P.I. Roofing

Joel Johnson Reflecting on 20 Years in Business

Joel Johnson, Owner/President – I was raised in Southern Illinois, hunting and fishing for a living, not for fun – if we wanted to eat, we’d hunt. Our house was a trailer on stilts. It had to be on stilts because we lived close to a river, and if they closed the dam at the wrong time and it rained a lot, we had to boat into our house. Believe it or not, it was not a lot of fun being a teenager and worrying about water getting in your house. 

I’ve worked in construction my whole adult life, starting out with commercial roofing in 1990. There were many times I wondered why customers were replacing roofs that only had a few problem areas. It seemed like those roofs could just be repaired. Another thing that bothered me was all the older guys doing the same job I was doing being, “fresh” on the roof. Picking up trash is not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, I decided to find a way to get “off the roof” to learn how to lead and move up in the roofing business. 

In 1994, I was promoted to technical representative where I inspected roofs and helped the salesmen put together estimates of what was needed – repairs, replacement, or a little of both. I continued this journey until 2001 when my wife, Veronica, and I decided that I needed to quit my job and become my own boss. I bought a truck on credit and we formed our own company, P.I. Roof Maintenance.

We had no idea what we were getting into. But we knew what we wanted to do. My main focus was to be a “roof leak detective,” the Magnum P.I. of roofing without the Ferrari… plus, I wasn’t that tall either!


Two of the reasons why we started P.I. Roofing

I wanted to take a different approach to the roofing business by really investigating the customer’s roof, determining what problem or problems they had, and then decide on the best approach. Maybe they didn’t need to replace the entire roof. Maybe I could help people fix the leak now and allow them to budget for a new roof down the road. I wanted to do what was best for the customer, to serve people, not to just look for the quickest way to make a profit.

Looking back on the past 20 years, I would change a lot of things if I could have a “do over,” but I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.

Having finally gotten off the roof after 30 years, I want to make it an easier and a quicker transition for new people getting into the business to find their “why” and live a long, happy life. You can learn the business, be very productive for a time and then train others on how to do what you’re doing. This way, everybody makes a little money and builds loyal customers. 

Working smarter, not harder, and sharing the knowledge is the future. We continue to hone the idea and processes as we hire more people and expand into new locations. 

Joel Johnson
Owner/President

2015 Small Business Person
of the Year
U.S. Small Business Administration
2014 Book Published – “The Roof Leak Detective: Never Pay for Another Roof”
2012 The Compass – “P.I. Roofing – Flying by Faith”

Thank you for trusting in us for 20 years! Joel & Veronica Johnson