Business is going well, and that’s a good thing.

Your crews are so busy that you need more help, and you can’t find it. Now what?

There’s a huge labor pool that you may not be considering; most kids in high school are programmed to think about college as the logical next step. College isn’t for everyone, though, and more to the point, college incurs debt. That debt can be staggering in many cases (unless Robert F. Smith is the graduation speaker) and can take years to pay off. The current U.S. student loan debt outstanding reached a record $1.465 trillion recently and shows no signs of slowing down. On top of that, a college degree no longer guarantees a good job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest-growing job is that of solar panel installer -- and it doesn’t require a college degree.

A recent story in the Chicago Tribune highlighted the growing number of high school students not planning to attend college, because they aren’t confident that the investment will be worth it. The prospect of earning a living right out of high school, versus incurring debt for 4 years or more, begins to be very attractive. This coincides nicely with a real shortage of labor availability within the roofing industry; one of the largest workforce shortages in history. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, nearly 80 percent of contracting companies are in need of employees, but the industry’s workforce is only expected to grow by 0.5 percent annually for the next 10 years.

Roofing contractors need to start thinking about how they will set themselves apart from other companies competing for the same talent before they see decreases in productivity and losses in revenue. Companies that recognize and adapt to the rapidly changing demands of the workforce will be the ones to see business growth. Sometimes a business that has been relatively successful for many years can fall victim to doing things “the way they’ve always been done.” So, take a look around at your community. Contact local high schools in your area and ask to be a speaker at the next career day. Put together a simple presentation outlining the benefits of working for your company. Even better, make a video showing a day in the life of a roofer. Demonstrate the use of VR, drones and other cool tools you use, like business management/CRM software customized specifically for the roofing industry.

Explain your process for mentoring new employees, what a promotion track would look like and the marketable skills your new employees will be learning. Explain that you’ll commit to;

• Ongoing support, training and career advancement opportunities

Certification Programs and ongoing education

• Developing structured career paths with incremental wage increases

• Providing opportunities to contribute to overall business growth to all employees.

Hiring out of high school means you’ll be grooming employees to do the kind of quality work your company is known for, and treating those employees well means they’ll stick around to be part of your crew for the long term.

Story provided by AccuLynx, a leading cloud-based software application for roofing contractors. Since 2008, AccuLynx has helped thousands of contractors—from rapidly-growing start-ups to multi-location operations—streamline their processes and grow their businesses. For more information, visit