How Do I Become a Roofer?

Tips & Advice
Roofer adding shingles to house

All traders that specialise in building have the potential to make a very successful career from their talents, and roofers are some of the most sought-after tradespeople on the market. This means that becoming a roofer can be a very lucrative career path.

However, deciding that you want to become a roofer is only the first step – like any industry, roofing is a trade that requires skill, knowledge, and hard work. Even so, it is possible for anyone to try their hand at becoming a roofer regardless of background. What is important is the investment of time and resources.

This guide has been designed for those who are looking to take their first steps into the professional world of roofing, as well as anyone who is unsure of whether or not they want to become a roofer. We’re here to tell you that, with enough time and effort, getting your foot through the door of the roofing industry can be relatively simple, straightforward, and worthwhile.


What Skills or Qualifications do I Need?

Becoming a roofer doesn’t necessarily require you to pursue any particular qualifications, though picking up the right skills and gaining experience is absolutely key. An established roofer would ideally have the following qualities:

  • A solid reputation within and around the local community as a roofer or general tradesman.
  • Excellent time management skills and notable budgeting capabilities.
  • The ability to install and repair different types of roofs, gutters and chimneys
  • Great communication skills, demonstrated by outstanding customer service (i.e. positive reviews and good word of mouth).
  • The strength to lift and move heavy objects consistently throughout the day.
  • Plenty of experience using both hand tools and power tools, as well as knowledge of how to use roofing equipment.

As a beginner, you may not possess all of this – particularly the network of satisfied customers. It is important therefore to get your name out there by using social media as well as asking friends and family to recommend you. If you know any other tradespeople, ask them to put in a good for you too – they’ll more than likely be happy to if you also return the favour.

What Would be My Responsibilities?

Replacement of old roof with new roof tiles

The job of a roofer is to repair, maintain and construct different roofs for both commercial and residential buildings. You can choose to specialise in one or the other, though this may limit what you can do when you’re starting out. Your responsibilities may include:

  • Repairing or maintenance work
  • Thatching or repairing of older, more unique materials
  • Filling in leaks with cement, mortar, or a more specialised and appropriate material
  • Installing solar panels, insulation, and other rooftop features
  • Figuring out project timeframes, budgets, and order schedules
  • Restocking materials
  • Knowledge and respectful following of all health and safety rules and regulations

Do I Need Experience?

Roofer replacing tiles at house

Experience is ideal when it comes to being a roofer and working as an assistant or apprentice to an established roofer is by far the best and most valuable way to drum up this experience. Working for other roofers helps you to gain a lot of knowledge of the trade as well as make more of a name for yourself amongst customers in your area.

Roofers will most likely appreciate competent and enthusiastic candidates looking for experience onsite. Choosing a roofer with good reviews means you’re more likely to find yourself working alongside someone who is respectful, capable, and knowledgeable – the perfect mentor for you as an up-and-coming roofer.

Don’t worry about competition, either – roofers tend to be part of networks of tradespeople on and offline. In fact, they may appreciate having another member of the industry who will be able to promote them, which you may find yourself doing if someone comes to you with a potential job that you cannot carry out due to scheduling conflicts or budget limitations.

Can I Get Further Training?

Apprenticeships exist for roofers, and these are far superior to most lines of education when it comes to learning more about roofing. With most trades, hands-on work is the best way to learn, especially if you can join a larger team with more experience, as they will be able to help ensure you do everything you are asked to do properly.

A college course is another option; you’ll still get practical experience, but this will be accompanied by more learning – very helpful in its own right, but not necessarily the best course of action if you weren’t someone who particularly enjoyed education during your school years. If you did enjoy school, however, you may prefer the less hands-on academic approach. Courses are also excellent places to start building up your network of contacts.

Want to know where to start with courses? Check out the NVQ Diploma in Roofing Occupations. Subjects include installing flashings, roofs, tiles, resources, and health and safety – all crucial subjects to learn for any budding roofer.

What Would Be My Hours?

You decide – roofers are usually subject to their own timescales, but keep in mind that customers prefer efficiency, and working only 10 or so hours a week is likely to net you a more negative review. The average working hour for a roofer with a full set of contracts and jobs is between 35 and 40 hours a week – if you want to keep up with the competition, these are the hours you’ll be looking at.

Keep in mind that certain times of year will be slower than others – autumn and winter aren’t ideal times for roofing projects, which means it’s best to pack the majority of your work into the spring and summer months. If you’re just starting out in the roofing business, it’s best to set off at the beginning of the calendar year, giving you plenty of time to get some work booked throughout the warmer months.

How Will I Progress?

Once you’ve established yourself as a working roofer, the best way to progress is simply to keep doing a good job for your customers, as well as taking a small amount of time a day to maintain a business presence online. When it comes to spreading the word to potential customers, having a positive reputation is the only true way you’re going to stand out.

When you’ve completed a job, be sure to ask satisfied customers to leave a review for your company online. Even if a job hasn’t gone so well, maintain politeness and an approachable character at all times – everyone has bad days, but it’s how you deal with them that matters. Meanwhile, keep your socials busy, your website up-to-date, and word of mouth spreading as much as possible.

How Much Can I Earn as a Roofer?

Like any job, your annual salary will largely depend on your skills, experience and where you live. A new apprentice is likely to earn on average £11,300 a year but this can quickly increase to £24,000 when employed by a roofing company to £42,000 if you are the owner.

Of course, there is always the option of going it alone, after you have built up the experience. Average sole traders in the UK make £66,000 a year, before tax and expenses with net earnings of around £40,000.

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