Local Katy resident Cat Friddle is en route to North Dakota. Then, she’s on a flight to west Texas. Next, she’s all over.
“I was in oil and gas. I traveled around… all over. I visited with the customers, and I enjoyed it a lot. I still miss it a lot, too. I enjoyed meeting new people and going to different events and building relationships with people in the environment. I did that for ten years, give or take,” Friddle said.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S.
“I was laid off in 2020 in March. The [pandemic] popped up and the stock market went backwards for oil and gas,” Friddle said.
Friddle dedicated a decade or so of her life to a grueling industry. After her forced departure, Friddle decided to shift gears and reclaim her life. Similarly, to countless other industrially exasperated Americans, her entrepreneurial spirit awoke.
“I wanted a change in my life… I enjoyed traveling all the time, but at the same time, I was tired of it. I decided to research, educate myself, learn, and then I started a roofing company.”
“I made millions for the [oil and gas] company I worked for. I traveled, I killed myself for someone else. So, why wouldn’t I do that for myself, and do something that I could do on my own time? [On] my own schedule.
“I’m not dictated by corporate America or anyone else telling me, ‘Oh, you’ve got to travel here.’ Everything is on my terms. I can accept a client, or I can deny them. I just denied one yesterday because it did not fit what I wanted.”
Thus, Stratton Roofing was born.
During Friddle’s thorough market research, she set her sights on the roofing and home improvement industry, which will always be in demand. This was a brave and drastic leap from her background in oil and gas.
She founded Stratton Roofing, which provides Katy, TX and surrounding area residents with roofing, flooring, wood and tile, painting, cabinetry, electrical and sheetrock work; along with other interior and exterior home remodeling and repair services.
“Everyone needs [a roofer] … at some point, someone is going to need a new roof. Either it’s just old, or something happens to it during a storm.
“Or things happen to your home interior wise… a dishwasher, which is what I’m working on right now, leaks, and it destroys your floors. Everyone has some kind of issue at some point where they need someone who will advocate to help them,” Friddle said.
“And that’s what I do. I work to do everything that I can do to help the homeowner. I don’t go knock on doors, and I don’t storm chase; I don’t do the normal standard roofing sale techniques. All of my customers come to me. I don’t go and bother people.
“Everything has been from word-of-mouth. Either on Facebook or a referral from a friend, or someone I’ve worked for. That’s it. That’s more valuable to me than anything in the world. A referral is worth gold. Because that says more than knocking on 30 doors a day trying to earn work.”
Stratton Roofing is dedicated to transparency, integrity, and honesty.
The beauty of entrepreneurship and building one’s own company extends beyond control of schedule and financial autonomy. The business owner’s core values shape their company, rather than the forged path of the corporate employee, who must adopt established values.
Friddle formed Stratton Roofing with a commitment to her own personal values of sincerity and transparency in all facets of work.
“There are so many people who are dishonest, that’s the best way to put it. I refuse to play those games, I don’t have time for it, so I have the luxury of accepting [or denying] someone who contacts me,” Friddle said.
Interestingly, the shadiness in the roofing and home repairs industry is as common among customers as it is among roofers.
“[Say] you called me, and you have damage to your roof. You want to file an insurance claim, which I can’t do. I can help you with the process and understanding the scenarios behind it, what all goes, that kind of stuff.
“Every homeowner has a deductible. There are a lot of companies that will say, ‘oh, I’ll pay your deductible.’ That is against the law. I do not play those games… I’m not breaking the law for you. It doesn’t work that way for me. I’m not going to prison for anyone.”
“I know there are lots of companies that do that… if you’re cutting say $6 thousand off an insurance claim, that’s a lot of cash, so what kind of materials are you getting on the roof? Are you getting quality materials? Are you getting sub-quality materials?” Friddle said.
When a roofing company agrees to pay a homeowner’s deductible, they must make up for this expense in order to maintain a profit. Some use sub-quality or discontinued materials, which are sold after market for a lower price. Other companies may leave necessary materials out or hire inexperienced roofers, Friddle said.
Stratton Roofing refuses to compromise the quality of their labor and materials no matter what.
“It costs me extra money, but that’s what I want, because I want to make sure [everything] looks good and is safe,” Friddle said.
“My reputation is what is important to me, and being honest and doing what is best for the customer, not what is best for making a quick buck. I’m okay with telling someone, ‘No, I will not play that, I will not do it, and if that’s what you want then you can find someone else.’”
