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So How Do You Think We Can Solve The Labor Shortage?

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Author
Posts
February 25, 2016 at 4:28 p.m.

vickie

Everyone has been talking about it for a few years. Do we need schools, early recruitment? If you could solve this what would you do?

March 12, 2019 at 1:17 p.m.

leakstopper

First of all I love my Hispanic crews! Haven't seen any other kind in years and they were old school dopers. We need a proper immigration system. American youth are fat, lazy and spoiled, just like second generation immigrants. We pay more than most professional jobs and I can't find any help!

April 29, 2016 at 11:42 p.m.

The Roofing God

I wanted a help wanted ,Your I labor works, ;)

April 18, 2016 at 7:04 p.m.

TomHay

:) I started reading on page 2.

Gonna be big problems. You have Goverment Presidentials yelling $15.00 an hour minumum wage. Sounds great. This means the Fry Bagger at McD's will start at $15, The guy at the Walgreens entrance for hello will start at $15.

This will mean low new guy roof trainee will start at $15.00. Now for $15 is he going to want to be inside A/C and heated or tearing off a roof? Next the guy who has 100 times more knowledge (started a week before) is going to want $20 and up the line we go. This is not counting WC, time and a half etc. You have to pass this on to the customer and sticker shock. Right off the bat I can say many roofers will be forced to cheat with illegals like we don't have that problem already.

Next comes your video gamers and Computer kids. We are having this effect in The Pool (Billiard) industry right now. Not exciting enough and I got to get off my azz to do it.

Specialty roofing might save it. Cut workers and speed production.

I don't think this thread is directed at the guys who are fighting a couple more years, retired or the Couple guy operation that does like copper (specialty).

Its about the say 30 year old business guy who wants to be legit, do quality work and build a very big company.

If the economy is GREAT and building is going 7/24/365 you have new construction jobs that with the ability to BOND could do it. You have to learn to play in that game and it gets heartless, you got 30 guys rocking and rolling, doing just as they were taught and economy goes to pot and 20 some of those 30 gotta go, if not all.

In Florida YEARS ago doing SPF when rain days or high wind days came the 1 Foam Mechanic per Truck would stay, work on the equipment. If a man was close to being a Foam Mechanic, he might get to stay.

Oh, than you have OSHA on a roofers back a LOT more than my day. A few guys get stupid and there is Mr OSHA, camera in hand handing out 5K fines per person violation.

Whats crazy is, I miss it. Take 20 to 30 years off me I would go specialty waterproofing. :)

April 5, 2016 at 2:38 p.m.

richardpriddy1

Thats the key right there. Pay a decent wage and offer advancement.

April 5, 2016 at 2:37 p.m.

richardpriddy1

Thats the key right there. Pay a decent wage and offer advancement.

April 5, 2016 at 2:21 p.m.

richardpriddy1

Vickie all I know for sure is that you are a great influence to the roofing industry and you always have been.

April 5, 2016 at 1:37 p.m.

richardpriddy1

I am a roofer from Los Angeles that now works in the mid west. Fining people to work in this industry is close to impossible. Finding experienced roofers that want to work here is worse yet. The young people of today have learned that they can make just as much flipping burgers as they make starting in the roofing industry. Training and incentives are what is needed in this day and age. If we could get some of the community colleges to let us have a class in their perspective construction departments that would be a plus. They have a construction program at Iowa Western Community College where a couple of years ago I spent 2 days teaching material applications and working in the roofing industry. If we can get community colleges to promote roofing in their construction curriculum. Sure would like to hear what others have to say because I cannot find any good trainable people here in Nebraska or Iowa.

April 3, 2016 at 9:53 p.m.

Alba

we've chased away the illegals around here,the wages have gone up a little bit and still can't find decent help.

March 21, 2016 at 9:12 a.m.

RoofDude

GKRFG Said: Its definitely big problem with no easy solution. There is so much talk about you need a college education. I agree that in this day and age that it is a requirement for many but not everyone is cut out for that. There needs to be more trade school education in high school. The illegal labor force has gradually taken over the trades which has pretty much closed off the ability to find even entry level jobs in the construction industry. Its always been who you know that would get you a job. Nowadays with foreign crews the ones they know are foreign, they get the jobs. Contractors complain they cannot find good help otherwise. But the pay is low and the work is hard. Nobody is attracted to this kind of work for poverty wages and the time it takes to learn the trade is long so kids dont see the light at the end of the tunnel. Parents these days do not instill a work ethic in their kids. They allow them to waste their time laying around and arent expected to actually have to work to earn their keep. Too many kids hooked on video games and Facebook and other such nonsense. Too many kids into partying. So many different aspects to this problem and very little progress towards solving the problem. Its a struggle to find good help. Wish I knew the solution.

Wasn't too long ago, a guy could make a good living just doing new construction work. Seemed to be where lots of guys cut their teeth, & transitioned into remodel work, or re-roofing, etc.

