By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.
“Sometimes I feel like I was born on a roof,” Mike Hicks shares. Starting at age six painting installation caps for his father’s side business, Mike is now the owner of Hicks Industrial Roofing in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Vickie Sharples, RCS founder, speaks with Mike about the roofing business and what he did that makes his business unique.
Mike accredits his dad for the majority of his roofing knowledge. At age eight, Mike was bending metal with his dad. And his first time on a roof was when he was 16-years-old. He had a torch in his hand and his dad was beside him the whole time helping install the roof.
Years later, Mike opened up his own roofing business. In 1997, Mike made his company drug free, which wasn’t common during that time. One other roofing contractor in Ohio, Bryan Patton, of Branch Roofing tried going drug free, but unfortunately went bankrupt during the process. Mike said it was the best thing he could’ve done for his own business though. He explains, “We had this horrible attendance problem. We had guys selling drugs on the roof. We didn’t know where we’d be able to go in the morning until we saw who showed up…” He lost some employees when he made the change to being a drug-free company; however, he doesn’t have any of the same problems now that he did prior.
For those who are just getting started, Mike has some advice. First, “treat people the way you want to be treated.” He elaborates, “...if you think they [should all] be like you, or should work like you, or think like you, you know what, it’s always going to be just you because you’re the only you that’s out there.” The second piece of advice is to invest in your bookkeeping skills. “...When you don’t know the difference between a debit and a credit or what a balance sheet means or an income statement is, you’ve got to learn that,” Mike discloses. He encourages people to sign up for an accounting class at a community college to learn the basics.
As an RCS Influencer, Mike has been very active in the forums and made a lot of friends throughout the years. He expresses that some of his relationships he’s fostered have become lifelong friends for him. Mike shares, “I have traveled this country from shore to shore and I’ve got friends on both sides, top and bottom, and it has been just a wonderful experience to get to know people that think like me, that feel those same frustrations, to know that there’s a kindred spirit out there that if you need to pick up the phone, they’re there no matter what.”
Listen to the podcast to hear more from Mike Hicks about the workforce, advice for new roofers, and the value of belonging to roofing associations. Check out the RoofersCoffeeShop® podcast page for even more.