Renda Baird owns Renda The Roofer, which specializes in exterior home repair and maintenance. Photo by Sara Lechowich
“I’m really just a Minnesota farm kid who learned how to work hard,” contractor Renda Baird concludes…and, after a cursory examination of her resumé, it’s hard to argue against the point. “I’ve had over fifty paying jobs, including traveling with a carnival, selling wild life art door-to-door, working as a TV production assistant for the Country Music Association, and serving twelve years as a firefighter and emergency medical technician.”
In 2010, that vibrant spectrum of variegated industry culminated in a way that was as specific as it was unexpected, becoming a rough-and-ready company named after its rough-and-ready creator.
“Renda The Roofer specializes in exterior home repair and maintenance and seasonal emergency work,” Renda The Roofer says about Renda The Roofer. “Our mission is a Rapid Tactical Response with our RTR teams.” Roofing emergencies can be caused by a whole host of intrusions including fire, snow, wind, or animal attack—anything that leaves water infiltration in its wake.
The best tactical response, naturally, is no response at all—that is, the sidestepping of roof damage in the first place. “Some exterior emergencies could have been prevented with a bit of planning and professional insight,” Baird reports. “We value helping educate homeowners in advance of an emergency. Working with us and helping homeowners understand the specific needs of their home is both financially important and empowering.”
That empowering can assume a form that’s generally familiar… but surprising in the context of construction. “Our goal is to be a trainer for your home,” Baird explains. “Commonly, homeowners find themselves responding to emergencies and not planning ahead. We value helping educating homeowners in advance of an emergency.”
Of course, “in advance” isn’t always an option. “My ever-evolving business plan is designed to solve problems quickly and meet homeowner needs,” Baird assures. “As a licensed general contractor, it’s our job to ensure every subcontractor that works on our homes works up to manufacturer standards, so I always tell people, we’re only as good as our people that actually do the work.”
Baird laments the lack of thought that usually precedes the choosing of a roofer, regardless of the circumstances. “You wouldn’t trust any random person to look after your children or pets,” Baird points out. “Why would you trust one of life’s biggest financial investments, your home, to any random business that answers the phone?”
Although her organization’s work is anything but random, her organization’s label kinda is. “Some ask how we landed on the company name,” Baird reveals. “The name stuck when I would always say, ‘Hi, I’m Renda The Roofer’ as I met homeowners to talk about their home projects. This greeting is a non-threatening and yet ‘get it done’ style that homeowners seems to relate to.”
While most of Baird’s duties revolve around construction, one less-official duty revolves around destruction… the destruction of stereotypes. “This visual presence may push some mindsets and break through a few social constructs of what women can do,” she asserts. “Ultimately, we want young girls and women to know they can do anything that they wish to do.”
Baird continues: “Representation matters. Young girls and boys need to see women doing construction. Being a female-owned business in the construction field has pluses and minuses. I do think that, as a woman, I’ve had to work harder to prove I know what I’m doing. Showing up as a LGBTQ women-owned business in a male-dominated field is important.”
Such representation is a statement that can be made by both roofer and customer. “If supporting women-owed or LGBTQ business is important to a [Lavender Magazine] reader, we encourage them to make that part of their selection process when hiring a contractor,” Baird says. “We support hiring companies, such as ours, that both value the homeowner and will speak to your personal values.”
Baird’s own code of conduct demand that she remain true to her rural roots. “Growing up and working on the family farm gave me farm girl values,” Baird proclaims. “A farm girl is loyal, hardworking, trustworthy, and committed to community. These traits, it turns out, suit the construction business perfectly. ”
And they require just as much structure as a re-jiggered roof. “These farm girl values are the basis of every decision for my company,” Renda The Roofer insists. “We work with local contractors that live up to our high ethics. At Renda The Roofer, we are committed to living our values in everything that we do—from how we interact with our homeowners and team members to our subcontractors and the community.”