3 Things Back to the Future Teaches About Roofing


Cult film or 80s prophet? It’s Back to the Future Day and the final tally is out for whether the movies properly predicted the yesterday’s future (our today).

With hoverboards on the horizon, fingerprint sensors becoming ubiquitous, and self-lacing shoes in full working condition, there’s a lot to be excited about.

But where Back to the Future really shines is in its life lessons. Especially those that can be applied to roofing businesses. Yeah, that’s right. Aside from the fact that saving the clocktower is a big plot point, there’s enough to learn in just one Back to the Future movie to help you take your roofing business up to 88mph and beyond.

What’re you looking at, butthead? Let’s get started!

Back to the Future’s Roofing Lessons

1. Always pay attention to the weather.

When Marty McFly gets transported back to 1955, he’s stuck. Sure, he has the modified Dolorean time machine, but there’s no Plutonium available to produce the 1.21 Jigawatts of electricity to power up the time circuits and actually travel through time.

All appears lost until 1955 Doc let’s slip a tip that Marty is able to pick up on: that amount of electricity can be delivered by a bolt of lightning. Though completely random and unpredictable in it’s striking area, Marty and Doc were able to combine this knowledge with the future’s past in order to “predict” the lightning strike Marty needs to get home.

You could say, the real hero of Back to the Future was the weather, because without it Marty would still be trying to find a Pepsi Free and wearing life preservers.

With roofing, it’s all about the weather. Whether you’re fixing normal wear-and-tear or coming in after a devastating hail storm, roofing starts and ends with weather.

So you really need to be on the lookout. You need to take advantage of all the resources you have in terms of up-to-the-minute forecasts, historical data, and your own instincts.

Go where the wind blows (or lightning strikes) and you’ll always find new customers.

2. Use a wealth of data to gain wealth.

A big plot point in Back to the Future II was the sports almanac Marty buys in the future getting into the hands of old man Biff Tannen, who then passes it to his younger, stupider self.

After convincing him that he can know the scores of all the sports games for the next 30 years, Biff gets the idea that he can make any bet he wants and always know that he’ll win. Zero risk.

This wealth of data was what allowed Biff to game the system and become a powerhouse in the future. Of course, Biff isn’t a good guy so this was kind of a bad thing for the rest of the future, but the concept still holds true.

Gather as much roofing data as you possibly can. That means looking for it online or in books. It means tracking data on your sales and marketing efforts using roofing software so that you can look at your software and see where your weak spots are and strengthen them. Find your strong points and make them stronger.

In marketing, this is especially true. If you’re tracking all your sales their original lead sources in your roofing software, you can pull the data on which lead sources are bringing you the most leads, the most qualified leads, and the most converting leads.

Use this to boost your numbers. Keep tracking data and then adjust to boost again.

3. Don’t make the same mistakes twice.

Speaking of using past information to benefit your present and/or future self, Doc actually saved his own life by reading a letter that Marty left him at the end of the first movie.

You remember, Doc acquired his plutonium from a group of Libyan nationalists who enlisted his services to build a bomb. He gave them a shiny encasing filled with used pinball machine parts and robbed them of their plutonium to power his time machine.

It’s understandable that the Libyans weren’t none too happy about this and came back to execute their revenge by executing the Doc. He was effectively killed about 15 minutes into the movie because of this.

But Marty’s care for his friend caused him to write him a letter to explain what happened and allow the Doc to prepare himself this time. The Doc threw away the letter, but had second thoughts and was able to tape it back together to receive the message.

When the story comes full circle at the end, Doc is ready with a bullet-proof vest. Although, I’m not sure how well Kevlar stands up against direct shots from an AK-17 at a 20 foot distance, nevermind that now, nevermind that now.

The point is, Doc prepared for the future based on what he had learned in the past, and you should too. Roofing is an intense game, and not for the uninitiated. It can be cutthroat at times, and passive aggressive at others.

It’s fast-paced and requires you to be on the top of your game. It’s a game where you need to be using roofing software to augment your capabilities and fill in the gaps that you won’t be able to handle on your own while you’re out knocking doors, working with insurance, and change orders, and all that fun stuff.

You’re just starting on the second coat. So take my advice and make sure you learn from last season, and the season before that. Apply it, pivot, make adjustments, and get in a better starting position than last so that you can grow faster and handle anything and everything that comes your way.


Sure, most people think Back to the Future is about time travel, but we roofers know it’s really a masked roofing business management lesson in disguise.

If you don’t learn from it and put it’s teachings into practice, Darth Vader will come down from the planet Vulcan to melt your brain with Van Halen.

Now make like a tree and get outta here.

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