Illegal workers in construction

How do you all feel about immigrant workers in our industry? Are they an asset or a problem?

The problem here in the midwest is the depressed profits from jobs. The companies employing immigrants are underbidding 90% of the work out there. Insurance companies paid $147.00 per square in 2000 for storm damaged homes here in St. Louis. (per State Farm). They are paying the exact same amount here in 2006?? Could the immigrant workers be suppressing the level of profits, due to the influx of cheap labor? Do I fire my employees and jump on the bandwagon? Or do I hang on to a sinking ship and wait for a bilge pump? :?

i think that there will always be the crooked market and the honest one…

Regardless of the inmigrants… here tear -off labor is made by 99% inmigrants and most of them are illegals everyone knows it no one really does anything… no one in their right mind would wanna do tear off as a living making the same money you could by working in a factory job indoors with air conditioning no risk of falling off a roof…

I think this is an unstopabble problem … you have two countries with very diferent economy… always they will want to come up north… i worked in mexico and wages are very low…

I am not an economist … but as far as beign asset or problem… well… in a way contractors here complaint about illegals how they bring down the roofing labor prices for everybody ( supposely problem ) . But then again half of their workers are illegals… ( they dont complaint about that ).

Same problem with lowbailers … cant fix it !! , cant change the world.

as far as you firing your employees… :expressionless: ??

thats a question you know the answer of…

Is a subject that has just as much solution as increasing gas prices i would say :mrgreen:

my wife was telling me about it. And then i tought well if all those millions of illegal workers… would get legal . they will all have to pay their taxes and that will be a lot of money… so it has to be an asset …

as far as work yes … if they have the same oportunity as citizens here… then everyone has to step it up cuz the hardest worker will get the job…!!

dang mexicans,
i say that alot in a fun good way.
the fact is, our country was founded on the backs of immigrants, just mostly comin from a different part of the globe.
but how soon does the immigrants become the very same people upset about the immigrants today. personally, my hart goes out to the indians. had all this land for god knows how many years, next thing ya know we just kicked their ass and took it. now the last time i checked ya got bombed for that kinda shit.
the way i see it if youve got alot of immigrants takin over alot of the work
that means theres alot of work goin on, and that can be a good thing.
i do beleive that you have to go back to three man crews maybe two for average house, take a little longer. in order to compete. make them use there own trucks.
i do all my roofs with a pickup truck holds 25 sq tear off. no dump bed.
im too and from the dump in an hour. 10 dollars they charge for pickups at the city dump.
so ya send two guys with one hour pay each and ten dollars for the dump,and see ya when ya get back.
so dont worry all us skilled guys are gonna be in great demand, and make alot a money one day.
cause mother nature will strike, and the good work will shine.
just gotta hang in there.

peace out.


Well my 2 cents here we go…

I could care less if they are legal or not with there workers. If i have been outsold so be it. It is a problem only if you look at it like one. 90% of companys running with them are a price selling company im not. I charge for everything and im not cheap. Im not for everyone out there looking for a roof. Im there for the customer that is wanting the job done correctly the first time. Not saying others dont do that, saying price is only a number. You get what you pay for. If they want to work for 8 bucks an hour let them. Im an EOE company but that being legal thing is important to me. I run a legit business and will not hire someone without a drivers lic., a SS card and a car/truck. Here is a question are these the companies that change there name every year too?

I’m with Pride on this. I point out the possible reasons a company may be lower than me (such as illegal workers, lack of insurance, inferior products, etc.), and by doing this, I have weeded out all of the price shoppers.

I sell like I buy. I personally do not shop price for anything, because I KNOW you get what you pay for. There are enough people out there that are just like me that understand that I have bills to pay too, and understand that there are costs to running a legitimate business. People that cut corners regarding permits, insurances, licenses, etc. have no boundaries as to how many corners they will cut in my opinion.

Very often I will explain it like this… you may not like what you’re hearing as far as price, but how many other contractors pointed out to you that there are things beyond their control that are unforeseen? Such as the possibility of rotted sheathing. Did they point this out to you? Sounds like bait-and-switch to me. What are they hiding? A person needs to know the worst case scenario before they get into the project in my opinion, because it really protects them and me. I don’t want to be stuck in a situation where a customer can’t afford to replace the sheathing, and I don’t think they should either.

Back to the subject, I am street smart and when I meet a double talking jerk that never really helps me know anything, I think I can spot him. These are the guys that hire the illegals and they’ll never beat me for a job that I want. Just like a customer doesn’t want an incompetent roofer, I don’t want an incompetent customer, those guys can have them. If you’re a PROFESSIONAL roofer, you should be paid like one. For all I care, they can see my tax returns. I have no guilt or shame for doing it right and making them pay the price for my product.

I like the whole imigration thing cause without it would be no killer italian food in my neighborhood or Mexican food or chinese food. As far as Mexican roofers go… you can’t just assume that they are WOP every time you see them. Some of them cats know more about America than some of us.

I’m glad to hear thoughts on this subject from everyone. I guess time will tell if this is detrimental or not to the economy. Maybe if they are given legal status, they may branch out to other fields or industries and equal things out? Time will tell.

A valid point also. The problem is, they ARE illegal. However, there IS supply and demand and maybe we’re not in a position to know what the supply and demand is. Anyone that hires illegals is in a position to lose whatever they may have gained. I’ll stick to the high ground and maintain it. I can’t go backwards. The cheaters do lose everything, even when they seem like theyre riding on a big white horse.

Thats my take.

I swear that you sound exactly like my next door neighbor.

