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Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For

 
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:54 PM   #1
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Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


i`m 60
been self employed contractor since i was 29.
seems like it was easier to find decent , normal guys
i do interior remodeling , from doors and millwork install , to kitchen and bathroom remodeling. back in the day i had 6-8 guys, and did full gut , and remodels, for a handful of designers. , and did well, but, obviously i`m not a good business man. its shame ,i`m good , skill-wise , clients like me , and fair . i`m over-run with calls for work , all referrals.i can`t keep up.
ready to give it all up , and go work for someone , and i haven`t done that in over 30 years

i usually put an ad ( mainly in craigslist) like this:

looking for carpenter/helper/s

let me know what experience you have , and in what area ( if i say what i do , they all say " i can do that")
let me know what tools you have ( be specific)
what type of vehicle you have .
what area you live in

resume if you have it .

i don`t care -young - old -white-black-latin (i speak spanish , i`m in miami , you have to.)

i seem to not be asking the right questions
the last 6-8 years i`ve gone through so many guys.
granted ,, i`ve scaled down
so its usually me , and 1 or 2 or 3 guys.
and the subs
this year , i`ve gone through 8 guys .
i had a guy for 6 years , he quit with no notice because of a bad back , and sciatic nerve problem.
before him i had a guy for 14 years .

since then i`ve gone through the 8 guys .
i easy going , i expect a good job , but i don`t yell or scold , or chew guys out.
i try to pay in the $16-$20 an hour range.
every guy has had drama, or issues
half quit with no notice
one guy practically cut his entire hand off on my miter saw the first 4 hours of the day
the guy i just hire was great , but he wants me to pay cash only , because he`s on unemployment, and doesn`t want to lose the benefits of it because he has a wife and kids.
other decent guy was from 40 miles away , decided it was to big of a commute
other -late every single morning 15-40 minutes . he disappeared with no notice. called 2 weeks later and said : sorry , i someone in the family died "... ( w.t.f.??)
one had a teaching masters , but loves carpentry, but wants to work only a few days a week to help mom , and dad who still do this trade
i`m so gun shy of hiring ,
i need help at this age.
ideally i want 2-4 guys , and be just the salesman , and co ordinator,
but i cant` let go of the tools .
maybe i`m outdated , or just not good at reading people early ,( hard to admit these things , but hey , i really don`t know you guys personally , so why not )

is it me ?
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:59 PM   #2
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


There are a couple of things that stand out here...

1. You're over-run with calls for work, all referrals, and can't keep up... RAISE YOUR PRICES.

2. If you think $16-$20 is a good wage for SKILLED help, with their own tools, own truck, you should consider RAISING YOUR PRICES to accommodate increasing what you're offering on the wage scale. Are there any other reasons that would keep a good worker and make it a career choice to work with you as opposed to another in the chain? Benefits, retirement, bonus, vacation days, etc. Consider... The guy you have now that you're paying cash to, is the equivalent of paying someone in the range of $20-$25 loaded costs (or about 20-25%) and he STILL wants you to break the law so he can keep his unemployment (potentially screwing another employer in the process BTW).

Most likely you're getting what you're paying for... the guys who are worth more aren't even going to respond. Consider this... would you? What would that Craigslist ad need to say to get you to call (including compensation)?

3. If you're still in contact with the 6 & 14 year guy, consider giving them a call and asking why they stayed with you for that length of period. It can give you insight.

4. You made the statement that you want 2-4 guys, and just be the salesperson, but can't let go of the tools... at this stage of the game, time to make a choice... someone needs to manage those 2-4 guys... that can be you to start but you're going to need a lead at some point, so you can sell and manage the company to keep them employed and they aren't going to do it for free. Research average compensation packages for leads in your area. Offer to pay 5-10% more. Start planning for it now... get ahead of it by getting 3-6 months Capital Reserves/Emergency Fund set aside. How? You already know how to live on what you've been charging/making... so RAISE YOUR PRICES and every dime goes towards developing those things...

5. In the interim, a way to hone your management skills without burning good hires once you're able to invest in them, is purposely use temp help services that have a focus on construction services.

