If you've ever wondered how much money employees at other companies are making, rest assured you're not alone. At Roofing Contractor, we wanted to gauge the compensation packages for various positions in the roofing industry, so we conducted the 2006 Salary and Benefits Survey.



If you've ever wondered how much money employees at other companies are making, rest assured you're not alone. At Roofing Contractor, we wanted to gauge the compensation packages for various positions in the roofing industry, so we conducted the 2006 Salary and Benefits Survey. The survey was first conducted in 2000, during a period of high employment and booming construction growth, and we wanted to see how salaries had held up over the last six years.

The survey was conducted by the market research division of Roofing Contractor's parent company, BNP Media. Overall goals of the survey included evaluating current salary levels and benefits offered by roofing contractors, determining how many full-time and seasonal workers they employed, and finding out how often performance reviews were conducted.

The survey was sent to a random sample of 6,300 active, qualified domestic subscribers with the job title of president, vice president, owner or partner. The overall rate of return was a solid 6 percent, with 62 percent of those respondents listing their title as president and another 25 percent listing their title as vice president or general manger.

The Companies

The company profiles of those participating in the survey broke down this way: 34 percent of respondents identified their principal business as commercial/institutional, while 23 percent did primarily residential work. Another 40 percent listed both residential and commercial work. (See Figure 1.) Eleven percent of respondents worked at union companies, while 89 percent were employed at nonunion shops.

Most of the companies have been around a while, as 89 percent of them had been in business for 10 years or more, and 31 percent of those companies had been in business 30 years or more. The median age of companies participating in the survey was 22 years.

The companies' annual sales volumes are detailed in Figure 2. Some 40 percent of respondents cited annual company sales of $1 million or less, while 25 percent of the responses came from companies with between $1.1 million and $3 million in sales per year. Twenty-four percent cited annual sales in excess of $5.1 million, compared to just 8 percent in the 2000 survey.

When asked how many permanent workers were employed during peak periods, 44 percent of respondents listed fewer than 10 employees, while 17 percent had more than 50. Eighteen percent had between 10 and 19 workers, while 21 percent employed between 20 and 49. The median number of permanent employees for companies in the survey was 12, up from eight in the 2000 survey.

When it comes to seasonal workers, the median figure for seasonal employees in 2000 was seven; in 2006, the median was eight. Seventy-three percent of the respondents indicated that employees received performance appraisals at least once a year.

Annual Salaries

Survey respondents were asked to list the annual salaries of the president/owner, vice president/general manager, salesperson/estimator, superintendent, foremen and mechanics. As might be expected, median salaries saw an increase across the board between 2000 and 2006, but in some cases the percentage increase was below the rate of inflation over the same period. In the most recent survey, the median annual salary for company presidents or owners participating was $84,000, up from $60,000 in the 2000 study. Twenty-three percent of respondents indicated that the president/owner earned $50,000 or less, while 40 percent earned between $50,001 and $100,000. Twenty-four percent earned between $100,001 and $200,000, while 13 percent earned in excess of $200,000. (See Figure 3.)

The annual salaries for the position of vice president/general manager are contained in Figure 4. Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated the vice president/general manager earned more than $65,000. The median salary for the position was $76,500, compared to $63,500 in 2000.

The breakdown for annual salaries for salespeople/estimators, superintendents, foremen and mechanics appears in Figures 5 through 7. The median salary for the position of salesperson/estimator was $60,000 (up from $45,000 in 2000). The median salary for superintendents was $58,000 (up from $45,000 in 2000).

Statistics revealed that 28 percent of foremen earned more than $50,000 per year. The median salary for foremen was $45,000, while in the 2000 survey the median salary for foremen was $35,000. The median annual salary for mechanics in the 2006 survey was $35,000 (up from $28,000 in 2000). Fifteen percent of mechanics in the survey earned $27,000 or less, while 32 percent earned more than $40,000. When respondents were asked if they had ever paid an employee more than he or she was worth to prevent the worker from leaving to join a competitor, 42 percent of respondents said yes - up from 36 percent in 2000. (See Figure 9.)

Benefit Plans

Respondents were given a list of benefits such as vacation time, health insurance, sick time and profit sharing and asked if these items were part of the compensation package for employees at the company. Options included "fully paid by the company," "partially paid," and "not provided." The results are shown in Figure 10. The number of companies fully or partially covering these benefits either held steady or showed a slight improvement over those offered by roofing companies in the 2000 survey. However, with the exception of paid vacations and health insurance, the benefits listed were not provided by the majority of contractors participating in the survey.

Paid vacation was the most popular perk listed, with 59 percent offering fully paid vacations and another 11 percent partially funding vacation time. These results are almost identical to the findings of the 2000 survey. The number of companies offering health insurance also held steady. Health insurance was fully funded by 27 percent of companies in the recent survey and partially funded by 38 percent, compared to 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in 2000.

Paid sick leave was fully or partially covered by 46 percent of companies in the 2006 survey, compared to 39 percent in 2000. Life insurance, profit sharing, dental insurance, continuing education, vision insurance and a cafeteria plan were not offered by more than 60 percent of the companies participating in the survey. (Some respondents did list other perks not mentioned in the survey, including holiday pay, year-end bonuses, incentives, and payment of union dues.)

Comments

Some contractors pointed out that salaries and bonuses were contingent on their company's profitability, so compensation varied from year to year. Several survey respondents ventured that salaries did not reflect the hard work and responsibility jobs in the roofing industry entail. "I think wages are lower than they should be," commented one participant. "We will need to make them more lucrative to attract younger workers to the industry."

A few contractors pointed to the use of undocumented workers and fly-by-night companies who paid their workers in cash as reasons for low wages. One noted, "The bulk of my competition pays cash or under the table, so it would be impossible to measure our industry as a whole."

Others felt that in a tight labor market, some workers were overpaid. "To keep employees," commented one participant, "it seems we must overpay them for what they are qualified to do because of the labor shortage."

On the other hand, one respondent commented that the salary of his foreman was a bargain, "as a foreman's work is never done, and in the long run a good foreman is worth his weight in gold."

Another summed it all up this way: "Most of us earn every penny we make, from the president to the laborers."

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