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3 Approaches for Training Unskilled Labor Crews

3 Approaches for Training Unskilled Labor Crews

3 Approaches for Training an Unskilled Labor Crew

With all the business and work-related duties involved for roofing contractors, sometimes training unskilled labor crews is not a top priority. While it would be great if every employee was experienced with every project that came along, the reality is that many unskilled laborers find their way into contractors’ crews. In order to help you gain the right perspective around this, let’s explore 3 approaches for training unskilled labor crew members.

The Right Perspective

Good leaders know how to delegate and roofing contractors depend on solid crew leaders to manage the individual projects going on at once. Because of the seasonal and random nature of roofing certain times will be busier than others. Likely, the times when it’s the busiest is when the unskilled laborers just hired to keep up with the work load will demand the most attention.

If you could prepare effective methods of training these unskilled crew laborers, the pool of applicants you could hire would open up. Also, the up and coming journeymen could expand their expertise and become valuable assets. Instead of requiring everyone hired to have so much expertise, hiring could be based more on character. Consider these three approaches:

  • Dedicate training journeymen
  • Basis for Hiring
  • Plan for the time it takes to train

Dedicate Training Journeymen

The big boss is the busiest guy on the contracting crew, so unless this is a smaller crew he isn’t going to be training anyone or even hiring. The crew boss or bosses need to do the hiring, but they’re too busy to be doing the training, especially considering they’re basically still training and supervising the upstart journeymen.

The answer is: there needs to be a solid journeyman roofer that has the right personality and is dedicated to train the unskilled (or under-skilled) laborers. This journeyman is promoted to trainer and the new laborer is told to shadow him until the trade is learned to the level needed.

This dedicated trainer journeyman is given a small bonus and also will feel more needed and useful to the crew overall. All the while the crew boss can focus on leading the crew and making the important day-to-day decisions to get the job done – without the interruptions caused by the new guy’s mistakes and questions.

Basis For Hiring

Does your ad ask for too much experience? If it does, you’ll either have a drought of hiring, get the guy that’s caused problems everywhere else, or get someone who lies about their “vast experience”. Mostly, you’ll get the guys who don’t have as much experience as stated and then have to train them extensively.

An effective approach in resolving this is to hire upon the basis of character more than the basis of experience solely. There could be an 18-year-old recent high school graduate who’s a born roofer, but just needs someone to take a chance and train him. Or they could be a convict who’s truly seen his error and would really appreciate the work. These types could be the best employees you’ve ever had.

If you have an effective training method and the right perspective around the time it takes to train, hiring could be based upon the good character of the applicants and not so much on the experience. This type of approach is how great crews are hired, and crews that are appreciative and work hard make you a lot of money.

Plan for the Time it Takes to Train

Ignoring the reality that it takes time to train an unskilled laborer doesn’t mean that laborer is suddenly proficient and can get the job done right. Some employees catch on quicker than others, yes, but either way there needs to be a certain amount of time allowed for the training of the unskilled laborers on your crew.

This likely will manifest in slower times for the project to get done, but if the other two approaches are adhered to this will be minimal. By planning for the time it takes to train the unskilled laborer, crew bosses and owners can have a realistic time-table for project completions.

Training is simply an expense of doing business, but you could approach it more as an investment. This investment hopefully will result in a skilled laborer, in which you can count on to be loyal and work hard for years to come.


Training the unskilled labor crew members doesn’t have to be a cumbersome task, yet neglecting this duty can lead to costly risks. If a job is done poorly or a customer is offended your company’s reputation then becomes at risk too. These troubles can be avoided by roofing contractors taking these 3 effective approaches in training their unskilled laborers.

We understand the importance of having a good crew and good products to get roofing projects done efficiently and professionally. Our auxiliary sloping product for various roof systems gives roofing contractors methods of solving ponding water without hassles. We believe these 3 approaches to training unskilled laborers will help create profitable crews. To learn more about RoofSlope visit our website.

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