Starved in Mass

I placed this ad on Craigslist.

“Professional roofer here, weeding out the career roofers from the day workers while its slow and the good guys are available. The following is a description of a professional roofer; have own transportation and valid drivers license, have a toolbelt equipped with a straight-claw hammer, tin snips, a utility knife, and a tape measure. If you tell me that you must be paid cash for any reason whatsoever, you are not a professional and I do not need you. Also, it is freezing out there right now, so if you do not have the proper outdoor gear you can not work. Must be a U.S. resident and/or legally able to work in the U.S. and provide proof. Probably a few gigs between now and April, then it’s off to the races. I will pay excellent money to the right skilled candidate. If this is for you, call 781-244-3317”

I got 19 calls in one hour. Called back 12 so far and theyre all family men with mortgages and more experience than me. All stating nobody will hire them for more than $15 an hour. 9 had trucks and enough equipment to start their own companies. Thats sad. The roofing industry is cutting its own skilled labor pool dramatically with these illegal workers in my area. At the current rate, without intervention, all the skilled workers are going to move on to other trades, and hacks are going to be very much the rule as opposed to the exception.

I refuse to contribute to this trend, but I fear there is only so long I can holdout before I too will have to move on. In conclusion, all of you in this to make a fast buck, I spit on you. In Massachusetts I will be lobbying tougher immigration laws.


SAdly Sev there is nothing we can really do. I agree with you and support what you are saying but to many people are in it for now and not the long run. I worked briefly for a company that had non legals working in the field and im telling trying to make them understand is like trying to win the lotto. Hope things get better for you.

What it comes down to is we got too big for our britches. We really are a low pay, low experience trade. Not many care about us or the job we do. We try to talk ourselves into believing we are a commodity out in the real world, but the fact is, the customer wants the cheapest roof and they don’t care who puts it on.
I think it started when people wanted to make a difference, they wanted to have everyone make good money and to be able to raise a family on a trades pay scale. Roofing, for the most part has always been the bottom of the barrel for workers and everyone in the trade. Heck, the prisons used to use prisoners to install roofs. What type of persons do you “usually” see applying or walking into your office looking for a job? I even had a guy walk up to the jobsite at 10:00 am. carrying a 6 pack of beer and ask for a job!! What other trade can a person think its Okay to do that?

Who are we to buck the system and try to clean it up?..because we think its the right thing to do?

I think most people do not like roofing becasue it is grueling work. It can get pretty technical when doing things right. Too bad most residential customer s do not care about doingthings right. they want cheap…until the cheap guys foul their roof up, then theyre beeching about quality. LMAO. Most people are idiots like this.

Sure, anyone can nail a shingle on…but when youre a true roofer, there is quite a bit more to it.

A lifetime of learning is required.

yea like knowing which tavern makes the best cheeseburger or what the hours of the local strip club are.or where to buy the best dope.these are this generations qualifications for roofers

I had another appilcant this last year that asked me if I could pay him cash because hes ripping off his disability and he didn’t want to mess that up?!

do you think IBM has those kinds of applicants? or even McDonalds?

Somebody call the whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaambulance , so it gets a little tough ,every industry has it tough. If you cant make it this profession - go broke -go work at Walmart ,good riddance. Me I hire only Legal American Citizens , Im hard to work for ,I demand Quality & Quantity, Therefore I pay my guys enough so they cant afford to quit . No one will pay them what I do , They also know that if they start crying like I see alot of you guys doing & complaining , I will Fire their butt. Making money in this business is easy, making lots of money is hard. Me I make more money than I ever dreamed. I run one crew 6-10 guys ,5 of these guys are just grunt labor , they come & go ,who cares. The Other 5 I keep. I Live in Michigan , in the 25 years i’ve been doing this business I have figured out it gets slow in the winter. I have learned to put away money in the fat times & enjoy the time off in the lean times. What do you guys expect someone just to hand it all to you? If you cant sell --get out of the business , if you cant manage —get out of the business . I know it seems to always be about the low bid —it isn’t. Im not the cheapest & Im not the highest bidder in my area but I do make a good living & my workers make a fair wage . Sure some people are always going to hire the cheapest—so what they deserve what they get. When they call me & what their 2 year old roof fixed that they or some Fly-By- Night screwed up ,I refuse to repair It but I do them a bid to tear it off & replace it & give them a warranty ,with the added bonus of I will be around to honor It.
If you sell on price —you better be the lowest— & dont try to sell them on you do quality work ( everyone says they do quality work) they all give 10 year guarantees ( even though they stared roofing 2 months ago). I dont hard sell but I do sell my self & I do ask for the job when I meet them . If you drop off bids or mail or fax them ,you are making a mistake , Secret Agent roofers are not going to make it , You have got to give them a reason to pass up the low-baller or they wont, none of you shop at the most expensive supply companies ( I bet ) unless they give you something the others cant or wont, we have to do the same & when we sell & yes you have to be a Salesman (or hire one) , you have to stand out . Well its to late to cut this short But the point is Its easy to get in to this business but its hard to stay—Its easy to make money but its hard to make lots of money … It cant be all easy this business isn’t for everyone ,even though they all think it is, But Fly_by_nights will come & go …so what…I only need 175-200 jobs a year anyways…I cant do them all.

