Every serious industry has trade organizations. The entities are grouped by raw material producers, manufacturers, distributors, and retail. The retail contractor has local, state, and national groups to join.
These groups offer training gathered through collective and historical means. The training leads to certifications and even awards. Roofers that haven't done this are not serious about their business and are purely sales organizations that happen to be selling roofs.
Starting at the top, the National Roofing Contractors of America or NRCA, was founded in 1886. It offers training through its NRCA University and seminars held at conventions. Their newsletters are very in depth. Further down the pike are the the state, regional, and local chapters that many feel that is a better path.
The manufacturers rally around groups set up around their primary ingredients. Asphaltic manufacturers naturally rally around ARMA, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer's Association.
Steel has the Metal Roofing Alliance, the MRA, and wood has the Cedar Shake and ShingleBureau.
Over the last decade the manufacturers have set up their own certifications for the best and brightest to help them become even more so. The requirements vary but GAF, the company that knighted us as Master Elites, would only invite us if we had been in business for over six years, carried insurance, had a good local reputation, and could pass an exam. To keep that certification we must keep a scorecard with our customers. GAF handles this through spying and snooping. On top of this we must keep up a continual training.
Besides these numerous organizations there are a plethora of generic, specific, and general magazines in print and online. The Roofing Contractor, RSI, Professional Roofing by the NRCA, Roofing Contractor, Metal Roofing Magazine, Metal Roofing, and more.
Siding and window magazines exist also as do literature for every trade under the stars.
Professionals either seek out these groups or are sought out by them. If we did not pay attention to what is going on in our industry we could find ourselves out of a job.
One huge example is the new lead abatement regulations on remodeling of homes built before 1978. What this means for remodelers is life and death for their business.
When I read about this in Qualified Remodeler magazine I was spooked. $37,000.00 a day fines from the EPA if a certified lead abatement person is not on the job at specific times, removal and disposal regulations are not followed, chemical testing is not done, and the hoops are not jumped through properly. Lives are at stake here. Not just the physical and metal health of our customers and their children but my own financial one as well. Ecohome magazine also did a spread on this new ruling.
Alexis De Tocqueville was right when he said that democracies are slow to act but then overreact. (There goes my liberal arts education again.)
None of the roofing magazines ever mentioned this new ruling because for the most part it doesn't pertain to roofers but if one found himself removing six square feet or more of wood or metal edge he could be subject to massive fines.
The window and remodeling magazines have been discussing this but not the roofers.
That's why you join, study, and expand your knowledge if your going to be considered a professional. Otherwise you just sell widgets that come in bundles. You might not be doing it right but you also might get fined. If you don't have the foresight and moral fortitude to care about the children living under your handiwork, you might have it when it comes to your own wallet.
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