Michael A. Prate started roofing at age 18. After learning the shingle trade from Jack Petty, Michael moved on to work with Rosenow Roofing for a short time. After Rosenow, Michael worked for about 2 years with Herzing Roofing Company in Arlington Heights. As Michael was learning the trade from various sources, he also did a lot of “side work” for family, friends and acquaintances. At that point, he realized he needed to operate as a business and formally started Michael A. Prate, Roofing Contractor. As time went by along, Michael’s company was growing with several employees.In 1974 he, incorporated and kept growing. Being in Wauconda since 1970, many of Michael’s first employees were local young men from the community. Tim McGill, one of Michael’s first employees, was with Michael for 35 years until he passed away in 2010.
Michael’s philosophy of roofing and interacting with customers on the sales side was simple. He treated people as he would like to be treated. Prompt returned calls, quick estimates and unparalleled quality work generated more and more satisfied customers. The growth continued. The sales approach Michael adopted and later taught his sales representatives to use was simple, “I don’t need to sell you anything. My job is to educate you as to what you have now and the options you have for a new roof or repairs to your existing roof. You then can make an educated decision based on your own requirements and budget.” Michael believes that he and all his sales representatives should be educated and experienced enough to give a potential client as little or as much education on roofing as they would like and back it up with manufacturers specifications and details.
In the mid to late 70’s, Michael decided that if he was a roofing contractor, he need to know all aspects of roofing. This is when he started hiring and training his people to know shingle roofing, cedar roofing, slate & tile and flat roofing. Knowing the basics of metal, Michael went looking for the best “metal men”. He hired Ziegfried Stargardt and George Smeja. After working with Michael for several years, George later started his own company, Metal Masters, which is still in business today.
With residential roofing market growing, many people wanted new gutters. Michael opened a residential and commercial gutter division. This soon grew to include siding, fascia and soffit and then windows. With multiple types of roofing and other services to offer, Michael started a new company, Prate Installations, Inc. Michael then consolidated all the different services in to “divisions” of Prate Installations which included; the Shingle Division, the Cedar Division, the Flat Roof Division, the Gutter & Siding Division, along with the Service Department. Each division had its own employees specifically trained in that division. By this time, with continued growth, Michael started to expand the company’s services from existing homes and buildings to new construction. Then, in around 1982, Michael signed union agreements with the Roofers Union, The Carpenters Union and The Sheet Metal Workers Union. As growth continued, Prate Installations due to Michael’s foresightedness, could do all of the exterior components of your home or building; roof, siding, metal, insulation and gutters. This one stop source, the first successful Chicagoland endeavor in these combined ervices, definitely helped Prate’s growth in the market to not only being the “best” but also one of the largest roofing contractors in Chicagoland.
As the building boom of the 1990’s exploded, Michael Prate cautiously grew. By 1999, Prate Installations had combined resumes of over $30 million annually and employed over 280 people!
At the end of 2007 and through 2008, the “depression” of our generation and economy hit. Michael and Prate Installations survived, with much downsizing and economizing. Fortunately, Prate Installations had a lot of “old market work” and did not depend solely on new construction. Referrals were always a great source of business and today, 87% of Prate Roofing & Installations, LLC work is repeat and from referrals.
In May of 2013, Michael legally shut down all union work and went back to doing old market retro work. Prate Roofing & Installations, LLC was formed and is a non-union company. Michael’s knowledge and experience has led this company to what it is today.
Some of the projects Michael Prate has completed through the years are on this site, many others are not. There would not be enough room! In the peak of building in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Prate Installations averaged 43 new construction roofs applied daily! This, along with their metal work and commercial roofing made Prate synonymous with quality roofing throughout Chicagoland. That quality still stands true today. Prate Roofing & Installations, LLC has the most skilled tradesmen available in roofing of all types, metal and in both residential and commercial roof work.
Michael has always been proud of the completed projects. Some of which are; Cantigny War Museum in Wheaton, Swedish Museum in Chicago on Clark Street, DuSable African American Museum (completed as a joint venture with a minority contractor), Comiskey Park Annex, the huge expansion in 2011 at Northern Illinois University, The State of Illinois Capitol Building doors along with countless other projects.
In closing, for 44 years, Prate has been here, serving the entire Chicagoland area with the finest levels of quality and service available, all at a competitive price. We thank you for your business and continued support.
The “Prate” Team
Call today for consultation on your needs.