“I’m pretty ugly, ain’t I?” That’s what my roofer, James, told me when he first introduced himself several years ago. His hair was long and messy, and his face was full of black smudge marks.
“Well, you’re not too ugly,” I said.
“Oh yea, I am,” James said. “But I’m a good roofer. And I’ve done a lot of roofing around here. Just how’d you get my name anyway, out of the phone book?”
“No,” I said. “I got your name from a friend of mine.”
“Cause if you were just looking for a low price, I ain’t gonna be the low price.”
Sensing the pride he had in his own work, I responded. “Oh, no I’m not looking for the lowest price. I’m looking for the best job.”
“Well, that’s what you’ll get with me. But remember now, I ain’t gonna be the lowest price. I’ll do you a good job. You see, most roofers take a bunch of short cuts. Not me. I don’t like short cuts.”
James walked around my house looking at my roof. And as he was working up an estimate on the job, he commented, “You got a lot of flashing on your house, Mr. Hill.”
“Is that a problem?” I asked.
“Oh, no, I love flashing; that’s my specialty. I’m real good with copper flashing. Ask the people at Sacred Heart Church. They’ll tell you what kind of job I do.”
From my brief conversation with James I knew that I had the right man for my roofing job. I’d actually found a man who really enjoyed roofing. “What a rare find,” I thought. Here was someone who was proud of his work and wanting to first make sure that his prospective customer was going to appreciate it as well.
James told me that he would roof my house for a flat price with any style shingle that I picked out and purchased. “If I was you, Mr. Hill, I’d buy a real nice shingle; that’ll make you house look really good.”
And so I just that. I bought one of the best shingles on the market, which happened to also be one the heaviest shingles. I watched as James and his helper lugged those heavy shingles up the ladder and onto my roof. It was a lot of work. But James loved it. And occasionally, he would yell down to me on the ground.
“How’s it look, Mr. Hill? Does it look good so far?”
“Oh yea, it looks great James, you’re doing a great job.”
I think my compliments helped to lighten his load and make carrying those heavy shingles up the ladder worth while.
Days 19-21 Guide
Most people spend a lot of time working. I think it’s important to hold a high opinion of your work and respect the level of care that must be taken in order to protect its quality. Take time to survey your work and make sure that you’re giving it a significant amount of attention.
© 2005, Levi Hill