Employee Becoming Competition? - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Employee Becoming Competition?

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Old 11-08-2012, 03:13 PM   #1
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Employee Becoming Competition?

One of my employees has told me he is interested in going out on his own. I am fine with this as I have thought he has what it takes just because of his work ethic. However, I don't think he has what it takes right now and I told him that.

I spent sometime yesterday showing him how much things cost. He never knew how much his hourly rate actually came out to. I feel like if I were to train him more on the business side, it would be a good thing for me because it is one less clueless guy out there.

Have any of you ever trained an employee to be your competition?
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #2
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

I help competition all around me. I was at a competitor's house last night helping him do a kitchen layout.

Contrary to some areas, where I live there is plenty of work. Sharing information that will make local contractors all better can't be a bad thing. It would especially help if a potential customer gets multiple estimates from us


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Old 11-08-2012, 03:29 PM   #3
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

Originally Posted by angus242
I help competition all around me. I was at a competitor's house last night helping him do a kitchen layout.

Contrary to some areas, where I live there is plenty of work. Sharing information that will make local contractors all better can't be a bad thing. It would especially help if a potential customer gets multiple estimates from us
That's why I don't really mind. As I said, I don't think he's ready and hopefully some insight into actual numbers may help. There's more than enough work around here and I'd rather have it be against legitimate start-ups.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:31 PM   #4
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

I have.. but I've never looked at it from a competitive standpoint. There is plenty to go around for everyone and I figure that if one of my guys goes out on his own, that means less responsibility and headache for me.

But I also say that if someone wants to go out on their own, it's not my responsibility to actively help them. In fact it would hinder them. It's really on the employee to pick my brain, come in early, work late, and do anything that he can to learn as much about my operation as he can.

Having said that, they would have to pay their dues before I let them see what goes on behind the scene. I discovered that they really don't get it and never will get it until they do it themselves. Otherwise they'll just resent me for not running my company the way that they think I could/should based upon what they think they know about being in business.
I'm always looking for the answer to my troubles at the bottom of a paint can.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

You may also be able to use him as a sub when needed. He will know how you like things done ect. Get em' green and pay em lean.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

Chris vs me
Im after fortune and frame

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:18 PM   #7
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

BamBam- basically I train virtually ALL employees to go out on their own.

A few Have been hired as strictly laborers- it's just a summer job to them humping shingles or shoveling debris in a dump trailer

But if they put on a tool belt ---then I feel it is part of my job to teach them everything they need to know to earn a living doing this.

Remember a few weeks ago,you mentioned you feel bad hiring anybody over 30 in this line of work?- I feel the same way.

Basically, I don't want to hire anybody as an employee in this line of work, if I see that they DON'T have the potential to replace me one day.

So-over time I show them what I charge, how we bill things out, what stuff costs, where we get it from, how I keep records and work our ledger etc.

Over time- how many have actually done it?-maybe 2 that I can think of.

But------- that ain't my fault- I showed them what to do-after that it's up to them!

I am scheduling May 2013 right now,
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:25 PM   #8
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

hey in every other industry all the 'competitors' work together... why is construction different?

Knowledge, is power... problem I have found however is that around here, very few contractors want to 'share' information with some one they deam as a 'threat' or someone who is gonna take work away from them... its weird.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:36 PM   #9
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

I will show or tell my guys anything they need or want to about my business most of the time.
If for example I land a plum of a job I will hold those numbers close to my vest no reason to make them think I am underpaying them.

I also let my guys use any of my equipment or tools for side work if they need it. My guys are young and hungry, I don't always feel like scheduling work every weekend so I will throw them some small jobs here and there and let them make a little extra.

I will tell them the scope of work how to lay it out what kind of money is in the job and how much time it should take them. I know for a fact that they will be going out on their own its just the natural order of things in this business.

I also know that my guys will do ANYTHING for me at anytime at the drop of a hat. I know that I am educating my competition so what I want the best that I can get for my money, besides I am getting older that nads aint what they used to be.

