A recent survey has revealed what many roofing contractors are already keenly aware of: roofing is the hardest contractor job in America.

CraftJack, a lead-generation service, recently conducted a survey of 1,609 contractors and 652 consumers to ask them to rank 32 different types of contractor work. The survey sought to answer the question of which type of work is the most physically grueling and which is the hardest to learn and master.

Roofing topped the list as the most physically demanding job, with 13% of contractors ranking it above all others. This was closely followed by demolition (11%), carpentry (7%), drywall and insulation (7%) and cleaning (6%) to round out the top five.

Interestingly, consumers responding to the survey held similar opinions. A total of 20% of respondents said roofing is the toughest job and demolition (15%) is the second toughest. From there the list diverges from the contractor responses, with drywall and insulation ranked third (8%), excavation as fourth (8%) and landscaping (7%) as fifth.

Steve Little, CEO of KPost Roofing & Waterproofing, had words of encouragement for his fellow contractors at 2019's Best of Success conference on working such a tough occupation.

“It’s a big risk, hard work, and we need to be proud of our industry," Little said. "We need to be proud of what we do. It’s good stuff.”

While roofing was considered the most physically demanding, both contractors and consumers didn’t believe it is difficult to master when compared to other contracted jobs.

When asked what job they believe is the most difficult to master, nearly a quarter (23%) of the contractors listed electrical as the hardest. Next was carpentry (13%), HVAC (7%), cabinets and countertops (6%) and masonry (4%). If roofing made the list, it was lumped in with “other” (21%).

Consumers were mostly in agreement with contractors on what type of work is hard to learn and master. More than a third (38%) said electrical is the hardest to master, followed by carpentry (12%), HVAC (9%), cabinets and countertops (7%) and plumbing (6%). Again, roofing was likely placed in the “other" category (21%).

One of the more fascinating results of the survey came from asking contractors if their own specialty is the most physically demanding.

Bearing in mind that roofing was listed as the most physically demanding job overall, contractors who specialize in painting (61%), carpentry (54%), electrical (49%), carpet cleaning (49%), and cabinets and countertops (45%) believe their jobs are the most physically demanding. Roofing didn’t make the top 10.

Similar patterns emerged when asking if they think their specialty is the most difficult to master. The top five were flooring (36%), cleaning (30%), carpentry (27%), carpet cleaning (21%) and landscaping (20%). Again, roofing did not make the top 10, though it’s interesting to note that carpentry was ranked fourth in both physically demanding and difficult to master.

A spokesperson for CraftJack said 152 of the contractors (9%) who responded to the survey identified as roofers. Perhaps this means that roofers are humble about the difficulty of their work, but National Roofing Contractors Association CEO Reid Ribble believes there is no need for such modesty.

“We’re trying to figure out how to get you to feel differently about your business because we know this: when you respect who you are and what you do … it’s contagious,” Ribble said at 2019’s Best of Success conference.

Visit CraftJack.com for more detailed survey results.