6. You don't need to be asking questions on Craigslist (consider help wanted ads)... you need to be projecting what would excite them about working with you... you can ask all the questions you want when qualifying on phone or interviewing in person.

WE'RE BUSY and are HIRING FULL TIME! If you're already a skilled carpenter and/or looking for an opportunity to break into the trades as a helper/journeyman, we're looking for:

SKILLED CARPENTER - Pay Range - $XX - $XX (Depending on experience)
(add whatever qualifications you're looking for)
- 3+ years hands-on experience
- Own tools for the trade and dependable vehicle
- We serve the following area(s): Miami, (List others if
applicable), but we meet at our shop each morning,
located at (wherever)
- Spanish Speaking a plus
- Advancement Opportunity available for right candidate
- Raise after 30 days of skilled performance
- Etc.

JOURNEYMAN/HELPER - Pay Range - $XX - $XX
- Someone interested in entering/learning the trades as a
career
- Hard worker but also a quick learner
- Full Time pay requires Full Time effort
- The best in the business started right where you will
- You will learn trade skills from a 40-year veteran
- Raise after 30 days of hard charge performance

EOE (equal opportunity employer) - (says all you need to say instead of all the other stuff)

NEXT STEP? Send us your resume to... [email protected] or call us at (your number)
The overwhelming theme of the above, if you haven't figured it out, is to make ALL OF IT happen, all costs goes through your customer, so you'll need to RAISE YOUR PRICES...

Best of luck... 8^)

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Last edited by KAP; 05-19-2019 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:38 AM   #3
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP View Post
There are a couple of things that stand out here...

1. You're over-run with calls for work, all referrals, and can't keep up... RAISE YOUR PRICES.

2. If you think $16-$20 is a good wage for SKILLED help, with their own tools, own truck, you should consider RAISING YOUR PRICES to accommodate increasing what you're offering on the wage scale. Are there any other reasons that would keep a good worker and make it a career choice to work with you as opposed to another in the chain? Benefits, retirement, bonus, vacation days, etc. Consider... The guy you have now that you're paying cash to, is the equivalent of paying someone in the range of $20-$25 loaded costs (or about 20-25%) and he STILL wants you to break the law so he can keep his unemployment (potentially screwing another employer in the process BTW).

Most likely you're getting what you're paying for... the guys who are worth more aren't even going to respond. Consider this... would you? What would that Craigslist ad need to say to get you to call (including compensation)?

3. If you're still in contact with the 6 & 14 year guy, consider giving them a call and asking why they stayed with you for that length of period. It can give you insight.

4. You made the statement that you want 2-4 guys, and just be the salesperson, but can't let go of the tools... at this stage of the game, time to make a choice... someone needs to manage those 2-4 guys... that can be you to start but you're going to need a lead at some point, so you can sell and manage the company to keep them employed and they aren't going to do it for free. Research average compensation packages for leads in your area. Offer to pay 5-10% more. Start planning for it now... get ahead of it by getting 3-6 months Capital Reserves/Emergency Fund set aside. How? You already know how to live on what you've been charging/making... so RAISE YOUR PRICES and every dime goes towards developing those things...

5. In the interim, a way to hone your management skills without burning good hires once you're able to invest in them, is purposely use temp help services that have a focus on construction services.

6. You don't need to be asking questions on Craigslist (consider help wanted ads)... you need to be projecting what would excite them about working with you... you can ask all the questions you want when qualifying on phone or interviewing in person.

WE'RE BUSY and are HIRING FULL TIME! If you're already a skilled carpenter and/or looking for an opportunity to break into the trades as a helper/journeyman, we're looking for:

SKILLED CARPENTER - Pay Range - $XX - $XX (Depending on experience)
(add whatever qualifications you're looking for)
- 3+ years hands-on experience
- Own tools for the trade and dependable vehicle
- We serve the following area(s): Miami, (List others if
applicable), but we meet at our shop each morning,
located at (wherever)
- Spanish Speaking a plus
- Advancement Opportunity available for right candidate
- Raise after 30 days of skilled performance
- Etc.

