Ernie Van Arsdale's roofing and construction company has grown gradually over 25 years, the last 15 of those in Del Norte County. Recently he has broadened his scope to include more types of construction. Recently he sat down to talk about his business.
Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
I started working with some friends of mine in the roofing field and construction, and I enjoyed building things, constructing things.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
A: We've gotten a little bigger each year, as far as volume. It's grown each year from word of mouth and referrals.
Q: What business decision or action would you change if you could do it again?
A: Right now, I don't think there'd be any changes. I like being small and being able to deal with the owners personally.
Q: What's the toughest business decision you've ever made?
A: Probably having to buy new equipment - major purchases.
Q: Is your family involved in the day-to-day operation of your business?
A: No, my wife works full-time so she's busy with her own job.
Q: How do you distinguish your business from your competitors?
A: I deal directly with the owners and I directly supervise the jobs that are being done.
Q: How do you define success for your business?
A: Happy homeowners and referrals to new customers from old customers.
Q: What are your goals for your business? What are you doing to reach those goals?
A: We'd like to continue at the pace we're at and to see satisfied customers and good workmanship.
Q: Were you previously in another line of work?
A: No, I've been in the roofing field pretty much since I started working. I've just watched different business owners and how they handled their businesses, and learned things from them.
Q: How long have you been doing it?
A: I've been doing roofing and construction for about 25 years. We do all types of roofing on residential and commercial buildings. Most of the demand around here is for composition roofs, but we do metal and tile as well. In construction, we do siding and siding repairs, and windows and doors. We also do minor interior remodels, like kitchens and bathrooms. I have a roofing license and a general contractor's license. We just finished building the house at 1116 Breen, which we built entirely ourselves.
Q: How long have you lived in Del Norte County?
A: Since 1992. I met my wife Jennifer when I was living in Orange County, and she was from here.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your business?
A: I enjoy seeing old buildings turned around and brought up-to-date, so to speak, and the satisfaction of good quality workmanship.
Q: What advice could you offer to budding entrepreneurs?
A: Try to keep a direct hand in the day-to-day work that goes on, and try to keep a personal relationship with your customers, also.
Reach Christine Walters, business columnist, at