Stratton Roofing uses top-notch materials and technologies to protect and aid homeowners, including drone AI technology to inspect roofs. In addition, Cat Friddle works with two amazing public adjusters: Joe Bernal of Extreme Weather, and David Key of Key Property Advocates.
These two men help Stratton Roofing’s clientele legally navigate insurance claims when insurance companies deny the claim inspection.
“Not all insurance companies are playing nice at this point, or ever, and so they will deny a claim even if there’s damage. There will be a reinspect. Once the reinspect happens, I’m bound to certain laws that I have to follow. If I go outside those laws, then I’m in trouble,” Friddle said.
“So, I stay within the laws of my knowledge, because roofing companies are getting sued all over Texas for doing things they’re not supposed to be doing.
“If you were an insurance adjuster, I could not talk cost to you or tell you ‘This is going to be $30 thousand dollars,’ or talk to you about the homeowner’s policies. That’s against the law. A lot of companies do that. I avoid that like the plague because I’m not going to jail for someone’s problem.”
So, Stratton Roofing refers clients to her team of public adjusters whenever there’s a second inspection, and insurance companies still refuse to pay a homeowner’s claim.
“I work with the two of them, [Bernal and Key], very closely. And they have the resources, and because they are public adjusters they can discuss cost, the homeowner’s policy amongst other things with the insurance companies, things that I can’t do… their success rate is through the roof.”
Most homeowners believe that their insurance company is going to pay for their claim because they’ve paid for the policy coverage. Insurance companies are not in the business to lose money by paying out claims. Unfortunately, so many homeowners don’t understand that hiring a public adjuster [Bernal and Key], is the best way to successfully get the insurance companies to pay the homeowner’s claim.
In order to uphold its mission of transparency and strong business ethics, Stratton Roofing quotes its customers fair and straightforward prices, and limits the use of discounts to what is legally permissible.
“If you’re a veteran, I give veterans a discount. I can do that and not get in trouble… There are certain scenarios where I can’t do certain things, and I follow what I can do. But I give back to veterans, police officers, active military and so forth,” Friddle said.
Friddle is highly accredited and a member of Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT) and Houston Area Roofing Contractors Association (HARCA).
“I just strive to do what’s best for the homeowner,” Friddle said.
“If I don’t know the answer to something, I’m going to tell you, ‘I don’t know, but I will find out for you and let you know.’ Working with honest people is a huge thing for me, too. I [work with] people I can trust.”
Cat Friddle offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Do your research. Research is key, educating yourself and hiring an attorney and an accountant to set up your business,” Friddle cautions.
“I’ve had people [tell] me, after they’ve set their business up, that they’re doing things wrong, and I’m like, ‘what have you done to yourself? Why would you do that?’”
Conducting market research and taking the time to build a proper foundation for a business is an essential step. Yet, many rush through this process, which could reap major legal and financial repercussions for new business owners down the road.
“[People] just set up things online without actually speaking to someone about the processes. You can get yourself in trouble really quick with taxes, and all these scenarios. It sounds really awesome until you’re doing it, and then it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, I have to pay taxes?’ ‘Wait, I need insurance?’”
“[There are] all of these different things that you need to have in order to have a successful business. Make sure that the people who work for you, your contractors, they’re insured, because if something happens, that’s on you,” Friddle said.
A lot of people skip over these checkpoints because taking shortcuts is much easier than doing things the right way, Friddle said.
But in order to build a company that will be successful in the long-term, you must have a good foundation starting out, including a detailed and well researched plan of action. This is the weight of entrepreneurship.
“After that, believe in yourself and have faith.”
The Lord’s guidance was the paramount key to Stratton Roofing’s success, and moreover, to Friddle’s quality of life after leaving the oil and gas industry, Friddle said.
“Some days, I think I drive [God] crazy. He’s always been in my life, and I had a point a couple of years ago where He was still there, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t talking to Him as much as I was supposed to. And I knew it, and He let me know too.
“I literally follow what God is telling me to do right now. And I pray with everything that I do, and if I want to do something, and I know He’s telling me no, I follow what He says. Which is hard sometimes.
“But I would not be where I am right now without [the Lord’s] guidance.”
For more information about Stratton Roofing or for a free 4K Drone roof inspection, visit their website. Let Cat Friddle know that you read her article in Katy Christian Magazine!