The Leak Stopper Story

As a youth on some summer weekends The company founder John O’Connell joined his father Bill O’Connell to help with his ‘old high school buddies’, that were performing large commercial flat roof installations on new factories and warehouses. His father had a full Time Union job working for NY State during the week and roofed weekends for extra money needed to satisfy the family’s needs. By the time John was in high school, carpentry and roofing were high earning jobs available for a young strong guy. During summers off (while attending WVU for engineering) and eventually full time (while attending college at night for business) John experienced different bosses, methods and jobs in the construction industry. Through his college years, John switched his college major from engineering to accounting. This schooling exposed him to earth science, physics, business and marketing (among other things) and would be the building blocks that helped form Leak Stoppers Inc. By the time John was 26 years old he had worked 2 years for the son of a retired cop (who never worked for a roofer himself), 6 years for a ‘Tar Bandit’ type roof repair company (Fly-By-Night) and a couple summers for young man (only one year older than he) that all new very little about what they were doing. At 26 years old, he realized he already knew much more than his current boss, who was shorting him on his earned commissions (changing rules constantly to benefit/change pay in his favor) so he decided to become ‘The Leak Stopper’.

The year was 1999.  Being poorly treated by his last employer, John O’Connell decided to invest his savings in a new van, equipment, Insurance and his own Roofing company.  He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be. He was going to Stop Leaks using honest long term techniques, rather than temporary bait and switch techniques used by most repair companies that John eventually referred to as ‘Tar Bandits’.  Luckily for John the Leak Stoppers Inc. name was available and he Incorporated the name, created a logo and registered the company Logo. That was the easy part.

What came next was all new.  There was no book, past experience, mentor or father (grandfather) to pass down the trade.  The trade had been lost since the 50’s. Tradesman usually go from helper to apprentice to mechanic.  Unfortunately, Free estimates, handymen and middle aged (recently retired from other professions) men came into the industry in-experienced, bypassing this critical learning stage.  Suffolk and Nassau Counties gave (still give) licenses to anyone that can provide insurance and the license fee, regardless of their knowledge of construction and today’s building code.  This has diluted the skilled labor in the construction industry for decades.

With honesty, integrity and help from a great economy, John and his team of Leak Stoppers worked hard and quickly grew. Claiming to be the Leak Stopper, the company was quickly challenged by customers with re-occurring (tough to find) leaks. There was much to learn and learn we did. Re-occurring leaks happened, jobs were under-estimated and scientific information began to present itself. The owner didn’t know it but he was performing experiments. When leak repairs failed, the repair was analyzed, additional theories were composed and a solution was found. Executing the solution would prove the theory if Mother Nature’s next field test was a success!! That process was often frustrating (Some leaks are ridiculously tricky), but with the right minds working out the problematic leaks, experience and hundreds of proven theories were derived. These theories (COMPANY SECRETS) are constantly utilized, taught and re-fined as we continue to analyze new leaks.

As most companies that start out in business the owner admits he would likely have earned a C rating (A for effort) in the first year (2000) of business, taking a ‘B’ Rating for 2001 and finally experienced enough to be an ‘A’ by 2002-3.  It was an easy accomplishment as the economy was roaring, customers were not complaining (there was no internet) and the team was learning something new (technique or common issues with skylights or windows…) on a weekly basis. The owner didn’t realize how this hard work and effort would eventually pay off, he was simply doing what is mother taught him.  To do on to others as he would want done onto himself. He quickly learned to treat every customer as a friend or family member when it came to consulting. Honesty would be the best policy as HONESTY and EFFORT can never be looked back on poorly. To do this he would have to tell people things that would sometimes cost a nice sale. He couldn’t give FREE information that would put himself out of business so he decided to differentiate Sales calls vs. Leak repair.  So he would give FREE estimates on new Roofs but charge and $85 fee to analyze leaks. The fee was waived if work was done, but it enabled John to speak honestly about open storm door (screens), Storm windows, easily caulked windows and the hard to find leaks (tricks of the trade) that he worked so hard to figure out. Trade secrets and hard earned knowledge was not something that could be given away for free. This is how it was and how it is supposed to be.  Unfortunately, society has been trained to expect FREE estimates. This is why everything always breaks and is made to be replaced every 10-15 years. People buy Lifetime junk from box stores and then if it fails within 10 years you get new junk under warranty. But if the Lifetime Product fails at 11 years your LIMITED warranty is up or VOID, the junk is thrown out and all that is available is new junk. Ridiculous.

Fast forward 20 years and statistically Leak Stoppers Inc. is one of 50 companies that DID NOT Fail, Rename, re-incorporate or go Bankrupt in the last 20 years.  They stand alone in the roof repair and consulting sector for residential roofing on Long Island and are considered as equals to the few Industrial-Commercial Roofing and Water-proofing companies that have 20 years plus in business. Today, Leak Stoppers leads the way on Long Island as the information we’ve been collecting through leak repairs keeps us efficient and accurate.

For our third decade we aim to become Long Island’s Leading Commercial, Industrial and Residential FULL SERVICE Roofing and Leak Repair company.  Using the same business plan of Service before Sales, we are confident that we will continue out steady growth and success.