“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” – Unknown
Over its almost-forty years of existence, Conklin has empowered thousands of individuals to achieve financial independence and greatly enhance their quality of life by connecting commercial roofing veterans with those who want to grow. For our co-founder Samuel Hostetler, Conklin has not just been an opportunity that is financially-rewarding, but a journey that has been life-transforming. His story is a stark reminder of what happens when someone comes across an opportunity and is prepared to rise to the challenge. An inspirational success story emerges, marked by the hard work, grit, and determination it took to get there.
A Surprising, Definitive Struggle for Survival
Sam’s Conklin story begins in the great state of North Dakota. Before he joined Conklin and broke into commercial roofing, Sam primarily worked as a general contractor. While he completed construction projects from time-to-time, the bulk of his work was in shingling, siding, and gutters on residential houses.
His family always had dreamed of living in the great state of Montana. So, in 2008 Sam and his family decided to move to Montana. Thinking that Sam may have had a contract to frame a hotel, they pulled stakes in North Dakota and bought a property in Plains, Montana. After they had moved, the contract never materialized, so Sam invested in advertising and looked for work for the rest of the summer.
Like countless construction companies across the United States, Sam’s general contracting business was devastated when the U.S. economy took a downturn in 2008. In October 2008, Sam had no jobs and was nearly broke. He was under heavy pressure, with a mortgage to pay, vehicle payments to deal with, credit maxed out, and no funds for the winter months. There was only one thing left to do — load up his air compressor shingle nailers and head back to North Dakota to find jobs.
Hard Times and the Completely Unacceptable Alternative
Those times were hard. Work was often hard to come by, and thanks to North Dakota’s often-unforgiving climate, he would shingle roofs in temperatures anywhere from zero to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. And to save money for bills, he would often sleep in his pickup while he was roofing there. Nowadays, when Sam recalls his life before Conklin, he fondly recounts how at times icicles would dangle from his face as he labored away.
For Sam, finding roofing projects went from being a challenge to a struggle for survival. In many ways, contracting work became a matter of day-to-day living, as he toiled away for long, unforgiving hours to provide for his family and keep his company afloat. Over the years in his construction business Sam had heard of the great business opportunities available in commercial roofing. But he remained unsure of how to break into the industry.
Because work was so hard to come by, Sam often spent days away from his beloved family. As time went on and financial resources became far tighter, Sam knew that he couldn’t keep on the path he was heading down. He knew he had to do something different, for the alternative was unacceptable beyond words. But deep down, he never lost faith, because he knew that hope always springs eternal.
New Doors Open Up
Things changed one day when Sam heard about the exciting business opportunity offered by Conklin from his cousin, Simon Lee. Simon mentioned how many families and individuals, including himself, had greatly benefited from the way Conklin incentivizes commercial roofing experts to help others.
Simon shared how Conklin had been around for years, of its strong reputation in the commercial roofing industry, and how many roofing contractors were leveraging these high-performance roofing products with great success. That was when Sam realized this might’ve been the opportunity he had been looking for. After all, something definitely had to change.
For the first time in a long while, Sam felt a spark of inspiration; a dramatic change from the ghost of dreariness that had characterized life for so long. Sam knew he had to do whatever it took to go to Conklin’s roof systems training. And he did.
In January 2009, Sam went through Conklin’s two-day, in-depth roof systems training in Kansas City, where for the first time he was exposed to the dynamics of commercial roofing. At the training, Sam learned the ins-and-outs of proper commercial roofing product application, some effective marketing strategies and tips, and how to put it together for a successful roofing business.
Against All Odds
Upon graduation from Conklin’s roof systems instruction program, Sam began to put the principles and training he had learned into action. Back in Kansas City, experienced Conklin roofing contractors had spoken of how they’d gotten commercial roofing jobs by sending out direct mailers. Sam realized he needed to do the same. He got in touch with a direct mail agency, and in the first and third weeks of April 2009, he sent out two waves of 4,300 mail pieces to building owners.
Now, when he recalls those times, Sam says that is when things really started looking up. Within a week-and-a-half of the first wave of mailers having gone out, he started bidding on commercial jobs. By the time the second wave of mailers had been delivered, building owners started reaching out to him about the possibility of working together. It was a remarkable change of pace and dynamics from just a few months earlier and finances were looking up.
By the end of May 2009, Sam had hundreds of thousands of dollars in signed contracts. He then recognized the Conklin business opportunity for what it was: a real chance to turn over a new leaf and build a strong, profitable roofing business. He bought the necessary equipment for roof coating application and, remarkably, he was fully operational for all of the roofs that Conklin products could cover by mid-June 2009.
Sam’s business boomed even more after that. In August 2009, he sent out another set of mailers. By the end of August, he had achieved the requirements for recognition as a Conklin Master Contractor. To say the least, he and his family had been blessed with a dramatic change of fortune. It was no longer a case of surviving, but thriving.
Between August and October, Sam was given the privilege of providing jobs for a few other people. A couple of crew members joined the team, and they kept plugging away.
In that year, Sam purchased enough product from Conklin where he was able to vacation in Arizona with his family. He continued to build up his business, enter into business relationships with new clients, and provide exceptional value to every customer. True to the completely customer-oriented mindset that defines Five Star Roofing today, Sam and his crew gave their customers the best workmanship and services they could offer, with a pronounced emphasis on quality and customer value.
Faith, Family, and Grinding It Out
In the end, beginning in January 2009 to October 2010, Sam’s company grossed almost $1.3 million in sales. And that strong record of success continues to this day. Since his debut in commercial roofing, Sam has earned the great honor of Master Contractor with Conklin every year, for the past five years.
Today, when you ask him how he survived such challenging times, Sam will point to three things: his faith, his family, and his undying optimism. No matter what conditions one may be in, Sam says, there is never reason to lose hope. It’s amazing where hard work, dedication, a good bit of savvy can take you.
However, Sam says what matters most is not the success that one achieves, but the service that one provides to others. By being service-minded, being confident in yourself and your product, and providing value to others, you can become greatly successful, Sam emphasizes, as his own story demonstrates. And Conklin and its support network provides an incredible, life-changing vehicle for doing so.
Taking the Plunge… Again
In the present, Sam is incredibly grateful for the time with his family that Conklin gives him. Even now, his great sense of American entrepreneurism has led him into a new opportunity. In 2013, Sam took his undying passion for helping others succeed and his infectious optimism and sense of humor, and translated them into a new avenue where he helps others achieve the American Dream. It consisted of him partnering with experienced marketer Jonathan Keim, and launching a nationwide network of service-minded roofing professionals who specialize in commercial roofing services, Choice Roof Contractor Group.
Unbeatable Opportunities, Limitless Potential
To this day, you can find Sam speaking of the endless potential that comes with pursuing the right opportunity, backed by the right team, with the right product. All one has to do is work hard and be of great service to others. In the context of Conklin, Sam says, there’s no limit to the goals you can set for yourself and your family, whether it’s for a day or a decade. The American Dream is alive and well, and for roofing contractors, the opportunities are there. All it is takes is a bit of grit, determination, a team-oriented mindset, and yes, a smile. You just have to do it one roof at a time.
If you would like to get in contact with Sam, use our contact form to ask him any question. He loves helping others achieve the same success he has experienced.