Columnists, Tyler Mahan, V5I6

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

The structure “Tom” claimed he could roof in an hour (spoiler alert: he couldn’t).

We were looking to hire a couple builders this summer. I knew my time was pretty short and felt a little bit desperate. In the past, I have found most people need at least a month of training to get familiar with all the ins and outs of shed building. 

I train our new builders, but also teach at our church’s school from August to May. So, I really wanted to hire a couple guys in June and work with them a couple months before going back to school. 

Ads were posted on a couple job sites, we talked to people we knew, posted in local Facebook groups, and anything else we could think of to find qualified workers. 

One of the drawbacks to the low unemployment rate is that most quality people who want a job already have one. Very few decent prospects responded. Feeling the pressure of time, I hired a guy who my gut told me that I shouldn’t. 

Let’s call him Tom. 

I interviewed him one afternoon. He could hardly look me in the eye and kept rubbing his face nervously. 

I have conducted quite a few interviews, and I know they can be nerve-wracking for both parties, but he was a little too nervous. However, it was already the end of June, and I had only hired one builder. I offered to let him help us the next week on a big onsite build. 

It was July 1 when Tom rode to the job site with me. The job was a custom-built 14 x 24 shed on a slab that had been poured a couple weeks earlier. Off one side was going to be a 4 x 12 overhang for a front porch. On the end was a set of French doors. 

The customers had paid quite a lot extra to have us install lap siding instead of the normal panels. They also paid the extra 5 percent for paint over urethane. 

My other helper was the builder I had hired just a couple weeks earlier. Neither of these guys were familiar with shed building or onsite builds. I was not looking forward to the job! 

We spent the first day getting the building framed and all the OSB installed. We hung the doors, installed the corner trim, and started the lap siding. That evening, as were wrapping up for the day, I was telling Tom that we would need to roof the shed the next day. 

“I can do that in about an hour, maybe an hour and a half,” he said confidently. I was excited! That was faster than I could do it and would really help us finish quickly. 

When we did get to the roof, he asked if I would climb up there with him to show him how we do it. He gingerly climbed up on the roof and opened the first bundle of dimensional shingles. He looked at them curiously. 

“I’ve never seen shingles like this before,” he said. 

I was a little surprised. After telling me how great a roofer he was, I was expecting him to at least have some idea about roofing. It was obvious from the way he climbed on the roof and had never seen a dimensional shingle that he was a liar. I roofed the shed. 

Just a week later, he had a wreck on his motorcycle. He had told me that he had a dozen bikes in his garage that all ran. Also, he had a YouTube channel with over 20,000 subscribers where he videoed his motorcycling adventures. The channel was now private due to some legal thing. Also, he had at least three bad wrecks per year with his young daughter on behind him. 

The list could go on for a while about questionable things he had told me. I didn’t trust him, but I hadn’t proven any of his claims false except the roofing one. 

However, when he showed up the next day, I finally got my break. He rode with a guy he had met at the hospital because since he had wrecked his bike, he didn’t have a way to get to work. I’m not bad at math. I know that a dozen is 12, and I know that 12 minus 1 is not zero. 

Tom doesn’t work for us anymore. If you’re looking for a good roofer, let me know and I can get you his number (ha!).


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