Would like some advice on getting roofing experience

HI, I am interested in becoming a roofer. Problem is I don’t have any experience so I cant get anyone to give me a shot. I’ve applied for jobs on craigslist, and also checked out some of the yellowpages, but nobody will hire anyone with no experience.

What advice can you give me, I’m in Toronto btw.

Start as a grunt, go from there…guys ( around here anyways) always lookin for labourers…

Even applying for labour jobs seems like a crapshoot. I had a few ask for my resume, but of course say they are looking for experience after I send it to them.

Go to job sites and prove yourself…keep buggin them…

Is there no type of pre-apprentice program I maybe could join, how did you all get started?

i started in 1980 and it was hands on…

Best advice I can give is broaden your search.Contact roofing companies that sub contract work.Roofing crews here have a turn over rate like McDonald’s,

I have had decent luck with green horns,yeah I prefer a nailer or experienced grunt,but a lot of them have been doing things someone else’s way or they have pretty bad habits that prove difficult to break.

So sometimes a fresh mind with a strong heart and back is worth the risk.

In the early 80’s I was living in my car in Arizona, literally on the verge of starving. I had met a guy that told me the roofing company he was working for was hiring. I just went in and told them I had done a little roofing while working for an out of state company and just moved to the area… I made it about 3 weeks before they figured out I lied and got fired. However in that 3 weeks I learned enough basics to bull**** my way into a second roofing job. I think I lasted about 8 weeks there. By the 3rd company I knew what I was doing enough that they kept me around, heh. Hunger is a great motivator and I am a fast learner.

That being said, anybody I’ve met in this business with any brains just kind of “fell” into it. My advice is to focus your efforts elsewhere if you have a choice. This is a rough vocation and the body can only take so much… In any case, good luck!

I would contact the Roofer Union that represents your area/state. They will point you in the right direction. If you wish to roof, you will be trained through the apprenticeship program. When you become experienced and prove yourself, you will end up with a career with a pension and health care plan for long term economic health. Be the best you can be, not just better than those you work with.

I got into Roofing via My Uncle and he told me something that has stuck with me,“you got to want it.” Where are you located?

First off, Why do you want to be a roofer? it is a hard, rough job that will kill your back.

I got into it because my father is a contractor so i couldnt not get into it. haha. Bottom line is just keep bugging the companies and its going to require you to work for dirt cheap. Basically they can get cheap labor for tear offs anywhere, so you have to show youll work hard and the more you can lead and make things run better for them without them over you at all times the better. Its not hard to be better then those dirt cheap illegal tear off crews. its being cheaper thats the tough part. Just tell them you really need the work and your willing to prove yourself. just keep at it. and keep doing your HW on here so you have an advantage later on down the road.

Good luck!
Marc

I think you just need to clearly explain your proposition to a roofing company. If you really want it that bad, tell them you will work for free for a week, as a general laborer/gopher, and tell them if they want to hire you after the week, you’d love to work for them, and if not, thank you for the experience. I’ve personally done this when i wanted to learn things, and the very least you walk away with is someone that you can put on your resume (in the industry) who will vouch for you.

C&P of my response to your question on the other forum you posted.

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.

If you are near a city my advise would be to join your local Roofers Union. There apprenticeship programs are usually very good, and by the time you turn over “become a journeyman” you will know how to install almost any kind of roof and will learn from career roofers that take pride in there work. To me , my certificate listing me as a journyman roofer was better than a diploma from Harvard. Its critical to learn from good teachers otherwise you can learn someone elses bad habbits and bullshit ways that they think are right. Good luck .