By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.
Lindsay Blackwell has been in the roofing and home exterior business for 15 years. “At the time I got into it, I was a young, single mom with two kids. I was waiting tables, making $2.13 an hour plus tips. It was actually just an opportunity that fell into my lap,” Lindsay shared.
In 2004, Hastings, Nebraska was hit with a major hailstorm. Coincidentally, it was also the year Lindsay started working for a roofing company, “handling all the paperwork for the customers with hail-damaged roofs in Hastings and for her new employer,” according to Kearney Hub. Lindsay worked at the Grand Island office of the company.
2009 was a big year for Lindsay. She became the office manager, passed the 2006 version of the International Building Code test, started going to job sites and getting up on roofs, and had even more duties. Her increased responsibilities included, “...going over insurance paperwork with customers and performing inspections on the shingling work being done by the work crews…[and] coordinating the materials and labor orders for each job,” Kearney Hub reported.
Lindsay explained, “Starting in January 2010, the company that I worked for at the time, its license was in my name...Whoever had the credentials for the test, the license had to be in their name.” As she continued to learn more and have more responsibilities, she became a salesperson in addition to being the office manager.
Having a lot of experience, knowledge, and a love for people, Lindsay decided it was time to own her own company. “I really enjoy people. I don’t like to just sit in an office, I like to be out and about, not cooped up,” Lindsay expressed. Her company, Roofer Chic, is based in Grand Island and doesn’t just focus on roofing. They also do gutters, siding, and windows. Lindsay revealed, “In our business, if you do roofing, you pretty much do everything on the exterior of the home, except the plumbing and electrical.”
A female-owned roofing company surprises some people. Lindsay shared, “When I go to talk to people, they’re like, ‘Oh, does your husband own the company?’ No, I own it myself. It’s funny; a lot of people don’t expect women in such a business...I just enjoy it, when I can take someone’s house from ‘old’ and turn it into something nice, new and fresh.”
Lindsay is always learning. She took the 2018 version of the International Building Code test to keep her credentials current. Knowing ventilation is important when a home gets a new roof, she has taken many ventilation classes. She explained, “I’m not just putting a new roof on...I’m putting a new roofing system on.”
“Roofer Chic offers a lifetime workman’s guarantee for its shingling work,” Lindsay clarified. While the roofs should last 15 to 20 years, sometimes they’ll only last one if they’re damaged enough by hail. Nebraska gets intense hail storms every other year, if not more frequently. Having a roofing company based in a hail-prone area, Lindsay said, “...it’s important to know how to deal with insurance companies…”
Not only is Lindsay good at understanding the insurance side of roofing, but she also works hard to educate others on the process. “I’m going to build a relationship with my clients so they understand everything that is going on. I like to keep them informed so they understand the rules. That way, there’s no questions. It’s very important to keep that communication with your clients,” Lindsay disclosed. She likes to provide homeowners with an information packet explaining what to do if they experience storm damage and provides them with basic terminology they might find in the paperwork from their insurance company. She also continues the dialogue between herself and the customers to let them know when materials and the crew will arrive, and asks where everyone will be during the process since she knows it’s noisy.
Lindsay provides her customers with quality products and checks in on the process as its underway. “....She will climb onto the roof at least once— and most often twice— to take pictures and to make sure that the installation is being done properly,” as reported by Kearney Hub. She prefers using TAMKO or CertainTeed shingles. She had the opportunity to visit the manufacturing plant for CertainTeed and saw how the shingles are created from raw materials. There are specifications for installing CertainTeed shingles, so Lindsay became a master shingles applicator after taking and passing the online course by CertainTeed.
The Roofer Chic owner is excited for her business and intends to own and operate it for the foreseeable future. She is now a part of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, has an existing client base, provides previous customers with her cellphone number so they can contact her if need be, and will provide new customers with references from previous customers. With Lindsay’s love of people and meeting her customers, she wants Roofer Chic to be a local business. “...Although for a roofing company, ‘local’ is defined as within a 150-mile radius of Grand Island, which encompasses communities such as Hastings, Kearney and Lincoln…” Kearney Hub clarified.
Lindsay has come a long way from waiting tables for $2.13 an hour. She has continued to learn new skills throughout the years and has taken those skills and applied them to a successful roofing company. Former waitress, roofer, mother of two, and business owner, Lindsay has made a name for herself in the roofing industry.
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Photo caption - Roofer Chic owner Lindsay Blackwell stands on the roof of a home being worked on by her crew in Grand Island.(Barrett Stinson, BH News Service)