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How Many Is Too Many?

 
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:54 AM   #21
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


We have 5 guys. 1 carpenter, and his helper, 2 painters, and 1 painters helper. Rarely are all the guys on the same site. Whichever painter needs more help gets the helper. Until we can find another one, which hasn't happened yet. To me, the advantage to running multiple jobs at once, is we can shift the guys around as needed to minimize them being in the others way, or downtime from task to task. But that means more running around for whoever is in charge of getting things lined up, materials, scheduling, etc
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:03 AM   #22
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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Talked to Dad on the phone today about it briefly and found out that the past week or so when he's asked me if everybody was staying busy, he was wanting to know because there were other things we could put guys on. I just made the assumption without clarifying that he just wanted to make sure everybody was working so I said yes without elaborating.
Dad needs to show up on the job more often to assess the situation for himself. The boss man needs to figure out if working two different jobs is doable in terms of having enough tools, transportation, etc. The number of guys in a crew depends on their skill level. If they are all the same skill, they should work on separate jobs and have helper workers assist the skilled guys. Of course every trade has its unique circumstances, but the point is the boss or owner needs to figure out the most efficient business model for setting up a crew.
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Old 06-13-2015, 11:01 AM   #23
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


It does depend on the skill level and pay of the guys on site too. If you have 4 highly paid guys working together it's hard to justify the inevitable sitting around. I bet if you had 3 skilled guys and 1 labourer it would speed things up greatly. Never underestimate how much time you spend moving things out of your way, and 1 guy could almost stay busy doing that.
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:28 PM   #24
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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It does depend on the skill level and pay of the guys on site too. If you have 4 highly paid guys working together it's hard to justify the inevitable sitting around. I bet if you had 3 skilled guys and 1 labourer it would speed things up greatly. Never underestimate how much time you spend moving things out of your way, and 1 guy could almost stay busy doing that.
I agree. I'm a big believer in having a laborer on site. That person's job is to help the other, more highly skilled people keep working on their more profitable work, and those people shouldn't be bashful about asking the laborer to do things. Hand me that tool, clean up that mess I just made, go get a light, get me 6 feet of romex even though it's only 6 feet away from me, sweep up, get that pile of stuff out of the truck. When you're done with that, get to work on that task that I've been training you to do. When you're done with that, hang out and keep me company. If you turn out to be trainable, you get to learn more stuff and someone new becomes the laborer. Hey, hand me that wrench I just dropped. And that's my not-being-a-dick-about-it approach.

Anyone who has the more democratic, let's all pitch in approach (younger guys, often), should try it for a week, and see how much your own productivity goes up.

I have particularly leaned in the direction of laborers, as it becomes more and more difficult to hire skilled people.
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Old 06-13-2015, 02:35 PM   #25
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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Originally Posted by CarpenterSFO View Post
I agree. I'm a big believer in having a laborer on site. That person's job is to help the other, more highly skilled people keep working on their more profitable work, and those people shouldn't be bashful about asking the laborer to do things. Hand me that tool, clean up that mess I just made, go get a light, get me 6 feet of romex even though it's only 6 feet away from me, sweep up, get that pile of stuff out of the truck. When you're done with that, get to work on that task that I've been training you to do. When you're done with that, hang out and keep me company. If you turn out to be trainable, you get to learn more stuff and someone new becomes the laborer. Hey, hand me that wrench I just dropped. And that's my not-being-a-dick-about-it approach.

Anyone who has the more democratic, let's all pitch in approach (younger guys, often), should try it for a week, and see how much your own productivity goes up.

I have particularly leaned in the direction of laborers, as it becomes more and more difficult to hire skilled people.
I agree with you but there is only so much grunt work to be done. I've found that a lot of laborers are highly trainable and will jump at the opportunity to learn.

I don't want everyone on the job to be a master carpenter but then again if all you can do is carry stuff, hold stuff, and push a broom. I'm not going to have work for you everyday.

All that being said one of the best helpers I ever had started out so green I had to explain how to dig a post hole. He couldn't read a tape, didn't know how to use a level, never ran a saw before in his life. But he knew this and was willing to listen.
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:47 PM   #26
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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Originally Posted by CarpenterSFO View Post
I agree. I'm a big believer in having a laborer on site. That person's job is to help the other, more highly skilled people keep working on their more profitable work, and those people shouldn't be bashful about asking the laborer to do things.
This may be very helpful to me. I've had a laborer/helper one or two days a week for the past few weeks but have been pretty bashful about asking him to do stuff, just assumed everyone was intuitive enough to know that if it looks like that spot needs to be swept then it's time to sweep it. Maybe it's time to "crack the whip" a little, so to say, get him moving fast enough that I don't have to haul out the demo'd tile and backer behind him when he's moving slow enough that I run out of room to work.
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:58 PM   #27
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


I love my laborer. He is very good at seeing what needs done, and doing it without complaining. I do my best to teach him all of the little things that I wish someone had taught me sooner. He is so good at laboring, that I think it is holding me back from promoting him and hiring a new laborer.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:30 PM   #28
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


I worked with one carpenter who always wanted a laborer with in even if all the guy did was spin around in a circle and make airplane noises.

Allot of customers around here like to talk so if they see a single guy doing trim they're going to talk to him, but if they see him and a laborer kneeling down they're assuming he's training him and don't say a word.


Even when there was enough work for two people he'd bring a third with. In case something happened to the other two and he had to get help. Or just running to get something forgotten or if he had to go and check out another job.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:43 PM   #29
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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Originally Posted by BucketofSteam View Post
I worked with one carpenter who always wanted a laborer with in even if all the guy did was spin around in a circle and make airplane noises.

Allot of customers around here like to talk so if they see a single guy doing trim they're going to talk to him, but if they see him and a laborer kneeling down they're assuming he's training him and don't say a word.


Even when there was enough work for two people he'd bring a third with. In case something happened to the other two and he had to get help. Or just running to get something forgotten or if he had to go and check out another job.
Plus, you always have someone to laugh at your jokes.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:46 PM   #30
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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Plus, you always have someone to laugh at your jokes.
You have that solo.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:56 PM   #31
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Re: How Many Is Too Many?


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You have that solo.
Truth.

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