In the roofing industry, the quality of your crew directly influences your roofing business’s success and financial sustainability. Considering the roofing industry’s current labor shortage, where 91% of roofing firms grapple with sourcing skilled workers, companies should make sure their hiring, training, and retention strategies are effective so they can maintain a quality crew.
In this article, we’ll go over where to find new roofing employees, how to optimize the hiring process, and strategies for retaining crew members.
How to Find Roofing Crews
The search for good roofing crew members can often feel daunting because workers need to be highly skilled. Companies can make the process more effective by knowing the right places to look for potential employees.
Associations with a Prime Workforce
Trade associations and local organizations offer a prime workforce of eager individuals who are ready to be trained and molded to meet your needs.
Below are a few examples of organization types that can provide a steady source of prospective hires:
- Veteran associations
- Women roofing associations
- Roofing industry associations
- Local trade unions
To get started, contact your local employment agencies to inquire about potential candidates.
An age-old strategy, personal referrals are especially effective for specialized industries like roofing, which have a more concentrated network of skilled workers. Companies can reach out to non-competing businesses in the same industry and existing business partners to promote open positions.
Employees are also a useful resource: they often have a good sense of the required work ethic and skills and can recommend people who would be a good fit.
Local Trade Schools
In recent years, college enrollment has started to decline while trade school enrollment has increased—construction trade enrollment alone increased 19.3% from 2021 to 2022. More young people are interested in hands-on professions like roofing.
Since trade-school programs tend to be highly specialized, they are a rich source of potential crew members. Graduates from trade programs already have a basic understanding of the job and can be easily trained to adapt to the specific needs of your company.
Here are some examples of trade school specialties with potential candidates for a roofing crew:
- Construction Management
- Building Science
- Construction Technology
- Weatherization Technology
Career fairs give companies an opportunity to engage with potential candidates personally, answer their queries, and give them a glimpse into the work life and culture at your roofing company. They provide a direct connection with a large pool of potential employees at once. Roofers have the opportunity to put their best foot forward and pitch their industry’s benefits and opportunities to enthusiastic job-seekers.
High school fairs are an excellent venue to tap into young, aspiring workers who may be considering a career in trades. These potential hires may not have decided on their career paths yet and can be molded into effective crew members with the right training and guidance. Companies can also point out the comparatively low student loans associated with trade school versus college.
Additionally, companies can reach out to college students from construction or architectural programs who have already shown interest in the industry. At college fairs, roofing businesses may offer internships, part-time jobs, or even full-time positions for soon-to-be graduates. Discuss the technical aspects of the job, emphasize the potential for skill development, and present the different career paths available in your company.
In the digital age, having an online presence is critical. Posting job openings on industry-specific platforms can attract candidates with the right skills and experience.
General job websites like LinkedIn and Indeed occasionally have leads but are not focused on trade jobs. Job boards specializing in construction or roofing are a better bet. Below are a few resources.
Tips for Hiring Roofing Crews
Once you’ve identified potential sources for your roofing crew members, the next step is the hiring process. An efficient and effective hiring process is integral to attracting and securing the best talent. Creating a compelling and accurate job posting is the first step.
Streamlining the application process also helps roofing companies capture top talent ahead of competitors; part of this is establishing a clear process for evaluating candidates. Finally, you’ll need to consider pay. The current median hourly wage is about $23 for roofers—offering competitive pay can attract more applicants.
Create a Good Job Posting
Draft accurate, concise, and attractive job descriptions. The more precisely a job posting reflects the position, the more likely it is to attract suitable candidates. By specifying the skills required and day-to-day responsibilities of your roofers, you can assemble a team of skilled workers tailored to your company’s needs.
Streamline the Application Process
The application process should be as seamless as possible for potential recruits. Online forms that are easy to fill out and submit plus portals that save applicant data for future positions can make the application process much more candidate-friendly.
Follow Up With Applicants
Given the labor shortage, potential hires often apply to multiple jobs simultaneously. It is important to follow up promptly with promising candidates and keep them updated on their application. Roofing crew applicants who don’t hear back from your company in a timely manner may accept a position elsewhere before you have the chance to make a job offer.
Offer Competitive Pay
In a highly competitive labor market, offering competitive pay can often be the determining factor for a potential employee deciding between your roofing company and another. For instance, an extra dollar an hour can seem insignificant at a glance but can translate to approximately an extra $2,000 a year for a full-time roofer.
Having a competitive hourly rate also demonstrates the value you place on your workers’ skills and time. This recognition can go a long way in enhancing employee satisfaction, fostering loyalty, and ultimately improving retention rates.
Have a Clear Review Process
Having a clear and organized review process helps identify qualified workers quicker. Everyone involved in the hiring process should understand what the ideal candidate looks like. If there are multiple stages, each step should be transparent and efficient.
Training Your Crew
Training is not just about ensuring your crew knows how to do their jobs efficiently and safely—it also keeps employees engaged and committed to the company. In addition to ensuring your roofing crew’s competency, effective training also contributes to reducing the labor shortage industry-wide.
Training should cater to both new hires and experienced workers. New recruits may need mentorship programs or workshops to bring them up to speed with the company’s processes and standards. There are a number of educational and training programs available both in-person and online, like this one from the National Roofing Contractors Association.
Meanwhile, continual training for experienced workers ensures they remain up to date with the latest practices and technologies. If a sales or operational role opens up, prioritize hiring from within. Promoting a skilled employee illustrates your investment in your employees’ growth and boosts overall morale.
Retaining Your Crew
Retention is the key to maintaining the hard-earned talent that you’ve spent resources developing. Effective retention strategies significantly influence your team’s morale, productivity, and overall loyalty to your roofing business. Here are some examples:
Form a Good Leadership Team
Roofing projects require effective teamwork even when the work is difficult and the crew is running up against a deadline. Good leaders should possess qualities like effective communication and professionalism to boost your crew’s morale in high-pressure situations. Offering leadership training can develop these qualities in your chosen leaders.
Invest in Crew Members’ Career Growth
Improve retention by providing opportunities for career advancement. Consider connecting experienced roofers to advanced training programs, offering opportunities for further certifications, or providing a clear path for promotions within the company.
Offer Benefits Packages
Comprehensive benefits packages can provide additional incentives for employees to stay. These could include health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.
Build Good Infrastructure
A well-organized physical workspace, efficient administrative processes, and user-friendly technology systems help create a stable infrastructure for roofing businesses. A well-structured and systematic workflow can greatly reduce friction in daily operations, allowing your crew to focus on their primary tasks.
For example, consider your company’s administrative process for handling job orders. Is there a straightforward system in place to receive and track orders? If your crew members are constantly calling the office for details about their next job or there are frequent mix-ups, it might be time to reevaluate your system.
Consider implementing a centralized job order system, which can be as simple as a shared digital calendar or as complex as a software platform that automates specific tasks.
Use Quality Equipment and Technology
Using up-to-date, well-maintained equipment not only improves safety but also makes jobs easier and more efficient. Technologies like roofing software can offer fast, accurate, aerial roof measurement reports, thus making planning and estimating jobs more efficient.
A good crew is hard to come by.
Stem turnover with our “Guide to Retaining Top Talent”
The Key to a Quality Roofing Crew
Roofing companies can overcome labor shortage challenges with effective strategies to hire, train, and retain roofing crew members. By utilizing resources smartly, implementing an efficient hiring process, investing in comprehensive training, and maintaining a conducive work environment, you can build and sustain a dedicated crew that contributes to the long-term success of your roofing company.
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