Martin Pettigrew is the owner of Monarch Roofing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Unlike most roofing business owners, Pettigrew is originally from Canada and his first language is French.
Growing up, Pettigrew used to travel from Canada to Myrtle Beach every year in order to play golf during the winter months.
“I fell in love with Myrtle Beach as I continued to play golf,” Pettigrew says.
As Pettigrew neared the end of high school, he sought to move to the United States in order to further his golf career, but he admits that his lack of fluency in the English language would have prevented him from realizing his dream.
“My goal was to play golf at the NCAA level. I was good at golf, but I didn’t know English,”
Despite his inability to speak English well, Pettigrew was determined to come to the United States.
He later applied to become an exchange student in order to learn English.
After being accepted into the program, Pettigrew was asked where he would like to attend college.
His first choice was to go somewhere in the state of Florida because he could then play golf year-round, but the program ultimately placed him elsewhere.
“I ended up in Pennsylvania. I learned English there and I got to play a lot of golf,” Pettigrew says.
After graduating from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, the future roofing contractor moved to Myrtle Beach and began working at a golf course, where he made $6.90 per hour.
That income alone wasn’t enough to make ends meet, so Pettigrew then landed another job parking cars at a local nightclub.
It was there that Pettigrew was introduced to a lot of successful local roofing contractors and became interested in learning more about the roofing industry.
As Pettigrew networked with more contractors and learned more about the roofing industry, he discovered that many roofing contractors didn’t take their jobs seriously because they prioritized partying over running their businesses.
Eventually, the United States economy suffered a recession in 2007. Not only did Pettigrew’s tips go down, but the roofing contractors who for so long frequented the nightclub began to slowly disappear.
“Those roofing contractors didn’t understand their privilege. I was working two jobs and barely making ends meet. They were working half the time and partying until 3 A.M.,”
“When I later became a roofing contractor, my motto was to take the con out of contractor. I became passionate about helping homeowners and even more obsessed with doing the right thing because it’s not fair for a homeowner to pay for a service and then the job is not done properly.”
As the roofing industry and the United States economy slowly returned to normal, Pettigrew moved away from golf and became a contractor.
His first order of business was to choose a company name.
Pettigrew figured that many roofing contractors were white Americans of Italian descent, so he tried to appeal to that demographic by searching for names in Italian that symbolize excellence.
The search results yielded a number of options, but Pettigrew was most drawn to monarchies, and thus chose to name his roofing business Monarch Roofing.
“Our slogan, `you deserve the best,’ also came from that simple Google search,” Pettigrew reveals.
Early on, the roofing business was tough for Pettigrew and Monarch Roofing, but their first year in business the company netted a large metal roofing job.
“I was so happy because it was a $33,000 job. I couldn’t believe we got this job. To go from making $6.90 an hour to a $33,000 job was like hitting the jackpot,” Pettigrew says, but he soon found out that his company had grossly underestimated the costs associated with doing the project.
“I have a college degree in business administration, yet when I later ran the numbers again for the metal roofing job, the costs amounted to $38,000,” Pettigrew adds.
Monarch Roofing lost $5,000 on that metal roofing job, which meant that Pettigrew still had to park cars at night in order to compensate for his accounting blunder.
Fortunately, since Pettigrew was diligent about paying off his debts, his distributor was willing to continue selling him shingles for other roofing jobs.
“I had a bill for $8,000, and I was behind on payments, but the distributors continued to support me because I was slowly paying them back every week,” Pettigrew explains.
“It was a great learning experience because as roofing contractors, I believe it’s necessary that we go through pain, otherwise we aren’t going to learn. And in the case of me mispricing the metal roof, that failure taught me exactly what I needed to know in order to understand how to price a metal roof.”
Monarch Roofing eventually recovered from losing a substantial amount of money on the metal roofing job, and over time they established themselves as one of the most reliable roofing companies in Myrtle Beach.
To learn more about Martin Pettigrew and Monarch Roofing, visit their website today, or give them a call at 843-839-7663!