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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Old timers have heard all the songs below but new contractors, you might want to listen up.

The oldest trick in the book for street smart employees is make up a story about a better offer to try to get a raise out of you. I don't pay any attention to these stories.

If word gets out that it worked on you, AND WORD WILL GET OUT (AT THE BAR PROBABLY), all of your guys will make a run at you with the same bull**** stories.

Over 75% of the people that have left me asked to come back at some point including the "better offer" crowd and those I fired.

I tell them when I hire them and again when they leave, that they can leave and come back ONCE, and ask them "are you are sure this better offer is THE better offer you want to burn their get out of jail free card on?"

I explain the last 5 that left and what happened to them. Here is the last five.

1. Left for better money in another state. Project ended, layed off. Had to find another new job in a different state, stiffed on pay on that one. Moved back home, called me, rehired and been here ever since.

2. Left because my expectations too high. Work for a screaming flaming ******* that threatened violence and shoved him against the truck. Called me, hired back been here ever since.

3. New boss was a drunk ... Called me, hired back, etc

4. New boss promised 40 plus hours and it never happened ... Called me ...

5. New boss showed up late and left early and got fired by customers about a third of the time ... etc

I tell them to talk to their coworkers that left and came back why they left and why they came back. That usually ends it right there.

It makes them think twice about it because of the fear of loss. When they see more money is going to cost them job security, year round work and consistent respect from a proven source if income, it brings the raw giddiness and enthusiasm of a big new offer that probably is compete and utter bull****, back down to earth when I offer them a real dose of reality.

IMHO NEVER offer a raise for someone to stay. Let them go see what's up so they get it out of their system. When they return, they will remain loyal unless they were dropped on their head when they were small, were beat as a child or have been doing some serious hallucinogenic pharmacological substances making them delusional.

All agreements are on my terms. I don't play those games.

If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, they are yours. If they don't, well then phuck em! :laughing:
 

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I don't have any employees. On occasion, I hire a guy out two that I used to work with for extra hands, etc.

But, there appears to be a lot resentment or animosity between owners/bosses and employees. I read a lot of it here: both sides.

Why?

I'm not being sarcastic or funny either. I'm just trying to learn and understand. I hope to grow and hire employee(s) at some point.

I've been a supervisor for about 15 yrs. prior to officially starting my business. I know a little bit about dealing with people and various personalities, etc. I know there will be some bad apples in every bunch. Another thing, I think I like bonuses more than raises in an effort to keep payroll down when business is down.

I know business owners in just about every trade and they hate employees and could go on and on about how they were phucked over, etc.

But what about when you find that great guy or crew that literally care about the business as much as you? Or, is that just some crazy dream that I hate?

As I said, I have two guys that I use on occasion when the need arises. Both are great friends of mine. Long story short, we did a job for a friend of mine - not theirs - got screwed out of $600 dollars. A week later, they both worked for me for a day and when I went to pay them, they refused to take it saying put their pay towards the loss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
there appears to be a lot resentment or animosity between owners/bosses and employees
That is not quite accurate. Let me fix it for you.

"there appears to be a lot resentment or animosity between responsible owners/bosses and bad employees and between lousy owners/bosses and good employees."

Good employees don't like bad bosses because boss man chits in their employees hat. Would you like it if you were lied to, stiffed on pay, disrespected, treated like chit, suffering from lack of income because your boss was a drug addict? Of course not.

Would you want an bad employee that shows up late, curses in front of kids, steals tools, takes a three hour lunch, thinks all you do is drive around in air conditioned truck, that your cheap and stupid and they can do everything better than you?

I am sure you now understand.

I know business owners in just about every trade and they hate employees and could go on and on about how they were phucked over, etc.
This wording also leaves much to be desired. I hate the behavior of thieves, liars, lazy phucks, perverts. I can do without drug addicts and drunks. All of them phuck over their employees.

No owner HATES ALL employees. I doubt most of them hate most bad employees. HOWEVER...If an employee, lies, steals or sits on their azz expecting to be paid a full days wages then some owners HATE their behavior. Enlightened owners feel sorry for someone that is so pathetic as to be useless but they don't own a piece of an owners mind or heart with HATRED.