JOURNEYMAN/HELPER - Pay Range - $XX - $XX
- Someone interested in entering/learning the trades as a
career
- Hard worker but also a quick learner
- Full Time pay requires Full Time effort
- The best in the business started right where you will
- You will learn trade skills from a 40-year veteran
- Raise after 30 days of hard charge performance

EOE (equal opportunity employer) - (says all you need to say instead of all the other stuff)

NEXT STEP? Send us your resume to... [email protected] or call us at (your number)
The overwhelming theme of the above, if you haven't figured it out, is to make ALL OF IT happen, all costs goes through your customer, so you'll need to RAISE YOUR PRICES...

Best of luck... 8^)
.
i
the ad comments might help , i should elaborate a bit .
the reason i do the ad that way has worked for this reason .
it makes the guy elaborate on what he is doing , and is his expertise. sometimes you get 30 or more calls, so it cuts that number down drastically , when you see some are concrete , or metal framers for instance .
i don`t a specific pay in mind . i just try to listen , and get a feel for what they know , but all of them bluff.
i`ve started so many at $17 or more , and find they are barely a helper
i have no problem paying more than that

YOUR DEFINELY RIGHT ABOUT " CHARGE MORE "
I`VE HAD THAT ISSUE , AND ITS MY OWN FAULT.
i tend to look at a number , and think " that looks awful high" and start questioning my bids . totally my own fault
still don`t know what the right hourly wage to charge in miami for remodeling , or day jobs .
i have a feeling i`m on the low side

the 14 year guy died ,
the 6 year guy had to quit , he had a sciatic nerve , and back issue.
i do have a great guy , but he is only part time , he also has a part time city job , so he can only give a half the time a week
i over simplified by mistake
i would run the guys , and be sales guy
i`d always show up every day , and go through the project , and run , anbd get materials if needed .( the only negative about remodeling , is , its not like a specialty trade where you can give your guy the address , and say " go there , and
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:22 AM   #4
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


$20 an hour would be tough for anyone decent up here.

In a phone interview, ask the about the most difficult door install and trim they did, then ask them what tools they used, or something like that.

My masonry buddy would wash off a hawk, then hand it to the new guy to use. If he didn't dry it off before loading it, the guy had no experience.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:08 AM   #5
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by woodspike View Post
.
i
the ad comments might help , i should elaborate a bit .
the reason i do the ad that way has worked for this reason .
it makes the guy elaborate on what he is doing , and is his expertise. sometimes you get 30 or more calls, so it cuts that number down drastically , when you see some are concrete , or metal framers for instance .
i don`t a specific pay in mind . i just try to listen , and get a feel for what they know , but all of them bluff.
i`ve started so many at $17 or more , and find they are barely a helper
i have no problem paying more than that

YOUR DEFINELY RIGHT ABOUT " CHARGE MORE "
I`VE HAD THAT ISSUE , AND ITS MY OWN FAULT.
i tend to look at a number , and think " that looks awful high" and start questioning my bids . totally my own fault
still don`t know what the right hourly wage to charge in miami for remodeling , or day jobs .
i have a feeling i`m on the low side

the 14 year guy died ,
the 6 year guy had to quit , he had a sciatic nerve , and back issue.
i do have a great guy , but he is only part time , he also has a part time city job , so he can only give a half the time a week
i over simplified by mistake
i would run the guys , and be sales guy
i`d always show up every day , and go through the project , and run , anbd get materials if needed .( the only negative about remodeling , is , its not like a specialty trade where you can give your guy the address , and say " go there , and
Good you're recognizing the raise the price issue (you need to if you plan on hiring anyone)... one of the best ways to get around the "that number seems high" mentality is to really know your numbers... when you hire more, your expenses by definition will go up necessitating increasing your prices to accommodate them... so instead of looking at a number and saying "that seems high", instead look at the number and confirm that the number meets what you need to be in business... THAT's what that number should represent... "that looks high" is just another way of saying you hope everyone is your customer... they're not... only the ones that can support what you need to charge to be in business are... hard one to shift mentally for some as we all like to think we're the be-all to everyone...

As to the hiring qualified help, it seems you're back to this...

"Most likely you're getting what you're paying for... the guys who are worth more aren't even going to respond. Consider this... would you? What would that Craigslist ad need to say to get you to call (including compensation)?"


