Spotlight on Specializations: Is Roofing Recession-proof?

Is Roofing Recession-proof?

Roofing is an important industry, with potential clients ranging from small homeowners to large corporations. A variety of materials are used in roofing as well, opening up opportunities for contractors to specialize in shingles, rubber roofing, metal and even tar applications. Because of how important a good roof is, some consider roofing to be “recession-proof.”

Is there any truth to this claim? If so, what is it that sets roofing apart from some other contractor specializations that feel the ups and downs of the economy so strongly? Let’s take a look at the roofing industry and see just what it is that makes roofing so special.

Is Roofing a Recession-Proof Industry?

Even when the economy is in a slump, roofs still need maintenance and repair. This is a big advantage for roofing contractors, since even if new construction is down. There’s always some work available. Heavy rains and storms highlight leaks throughout the year, so contractors have access to work for the entire calendar. Full new roofs are installed more when the economy is doing well, but even in the worst of times, there will still be patches and other repairs needed.

Given how essential a good roof is to the overall fitness of a structure, homeowner and business insurance picks up the tab for the new roof in most cases. This means that even if the economy ends up in really bad shape, roofing contractors are still getting paid for their work and still getting calls for insurance-covered repairs. Most roofing materials have a finite lifespan even without storms due to the abuse they receive from the sun, so there will almost always be work available.

Roofing as a Specialization

Roofing isn’t necessarily easy work and some contractors don’t like dealing with it. There are some liabilities and insurance requirements to consider since your crew ends up working almost exclusively off the ground. It can take a while to build up a solid work crew as well since not all laborers are cut out for roof work. Once you get your crew established, however, you’d be amazed at how quickly an experienced roofing crew can do an installation or repair.

This is part of the reason that roofing specialists are popular as subcontractors. General labor crews aren’t trained for most roofing work, and most general contractors don’t want to take on the added liability that comes with putting a crew on top of a building. Roofing specialists can often rely not only on the work that they generate directly but on referrals from general contractors as well.

The Future of Roofing

Roofing is an old profession and it’s one that is unlikely to become automated anytime soon. Provided that they do quality work, roofing contractors will likely always have business available even when the economy takes a tumble. Even roofers need to stay in touch with trends in technology, though.

One of the big up-and-coming technologies that affect roofing contractors is solar energy. In addition to roof-mounted solar panels, full solar roof systems are being developed that will convert the entire roof into a solar array. Roofing contractors need to know how to work around solar components as roof-mounted solar (and full solar roofs) will become much more common heading into the future. Along those same lines, learning to install solar panels and solar roofing materials can be a great way for roofing contractors to set themselves apart and tap into the growing demand for solar energy.

Should You Specialize in Roofing?

There’s a strong case for roofing as a recession-proof specialization for contractors. Not everyone is cut out to be a roofer, of course, and you and your crews may require specialized training and certification before you’re ready to install some roofing systems. If you decide that roofing is right for you and your business, however, you’ll likely have work coming in throughout the year, regardless of the ups and downs of the economy.