“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.” - Gina Greenlee
That's why we're introducing you to a new contractor every month - so we can learn from each other.
Meet Herb Meeker with Log Home Restoration of California. We asked him a few questions (and, let's be honest, shot the breeze while we were at it).
How did you get started in log home finishing and restoration?
I was a log home builder before I got into finishing and restoring. I was doing traditional custom home building and got frustrated with customers putting mauve and pink flooring in. It just wasn’t me. A friend invited me to be a dealer for Real Log Homes®. That was in 1984. Log homes were big in California at the time. Then, in 1991, we were at a dealer meeting in Colorado. Rich from Permachink® was there trying to get builders to do restoration as a sideline to their building businesses. There was just such a need for people to do restoration. (We also visited the Sashco plant on that same visit.) Rich and I visited three log homes that needed help. I knew then that log home restoration was calling my name. I came to Zero Failures in the mid-90's and the rest, as they say, is history.
What do you like most about log home restoration? What do you like least?
I like solving people’s problems with their log homes. It's fun and interesting to identify what is going on, then making the repair recommendations, and finally doing the project. Seeing something through from beginning to end is satisfying. Through the years, there have been the struggles to find good employees. It can be hard to find good workers, but I have a great crew right now, so I'm grateful.
Tell us about your favorite project
I've had a lot of favorites. Last year, we worked on the oldest log home we’ve worked on. (Photo of the finished project above.) It was built in 1883 and used to be the Barton Store out of Redlands, CA. It wasn't huge — only 23'x17' — but we had to redo the foundation, replace the bottom two logs all around, then blast, restain, and rechink everything. We used Sashco's Capture® in Weathered Wood and Log Jam® in Mortar White. The Boy Scouts are pretty happy. It looks great.
What's your advice to someone just starting out?
Start from the ground up and know what you’re doing. You can’t train someone else to do it if you don’t learn it all first. Plus, take advantage of the resources out there (Zero Failures being one of them, the Sashco people, too). Don’t be afraid or too prideful to ask.
How has your family been involved in your business?
My wife is still 50% owner of the corporation. I have four sons and they all worked for me throughout college. They’ve now all struck out on their own. Two have their own businesses, another is a manager, and another is a paramedic and fireman. I have three grandsons, eight granddaughters, and another grandkid on the way. I'm definitely having to learn about girls after having four sons.
Thanks, Herb, for sharing with us. We're grateful for your partnership over the years and humbled to count you a part of the extended Sashco family.
Learn more about Herb at Loghomesrestored.com.
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This month's training tip comes directly from a question we received recently.