5 Tips for Finding and Hiring Seasonal Employees

Build Your Business
Author: Dan Stout | November 4, 2019

Finding good workers has always been a challenge for the roofing industry, and this problem has only been amplified by the current labor shortage. The balancing act between being over- and under-staffed is even harder when you're seeing seasonal spikes in job volume.

Seasonal employee installs a metal roof
Seasonal workers help you sign jobs when demand surges.

Here's the good news: Hiring seasonal employees can be tricky, but like any skill, it's one that can be mastered. Once you have it down, the ability to expand and contract your labor force can lead to robust profits and satisfied employees.

With that in mind, here are five tips to mastering the fine art of seasonal staffing.

This Is Not the Time to Teach

Bringing on young new workers who require training is a time-honored way of growing your workforce. Unfortunately, the busy season is not the time to pick up apprentice workers.

When hiring seasonal employees, you want seasoned pros who can get up to speed quickly and operate with very little supervision. After all, it's your peak season, and you're going to be too busy signing contracts and keeping your jobs running smoothly to give instruction to someone learning the trade. The problem is that experienced roofers generally aren't looking for a job. So where do you find these pros hunting for work?

Chase the Storm Chasers

If your region has seen an uptick in storm damage, chances are you've seen crews of storm-chasing contractors roll through town. For the companies that you know to be trustworthy, find time to make some friendly connections with the crew leads and get their contact info. As you approach the next seasonal surge in roofing work, reach out to some of these seasoned pros and find out if you can incorporate them into your workforce.

Don't Poach, but Be Willing to Borrow

It may be your busy season, but that doesn't mean that every roofing contractor in your region is slammed with work. Other contractors may have schedules that don't move in the same rhythms. They may also see a big job fall through and have crews sitting idle.

Don't poach workers on the sly (remember, these short-term hires will be going back to your competition at the end of the season). Instead, approach your fellow contractors and see if they have anyone to shop out. They might be grateful for the opportunity to keep their crews working, especially when they understand it's on a short-term basis.

If you aren't comfortable contacting other contractors directly, talk to a trusted vendor. Suppliers have their finger on the pulse of the local industry, and are often happy to make introductions. After all, more crews at work is better for everyone.

Be Honest About the Timeline

When hiring seasonal employees, be upfront about the timeline. Being clear about the short-term nature of the work means there won't be hard feelings when the season comes to a close. If there's a possibility for full-time employment, you can certainly let them know, but don't dangle that possibility if it's not going to be a reality.

Use Your Best Judgment

As a residential contractor, you're working on people's homes. If there is any sign that a seasonal hire isn't trustworthy or doesn't have the skills to meet your standard level of quality, you'd best be rid of them as fast as possible.

Labor laws vary by state, so consult your payroll provider or HR consultant about the best policy for you. But don't let sub-par work or behavior spoil what might otherwise be a stellar busy season. Deliver quality work in a timely fashion, and you'll be able to ride the cash flow and goodwill of a peak busy season through the rest of the year.

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