How Did You Get Into This Industry? - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

How Did You Get Into This Industry?

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-11-2008, 07:29 AM   #1
Project Manager
 
LaurieC's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom Home Builder
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern California
Posts: 243
Rewards Points: 150

How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Switching industries can be difficult. I did it by calling a local interior design company and offering myself as an unpaid intern for 6 months. They took me on and within a yr I was working for a builder.

My brother in law lives near Austin, and wants to work for a builder or remodeling company. He has worked for Fedex for awhile now and hates it. He's our go to guy in the family for all things needing to be fixed or painted. I told him to do the same as I did...intern.

Would you guys hire an intern, free of charge, so he could learn on the job? What advise can you give me to give him?
LaurieC is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 08-11-2008, 07:42 AM   #2
Pro
 
genecarp's Avatar
 
Trade: LI,NY designer, new homes, renovation work, concre
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 5,425
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Dont work for free, get out, meet contractors and builders, represent yourself accurately regarding your exp, begin with a low paying helper type position, a good attitude in the workplace makes up for a lack of experiance.

Advertisement

__________________
genecarp is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 10:09 AM   #3
Pro
 
PA woodbutcher's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Northeast, Pa
Posts: 1,965
Rewards Points: 1,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by genecarp View Post
Dont work for free, get out, meet contractors and builders, represent yourself accurately regarding your exp, begin with a low paying helper type position, a good attitude in the workplace makes up for a lack of experiance.
Agreed. Nothing for nothing. Show up to work and learn.
__________________
When you rob Peter to pay Paul, chances are pretty good you will receive Paul's vote. Apparently the object of the game is to create more Pauls than Peters....What happens when the Peters can no longer support the Pauls? .
PA woodbutcher is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 08-11-2008, 10:43 AM   #4
Moderator
 
Double-A's Avatar
 
Trade: GC - Remodeling Specialists
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,617
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


I think an intership with the right company can work out well, but it has to be a company big enough to understand the trade offs.

Your brother has a leg up on the competition having worked for Fed-Ex in my opinion. I look at ex-military and people from Fed-Ex and UPS first if I'm looking at applications. These folks understand that the work is the most important thing they will do during working hours and that makes it easier on everyone.

Mannered and a good communicator are what I look for next. The trade skills can be taught, but manners, the ability to listen, to understand, communicate problems or questions and reliability are the most important traits I look for.

My suggestion? Network first. Ask his friends that might work in the industry for some information on who to talk to and when. If not, then go knocking on doors. Cold calls are not my favorite, but if he wants in and shows it, someone is going to give him a break.

I would also recommend that he be willing to be trained and to continue his schooling unless he'd be happy as a clam to work in the field from now on. Otherwise he's gonna be bitter and burned out in a few years.

Doing a hard job is easier when you know the job ends at 4:30 and all you have to do is your best until then. But, this is made much easier when you know that one day, you're moving up and out of the trenches on to some new challenges.

Change or the prospect of change for the better is a wonderful mood enhancer.
__________________
"My clients’ wishes are the center of my attention." -- David Guido, a contractor in Woodstock, N.Y.
New York Times, July 20, 2006
Double-A is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 10:45 AM   #5
New Guy
 
Mike B's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor/Renovations
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Stratford, Ontario
Posts: 24
Rewards Points: 10

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


My step dad has been a carpenter all of his life....I wanted some stuff to do on the side for some extra cash and started helping him out on some jobs; and learned everything he had to offer.

I lost my full-time management job a couple years later and after testing the job market for a few months decided that fate had dealt me a hand, so I played it and started up my own Reno/Handyman company......no more working for the Man, .

And I couldn't be happier.
Mike B is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 11:44 AM   #6
Pro
 
send_it_all's Avatar
 
Trade: general contractor/ remodeling
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Orange County, Ca.
Posts: 1,989
Rewards Points: 1,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B View Post
My step dad has been a carpenter all of his life....I wanted some stuff to do on the side for some extra cash and started helping him out on some jobs; and learned everything he had to offer.

I lost my full-time management job a couple years later and after testing the job market for a few months decided that fate had dealt me a hand, so I played it and started up my own Reno/Handyman company......no more working for the Man, .

