Sarah Smith is runs a roofing company in Omaha, Nebraska. Here’s how she went from her nine-to-five corporate job to running a small business that gives back, as told to Thumbtack.
Some professionals in our industry don’t want to take the smaller jobs that come through, but we take requests for a really wide range of things on Thumbtack — we have the mindset that no job is too small. For us, that includes repairs and maintenance. Sometimes requests come in for small repair jobs and when we aren’t really busy because of the cold weather, I say, “Let’s take this.”
One of those jobs was a repair on a historic 100-year-old home. The owners had a small leak and said they had called all over trying to have it checked out, but no one would follow up. We figured out where the leak was and fixed the problem on the spot. A couple of weeks later, we had a huge hail storm in Omaha, and lots of homes were damaged. That same couple had companies knocking on their door every five minutes, but we were the ones that they thought to call in the end. It’s crazy that a $38,000 roof replacement came from a small repair job that no one wanted to do.
We started a program called Raise the Roof last year. A percentage of all of our sales goes toward building roofs for families in need. When we first started doing it, we were like, “Hey we’re giving away free roofs. Do you know anyone or want to nominate someone who is going through a hard time?” and people were like, “What? Free roofs? No way!” No one believed us so we had a really hard time finding people.
That’s when we hooked up with a local nonprofit, Rebuilding Together Omaha, and they helped connect us with people who needed our service. It was an awesome experience for us. This year, the person we chose was the wife of a military veteran whose husband had just entered a retirement home. She wasn’t looking for a handout, but her roof was leaking. She had just retired from 30 years of teaching and was a really deserving person. It was awesome.