I am looking towards subbing most of my work in the next few years. Hopefully I will have a wealth of resources i.e. subs to draw upon that I have put out there and know what I stand for and will treat an old man right.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

Every once ion a while I'll let it "slip" to someone how much I am charging. They usually tell me it is too much. Then I explain how much it really costs to be in business and then they get it. If more guys charged a decent amount we wouldn't have to fight the lowballers as much.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:53 AM   #11
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

If your guy has the drive, he'll be out on his own sooner or later.

You can fire him or spitefully try to slow his progress to protect yourself...

Or you can be his friend and mentor him a little and keep an open relationship with him for years to come...

Either way he'll be out there. I'd rather have the friend.

"To pipe" means to install a plumbing system, not "to plumb". When someone says that they "plumbed the house in" I want to cringe. What you told me is that you held a 6' level against the wall.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:38 PM   #12
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

I ended up doing this work when my GC cut his fingers off...got out, got all his clients and no fking clue how to run a business. It's been 5 years...not long...no kidding CT has been way more helpful than he was. Contractors, even my friends, jealously guard their numbers...it's stupid, because there's enough work that we can all throw each other work and no one starves. I recall getting into this and giving someone a price based on my hourly working for someone else...and they gave me this face... Like, really? That cheap? Well, that was before I knew better, and before I had to fix all my broken tools...jeesh.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

Good relationships are always better than bitter ones. When you take the time to work with him he will have a lot or respect for you.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:57 PM   #14
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

It's not rocket science. Credits need to exceed debits. Just about anybody who has done roofing, plumbing, tiling...etc. knows the potential damage one can do, and the need to have insurance. Also, anybody ambitious enough to want to start their own gig, knows about licensing and workmans comp. It's simply a matter of choice. Odds are they will start without.

You want to start your own gig? Maybe we can form some type of partnership, otherwise "go-on, git"....Easier said than done, as I have been known to help out a friend who has been in a pickle.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:46 PM   #15
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

We all started somewhere right?

If the guy has the drive to go off on his own and he has expressed it to you, there is a really good chance that at some point he will.

Better to be on good terms than bad IMO. You dont necessarily have to teach him the business side of things. Bottom line is even if he does go on his own, he still has to get the work. He might find out pretty quick just how difficult it is. Might want to come back to you. Is he a good worker?

I still have a good relationship with the guy that showed me the business, I was straight up with him that i wanted to go out on my own someday the second day i worked for him. I would go out and pull a lead and ask him if he wanted to bid it, he would throw me a finders fee for the job. Id go with him for the estimate and thats how i learned the business side. (part of it anyway)

I never stepped on his toes, because he helped me. If i knew we were bidding against each other, i wouldnt take it. I even threw him a bunch of work when i left the area.

I know someday someone i hire is going to become a competitor, id rather help him and keep my network open.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:18 PM   #16
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

I wish someone would have mentored me in that way, and I bet you do too.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:01 AM   #17
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

So many nice people on this forum

In my experience the guys I would work for would protect themselves from extra competition as hard as they could, still remember how on of the guys I worked for the longest was yelling his head off on one of the foremans "I'll fvcking destroy you!!!" because he was gonna go on his own and wanted to bead on one of the condo frames on the big development site we've been working at the moment.

Maybe I wasn't lucky but I never had any of my previous employers give me any business info or teach me how pricing goes etc., and I don't blame them to be honest,
doesn't make much sense to me either to train my competition.
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:57 PM   #18
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

(3) of my former employee's now run roofing companies. When I moved I pushed our main cusomer to use one of them exclusively. They now hold an account worth over 400K a year.

These guys helped me grow my business so when I left I landed a golden egg in their lap. Before I left I would slap them around from time to time. Business is Business!

Needless to say, I love this business for the competitive nature of it. But when you get to know some of these guys. They bleed, fight, and sweat for you. When they express they would like to go out on their own I have always tried to help.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:35 AM   #19
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

Sharing knowledge is key to making you a better craftsman and it improves the overall integrity of the profession.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:19 PM   #20
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Re: Employee Becoming Competition?

The only competition you really have are the ones you allow. Its all mindset. Competition can become subs in a heart beat. Just takes the right client and a nice productive conversation.


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