One summer, he and I were getting bids to paint our homes which are about the same size/type.

The normal average rates were about 4-5,000 bucks. My neighbor gets an estimate for $12,890.00 and he contracted that painter citing almost verbatim what you said above.

In the days to come, the funny thing for me was watching the “painter” drive up each day to paint the house in a very nice large almost brand new mercedes :mrgreen:

Yes, we all have bills to pay but it’s NOT the bills that we all have to pay but rather the SIZE of those bills :mrgreen:



joe 123 what do you do for a living? Im a professional roofer. I do not drive a Mercedes. I drive a 1998 Dodge Ram truck with an extended cab so I can do my job and pick my kids up from school. I own a cottage that needs to be paid for before my knees blow out and I can’t roof anymore. I have two college educations that will need to be paid for in ten years. Why should I accept a lesser life for being a roofer? Don’t bash me because I demand my share of the American Dream. If you want to live on social security and die a financial burden to your children, go right ahead.



I don’t drive a mercedes either, but yes my wife was smart enough to buy our current house when it was dirt cheap which now goes for well over a million bucks here - probably 1.5+. Large house with large patio, pool, jacuzzi and waterfall, fire-pit, gazebo, balcony, the list goes on.

You mention having to pay for things. I understand. A number of years ago, I went back to school when I could not get ahead anymore. I paid for my own schooling while working full time and studying full time and then took on another part time job to pay the extra bills. The family had barely enough to eat at times. We were young then it was hard on us, but in the years to come, it paid off with me being able to advance further and having a much better standard of living working in the computing business.

I did not have the luxury of having a business from which I could pass on my costs unto my customers in inflated prices so that they would pay for my school, so I had to get extra jobs while keeping my current job and attend shool at the same time.

I am not inferring that you are doing this, but what I am saying is that I see honest hard working individuals probably such as yourself and I also see High Bidders using scare tactics on consumers in order to justify their OVER INFLATED prices which really goes to paying for those expensive things such as a mercedes.

Aaron you funny guy. If you are going to quote me, please do it right at least. 1 mill would be cheap. Mine is about 1.5+ judging from other current sales in the area.

Illegals in construction offers a problem no on likes to talk about. I’ve yet to see a set of plans and specs or a set of building codes in any town or city in Spanish.

I was on a jobsite a few years ago where a basically self supervised crew of Mexican guys were being used on a complicated architectural design…to erect the structure. This included steel and deck. I don’t know for a fact they were illegals, but I do know that one guy who was in charge spoke halting English and the rest seemed to have no comprehension of the language at all. The deck had more waves, dips and rolls in it than Salisbury Beach at high tide. At one point, they attached the eave/overhang to the building. It was supposed to match up with the rest of the roof; it ended up being about 2" higher than the rest of the roof. Bear in mind, we were supposed to be putting metal roof panels on this thing, not single ply. At one point, they were actually cutting holes in the roof deck, unbolting structural steel already in place and banging on the beams with sledgehammers, trying to move them into the correct spot! The whole thing was a mess. Of course, the GC tried to turn a blind eye towards it all and make up apply roof to this completely f’d up monstrosity. You know how it goes…cheap price and bury the defects before someone important notices. Unfortunately, the roof is often looked at as the blanket that covers the lumpy bed. They didn’t get away with it, but boy did it make for some grand arguments for several months. Thank God we documented everything.

The fact is, unscrupulous GC’s and sub’s alike use these guys that don’t have clue one how to translate a set of plans. Political correctness and considerations aside, this strikes me as extremely dangerous, especially if these guys are set lose on foundations or anything structural. I’d hate to think that someone died in a building collapse because the guy putting up structural supports couldn’t read the plans.

Well, I repsond to you that I was smart enough to be a great roofer in a time when it seems everyone is selling Kmart roofs. If you sell your home for 1.5 million knowing you bought it for $300,000 ten years ago, how does that make you better than one of us if we sell a superior roofing product than our competitors for twice the price as them? It’s no different, you just don’t have a handle on your apparent moral superiority complex you need to satisfy. Funny thing is, you’re talking about honest hard working people and in every post you recommend an insurance claim that will surely raise the rates for this honest hard working person. You come off like a hypocrite with no real point ever, except the hidden message behind your message somewhere that you’re a bad judge of character and got burned by a contractor somewhere. Why do you come here? You never have any roofing advice worth hearing! Why don’t you go find a site called or something? Maybe somebody there will think you know what youre talking about.

No moral superiority here, just some plain old basic common sense that I can spot HIGH BIDDERS each and every time - it’s like sh*t that just stinks up so much it’s hard to miss.

Your saying that I am contributing to insurance claims going up. Let me bring you back to Earth. Around here, close to the beach and in other areas close to the hills, extremely expensive homes are built which nature destroys over a short time - over and over again the homes are re-built on soft ground which keep giving way.

Guess who is paying for those extremely expensive home to be built on soft ground that gives way every so many years. Guess why Insurance companies keep insuring these people - No, they have not forgotten, they still keep insuring those homes - over and over again. Why do they do this?

In my old age, I have noticed that true HIGH BIDDERS always get angry and extremely mad when the words HIGH BIDDERS are mentioned.

Works like a charm. :mrgreen:

It may be true that high bidders would get angry, but I have not yet read an angry post in response to joe123.

A lot of a lot of disgust toward a self righteous, antagonaist, but never anger.

Well since it was brought up, actually i dont get mad nor ever care i think it a compliment. Sorry no anger here just think this is funny as all.