I hate no one. There are many behaviors I dislike but I won't allow someone I do not respect to take up residence inside my head. Phuck that.

But what about when you find that great guy or crew that literally care about the business as much as you? .
IMO no one cares as much as the owner. It isn't possible nor required for things to work exceedingly well. Any owner that thinks it is even possible, or has his or her business set up to rely upon such nonsense, is naïve and does not understand the capabilities and shortcomings of people.


As I said, I have two guys that I use on occasion when the need arises. Both are great friends of mine. Long story short, we did a job for a friend of mine - not theirs - got screwed out of $600 dollars. A week later, they both worked for me for a day and when I went to pay them, they refused to take it saying put their pay towards the loss.
With all respect, we all have good friends that would do or have done things like that for our friends. I consider all of my staff capable of such gestures as well but I would NEVER allow any employee to work for me without pay.

Allowing anyone to work for me for free violates my principles to never USE anyone. I have the upper hand with anyone I employ on asking for unpaid undeserved favors so it simply is not right to ask for or allow them to work or free for any reason not the least of which is manipulation in either direction. (Their ass kissing me or my taking advantage of their weaker position)

I also ask for no favors. I do not like to create debts that need to be repaid to be fair. I would rather pay as I go and remain debt free especially with friends.
 

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I appreciate your answers.

I suppose you're right: hate was a strong word.

But the people I know seem to possess a great disdain for employees. I know a plumber, electrician, iron worker, landscaper all who had large crews, many employees, etc but now are very small, owner and one out two guys tops because of employee issues. They all say the larger business brings unneeded headaches most due to dealing with employees.

I really didn't pry. It was just them talking me listening. They would go on with different stories, etc.
 

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My crew is awesome. But if I had to start from scratch id sub everything probably. Problem for me is I need control over a lot of aspects, and it is difficult to obtain that with 100% subs in remodeling/additions. If I was all new construction, Id probably sub everything. Lol.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I appreciate your answers
Same to you.

But the people I know seem to possess a great disdain for employees. I know a plumber, electrician, iron worker, landscaper all who had large crews, many employees, etc but now are very small, owner and one out two guys tops because of employee issues. They all say the larger business brings unneeded headaches most due to dealing with employees. I really didn't pry. It was just them talking me listening. They would go on with different stories, etc.
I understand.

What you ought to consider is that hiring, onboarding, training and managing employees in a profitable way is an ENTIRELY different skill set than technical competence of a skilled tradesmen.

Many highly competent tradesmen despise practicing the competent employer skill set even if they can do it well.

Some of those that can do it well still do not find it satisfying nor a good investment of their energy. They find it depressing because they expect more of people than they are capable of. (such as caring as much as the employer)

Those that do not do it well lose their azz having employees.

Neither losing their azz or having energy sapped by the stupidity of those that are paid to make them money is helpful toward convincing a skilled tradesmen that working with a large failing staff is the way to go.
 

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I agree with both sides. I have had as many as 72 employees and as few as 3. Most of my employees have earned both my respect and admiration. Some have totally screwed me over. I have horror stories and I have stories where employees have totally saved my bacon.
Fewer employees mean fewer problems. I personally have down sized to just three for the past few years. I only do high end custom work and have a 6 month backlog. Life is good and employees and customers are happy.
Find the right employees and be the right boss. Treat everyone with dignity and respect and how you want to be treated. Most will reciprocate. Feel sorry for those who don't.

May all your jobs be successful and KNOW that you deserve a new tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I only do high end custom work and have a 6 month backlog. Life is good and employees and customers are happy..
^ Living the good life. Congrats on getting there. :thumbsup:




Find the right employees and be the right boss. Treat everyone with dignity and respect and how you want to be treated. Most will reciprocate. Feel sorry for those who don't. .
No doubt about that. :thumbup:

May all your jobs be successful and KNOW that you deserve a new tool.
Of course :laughing:
 

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I believe that the hatred referred to earlier is because after you grind through so many junk employees you just don't care anymore. Which is sad.

