Getting into the trade

My names Timothy I’m 22 years old from Wisconsin, and I was just wondering if anyone could tell me the best way to get into roofing. I knew a guy a few years ago that did roofing and he told me he went to school for it and that’s how he got into it. However, I checked a few websites for tech schools in my area to see if they had any type of programs for roofing and I didn’t really find any. There were some programs for construction/general contracting and civil engineer stuff, but not particularily for roofing. I also looked on Wisconsin Job Net and all the roofing jobs available list that they pretty much want you to know what you’re doing and have some experience. ANY ADVICE would be appreciated. THANKS!

hey tim,
your just going to have to find a local roofing company, and ask them to hire you, that you want to
learn the roofing trade.
someone will give you the chance.
just keep askin.
the economys a mess rite now so dont be dicouraged
if you dont get hired rite away.

oh yeah,
frequent this site. youll learn alot here.


go to school and become a lawyer,or a all the roofers in the world your smarter than them.

hymm. Well my advise is to start drinking heavilie then flunk out of school or you could wait till you are paroled out of jail then take up on a roofing crew.

“In Jest of course”

There are aprenticeship schools for roofing and sheet metal believe it or not it is true. I attended Local#33 in Boston and got a journyman certificate after compleation of the program. I am also a slater and got a higher rate and had a S on my union card. Of course I stopped paying union dues and was suspended LOL. come to think of it they owe me $. In short there is no better school than working on a good crew.

dude all i can say is worry about getting paid the most thats #1… and well i noticed that over the yrs of doing this …the more people i roofed with whether it was with some people i worked for , or worked for me the better i get and notice i say “get” because i still haven’t stopped learning…now i focus more on setup than the actual technique to get the job done as smooth as possible …start furthest point from dumpster etc… and trying not to move equipment to much unless needed… good luck i love roofing, but the trade doesn’t pity fools that don’t save their money for winter

Tim, you are still a young man and Wisconsin is a seasonal market for roofing (9 working months if you are lucky).If you want to be in the trades I would recommend looking into plumbing/HVAC or electrical. Both trades pay well and are easier on the body when you get older. The roofing business has a lot of downside.

[quote=“gweedo”]hey tim,
your just going to have to find a local roofing company, and ask them to hire you, that you want to
learn the roofing trade.
someone will give you the chance.
just keep askin.
the economys a mess rite now so dont be dicouraged
if you dont get hired rite away.

oh yeah,
frequent this site. youll learn alot here.


Good Advise

…Roofing can be much much more than seasonal and you can reap big $$$ if you learn the roofing, waterproofing and sheetmetal trade

In Germany learn roofing in school for roofing. The time of learn is 3 year`s. For this time have a contract with a roofing company. I the United States learn by doing.

Sounds like a better way…

This is a hard and long good way. The learn beginning over loot very different materials for roofing, carpenter and flashing. When this time is out, then came one examination in theory and four pices in practice.

how come when ever someone menchins getting into the trade, Rooferboss who whatever his name is gets so pissed an says stay in school… are you mad that u didn’t or osmething. chill out, he doesn’t want to be insulted hes asking a question, just answer the question then put in ur opinion.

look in the yellow pages, and newspaper, or even on this website theres a link for some jobs. just tell them u workout ur in shape. i was a wrestler in highschool and got hired at the age of 18 with no experience… start with the small companies too. may is probly the best month to get hired becuase thats when business picks back up.

thank you, HFIELD

You really should go back to school Hfield.

His name is RoofBoss and he is correct, this is very good advice.
He knows this business very well and the people that are involved in it, good and bad.
Perhaps he knows something you don’t?
I for one am certain that he does.

Getting an education is always an advantage.
It is best to continue your education soon after you complete high school.
It is much harder to pick it up later in life.

If you put off your education you may find a decent job, you may get married, you may have children.
After all of this happens you have all the responsibilities that go along with them.
Now it will be much harder if not impossible to afford an education, much less make time for it, and still take care of your family.

Going to college can be the best part of your life, The chances of you meeting a nice educated Lady will increase dramatically.
This Lady will have good earning potential also.
You will meet quality people that will become lifelong friends, or perhaps contacts that will serve you well in the future.
There is no downside to an education, nobody can ever take this away from you.
With an education you will have advantages over people who don’t, in a very real, tangible way.
You will have a more secure future because of it.

