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Storms a Boon for Construction Industry

Interesting article in our local paper, The Sauk Prairie Eagle, check it out!

The article reads:

While hail was one of the plagues that tormented the Egyptians in the Old Testament, it has been a godsend of a different kind for local roofers who have seen an upswing in business after a severe hailstorm passed through Dane County earlier this month.

“It will be very, very busy this year,” said Scott Frey, owner of Frey Construction and Home Improvement in Prairie du Sac. “Hail is very good, short term, for the economy.”

Although the April 3 storm had a negligible impact on Sauk Prairie homes, local roofers and contractors have seen a boom in business from their customers in Middleton and the surrounding area whose homes were hit hardest by the hail.

Frey said in his 15 years in business this will be his best year. He said he likely will expand his workforce from about 45 people with plans to add another 10 to 15 this year to double his roofing crews.

Frey said within days of the storm his company conducted 450 roof inspections, and the company’s call volume has nearly overwhelmed his staff.

“You got to be Johnny on the spot,” Frey said. “We were there about 7:30 Monday morning helping people. By noon there were probably 50 companies knocking on doors.”

Brad Hasheider, co-owner of Hasheider Roofing and Siding in Prairie du Sac, said customers topped calling during the first year of the recession – “People thought the world was ending,” he said – but lately business has picked back up and weather damage always is good for business.

“Last year we were busy too, but it was on a hail storm in Platteville, but this one is closer to home and it was people we know or were referred to,” Hasheider said, adding that he prefers hail storms to more dangerous weather.

“It’s nice – nobody gets hurt,” he said. “I don’t like tornadoes or super-bad wind, and (hail) is not an urgent thing. With a wind storm you have to come right away.”

Hasheider said most of the calls his company has received are from customers in Middleton and Waunakee with a few in Mauston and Barneville.

Casey Haselwander, a sales representative at Sauk Prairie Remodeling in Prairie du Sac, said the storm has increased business some, and that the company has reached out to past customers letting them know they’re available to do an inspection.

Haselwander said a hail storm that damaged homes throughout the Sauk Prairie area three years ago helped grow the company’s customer base substantially.

“And this (storm) is going to help out,” Haselwander said. “It’s still a trying time for roofing and construction, and a storm can really boost things. It does create work, which is a good thing for our industry.”

Dave Jensen, owner of Rain-Tite Construction in Prairie du Sac, said that while storms can be a shot in the arm for his industry, he hasn’t seen any business from the recent storms.

“A lot of the bigger companies and storm chasers got in there,” Jensen said.

But he said he’s hopeful business will pick up soon. In the past, he relied on new construction and that’s dried up significantly during the recession.

“I went from nine employees to two employees in the last three years,” Jensen said.

Verify solicitations for work

Sauk Prairie contractors warned customers to beware of out-of-state companies who send workers to knock on doors claiming to represent a local business.

Scott Frey of Frey Construction and Home Improvement said he urged property owners to do their research and make sure the company is reputable. Frey, and other Sauk Prairie roofers, warned that storms will attract out-of-state contractors who swoop in and quickly hire crews to do the job as cheaply as possible before skipping town again.

Sauk City Village President Jim Anderson said that soon after the April 3 storm the village received complaints that an out-of-town business was going door-to-door asking to do roof inspections. Anderson said the village had not given out any solicitation permits for this kind of marketing.

By Jeremiah Tucker, Sauk Prairie Eagle