My next employee starts monday. During the interview I made it perfectly clear my expectations about being a standup person. I explained to him that at first he will be part time, and will have to show me that he really wants a full time job. Once he shows his willingness to work, and gains my trust I will shift more of my workload onto his shoulders and increase his hours and wages. I also explained, that if he doesn't prove to be a standup employee (on-time, no slacking, good attitude) then he will be gone. I will treat him the same way he treats me.

I interviewed him last week, and he has called me literally every other day asking when he can start. So far he has shown good ethic. When he came to the interview he apologized for the tattoo on his neck, and said he was willing to wear makeup to cover it if needed. That said alot to me.

I have been burned in the past, but still keep hope alive. :thumbsup:
 

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I know another guy who keeps every new hire "temporary" for 90 days. He feels he has a better feeling for them after that.
 

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Sometimes it's difficult to see the forest through the trees which is another reason I like this site. Others will show you different view points you never considered. It's almost like having 20/20 hindsight.
 

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jb4211 said:
Sometimes it's difficult to see the forest through the trees which is another reason I like this site. Others will show you different view points you never considered. It's almost like having 20/20 hindsight.
Exactly. I can't begin to thank those who are always willing to share their insights.
 

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The oldest trick in the book for street smart employees is make up a story about a better offer to try to get a raise out of you.
If you know what's going on in your industry, you have a pretty good idea of how good the job market is and what people are paying/making. It's no different from a customer saying "Your price is too high. I know a guy who can do it for 1/3 less." in an attempt to get you to lower your bid.

Because we know the true price of labor, materials, insurance, permits, overhead, etc. we can call their bluff. I think that we should have the same sensibility when it comes to employee pay... like when an employee brags about the guy across town who is willing to pay him $3000 a week to install flat panel TV screens.

I know what the market will bear in terms of price-point for this type of service. I can guesstimate the number of people/corporations/agencies that need this particular type of service. After I figure out the numbers, it turns out that this guy would have to install roughly 10 TV sets a day which means that the salesman would have to talk to 300-500 people a week to keep him busy enough to do his 10 TV per day quota.. if he could realistically do it in an 8-10 hour day.
 

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Yeah thanks to all for sharing their experiences. I have been on my own since 2001. I have had subs as help on occasion, but not as a long term thing. My HO's (love writing that BTW) enjoy the customer service and quality the most from what they tell me anyway. Hiring help just flies in the face of that. Im not saying you cant hire good help but sorting through all the JO's seems an insurmountable task. I hear from guys running large outfits telling me to keep it small. The problem is I cant swing a hammer forever and will need to convert more to help of one kind or another. Im leaning more towards subbing due to quality. I don't need lazy employees that are not experienced learning on my dime. Its tough but I have been thinking a lot about it lately.
 

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"I believe that the hatred referred to earlier is because after you grind through so many junk employees you just don't care anymore. Which is sad."

I was there a few years back. That's why I downsized. I didn't even like myself. The junk employees were so distracting and aggravating that I could not focus on all the good surrounding me.
There are good employees out there. Don't let the bad ones beat you down.
 

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hardscaper--- that was a good post!

I was thinking about this a week or so ago.
In this industry a common( almost universal) complaint is that you can't find good employees.

Well---- on any monday morning stand on a busy street corner.----- thousands of cars pass by---each has a person in that car heading off to work!

Are ALL those people lazy,worthless,dishonest employees?---- I imagine not. Most of them are probably pretty good folks.........

so---where does the problem REALLY lay?

If a "company" is offering a "job"---- with irregular hours, lowish pay, no medical benefits, no vacation pay, no holiday pay, no retirement plan, no profit sharing, and no real career path...... is it any wonder it's hard to find "good" employees ?

We changed things around here pretty seriously about 7-8 years ago-----and almost immediately virtually all employee problems evaporated. We still had some turnover---- but if someone left it has been easy to replace them with someone as good or better.

also----- most contractors want to hire a skilled employee who is going to produce from day one----and then the employer complains that they can't find good help ? where is this good help supposed to come from ? If you don't grow and train and advance your own help----what you are really doing is depending on LESSER contractors to train your employees for you.

At any rate, hardscaper--- I thought you had a good post.
Best wishes all,
Stephen
 
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