In the early to mid 90's I had multiple decent paying gigs that were Home Builders. They paid a decent rate, had plenty of work, & everything was beautiful. Doing a good job for the most part kept the scabs, & cut throats away.

By the end of the 90's the big Builders stopped calling, stopped sending me work. No conversations about it either. Just didn't have anything for me. I didn't lose any sleep because I was busy doing re-roofs, & making more money anyways.

By the early 2000's I would get occasional calls from builders to diagnose issues, & or fix problems...they weren't interested in having me roof their homes, just fix this one that was a huge pita for them....hmmm...

A few years later, I got a call from a Builder whom I had done lots of roofs for 15yrs prior. Claimed they were really busy & their current subs couldn't keep up. Asked me to take on a couple dozen homes going into Christmas/January.... I said, okay. Went down to their office to give em current Insurance, etc.... They literally were offering 1/2 of what they paid me 20yrs ago...!! Im not exaggerating. HALF..! I laughed, & got up...

By 2010, I was doing anywhere from 2-4 reroofs per year, of homes that were less than 5yrs old...!! Yowzers...! Fact is, the quality, & the pay in the current new construction resi world were terrible. Not a lot of young bucks wanting to dive into that world either. A few but, not many. The construction trades are dominated by immigrant workers today. Being bilingual is a must in most areas now.

It is much more challenging today, than it was 20-25yrs ago for a person to start out in our trade. A lot of the avenues are still there....just more difficult than ever, with lower pay. If I was a young buck starting out today....a big commercial company, or labor union would be much more appealing to me than starting from scratch. Both of which I wanted nothing to do with 25yrs ago.

At least that has been my experience.....

March 21, 2016 at 8:45 a.m.

GKRFG1

It's definitely big problem with no easy solution. There is so much talk about "you need a college education". I agree that in this day and age that it is a requirement for many but not everyone is cut out for that. There needs to be more trade school education in high school. The illegal labor force has gradually taken over the trades which has pretty much closed off the ability to find even entry level jobs in the construction industry. It's always been "who you know" that would get you a job. Nowadays with foreign crews the ones they know are foreign, they get the jobs. Contractors complain they cannot find good help otherwise. But the pay is low and the work is hard. Nobody is attracted to this kind of work for poverty wages and the time it takes to learn the trade is long so kids don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Parents these days do not instill a work ethic in their kids. They allow them to waste their time laying around and aren't expected to actually have to work to earn their keep. Too many kids hooked on video games and Facebook and other such nonsense. Too many kids into partying. So many different aspects to this problem and very little progress towards solving the problem. It's a struggle to find good help. Wish I knew the solution.

March 20, 2016 at 9:33 a.m.

twill59

LOL Chuck. the last time at a gas station somebody approached me about "work", it was a union guy wanting to make some cash

March 15, 2016 at 11:22 a.m.

TomB

How do we solve the labor shortage? (In the roofing market I assume?)

First we must understand the cause; A major dynamic that's contributed to the current state of affairs has to do with the influx of ill-trained or no-skill illegal immigrant workers over the past three decades.

Both the "workers" and employers, with their respective opportunistic demeanor's/antics, coupled with our gov't's "PC" environment have managed to create a haven for them, running-off most traditional young American blue-collar workers who historically enjoyed earning a fairly good living in the roofing industry.

So, now here we sit, devoid of 30 +/- years of entry-level roofers & unsustainable wages in the private sector. Now we've managed stagnate wages that aren't so attractive to the illegals as well.

Making big bro responsible might be a good place to start. Vote.

March 3, 2016 at 6:27 a.m.

clvr83

And to more clearly answer the original post: We have to fix how we are parenting and teaching kids. Schools seem to be for learning about what Mylee Cyrus is doing. It's hard with today's technology, much easier to play on your phone than go outside and do stuff.

March 3, 2016 at 5:58 a.m.

clvr83

I agree with most everything said, especially the warm bodies comment. We used to just try out whoever called next, usually an acquaintance of some guy on the crew, which was scraping the bottom of the bar. I've shut down the good ol' boy network.

With a few good hires this past year, things are looking up. I'm trying to setup a retirement plan to retain my help. I don't want to live to work and I don't want my employee's to have to either. I've spent much less time on the roof this past year and have really enjoyed getting mastering my position as trainer, salesman, & owner.

March 2, 2016 at 8:31 a.m.

Lefty1

Chuck Said: Labor shortage? I could hire 100 people by the end of the week if I needed them. They constantly call the office and approach me at the gas stations and such all the time as well when they see the signs on the truck. The shortage around here is in decent paying jobs not labor.

I could hire the same people here too. We are past hiring warm bodies. I offer people a career with advancement opportunities.

Last year we took a guy that worked for us 1 year in the field as a laborer on a repair crew and made him a salesman. He was our top salesman last year.

I pay a decent wage with a full benefit package that includes retirement.


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