The Queen of Co-op-etition – Renda The Roofer
“I got a new tattoo and it’s a pause button,” says Renda Baird, owner of local contracting business Renda the Roofer and RTR Teams. She laughingly explains the philosophy behind the tattoo: “Lord/Buddha put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”
Talking to (and I would imagine working with) Renda Baird is not unlike being on the receiving end of a firehose: she is non-stop. The firehose is an especially apt metaphor considering that Baird was one of the first female fire-fighters in her small town. In addition to breaking the hiring barrier for women at that station, Baird also worked to make the fire department a more comfortable place for the women who came after her, making the by-laws pronoun inclusive and creating friendlier bathroom spaces.
Baird retired from firefighting, but she frequently references that job and her farm-girl upbringing as being formative to the way that she approaches life and work today. Being ready to fight for a place in a male-dominated field has come in handy in the world of contracting. “A woman-owned roofing company [is an anomaly],” says Baird, “People don’t think women can own roofing companies.”
Starting with her time as a firefighter, Baird has been proving people like that wrong for fifteen years, but she prefers recognition for her accomplishments over her identity. Representation is important to Baird, but mostly because representation offers inspiration to people who might not realize what doors are open to them otherwise. Shortly after describing herself as an “equal opportunity dater”, Baird emphasized that she does not “want to be the best gay [or female] roofer – [she just wants] to be the best roofer.”
The prejudice against women (and the LGBTQ community) in construction comes with an additional prejudice against blue-collar work in general. “Everyone thinks it’s easy but it’s really just good old-fashioned hard work…It isn’t rocket science – it’s just blue-collar get it done.” Contracting is hard work. Not everyone can do it even at the best of times.
Luckily, Baird has built and continues to build a strong community of small businesses that she knows she can rely on. She explains: “I’m trying to empower our teams. We’re only as good as our weakest link.”
COVID-19 has been tough for the business. The positive side is that more people have been working on home improvement projects, but there are supply chain issues and Baird has had to adapt her communication style. “COVID shut off so many levels of communication,” she explains, “Right now [the people who are succeeding are] the people that are using the technology the best.”
Baird is not the type to let changes get her down, though. “I went through a few issues this year that have pushed my partnerships to new levels,” she says. “I’ve helped [many] people start their own businesses…I ultimately help people start their own companies and learn to work together to provide great customer experiences,” says Baird.
Helping people start businesses (often in fields like roofing, water management, and gutter services) is a win-win for Baird, who is then able to collaborate with those new businesses on the projects that come her way. She describes this as “co-op-etition.”
She explains: “I look at it as team sports. My best friends are people I…competed with or against in sports.” Baird fosters a sense of competition and collaboration in her work environments knowing that friendly competition builds the strongest relationships. “You need to get the best team you can get,” Baird grins.
As a licensed general contractor Renda the Roofer is a great resource for all sorts of contracting needs. Baird specializes in exterior storm restoration and helping people pre-plan their building projects to maximize a structure’s ability to withstand potential emergencies.
When you hire Renda the Roofer you will get a team of professionals that is dedicated to a high-quality product and positive consumer experience. “I’m obsessed with process and improving things with clear agreements.” Baird works hard to set expectations, create relationships, and leave you with home improvements that you will love for years to come.
Or, as she puts it: “I’m the queen of the hustle and the flow!”