For too long, professional roofing contractors have been struggling to find ways to be sure their customersand potential customersknow how to tell the difference between their companies and the fly-by-night companies that continue to plague our industry. There are, of course, no easy answers, but there are some things to be done.
NRCA's current strategic planning process sparked a discussion about developing certification programsor some other measure of accreditationfor people who work in the industry. The programs would be developed, for example, for foremen, superintendents, estimators and safety professionals. Part of the idea behind their development is to show our industry's workers we take training, and their careers, seriously. Another part is to enable professional roofing contractors to tangibly demonstrate their commitments to being professional.
Details of the program are being developed. Most likely, we'll begin with a program for roofing foremen. It will include some prerequisite requirements, such as experience, as well as prescribed training and successful completion of an examination. This approach is consistent with best practices in the adult education field, and it will help consumers have confidence that the people responsible for their roof systems have the necessary skills and training to do the job right.
I know there are concerns about such a program. Budgeting time away for trainingespecially for foremenis difficult. And not all accredited foremen will necessarily be great foremen; the message to consumers will need to be properly framed. Yet we know people who enter the industry expect to be trained, want to have a well-defined career path and take pride in their profession. An accreditation program for them is consistent with meeting these objectives.
NRCA's strategic plan also identifies a need for promoting professionalismhaving NRCA develop a public relations effort primarily to homeowners and building owners telling the story of why using professional roofing contractors, such as NRCA members, is important.
As the industry continues to recoverslowly, for surefinding and keeping great workers becomes all the more difficult. And the need for professional contractors to tell their stories to their customers becomes even more important. I welcome your thoughts about our approach, as well as other ideas you may have.
Bill Good is NRCA's executive vice president.