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Hi, I am interested in a career in roofing, but not sure how I can get any experience. It seems so hard to get any job with no experience. I have contacted small business types on craigslist and a few other ad sites, but haven't gotten a single bite.

I want to get experience, once I do the jobs will be much easier.

Any suggestions. Anyone know someone in the Toronto area looking for someone?
 

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I'm from Toronto, 33 years of age. I come from an office background. So perhaps this is what's making things difficult. Nothing in my most recent work has any experience in labour work. But I need a change. I assisted doing our own roof and thought I could do this kind of work, and it pays more than the work I've done working in an office.

I know that it's hard work but I'd like to at least try it out. Even just as a labour guy doing grunt work at first.
 

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Have you tried lying to your potential boss. Telling him that you have been roofing for 23 years (your 33 so we're in the ballpark), your not afraid of heights, you have a drivers license, and your reliable. Down here in the states this is normal. (or everybody that has tried to work for me).....

All joking aside let this post age a little and maybe a member will know someone close. Also Contractor talk has a Jobs wanted forum. I'm sure your probably over qualified coming from an office. Good Luck
 

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Agreed with the above post. Even one who fills an application out here knows everything about flat roofs. :rolleyes:

@jesb We hired a guy very similar to you a few years ago. You are right its going to be a lot of hard work. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can agree to this but veteran roofers aren't exactly PC if you know what I mean. It use to be a lot worse but prepare your self for a little "ribbing" when you get going after a while there will be another "new" guy to pick on.

You really shouldn't have a hard time getting a labor job but you are looking in the wrong season, most roofers are scrambling to fishing up projects before the snow flys, if it already hasn't. Be patient and in the spring every Joe Bob roofer will be hiring.
 

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First off, why do you want to be a roofer? I ask because everyone I know who has gotten into roofing has done it one of two ways... 1) a friend got you the job and 1 decade or two later you were wondering wtf happened to your life (that's my situation) or 2) your daddy or uncle tortured you as a child and brought you up onto the roof.

Food for thought, 33 is about the age people are getting off the roof and moving into the office. I think you have it way backwards. I really hope you are in great cardio vascular shape because starting as a roofing helper requires alot of running around and constant movement. Are you prepared for 12 hour days 6 days a week of straight running up and down ladders all day, pushing wheelbarrows and lilfting heavy objects non stop?

You're going to have to work for someone as a very lowly paid dirty filthy laborer cleaning up garbage and tear off roofs. When I say lowly paid, think about how much a teenager earns at Mc Donalds, that's about the same wage you will start. After a year or two of that showing up on time and sober every day and not brining any drama they might let you touch tools. My 25 year old apprentice can't keep up with my 35 year old foreman. And if you have a boss like me, you are going to hear about it. Like GT said, we're not very PC.

Start sending out resumes to every roofing company listed in the yellow pages and on the internet in your area. The fact that you are literate enough may be enough to get you an interview. Call every company you sent a few days later to make sure they got your resume and ask if you can come in for an interview. No doubt if you are serious about persuing this trade eventually someone will pick you up.
 

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Start by picking up frozen roofing tear off out of the freezing snow, placing it on a tarp, dragging it around the house to the bosses trailer, picking it up off the tarp and tossing it into the trailer - all for $2.50 per hour. :blink: Worked for me!
 

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im 41 years of age been roofing for 21 years man i love this shit i cant believe you can not find a job im always looking for good help usually about 1 out of every two hand fulls is worth a shit i can still roof circles around those young snots seems like the younger generation dont know how to sweat
 

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seems like the younger generation dont know how to sweat
I converse about this topic often. I've had young guys quit before lunch on their first day. After highschool, I had a buddy who was working for a mason as a helper but went into manufacturing instead. I actually did the opposite, as I got into manufacturing then went into the trades. LOL

Think about it for a minute putting your love for the trade aside. Think that you are a 17 year old kid. You are deciding what you want to do for a living. You kind of like working with your hands and are thinking of the trades. You're not afraid of heights so you think of roofing, or you see an ad, or for what ever reason roofing comes to mind...

So you're making what $10 an hour to start? Seems like a fair wage in my area, might be more or less in your area for an unskilled laborer. Then you're going to work 10-14 hour days, 5-6 days a week. You will be hot, you will be sweaty, you will be uncomfortable, and you will be in risk of death. Your first few days will seem like a boot camp... and you will be doing this for $10 an hour?