And I couldn't be happier.
Looks like you combined your knowledge of home repair and your love of poker to come up with a name.
send_it_all is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 11:51 AM   #7
Pro
 
Mike Finley's Avatar
 
Trade: Bathroom Remodeling
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Posts: 14,078
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Nobody has a bigger advantage to float between company walls real or pscholgical than an intern. In my opinion with a good sized company an intern has a much bigger learning advantage for the person then somebody who says just pay me a little for starting at the bottom.
Mike Finley is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 05:05 PM   #8
Project Manager
 
LaurieC's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom Home Builder
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern California
Posts: 243
Rewards Points: 150

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Thanks everyone, great ideas. Today he called a few friends that work in the industry, and is putting his resume together to apply for internships. I told him he could intern for us, but he'd have to move to so cal. He laughed and said, "no thanks." Wonder why.
LaurieC is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 06:19 PM   #9
wannabe
 
WNYcarpenter's Avatar
 
Trade: carpentry
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Jamestown NY
Posts: 2,283
Rewards Points: 1,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieC View Post
Would you guys hire an intern, free of charge, so he could learn on the job? What advise can you give me to give him?
I can't see how interning for a trade would do anyone any good besides the contractor. Administration is one thing, going from delivery to tradesman is another.

I'm assuming a fed-ex employee makes a decent living, especially if it may be viable to work any length of time for free. In no way am I judging the intelligence of your brother in law, but actions speak louder than words. Too often workers enter this field with the notion that they're too good to do certain mundane tasks or show no appreciation for those who do.

I would be insulted if life were such that you could transition from unskilled to skilled while skipping necessary learning experiences by working for a few months unpaid. While being unpaid, asking for an internship is perhaps asking for preferential treatment by not starting at the bottom like so many tradesmen have done. Be it as it may, someone with the proprer work ethic, knowledge, intelligence and desire to learn would shortly set he/herself apart from the rest thus achieve the same goals while being paid.
WNYcarpenter is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 06:37 PM   #10
New Guy
 
Mike B's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor/Renovations
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Stratford, Ontario
Posts: 24
Rewards Points: 10

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by send_it_all View Post
Looks like you combined your knowledge of home repair and your love of poker to come up with a name.
That I did.
Mike B is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 08:15 PM   #11
Member
 
kjung's Avatar
 
Trade: custom deck builder and the "gee, that looks dangerous....Kevin, get up there" guy
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 52
Rewards Points: 75

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


I don't think that an unpaid internship would be the way to go. More than likely, your brother in law would be doing the same tasks as a low paid, entry level employee would be doing anyway, he might as well support himself in the process.

I don't remember who said it recently, but the best way to learn this business is "eyes open, mouth shut, back sore". I love that quote, lol.
__________________
www.luxurydecksoftx.com

-Kevin
kjung is offline  
Old 08-11-2008, 11:07 PM   #12
Moderator
 
Double-A's Avatar
 
Trade: GC - Remodeling Specialists
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,617
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by WNYcarpenter View Post
I can't see how interning for a trade would do anyone any good besides the contractor. Administration is one thing, going from delivery to tradesman is another.

I'm assuming a fed-ex employee makes a decent living, especially if it may be viable to work any length of time for free. In no way am I judging the intelligence of your brother in law, but actions speak louder than words. Too often workers enter this field with the notion that they're too good to do certain mundane tasks or show no appreciation for those who do.

I would be insulted if life were such that you could transition from unskilled to skilled while skipping necessary learning experiences by working for a few months unpaid. While being unpaid, asking for an internship is perhaps asking for preferential treatment by not starting at the bottom like so many tradesmen have done. Be it as it may, someone with the proprer work ethic, knowledge, intelligence and desire to learn would shortly set he/herself apart from the rest thus achieve the same goals while being paid.
Well, I have to respectfully disagree.

Not being paid and working for nothing shows a commitment to learning that laboring for a wage doesn't. Its not preferential treatment, its free labor with the trade off being an eager worker that is willing to do what is necessary to learn.

