How much should I be getting paid?

Hi, this is my first time on this website, I’ve read on it several times before but this is my first time posting, so sorry if I miss something.

Anyway to the point…

  • I am being paid $10/hour

  • The company I work for only works mornings, so on average I get around 5-6 hours a day

  • I am 18 years old, however I am fairly skilled in construction and have been in and out of roofing since I was 16.

  • My rent is $400/month, Car Insurance: $125, and Car payment: $125. So a total of $650 in absolute expenses before food or gas money or anything else.

  • This past month I only made a total of $877 after taxes

  • At my previous job I was easily pulling $1,275 a month after taxes (Not roofing, general labor work such as digging trenches and cutting trees) However this job was an 8 hour a day job… BUT I rode in a car for 45 minutes both ways and the boss bought my lunch. I had to quit because the hours were getting to overwhelming for me and there was no point in renting if I got home at 7pm everyday. And for other personal reasons.

  • In terms of roofing I can do everything but shingle (They wont let me yet). So I can clean up the job site, I can hand out shingles, I can roll felt, I can nail felt with the gun (They don’t let me do it often though but I can do it like anyone else) and just about anything else that isn’t nailing shingles.

Don’t mean to crowd you with text but the details are important for you to understand my situation. I recently went to my boss about my pay to let him know that my savings account is slowly decreasing and I’m not able to put anything back into savings and that I’ve been having to do work at a second job (janitorial) to keep up. I asked him if he would match my pay at my previous job which was $65 a day (after taxes) and I told him since the roofing company does an hourly rate I would be fine with $13/hour. He never really answered my question, he told me that I was actually getting paid the same if not more than I was at my previous job, which obviously isn’t the case if you look at the numbers.

However he did say that I would recieve raises over time and that I would make more money once I learned to shingle. But that was it, he never changed my pay or anything.

So my question to you all now is should I seek different employment? My worry is that I'm going to learn to shingle and they won't increase my pay that much. I feel like I don't get treated the same pay because I'm only 18, but I feel like I'm working as hard as everyone else.

Natively I’m a computer guy anyway, even though I love to create things and like the construction industry as a whole I’m starting to wonder if roofing is for me. One of the main reasons why I changed job is because I liked the idea of having more time on my hands to work on things like my web design company. The idea of only working mornings appealed to me. However I don’t want to have back and knee pain when I’m older.

Also I know some of you will say that my reasons for a raise aren’t valid because I’m not working as many hours but if you take into account the 2 hours of driving and just the fact that the job was just way easier in general. I just don’t know if roofing is worth it…

Sorry for the long thread, but to anyone who read this far and posted an answer, thank you.

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Yes, I’m not sure if you have what it takes.

In my area I think $10 per hour for someone who doesn’t know how to shingle (the easiest type of roofing to install imo) is fair. If they only offer you 5-6 hrs per day and don’t wanna teach you things so you can get better, I would recommend looking for another roofing company to work for. I don’t think many would “have what it takes” if those are the circumstances.

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If you stay off drugs and alcohol, pills
Honor your word , answer your phone, have a truck
And honor God along the way
The world is at your fingertips.
I started out at 5 dollars an hour.
Its been 25 years since then and now i am quite satisfied with the pay.

At $13 an hour that is general laborer rates. As a laborer you should not expect to be over $15 an hour and don’t expect to get more than that unless you move to another company. If you’re a hard working laborer, $15 per hour. If you think it’s acceptable to pull out your phone on a work day when it’s not your lunch hour, you’re not worth $10. If you give an owner a year and he still doesn’t give you an opportunity to get up on the roof to learn and make more money, then move to another company. My crew chief makes $30 an hour. Shinglers are at $20. Laborers vary but they average about $12.

Yeah I was thinking the same thing, that I should at least be making $12, that would allow me to put some money into savings. In my eyes, if I’m not saving money then I’m stuck in a rut.

jim is right about labor rates but man my main guy makes $60 an hour but he can do anything copper,slate,tile,siding,wood but again it always depends on how good you are and how dependable you are as well. Good luck and work hard!

Maybe not, I will admit though, roofing is reliable.

Thanks, I consider myself to be quite dependable, I haven’t missed a day of work, and I’m on time on the dot everyday. But I guess I’ll just see if it pans out.

Never done drugs, don’t really see the appeal. I agree with everything else you said. Only thing though is I drive a Prius, maybe I should consider a truck. :smile:

Hey Bud, Read what u posted. I grew up in Hollywood, Fla and started shingling at 16 and by 17 I was a paper setter on a HOT crew. Then again I was Blessed with working owner that wanted us to learn. Don’t make your issues your bosses, look at this as a learning experience, soak it up and stay plugged in to this forum. U can also look for another ROOFING CONTRACTOR. Develop patients. Alot of guys your age that are in college are broke financially, but there learning. Keep learning, think of the long haul.