Thats why i stick to sales. Less headaches, more money i think than if i owned the joint and im not stuck.

oldman, I’m from the area, there aren’t 6-10 legal Americans that want to roof in our area, let alone 5 grunts?!?!?!

whats the name of your company, that way I can decide if you are telling the truth. :twisted:

I only did 45 or so jobs this year, and had a pretty good yer of it, but I do stuff that nobody else seems to be able to do around here…make roofs watertight, and according to manufacturer specifications and industry standards. I hire only…well…me this past year. I am looking for an old timer to do repairs.

G-tape I will be easy to spot in the spring as I doubt any other roofer Will be driving a New Lincoln Mark Lt ( black) in our area . As for Legal labor All I do is advertise --last time I had about 50 applicants --none of spanish descent

aaron e-mail me i might have an old guy for you

Very interesting and enlighting post. Maybe if everybody puts a little of its own effort in order to hire qualified workers, we could get to a better situation…

Old man, I think youre full of crap. Why duck a direct question, like what is the name of your company? Michigan isn’t as to easy reference licenses as Mass. is so I wasn’t able to tell you how many licenses were granted in Cedar Springs, but I can tell you that I was only able to find a business telephone number for a handful of contractors that do roofing. I found 0 roofing companies registered with the Better Business Bureau there. You lack credibility when your answer is “you’ll be the only roofing company operating out of a lincoln.”

Hate to tell ya man, but a real roofers truck that doesnt break down cost far more than your Lincoln and I’m not bragging about it. As a matter of fact, since youre so status quo, I’d be happy to hand the payments over to you. It doesnt pick up many chicks, but it sure makes more money than a lincoln unless youre an executive limousine company. I think youre here under a newly created alter ego, thats what I think. And your veil is thin and half witted. Thats my take. Prove me wrong. I can prove my credentials, I’m not hiding behind an alias.

i apoligize, i didnt take the time to read the whole post. You seem like the real deal, it was the black lincoln part that hit a nerve with me. I agree with you on many parts of what you say, but you also can not speak from the experience here in Massachusetts. Its not just me, its good roofer I know, and every good roofing company I know around me.

Every single person that I have spent hours and hours with and proven my credentials that did not give me the job told me how they found an unlicensed, uninsured, non-taxpaying guy to do the job at a third of the price. I don’t care how much you show your work, your credentials, tell them they get nothing but a roof (no warranty), one third the price is tough to beat. I am not a high-bidder, the difference in the price is the cost for me to do business and try to pay living wages.

Thats wonderful that you can bang out 175-200 roofs a year, did you inspect all of them? I do the work myself, I can guarantee they wont need a warrantee. Regardless, none of this is relevant to the fact that the trade I once loved is subjected to the McDonaldization that it has. As a small business owner of a trade I love, my options seems to be steering me back towards a trade with no honor, tucking 3 points up executive america’s asses on their home loans so theyll have no money left for your roofing. I never liked doing that job, but its looking more enjoyable every day.

testing 123

Were in Mass and we take pride in having all Americans. in fact there working today.


jim, I’ve seen your work on here and its beautiful work. I’m glad things are well for you. Check out the company that I used to work for here; . got so rough called him up, he says he’s running with SIXTY less guys than every other year. Theyve been in business for 45 years, with most of their work coming from Harvard, MIT, Suntrust, and formerly Polaroid, just to give you some scope of what kind of operation they are. I’m not going to sit here and accept insinuations that I’m some shingle monkey with bloated prices that hacked his way out of a job and burned bridges, or that I’m too stupid to count. This is not a good time for roofers or roofing companies. I got four phone calls from a $12000 phone book ad, and everythings fine? I’m glad for anyone that is doing well, but I feel like I’m getting bashed for saying its rough out there, when in fact there is nothing that I can do about it.

oldman has a point,but it is getting tougher out there everyday,i dont know why he didnt name his company though,you figure he would be proud