One of the youngest people in the room was the center of attention Tuesday for a ceremonial ribbon cutting held by the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.
Tyler Collins, 25, opened Safecover Roofing in his garage about a year ago. The business has since moved to 250 SW Riverside Drive in Chehalis, where Collins manages a crew of eight workers that have drawn rave reviews from customers. Chamber members crowded into his office space Tuesday to officially welcome the business to the community.
Collins entered the roofing business at age 18 when he began working at the Chehalis branch of The Roof Doctor after graduating from Adna High School. He hated it at first, he said, but came to appreciate the work ethic and skills he gained while working with men older than himself.
“I felt at first like I was stuck in my hometown while a lot of my friends went off to college,” Collins said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. High school was great for me for sports, but I wasn’t really focused on what I was going to do afterwards. But once I learned from the people I was working with, I moved up the ladder at Roof Doctor pretty quickly and that having belief in oneself is something that people can really feed off of.”
Leading a business with employees much older than himself — Collins’ foreman is 46 years old — hasn’t proven to be a stumbling block for the young entrepreneur.
Creating systems for organization and production that are repeatable and build good habits has been more of a challenge, he said.
“It’s harder to earn the respect of people who you work with that have been doing the work for longer, but it’s not impossible,” Collins said. “You just have to match their work ethic and commitment to a quality product, and then they’ll see you like they’re looking in a mirror. At that point, there’s no way for them not to respect what you do.”
It also hasn’t been difficult for Safecover Roofing to break into the local construction scene, Collins said, because word quickly spreads when a new company earns a reputation for quality work at a reasonable price.
He said he made good use of contacts gained from his time at Roof Doctor to get the ball rolling, but that he’s seeing more referrals from customers of Safecover Roofing.
Asked what he would tell students at W.F. West High School, Collins said he would say that the most traditional path isn’t always the best one for each person to take.
“Most people view it like, you have to go to college after high school,” Collins said. “Which, that isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not everyone’s preferred route. Anything I would want to give back to the people there is my own knowledge of other routes that can be just as successful.”
More information on Safecover Roofing can be found at safecover-roofing-lle.business.site or by calling 360-304-8055.