, a lot of great reasons why people should pick you, but why should people pick you at the fix the roof? 

Matt:    00:21:50    I would love the opportunity to speak with an individual about their roof. Be honest, be upfront, be straight with them and say, this is what’s required at this time. Uh, you don’t need a roof. You need a repair or, you know, Oh, we got to do a seal, this pipe and your legal stop. You don’t need a new roof. There’s just too many. I don’t want to say unscrupulous. There’s too many rumors out there that we’re looking to sell people, things they don’t need. And that’s just, that’s not what I do because sooner or later it gets you in trouble. So I would just like the opportunity to be upfront honest and, and let people know exactly what’s going on. 

Kameron:    00:22:29    Fantastic. Well, Matt, thanks very much for coming on. How can people contact you? 

Matt:    00:22:34    You can reach me at [email protected] or you can dial (858) 923-1744 and leave a message and I’ll get right back to you. 

Kameron:    00:22:50    Perfect. Thank you very much. Thanks for coming on the show. We’ll have to have you back on again. Take care.

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