Answer that honestly and you've got a baseline to start from of like-minded individuals with experience as well as a qualifying tool for what you're really looking for... after all, you're replacing yourself...

Last edited by KAP; 05-22-2019 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:00 AM   #6
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


thanks Kap.
i need to hear this
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:07 AM   #7
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by woodspike View Post
thanks Kap.
i need to hear this
After 35 years, and having been there before, more likely you already know this info... but sometimes when you go solo or smaller, your thinking shifts to a retail mindset for some reason...

Just a reminder in your case...
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:50 AM   #8
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Look up any social media they may have a lot can be gleaned there.

I read this morning people applying for a visa to come to America have to provide all social media accounts for the last 5 years
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:15 AM   #9
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Don’t advertise pay rate , say something like pay according to experience.

Let the prospects give you a number , this might give you a better idea what you will need to pay for help in your area.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:59 PM   #10
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


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Donít advertise pay rate , say something like pay according to experience.

Let the prospects give you a number , this might give you a better idea what you will need to pay for help in your area.

thats what i do
but maybe my problem is deeper than that ..
i still don`t have a handle on the rates in miami , after only 30 YEARS DOING THIS !!

we have a big illegal issue here.
people can get work done so much cheaper , so all of us are at different planes as far as what to charge .
i truly don`t know what these other guys charge .
how do you know , short of asking a competitor.
i definitely don`t think i'm charging enough.( we`re on a whole new issue here i know )

i do want to pay the right rate , i do lean on my guy/s a lot .

i had 6-8 guys for years , but as i`ve gotten older , i just can`t seem to get the larger jobs as much , and can`t enough guys busy
technically , i`d like to have 3-4 guys again , and just be a hands-off over-see`er , and estimator.

sorry employees, but most of you suck these days !
no work ethic! no respect!
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:48 PM   #11
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by woodspike View Post
thats what i do
but maybe my problem is deeper than that ..
i still don`t have a handle on the rates in miami , after only 30 YEARS DOING THIS !!

we have a big illegal issue here.
people can get work done so much cheaper , so all of us are at different planes as far as what to charge .
i truly don`t know what these other guys charge .
how do you know , short of asking a competitor.

i definitely don`t think i'm charging enough.( we`re on a whole new issue here i know )

i do want to pay the right rate , i do lean on my guy/s a lot .

i had 6-8 guys for years , but as i`ve gotten older , i just can`t seem to get the larger jobs as much , and can`t enough guys busy
technically , i`d like to have 3-4 guys again , and just be a hands-off over-see`er , and estimator.

sorry employees, but most of you suck these days !
no work ethic! no respect!
It's irrelevant what others are charging... you have to charge what YOU need to charge to be in business... if you want to make $75K/year and another guy is happy to make $50K/year, that one metric alone is going to necessitate you charging more than him to be in business... now, add the 3-4 guys to the mix, with loaded costs, insurance, etc. and the difference of what he charges as a solo act versus you with employees is even more irrelevant... the two different companies are no longer serving the same client base in most cases...

What that means is you need to change your strategy from finding any customer you can for just wages, to finding customers that can support YOUR business (including employees), not theirs...

The good news for you is, you said you're mostly referrals and you know you need to charge more... as you're most likely aware from experience, referrals are generally in the same demographic, so once you move up, you'll find the support for your pricing you need long term among you referral base...
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:28 PM   #12
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


During the interview, if I decide the guy is a good fit, I always ask-
ď what do you need to makeĒ?

Iíve found in my almost 40 years of contracting- the good tradesmen know their own value- and Iím happy to pay what they ask.

The vast majority of the time, things have worked out well, if not the ones that donít make it decide to leave on their own

A happy employee, one who doesnít have to worry about the bills has always made us money

And the word of mouth is positive, which always helps
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:11 AM   #13
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Ask "if they gonna press charges" in case they screw up and you will send them to the emergency room.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:35 PM   #14
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


If it's you, it's me too. I feel your pain. And all I can say is methamphetamine.

