Roofer returns to his roots
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Marshall is back in town, several of them in fact. Marshall Roofing Ltd. moved their operation to Morinville in July, returning to the community where it all began more than three decades ago. The roofing company moved its operation to Edmonton about a decade ago, but made the switch back to town for logistics reasons earlier this summer.
“Most of the people that work for Marshall Roofing live here in Morinville, so there’s a long commute,” said owner Richard Marshall, adding he also resides in the community. “For me to oversee it, it’s a long commute.”
The roofer said he initially moved the company to Edmonton because that is where the labour was. That situation remains the case still, but it is more common for materials to be delivered directly to the job site these days rather than the workers having to come and pick them up from the warehouse. “It used to be roofers picked up a lot of stuff at headquarters,” Marshall explained. “Right now it’s being delivered, so it’s changing.”
Although the company has predominantly worked in the Edmonton market, Marshall said his company has always had a lot of business in Morinville and surrounding area. Still, he feels the work done in Edmonton over the past decade may have resulted in residents, particularly new residents in the community, from being familiar with his business.
“Because we have this volume out of the city, we haven’t done a lot of exposure here, so I think that people don’t realize what we are,” he said. “We’re a fairly large player in the roofing business in the Edmonton market. I’ve been here since the ‘70s, so I know just about everybody who is somebody in the Edmonton area that’s in roofing. I trained many of the companies’ owners.”
Working to code
Marshall said he is particularly proud of his company’s focus on training and professionalism. The company’s website points out the many trade associations Marshall Roofing Ltd. is involved with.
“The codes are very important to us,” he said. “Home inspections have really come a long way in the last 15 years. It is very rare now that people look at a property without thinking about getting a home inspector. These home inspectors are becoming more and more educated on what the roofing requirements are, and if you are not meeting those roofing requirements, then it devaluates the resale value of your house.”
As such, Marshall said it is important for home owners to be a bit fussy about whom they hire to do their roofing, choosing companies that know the codes and who will work to ensure the home owner is covered. That includes making sure the company has worker’s compensation coverage for their employees.
When it comes to materials, given the wide variety on the market today, Marshall still advocates for asphalt. “You stick with what the mainstream is,” he said. “The mainstream is asphalt. Metal has its place, no doubt. To me asphalt’s the way to go. Don’t get the cheapest, something above the cheapest and you’ve got a good roof.”
A history on the peak
The advice comes from more than three decades as a roofer. Marshall got into the profession straight out of high school.
“I loved the work,” he recalls of his early days, adding he knew several local roofers in Manitoba where he grew up as well as a close family friend in the business. “He influenced me a lot.”
When he left home and got involved in the construction trade he found builders then did the entire job from basement to rooftop. “When it came to roof time, they just let me go do it,” Marshall said. “I enjoyed it so much. I thought of it as job security because I quickly realized not many people want to do it. I thought, ‘This is great. I love doing something that nobody wants to do. I’ve got job security.’ Throughout my life it’s just been there over and over again.”
Many years later and Marshall still loves the trade, preferring to work up on the roof with his son Daniel over sitting in one of the company’s offices. “I don’t do anything in here,” he said of the office. “I’m out in the field shingling. My son and I look after as much as we can in the Morinville area.”
The company is kept busy in the area working on new home construction with several local builders, but also do replacement projects as well. Marshall said he is now replacing roofs he did as a younger man decades ago. “We have a lot of regular customers that we’ve built up over the years,” he said. “Morinville’s got a lot of families and we’ve done three generations in some cases.”
For more information on Marshall Roofing Ltd, visit their website at www.marshallroofing.ca.