I also think you're reading too much into the OP by stating that somehow this person will be skipping unnecessary learning steps. They are looking for an entry into the field. Being an intern means that they are not necessarily just labor, or management or office or warehouse personnel. They should be used as a floater and be willing to float. Whenever, whatever and for how ever long it takes should be their credo. If not, then they are not the right applicant.

This is a mutual investment. The company invests their time and personnel resources to train and this person invests their time and lack of finances to the effort.

Two hundred years ago, this was called an "apprenticeship."
__________________
"My clients’ wishes are the center of my attention." -- David Guido, a contractor in Woodstock, N.Y.
New York Times, July 20, 2006

Last edited by Double-A; 08-11-2008 at 11:23 PM.
Double-A is offline  
Old 08-12-2008, 06:42 AM   #13
Project Manager
 
LaurieC's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom Home Builder
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern California
Posts: 243
Rewards Points: 150

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


I agree with Double A.

He doesn't want to skip the hard work, or the education. He has enough money saved to support his family for a few month WHILE learning. His problem is he has 0 experience.

Perfect example..there was an add for commercial flooring project coordinator/ estimator, but you have to have 3 yrs experience. I told him to call the company and tell them he didn't have the experience, but was willing to intern to learn.

The benifit to the company is he will be trained by there standards, and it won't cost them a thing. He is such a hard worker, and I have full faith that once they give him a chance he will impress them with his work ethic. The benifit to him is he will learn, learn, learn.

He could stay with Fedex and make a good living, but he feels no passion for what he's doing. We all know our jobs are hard work, long hours, and can be crappy at times. We also know most of us wouldn't change it for the world. I think he's just looking for that same passion.
LaurieC is offline  
Old 08-13-2008, 07:42 PM   #14
wannabe
 
WNYcarpenter's Avatar
 
Trade: carpentry
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Jamestown NY
Posts: 2,283
Rewards Points: 1,000

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


I guess what troubles me is, what is an acceptable full time position for an intern.......as I said, certain positions, perhaps, skilled NO.



200 yrs ago "apprentices" left home, lived, ate, breathed, slept a given skill until their mentor decided they were ready.....Modern day unions have designed curriculums to determine the ability of their work force...apprentice, journeyman etc.... internship in this case does not equate apprentice!

What type of position is your brother-in-law interested in?
WNYcarpenter is offline  
Old 08-13-2008, 08:33 PM   #15
I like Green things
 
WarnerConstInc.'s Avatar
 
Trade: Architectural Mill Work
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: In a van, down by the river. Auburn, IN
Posts: 22,877
Rewards Points: 5,584

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


I cant remeber how I got it, but pleeeeeaaaaaassssssssssseeeeeeeeeee someone help me out!!!!










J/k, well sometimes!
WarnerConstInc. is online now  
Old 08-13-2008, 09:14 PM   #16
Pro
 
billy d's Avatar
 
Trade: carpenter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: South west Germany
Posts: 429
Rewards Points: 250

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


WNY Carpenter while I can see where you are coming from with the skilled position how do you get experience?Walk into a store and say give me $3000 worth of experience
Two hundred years ago the time for a apprentice was 7 years and they where indentured.Now IMHO the greatest democracy in the modern world was built on the backs of indentured men.I personally spent the fist 9 months of my apprenticeship with associated trades,then 3 months with the trade of my original choice before the firm asked me which trade I wanted to be apprenticed to.Because at the age of 16 (start of apprenticeship) they did not think I had the experience to choose.
So a man that works for no money for 3 months and shows the willingness and intelligence to learn.Well go by that in a store.
billy d is offline  
Old 08-13-2008, 10:32 PM   #17
Pro
 
CaliDesigns's Avatar
 
Trade: Contractor, Stamped Concrete, Pool Design
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 141
Rewards Points: 75

Re: How Did You Get Into This Industry?


i knocked up some chick, had to drop out of college. making more than a civil engineer, so, all is good.

Advertisement

CaliDesigns is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar Power Industry Dead In California w6ire Electrical 2 06-28-2007 08:57 AM
Great marketing plan=success in any industry no matter what compeititon? ruskent General Discussion 10 06-17-2007 10:52 AM
Roofing industry in Oregon mariatherese Roofing 1 07-04-2006 12:15 PM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?