That's what it boils down to.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:22 PM   #15
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP View Post
It's irrelevant what others are charging... you have to charge what YOU need to charge to be in business... if you want to make $75K/year and another guy is happy to make $50K/year, that one metric alone is going to necessitate you charging more than him to be in business... now, add the 3-4 guys to the mix, with loaded costs, insurance, etc. and the difference of what he charges as a solo act versus you with employees is even more irrelevant... the two different companies are no longer serving the same client base in most cases...

What that means is you need to change your strategy from finding any customer you can for just wages, to finding customers that can support YOUR business (including employees), not theirs...

The good news for you is, you said you're mostly referrals and you know you need to charge more... as you're most likely aware from experience, referrals are generally in the same demographic, so once you move up, you'll find the support for your pricing you need long term among you referral base...
i hear you .
still working on it
give me a break !
i`m only 60!
been only hiring employees since i was 27!:blink
i`m a slow learner .

been slowly up-ing my prices
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:41 PM   #16
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


most people ask us various things like first of them is how much we will charge for the work. second which material we will be using. they ask if we really have employees that means we won't be hiring casual labors. they ask us about our previous projects or the projects like theirs if we have worked on.
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:44 PM   #17
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by madrina View Post
If it's you, it's me too. I feel your pain. And all I can say is methamphetamine.

That's what it boils down to.
Pills here crush em and snort em then steal your tools and pawn them for more pills.
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:41 AM   #18
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by 402joel View Post
During the interview, if I decide the guy is a good fit, I always ask-
“ what do you need to make”?

I’ve found in my almost 40 years of contracting- the good tradesmen know their own value- and I’m happy to pay what they ask.

The vast majority of the time, things have worked out well, if not the ones that don’t make it decide to leave on their own

A happy employee, one who doesn’t have to worry about the bills has always made us money

And the word of mouth is positive, which always helps
. This is sound advice for the guy who knows how to pick the right guy . Let's back up a step from keeping happy employees to hiring the right guy to keep happy.

I struggle with this too in the sales department. My problem lies in the fact that many commission based jobs are too stressful for the typical person"accustomed to hourly".

I just spent 2 long weeks training a guy that couldn't wait around for a commission check... One commission in the area we were working was minimum of $7500.

He quit to take an $10 an hour job at night an hour and a half away from his house. .. just dumb.

But people who think so small can't see the forest for the trees. And nothing you can do to change that.

He told another one of my sales people that if I wanted him to be driving around to all these houses that I needed to give him a gas card. Lol.. I printed out 10 pAges of independent contractor info for him and handed it to him when he got back to the office.
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Old 06-14-2019, 11:24 AM   #19
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Re: Hiring Advice . What Do You Ask For


Quote:
Originally Posted by madrina View Post
. This is sound advice for the guy who knows how to pick the right guy . Let's back up a step from keeping happy employees to hiring the right guy to keep happy.

I struggle with this too in the sales department. My problem lies in the fact that many commission based jobs are too stressful for the typical person"accustomed to hourly".

I just spent 2 long weeks training a guy that couldn't wait around for a commission check... One commission in the area we were working was minimum of $7500.

He quit to take an $10 an hour job at night an hour and a half away from his house. .. just dumb.

But people who think so small can't see the forest for the trees. And nothing you can do to change that.

He told another one of my sales people that if I wanted him to be driving around to all these houses that I needed to give him a gas card. Lol.. I printed out 10 pAges of independent contractor info for him and handed it to him when he got back to the office.
If you're paying out the commissions anyway, hve you considered a draw schedule in the beginning while they get up and running?... they're no different than anyone else in that they have bills to pay (including putting gas in the car)... 90 days is usually enough to get them rolling when the commission checks blow those concerns away... but keep in mind it's a draw against their commission so you're not putting out anything extra... in fact, during that 90 days, you can pay them 1-2% less while on a draw... tell them when they go full commission, their compensation will jump the 1-2%, and they can choose to do so anytime during the 90 days... a little motivation to get off the draw...

Until they have Capital Reserves/Emergency fund, most businesses don't work for a customer without a draw at least for materials... same concept... they are independent contractors...

If they sell it today, and get paid at the end of next week, that's one thing, but if they sell it and have to wait until the job is done before getting paid, that's no different than a company having to wait and the associated pressures that go along with it... both have expenses...

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Last edited by KAP; 06-14-2019 at 11:31 AM.
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