Roofer jobs(Also known as Roof layer, Roofing technician)
A roofer is somebody who installs and repairs roofing, guttering and fascias on a commercial building or private property. A roofer is usually a self-employed individual who completes repairs and installation of complete roofs or roofing materials for a property. A majority of small, local roofers work with flat felt roofing because it is the least complex in terms of time required to be on site. This is referred to as the domestic market, and incorporates garage roofs, dormer roofs, shed roofs, fascias and guttering. Roofing companies who offer to work with a complete variety of roofing materials can find themselves working in slates and tiles, EDPM (plastic), sheets and cladding, GRP (fibreglass), zinc, lead, copper, coatings, and even highly-specialised materials such as thatching. There is also often a demand for moss removal, which along with the installation of fascias, is a key additional service which roofers can offer. Some companies are now starting to receive enquiries for the installation of photovoltaic roofing panels as part of a renewable solar system, so the industry is evolving in new directions in this respect.
SalaryBased on discussions with several interviewees in the UK Midlands area, a reasonable pre-tax net profit for a self-employed roofer with over four years of experience is in the £25,000 to £30,000 range. The salary is highly sensitive to the cycles of growth and recession, as customers tend to put off repairs when the economy is slow and spend on their houses to try and realise additional value in times of “boom.” A roofer who is employed by an established firm can expect to receive around £16,000 per annum. This is based on an average of searches on at least three job search web sites. A labourer is typically paid at minimum wage. In the UK, this is currently £5.93 per hour for workers aged 21 and over, £4.92 for those in the 18-20 age category, and £3.64 for young workers aged between 16-17 (source: DirectGov UK).
- Provide a quotation for the installation or repair work, including guttering and fascias
- Arrive at customer’s site at agreed time and place
- Procure materials necessary to complete repair
- Maintain tools and safety equipment
- Complete repair work in line with customer requirements and agreed scope of work
- Observe strict health and safety practices, particularly when working beyond the first storey of a house
QualificationsMany self-employed roofers are unqualified beyond GSCE level, although further education can be of benefit for those who wish to set up their own small business. An A-level in business studies can be of great help in terms of managing and marketing one’s own business, and will help the sole trader to maximise profitability and minimise risk as they go about establishing and building their business from the ground up.
- Have a common sense attitude to health and safety at work
- Have a desire to see a job well done, and a happy customer who may become a repeat customer
- Understand what is required in order to complete the repair as necessary
- Have knowledge of all of the roofing materials being worked with
- Be prepared to start early and finish late to get the job done
- Be prepared to work weekends when required
- Be able to drive the company van, if required
- Enjoy, or at least tolerate, working outside in all weather
Working ConditionsInstalling materials to the upper parts of a house or commercial property is potentially one of the riskier jobs in the construction industry. Roofing technicians working in teams must be aware of each other’s actions at all times and maintain a strong sense of positioning and responsibility. The job involves a lot of ladder and scaffold work, and those working on larger commercial projects will have additional responsibilities placed upon them in terms of legislative requirements. All roofing companies must have public liability insurance to continue to trade with affiliation to the roofing association. Many roofers comment that the job is completely safe, which would seem to be contradictory to the number of “roofing accident claim specialist” companies which have sprung up in the last decade. Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times, as it may mitigate serious injury during a fall.
ExperienceNew entrants with no experience or qualifications often begin as labourers, as this is a good way to learn about the construction industry, learn some roofing skills and prove to an employer that the candidate is reliable and able to become a roofer.
Career ProgressionSelf-employed roofers often consider expanding their range of services in order to “spread the net” for winning future jobs; this can span from the typical one-man-band all the way through to large companies with several hundred installers working in crews on large commercial projects.
EmployersThere is not one single company recognised as being the market leader in the UK. Most firms operate locally rather than nationally below a certain size, and the industry is competitive at this small-company tier, making growth beyond a local market quite difficult.
Stephen Raynor is a highly-experienced roofer, and runs his own company called Nottingham Roofing Services. He works mainly in the UK Midlands area.