You will say to yourself, "I can go make $8 or $9 an hour working in a factory or warehouse or office and won't be in risk of death and will probably have air conditioning." Or you might say to yourself, "This is stupid. Look at these old timers, I don't want to turn out like that. I'm going to go to college." Or you may say "Screw these 14 hour days, screw this $10 an hour, I am going to join the Union."

I really don't blame the youth for not entering into the trades to be honest. Like my previous post said, most people get into roofing by accident or heritage. There is not as much money to be made in the trades as there once was, and I am not talking about a couple years ago, I am talking about a couple decades ago, before I got into the trades myself. ONLY the top top guys make any money worth mentioning in the trades any more.

Most contractors, including myself, can not possibly offer their employees the basic benefits that is common practice in ANY other industry. 401k/IRA? Paid Health Insurance? Profit Sharing? Sick Days? Vacation Days? Any of these benefits would be standard operating procedue in almost any other industry other than the trades, and we as an industry wonder why the youth don't enter the trades. We as an industry wonder why the illegals and hacks have taken over our industry. We as an industry have allowed it to happen.

Nay, We have an industry have caused it to happen! The mentality that low price wins the sale is what has ruined the trades! Something must be cut to achieve low price. One guy cuts his sick days, the next guy cuts his sick days and vacation days, the next custs those and his health insurance... and on and on and on, until EVERYTHING non-essential and even some essential expenses have been cut. Everything has been cut to the point that unscrupulous contractors cut their liability and workmans compensation insurance. Unscrupulous contractors pay cash under the table to avoid taxes. The list of cheats goes on and one. We are at a rock bottom in our industry, and we wonder why the youth won't enter the trades?! We KILL ourselves so that the consumers can enjoy cheap roofing?! WTF?!

We are not going to entice the youth to enter the trades until we can reward them for their blood, sweat and tears! I believe that some of the youth is willing to sweat, if we reward the youth for their efforts. Sure, then there is the Xbox, Play Station, soda sipping, cheeto eating youth... Well they are excluded from this discussion.



The truth is, my son is 2 years old now. But I can already see he is a handy guy. He likes playing with my tools, he already knows what a screwdriver is for, and a hammer and likes pounding all over the house acting like he is fixing things. That being said, if things don't change I will most likely not encourage him to enter into the trades. Truth be told, my daughter is nearly 6 and is NOT at all handy, nor would I expect her to be, yes I am sexist :). But I would encourage her to enter into the trades as a manager of a business. Why? It seems the only companies making any money in the trades anymore or those companies whom are run by business managers, not run by trades-men.
 

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There are trade schools for everything in America from cutting hair, to massage therapy, to HVAC, Welding, Masonry, Electrician, Mechanics, Auto Body Repair, etc..., but not one Trade School for Roofing. Crazy, isn't it?!

At 33 you might see if you can work yourself in to a production assistant job to get experience, or if you're lucky, maybe roof sales (We call it Project Manager). That's the only way you're going to make any decent money in this industry, unless you're are very experienced at roofing and repairs, foreman, service, production, operations, project or sales manager, There are enough videos on the internet to learn the basics and become familiar with roof systems. If you could get in with a company or person that would be willing to teach you the ropes and the basics of roofing, your first year in sales may suck as bad as being a roofing helper, but a year down the road, you'll be doing fine. One of our up and coming sales guy (we call them Project Managers), had no roofing background at all, but worked at Tradesman, a temp agency for contruction workers. He's averaging $44K+/yr now, in addition to his company truck, cell phone, office space, and health insurance. We've started all our sales guys (Project Managers) at the same place, 5% commision of gross sale, based on 33% gross profit margin on the entire job. We provide a $750 weekly draw based on projected sales, and the draw goes up as sales commissions catch up with the draw. We provide all leads, company truck, Iphone, office space, shared secretary, production manager, and mid-level production assistants, workers comp, health insurance, and all training and continued education. We pay a lower commission than most companies, but our Project Mangers are employees and we provide many benefits and the right environment to ensure success for all of our team. All Project Managers attend yearly training with GAF and Wealth Builder Seminar, and Duro-Last training and yearly seminar. We also attend any training provided by other manufacturers. All Project Managers, once qualified, also attend and obtain Haag Certified Roofing Inspection certification.
 

