How Can Roofers Overcome the Skilled Labor Shortage?

Make Roofing Crews More Productive and Delegate Material Staging to your Distributor

NAHB: More Builders Report Labor/Subcontractor Shortages

Like many members of the construction and remodeling community, roofers have felt the pinch of the labor shortage over the last few years (see this authoritative study by NAHB).   The economy has improved and opportunity in new construction and remodeling has increased, resulting in a demand for skilled labor that has yet to be met.

Much has been written about initiatives underway to reverse the problem – from local community colleges offering more trades programs, to Home Builders Associations like the HBA of Greater Grand Rapids Foundation partnering with local schools for apprenticeship opportunities, as well as city- and state-funded workforce solution programs like the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation in Southeast Michigan and MiCareerQuest in Grand Rapids.  These efforts to make careers in construction attractive to the next generation of workers will begin to help – but what can roofers do in the meantime to take advantage of today’s opportunities?

If roofers want to accept more jobs but can't add more labor, then they have to look at ways to make their existing crews more productive.

Jobsite PreparationConsider the amount of time a crew spends preparing the jobsite before they actually get to work.  A big part of that preparation is putting the materials in place and having them ready to install.  This is an especially big deal for roofing, where the material needs to be staged on the roof for installation. 

If material is either picked up by the crew or ground-dropped by a distributor, then the crew has to hump shingles and accessories up to the roof via a ladder or stages.  That's easily costing 1-2 hours of productivity.  Some distributors have rooftop delivery equipment, but require the roofing crew to be on-site to catch the materials and place them on the roof, which will take at least 30 minutes to an hour.  Furthermore, this requirement makes the roofer beholden to the distributor's timeframe, and any delay suffered by them in delivery is passed along.  In either case, if the crew is making a special trip just to load and prepare the material, there's further cost in drive time.  Both of these scenarios take time and present the opportunity for injury and/or fatigue before the real work even starts. 

Wimsatt Building Materials Unassisted Rooftop DeliveryPurchasing roofing materials from a distributor that offers unassisted rooftop delivery can mitigate these issues, saving the roofer time and money.  With unassisted rooftop delivery, the distributor bears the grunt work and risk of properly placing material on the roof.  And that key word – unassisted – means that the roofing crew does not need to be on hand to supervise or catch the material.  That saved time equates to more available labor time to handle additional jobs, without the need to hire more skilled labor. 

There are many efforts underway to draw more skilled labor to the construction industry – but roofers looking to take on more work don’t have to wait for new laborers to enter the workforce.  By delegating jobsite material placement to a distributor offering unassisted rooftop delivery, the roofer can make more labor hours available without hiring additional skilled labor!

Want more information and specific examples of how unassisted rooftop delivery can save your roofing crew time and money? Download our free Addressing the Skilled Labor Shortage Guide to learn more! 


Tags Contractor's Angle Steep Slope Roofing labor shortage

About Wimsatt Building Materials

Wimsatt Building Materials

Wimsatt Building Materials is a distributor of quality steep slope & low slope roofing, exterior cladding, windows & doors, and specialty building materials. We serve builders and contractors with our gold standard in service from eight locations across Michigan and Northern Ohio.

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