How to Do Roofing: Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Professional Roofer

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Aug 21, 2018

Aug 21, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you looking for a career with stability, growth, and hands-on work? If so, then roofing could be the perfect job for you. Say goodbye to cubicles, desks, and mundane computer work.

Roofers live an active work life. They're often going to different places each week, and work with different people. You're unlikely to get bored in this career.

Think this might be the job for you? Keep reading to find out how to do roofing as a career.

1. Physical Labor

Roofing is a very physical job. You need to be in good shape to keep up with all that roofing demands.

In a typical workday, you could be carrying lots of heavy equipment. You'll be climbing up and down ladders and using balance. Core strength is very important to stay safe.

Roofers use many different materials to work on different types of roof. You have to be comfortable working on steep slopes in a variety of weather. This job isn't for those scared of heights or those who can't keep up with the physical demands.

You may also be working early in the morning when you're feeling tired. Roofers must be alert and aware of their surroundings despite their energy level.

2. Safety Hazards

Roofing can be a very dangerous profession. Each day, you're risking your life by working from tall heights. Some jobs will have security harnesses, but some won't.

The biggest hazard of being a roofer is falling from a roof.

Other hazards you may face are burns and heat stroke. Roofs can be very hot in the summer months; roofers can easily burn their hands.

There's also a threat to the general public if roofers don't do their job well. Shingles and other materials removed from the roof need to get thrown somewhere safe. Letting these items drop from the roof can hit a passerby and injure them

Roofers are at risk for their own safety. And, it's their responsibility to not endanger the public.

3. Training

You can go one of two routes to becoming a roofer. Both options usually want you to have your high school GED.

First, apply to work under a roofing company and learn on the job. This may mean you're doing the grunt work until you know the ropes. Second, you can apply for an apprenticeship. This is the more successful way of becoming a roofer.

Apprenticeships include both in-class learning and on the job training. You'll have homework and assignments to complete. But, you'll also get to learn hands-on with a roofing company.

In some cases, the company you apprenticeship with will hire you on as an employee. That depends on your performance and aptitude for the job. It also depends on your goals in the field.

Some roofers want to work with an established company. Others become independent contractors or start their own company. There are lots of options for trained and experienced roofers.

4. Skills Needed

Roofers need to have physical strength and balance. But, they also need non-physical skills to do this job.

For one, they need to have strong organization. Some days may have them starting work in the early hours of the morning. Roofers must be punctual and have excellent time management skills.

You may need to use a planner or the calendar app in your phone to stay organized. Especially since your work location can change often.

Roofers also need good problem solving and critical thinking skills. You need to be able to assess a roof's problems and know how to fix them. This involves creativity and resourcefulness.

Plus, you'll be communicating with the homeowner or client. You must be professional and friendly when speaking to clients. Having good written and spoken communication is key.

5. Salary

Roofers don't work during the snowy months or when it's raining. If you live in a climate where the weather is like this, be aware that you won't have a full-time career.

In places with moderate weather, roofers usually work part of the year. Many can take the winters off. But, summers are very busy for roofers, so you can accumulate overtime quickly.

Salary depends on how much you can work throughout the year and your location. According to Indeed, roofers in the US make around $16.24 per hour on average. This is about $33 280 per year.

New York is one of the highest paying states for roofers, along with New Jersey and Minnesota.

There is room for growth in salary as you become more experienced. And, if you can specialize in different types of roofing. Owning your own company is another route to making more money as a roofer.

6. Job Prospects

Roofing is one industry that doesn't seem to be slowing down. Unlike other industries that have been overtaken by automation, roofing relies on manpower.

Each year, there is a portion of roofers who leave the field to work in construction or other trades. This means that roofing companies must hire new employees consistently.

But, roofers are vulnerable to lack of work when new houses aren't built. Downturns in the economy cause fewer new developments and fewer home renovations.

If you have other skills applicable to house renos, you could be more valuable to companies. Many companies do more than only roofing. From being a roofer, you could transition into being a contractor or landscaper.

Plus, more and more homeowners are choosing eco-friendly options. If you're experienced with installing solar panels, you can add that to your resume and ask for more.

Still Wondering How to Do Roofing as a Career?

Roofers enjoy a versatile job with hands-on work and a changing environment. It's not a job for desk people or office workers. Roofing requires you to be outside in many types of weather.

Although the salary isn't the highest of the trades, roofing does offer its own benefits. The more you know and have experience in, the more valuable you are. Owning a roofing company can bring in a bigger paycheck.

For more information on how to do roofing as a career and other career options, check out the blog.