Unfortunately America does not stress this enough, our schools are crap compared to most of the developed world.

After you get an education you can still be a roofer if you desire, there is nothing wrong with Roofing.
An education will make you a much better roofer also.

Look at Meki, he comes from a country that values education, his English may not be that great yet but I bet it is much better than your German.
They even have a dedicated school for roofing in Germany, he is probably a better more knowledgeable roofer than you can ever hope to be.
I bet that Meki would do much better in a standardized test also.

If you cannot see the value of an education I feel sorry for you, you are truly ignorant.

i think roofboss wasnt so serious.
oh well ,
better him than me.


Hey caballero69 what makes you interested in roofing? I’m curious as to what aspect(s) interest you? If someone is looking to hire an employee with experience and the only you are the only applicant, I would think your odds of employment go up. Sometimes help wanted adds generate two phone calls, sometimes a 100.

I would suggest staying on the commercial side of the business,your body will last longer than if you pick up shingling.Good luck,you’ll learn this business is to hot to cold or to windy,not to mention back breaking.


There are a lot of ways to get an education with out going to school.

Roofing is a very peaceful occupation. It is good for the soul.

I have the least amout of school time in my company. I am the only one in my company who does not have a high school diploma. In the office or the field.

I own and run the company.

An formal education gives you an advantage to a point. I read a lot of biographys. An education is not the leading trait in being a success.

I dropped out of high school half way through Junior year with a 3.5 GPA. An illness in the family forced me to start roofing full time a year in a half before I wanted to. My teachers called several times along with the principal, dean of students, and Navy recruiters. Dropping out was a mistake but I’ve been very blessed. My wife also dropped out in her Junior year with a good GPA and now she manages a restaurant, she’s also been blessed. Being good with people and a decent GPA (can’t be that dumb!) may have something to do with my success as a roofing contractor.

By 19 I ran a roofing business with my father and by 21 I had my first 6 figure year. At 22 I went solo, by 23 had a roofing license and by 24 was incorporated. The money didn’t come easy though as every dollar was earned with my hands in the first several years.

Now I’m 28 and have most things I’ve always wanted in life realistically. Getting the trust of the home owner is key. Back in those first few years the home owners must have really been trusting to have me tear off and roof their half million dollar homes.

Most all aspects of my company are unconventional by most standards. For example in 07 recall seeing less than a handful of signed contracts although did 60+ tear offs. In the past 500+ roofs I’d venture to say less than 10 signed contracts in front of me. In the past million dollars or so in labor charges I’ve been stiffed for $2,300. For me it helps to be able to walk the walk. With mainly insurance work in the past two years it’s easy “selling” against washed up used car salesman, vacuum salesman, and realtors. Run one add in a phone book which costs me $1,200 per year, average one job per year from that resource. 95% of the work is word of mouth.

There are two things you need to ask yourself:

Do I want to sling shingles until my body gives out?


Do I want to learn the trade, learn what it takes to properly manage a crew / manage people / keep the trains running on time / use my brain 75% of the time & my body 25%?

You have to get a solid foundation on the nuts 'n bolts of what makes a proper roof (& there is no such thing as two houses being identical with what ails them). AFTER you get the mechanics of the structure, then maybe you are ready to work on your sales skills. That means being able to do a lot more than be a slick operator— it actually means MUCH more & the exact opposite.

Be honest.
Be realistic.
Set expectations properly.
Don’t lie.
Don’t oversell.
Try to exceed those expectations @ every possible turn.
& What I consider to be the # 1 best seller: Get organized.

That’s my take on it, anyhow.

Lefty, Doug,

I have no doubt that what you say is true.
You are individuals that are above average.
Not everybody has natural talents…

Look back on your life, you worked hard for everything you have, you earned it.
The hard way…

Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t have done better going to college and studying something that interested you?
Would your life be a little bit easier?
An education is always an asset, no matter what you do.
It is best to do it when you are young.

Lead these young men in the right direction, they can become roofers at any time, you know this.
Let them get an education first.
It is more important.

There is a never ending supply of guys that have no goals, no drive…
America needs more educated people, we are competing with the world now, not just other Americans…