I know it’s almost impossible to tell someone who’s 18 what to do but you did ask for what is fair pay. I can tell what not to do. Don’t re-live my mistakes: I started working at age 14 (on fishing boats) & by age 18 was making decent money, fishing in the summers and construction rest of the year. Fell in love with making money early in life, only thinking of day to day. Had an opportunity to go to college & went a few semesters and quit so I could make more money. College sucked and I can make a living without a formal education! Fast forward forty more years and kicking myself for not getting a degree. All the “real jobs” require it. Still do. Back then it was a prerequisite. Still is now. Let me put it this way: if you were promoted tomorrow to the best pay in the roofing field ($20-$30/ hr) that would equal $40k-$50k/ yr. Is that ok with you? And figure it’s gonna stay at that level, plus inflation & raises, for the rest of your life. Next thing you know, you are 22 and your friends are all graduating college and you are sweating on a roof in 100 degree heat. Then you’re 30, then 40 and your back is killing you and now YOU ARE KICKING YOURSELF for not going and getting a degree in anything. Most roofers I know are still doing it because that’s all they know & all they are gonna know. You can always go back into Roofing anytime during your life in case you hate that desk job! But if you do, try to be the owner of a company, not the laborer!


First of all, your financial situation or what you made at a previous job has no bearing on what you should be paid for your current job. In light of that, $10 is what I pay guys to start. If they show up ON TIME every day for the first thirty days, they get a raise to whatever is appropriate for their skillset. If they don’t, they don’t last the 30 days. Average pay for laborers is $13, shinglers $18, crew leader $24. My guys typically work 12 hour days. I don’t know if any reputable roofing contractor who has crews working 5-6 hour days. I’d stick with it and jump at the first opportunity.

Fpr me paying a brand new day #1 greenhorn helper $10 an hour is a joke ,I’ve been retired for 5 yrs now but before I retired we were paying new helpers $18 an hour ,once they start apprenticeship school apprentices get a $1 an hour raise every 6 months as long as they do well in trade school ,that’s $2 an hour raise every year until they graduate as journeyman, then they are paid right around $28 an hour ,I was giving helpers $1 raises if they lasted 1 week being that my crew stayed in pitch tear offs and installing new coal tar pitch roofs ,it’s hard to get a kid to work when he’s pitch burned ,it sounds to me like your working for a low paying scab non union shop ,I’d quit asap and apply at all union roofing shops in your area .

The last 10 years I was still running work I never made less than $150,000 a year on Tue books ,plus vacation pay as well as $3,000 to $70,000 a year in scrap metal cash outs .
My right hand man & operator made the same $48 an hour as I was paid ,not 1 helper on my crew made less than $20 an hour ,it’s not your fault this company only works 5 hrs a day ,sounds to me like an Elmer fudd roofing company doing houses 1 at a time ,to make a real career out of roofing ,a career with a pension and health insurance you need to work for a union shop that’s doing no less than $20 million a year worth of work .

We pay our roofing crew per SQ not per hour. But I asked my production manager and he said based on your inexperience, $10 is about right…which is sad because that is Not a livable wage…especially not working a full work week. Can I ask if your crew is predominately Latino/Mexican? If so, that can have a play into roofing politics and can be a reality that won’t do you many favors. Install crews are soo competitve becaue they work for so little. Crews can be pretty exclusive too. Especially to a very young, white laborer. There can be money made in canvassing. But if you want to learn a skilled trade…you are stuck with the grunt work for awhile. But do it the very best of your ability. Show them. Don’t wine about pay…yet. Show your boss you are a hard worker, eager to learn. I don’t remember if you said how long you’ve been at this job. Learn to install shingles and then you will be worth more.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU! :slight_smile:

I WANT TO LIVE IN YOUR WORLD! This is not a reality at my company. We are small but awesome. I am the puppet master behind the curtain pulling ALL the strings and I don’t even make $18/hr…

Nice spam attempt. Your e-marketing guy is a moron.

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Spam attempt ? What low level operation are you people used to working for ,the company I linked doesn’t have an e-marketing guy ,they don’t even have a phone book add ,what they do have is over 20 Skytraks and 11 cranes in operation ,roughly 70 kettles and 2 dozen tankers ,you people are a joke ,a member emails me personally saying he isn’t even making $18 an hour and asks for help ,I send a link to the #2 roofing contractor who sends new hires to apprenticeship school and gives them high paying jobs as journeymen roofers and below grade Waterproofers & you call that a sad attempt at spam lmfao ,I now see this site is for small time residential shinglers who wouldn’t know how to run a 10,000 Sq pitch off and Tremco Thermastic on job if your lives depended on it ,have fun ,you just lost a journeyman roofer with 4 decades experience.

I am a woman, not a he…Didn’t private message you. No need to be rude and condescending, ma’am.