Roofers don’t like change and technology tends to scare them, so they fight it, the same way a toddler resists potty training. A three year old has been pooping in his diaper his whole life and never seen a problem with that. And we all know that shingler who swears he can hand bang a roof faster than any kid with a nail gun.

The problem is that we know change is needed. Technology has entered the industry (finally) and if you aren’t using it, you are falling behind. There are now solutions available for estimating, inventory, time tracking, safety and more. We know a toddler cannot wear a diaper to kindergarten and we know there are more efficient ways to get our work done. Here is how you can accomplish both in 5 easy steps.


Learn what all the options / strategies are before you pick one. Think about what the problems are on your end, likely you are sick of all the crap (literally and figuratively) but it’s important to consider things from the child / workers perspective. If your child isn’t into stickers, than a sticker chart just isn’t going to work, even if it checks off all your needs. If you can find a solution to the issues you face that also makes the lives of your workers easier, you will have more success. Make work programs do not go over well.


Choose a solution that is customizable to your company’s needs. We wouldn’t just expect a toddler to use a toilet the way it was designed, we provide them with step stools and potties and smaller seats. You must do the same for your workers. There will be less resistance if it feels familiar. If once the worker opens an electronic form, they see the same questions they have been answering on paper for the last 20 years, it suddenly isn’t as scary and they gain confidence in their own abilities.


Find out who the influencers are in the group and use them to your advantage. If your child looks up to their older cousin, get that cousin to tell them how cool it is to pee in the toilet. Before you deploy the solution to the entire team, test it out with one or two workers who the rest look up to, and who talk… a lot. Collect their feedback on the system and make changes based on it, this will get their buy in. Then, two things happen: One, they spread the word positively about the new system at ground level. Two, when there’s resistance to it, and there will be, your influencers naturally become advocates for the system and shut down the resisters before they get carried away.


We wouldn’t hand our toddler a manual on potty training and expect them to learn it and we wouldn’t (at least we shouldn’t) do the same with roofers. Training needs to be hands on, and whenever possible, delivered in person.


When a toddler successfully makes it to the potty for the first time, we clap and cheer and give high fives. Do the same with your workers. All too often roofers only hear about corrective behaviour. Use positive reinforcement to your benefit, get out that sticker chart you made but replace the gold stars with cash prizes, because a little bribery can go a long way!

Change is hard, but it’s a part of life that we must learn to deal with no matter how old we are. If we put some time and thought into the changes we implement and properly prepare our children and workers, our chances of success increase exponentially. This industry in particular is changing, quickly. To find out more about what to expect and better prepare your workers, join us for our next webinar on Oct 2nd ‘Roofing – The next 10 Years’. Once registration opens, you will be able to do so Here.

Sue Drummond is a Customer Success Manager at Harness, an app focused on helping contractors better manage their health and safety program. She is also a mom, blogger, and past roofing small business owner.