Forum Title: RCS'er of the Month ‚Mr. Eric Gordon (EGG) I found it! from 2007
Dearest Egg: I always really loved this ?interview? with you. I would like to know now what you would change about it. Do you still feel the same way about this? It took two weeks of digging to find it and we had to re-type it! I think this is the photo we had to go with it but it was not identified so is this you? So without further ado, from 2007, the RCS interview? Mr. Eric Gordon is a much appreciated contributor to the RoofersCoffeeShop forum. We would like to recognize him this month as THE ROOFERSCOFFEESHOP patron of the month or RCS‚??er of the Month. We are proud to introduce him all to you. Eric has been roofing professionally since 1971 but did his first roof in 1961 and currently owns Gordon Bros. Roofing in Sonoma County, Ca. He specializes in residential roofing, primarily installing tile and composition shingles. He has one crew. RCS? The gang on the CoffeeShop really appreciates your insight in to Life, Business and Roofing. How long have you been contributing? EGG? I have been visiting the RCS for several years now and I am honored by the Forum‚??s appreciation of my contribution to it. In truth not a day goes by when I don‚??t draw on insights, information, experience, or encouragement I have received from the RCS in far greater abundance than I ever could have given in return. RCS? A two-fold question What was the most valuable lessons you learned about being in Business, and the most valuable lessons you learned about Roofing? EGG? Being in the roofing business has been challenging and the two most important lessons I have learned are really the two sides of the same coin. Self-reliance is clearly the most important, but interdependence through trusting relationships is a close second. I belI've how you manage to blend these two strengths determines how well your business functions, how big it can get, and what its character will be. You have to know who you are and what kind of company you want. I also learned that if you want to get more done you have to limit resistance. The business is abrasive and to succeed in it you have to find ways to remove physical and mental friction, keep it rolling smoothly and keep it upbeat. But there have been many other revelations. Among them That'sunlight eats the world, water sticks together, the paycheck doesn‚??t always come on Friday, nice guys don‚??t always finish last, and not everybody can even finish. RCS? who taught you to roof? EGG? I did my apprenticeship with Jim Garman, arguably one of the best wood men ever ‚??I Can‚??t, never could‚?ù and ‚??If you want work, there‚??s work‚?ù. In the early years I picked up information from everybody I'met, even if it was only a single, brief meeting. Dean Palmer ‚??Hey, Easy Money‚?ù. Bill Parson ‚??OK, then, we can bury the hatchet but I still won‚??t do your work‚?ù and ‚??I‚??ve got overhead costing me by the day‚?ù. Joe Graef from J.M. ‚??Well, its time for Roofing 1-A‚?¶‚?ù Lamon (Tiny) Lawrence who would call for ‚??Hot!‚?ù with the most authoritative voice the world is ever likely to hear, Harry O‚??Hagin ‚??That‚??s the beer talking‚?ù, ‚??No man lays hot like Tiny‚?ù and ‚??If you‚??re a craftsman you can make anything‚?ù. I read voraciously and asked questions constantly. I fell in love with the trade and when you are in love with something, you can‚??t stop yourself from learning. You also learn from yourself, by deduction, by trial and error, and by inspiration. RCS? When you were 10 years old what do you think you would be doing? EGG? I never planned to get into a trade or to own a business, although I have always loved working with my hands, making things, and running my own affairs. When I was ten years old, I thought I would be a teacher. At 14, I thought I would be President of the United States. At 18, a writer. At 22, a sculptor. At 26, a husband, a dad, and roofing contractor. At 30, my goal was to hand-nail 30 squares of comp in one day. At 35, to give up booze. At 38, to trek to 18,000 feet. At 42, to be a chamber musician and orchestral oboist. At 57 to be a grand-father. But always to be a student of history and a force for good. By the grace of God and a little diligence I have managed to achI've all of these goals, save one. Becoming President of the United States seems to have fallen by the wayside, but don‚??t despair, I have helped to make sure that the position is always filled. RCS? What is the best thing you ever did for your business? EGG? The best thing I ever did for my business was to begin thinking of it as a friend, not merely as an extension of my own ego or an alligator that needs to be fed. RCS ‚?? Describe the perfect employee. EGG? To be friendly to me, it must act honorably to its clients, its inspectors, its creditors, its employees, its peers, and to my family. It cannot be allowed to feed on my wage, but must be fed in its own rights with reimbursement for its overhead costs and profit for its health. As will all honorable friendships, it must return the favor. My employees must be valiant, and the company must be willing and happy to reward them for their valor. There is room for the people with lesser skills, but not lesser optimI'm. RCS? Do you have any health concerns due to roofing? EGG? Despite the migratory aches, pains, small wounds, and intermittent problems with nearly every moving part of the body has to offer, 36 years of roofing in the field has kept me in surprisingly good condition, certainly better than many people my age that have taken it easy. I honor hard outdoor work and those who can do it profitably without breaking themselves or their crews. RCS? What makes you smile when you think about your job? EGG? When I think of all the young men who have found safe haven with me over the years, that challenges we have surmounted, and the clients who have enjoyed doing business with us it fills me with a great satisfaction. We have had our bad moments, but they are far outnumbered by good ones. RCS? What are your goals for the future? EGG? Should I be granted such longevity, I would like to think that I could ply this trade I love on a slowly decreasing basis until I am in my eighties. That I will continue to develop the other things in my life, and accrue the bounty of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that makes it all worthwhile. RCS- What are your biggest concerns being in business in 2007? EGG? There are times that I am alarmed and displeased. I see a growing wall of pernicious regulations, of all conceivable types and severity, which are being designed to dictate every aspect of this business down to the smallest detail. Regulations which are constantly changing, and which inevitably entail fees, licenses, surcharges, penalties, maintenance costs, and an ever-swelling fixed annual overhead. As such times I seriously doubt that I will be able or willing to continue running a small company, even though I have a well-established clientele that has so far been willing to absorb the changes. RCS Do you belong to any associations related to your business? EGG? Although I have not always belonged to trade organizations, I really don‚??t see any other way to keep up with the legalities affecting the business now, as least not in California, let alone what we can expect in the future. What bothers me is my sense that the trade organizations actually welcome this kind of paralysis and are all too happy to add to it. If I were just starting out and looking to expand, I would always belong to al least one, for I see no other efficient way to keep on top of the legal requirements. There are a lot of expensive holes you can step into when you are on your own. RCS? Finally, Any tips for the new guys starting out? EGG? When I went into business I had a station wagon, a six-foot extension ladder from Montgomery Wards, twelve roof brackets, and a set of hand tools. My first truck had no back window. They were tough times, but there were also very exciting. The first year I worked 250 days and cleared only $7,000. I had a lot to learn but the industry wasn‚??t as unforgiving as it is now. It has gotten easier, but this industry is never easy. As for other tips to the new guy just starting out, I have several. Pay close attention to your family. If they are not doing well, you are probably not doing well either. Save your money. When cash flow is interrupted, you are in serious trouble if you have no capital of your own. Keep up with your paperwork. If you insist on being the only star, your company will never have more than one star. If you get lazy, you will make mistakes, but if you let yourself get exhausted, you will make worse mistakes. Don‚??t trash your competitors and don‚??t waste your time telling people you‚??re the best in the business. Everybody in the business already is. If you want to get a leg up on the competition then tell the truth, keep smiling, and treat the world with respect. If you don‚??t like it, don‚??t do it, and if you do like it, come and help us at the RCS.
Category: Roofing Post By: DEBBIE HARVEY (Sparks, NV), 02/08/2018

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