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One of the only ways I've seen guys getting into roofing is from the very bottom, a grunt. If your boss sees potential more than likely he or she will give you more responsiblity. If your boss sees your not keeping up with the others you may get fired in a matter of weeks or even days.

I feel as a whole the newest generation of young kids entering the work place are lazy but I've been able to hand pick up a few in recent years who are very hard workers.

Here's one thing I've learned in the roofing bus, I'd rather hire an untrained motivated hard worker than hire an unmotivated experianced roofer with bad habits installing roofing materials. You can hone the unexperianced guy but it's very rare to change an old dogs habits.
 

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Why don't you start by reshingling your garage or something? Simple gable to gable roof that's not too big. No valleys, dormers, or penetrations / flashing details to deal with - and they usually aren't too high or steep.

You'll need a few things - ladder, hand tools (tape measure, chalk line, hammer, pry bar, maybe a cats paw, razor knife with hook blades), tear off shovel, scoop shovel, wheel barrow, circular saw, big poly tarp, roofing materials, cushions, and your a$$ :D

Find an old couch, and pull the cushions out. Peel the white fuzzy stuff off - get down to yellow foam. That is to sit on, and sit materials on. It sticks to shingles like glue.

Wear tennis shoes you don't care about. I used skateboard shoes before I got cougar paws.

Don't bother with a nail gun for this unless you want to spend about $500 on the rig - then buy the Hitachi NV45AB2 - the only roofing gun worth buying IMHO - and one of those lightweight 100 foot hoses. Regular air hoses are worthless on the roof. These are the lightweight 100 foot ones.

you'll need a way to get rid of the tear off. For a garage, a friend with a trailer will probably do.

Spread the tarp out below where you're tearing off. Bust off the ridge cap, and work top down. Tear off down to decking, and pull nails. Try not to pull out decking nails. Replace any bad decking, and refasten any decking nails that got pulled.

Tear off onto the tarp, then scoop shovel into wheel barrow, and roll it onto the trailer and dump. Repeat until you're done - take a break, then finish the pile :D

Hopefully, you've been doing some research too. Buy a book, use the internet, talk to friends. Figure out how to avoid the short course at the top by adjusting exposure for one. Some guys use the shingles as a guide to keep lines straight on smaller roofs. Don't try it. I pop lines every other course (every 10" without adjustments for top course). Keep in mind how much you're overlapping the edges when popping lines.

When installing, work from the bottom up. 3' roll of ice / water shield at the bottom. lay it where it goes, then peel / stick. Felt the roof, pop lines, run starter strip, then shingle and put on the ridge cap.

There are instructions on the packages that tell you how to install them, but make sure you follow local codes too. Around here, you don't need a permit to re-roof, and there are no additional fastening requirements.

Whatever you do - don't high nail! Noobs often think that going higher keeps the penetrations further from water, but it also makes you miss the course below it.

When you're walking on a felted roof, walk on the caps (nails)! Felt is SLICK! and 15# tears pretty easily - either way, WHOOSH! you're on the ground.

Now you'll have some idea of what you're in for. Now imagine doing that on a 12:12 (45 degree angle) second story roof.

You'll be able to admire your handy work for a long time if you do it right - at least until you roof for a while and can pick apart everything you did wrong :D More likely, you'll just admire it for a long time after you go back to the office job though ... it's really hard work!

FYI - I can tear off and install the average 2 car garage in about a day and a half - 2 days by myself from pulling up to the job, to 100% done and cleaned up. It's slow by some guy's standards. I know guys that can do it in a day every time but I don't try to kill myself toting shingles or tear off.
 

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Grumpy is a wise man unfortunately this is the Norm in America with everything and part of the Dollar store and Walmart mentality. People choose Quantity over Quality which is unfortunate because I do the exact opposite.

People need to respect each other's trades and professions and realize that folks have alot of bills to pay and that we all deserve to have the best each and everyday. There is no way to possibly receive the best.

Do any of you remember Quality, Cheap and Fast?? you can have cheap and fast but it won't be quality...lol...I always believe in paying a fair price not the drunk hobo craigslist prices that unlicensed uninsured contractors charge. if you can call them contractors.

Charlotte Roofing Company, Charlotte Roofing Contractors - North Carolina
 
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