It’s cliché, but if you take care of your employees, they will take care of you
There are many issues roofing contractors face within the industry today, and the roofing labor shortage is just one hurdle they must overcome.
As the owner of Storm Group Roofing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dmitry Lipinskiy knows how to establish pay systems that benefit both laborers and business owners.
Lipinskiy says that without a sound pay structure in place, production will suffer as a consequence, and that could be perilously damaging for a company.
“If you don’t have production figured out, or if you have shortage or quality issues, sooner or later it will catch up with you and it will be a contributing factor into the failure of your business,”
Here then are five ways roofing companies can avoid the pitfalls of losing quality workers to their competition, and in turn, immense profits.
1. Pay good wages
We all want to be paid well, but finding the right number can be challenging for a business owner, especially if they aren’t aware of what the competition is paying to labor crews.
In this case, Lipinskiy advises owners to pay two to three times that of the minimum wage in their state.
“You don’t want to have the reputation of being a cheapskate,”
“You want to pay bonuses, but unfortunately, even if you’re paying $50-60 an hour, you’re probably still going to have an issue finding good employees.”
Keep reading to learn why finding good employees in the roofing industry is challenging!
2. Create a “ticket” program and incentive programs to make more money
Lipinskiy also says that paying a fair hourly wage is not enough incentive to keep good crews in-house.
He adds that in addition to paying good wages, it is also key to create opportunities for laborers to earn even more money because without those incentives in place, skilled laborers will eventually find a company who compensates them beyond just their market value.
“If you’re a skilled tradesman, you will always have opportunities to make more money on the side,”
says Lipinskiy, noting how there are ways for business owners to retain good crews.
“If you’re the business owner, what you can do is create opportunities within your company. When you pay an hourly wage, sooner or later those guys are going to start taking too many side jobs or they’re going to go on their own, but if you create opportunities within your business and guys know they have almost unlimited earning potential, the harder they’ll work and the more efficient they will become.”
3. Be reasonable with how much you “keep” for headaches
As a business owner, it can be tempting to take a bigger percentage of the ticket price.
For some owners, they cite the fact that as owners they absorb all the risk, and hence is why they need to take more money from the overall ticket amount.
But Lipinskiy warns that if owners begin keeping too much of the profits for themselves, eventually the labor crews will feel undervalued and walk away.
“It’s okay for you to make more money than your employees because you take more risks, but the problem is if you’re driving a $100,000 car and your business is so small that people feel like they’re paying for that car, before you know it, they’re going to be leaving your company.”
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If so, how do you structure your pay for crews?
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4. Create jobs at all cost
Another reason why it is difficult for business owners to retain quality crews is because they cannot schedule enough jobs to meet the demand of the crews.
It’s well-known around the roofing industry that if an owner fails to provide enough jobs for their crews, those same crews will move on to another company.
For Lipinskiy, he will do almost anything to keep a good crew in-house, even if it means only breaking even on certain jobs.
“Sometimes you have to take jobs, not for yourself, but for your team,”
“I cannot tell you how many times in my career I took a job from a homeowner just to keep my guys busy.”
5. Create good offers for the market
One way to keep both crews and homeowners happy is to become involved in roof repairs.
Some companies scoff at doing repairs because they don’t yield high profits, but there is an immense value to doing repairs, notably when small repair jobs later turn into full roof replacements.
One company who has mastered this aspect of the roofing industry is Tyler Griffin of American Home Contractors in Virginia.
Lipinskiy shares the same philosophies regarding roof repairs as Griffin, and it’s undoubtedly a huge factor for why these two have been successful in their respective markets.
“For years, I’ve been telling everyone to do repairs. It’s not only where the money is, but that’s where the demand is as well,”
“If you want to solve the labor problems in the roofing industry, you have to be a service repair company.”
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