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I was wondering if anyone has hired family members and how that worked out. I can see advantages and disadvantages with it. Seperating work from family issues, while on the job, might be one of the biggest disadvantages or challenges. On the plus side might be, at least they would be trustworthy,hopefully. Also, having to let a family member go has to be one of the more difficult decisions a contractor/business owner would have to make.
RJS
 

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being from a large family, and being the oldest of 9 children , i have a large potential workforce.LOL. i've really had good luck hiring family. then again i come from a family of workaholics,so this works to my advantage! one of my younger brothers works for me regularly. he came to live with me about 2 years ago, not knowing squat about much of anything.(him being 18 at the time,i'm sure you know what i mean!) he'd never so much as taken a shop class, much less run a saw. being young and needing a job and job experience, i started him as a grunt.two years later, he's my best guy. on bigger jobs, he usually runs a whole crew for me. only problem is, nowadays i can only get him part-time. with the skills i taught him, he got a job working year round for another company.(NOT my compitition, i'dve killed him.) he's now putting himself through school on that good money he's making.i'm a penny pincher,but he's gotten so good at it , I pay him twice what i started him out at. one of my younger sisters who's in college comes and stays with me in the summer and works her butt off. naturally gifted with drywall. after her first week , she could hang it and finish it faster and better than ME. and i've been doing it since i was a kid! now i try to schedule my bigger drywall jobs around her school breaks! before my dad passed away this april, he would come down and help me with framing and roofing on bigger jobs. he wasn't exactly fast, being a bit sickly in his last few years , but he was old school and very,very good. old s.o.b. wouldn't let me pay him either. overall, i think hiring family can work out well if you let them know what you expect and give them a chance. how ever i did have to fire a cousin once. gave him a job as a favor to my uncle. the poor kid couldn't drive a straight nail with directions and 3 assistants. but i'd let him know if he couldn't do what i needed him to, he was gone . so when i let him go, there wasn't a problem. the whole deal has given me some good (and LOYAL)employees, and brought us closer together.
 

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RJS,

Most experts, maybe all experts will say to avoid hiring family. I come from a family of 9. All have worked with me from time to time and what the experts say about how family members having a distorted and different perspective about the business vs. an employee’s perspective is right.

When a family business works right…it is great, but when it doesn’t it is much more difficult with family members. Business is typically long-term and during the long-term there is a high risk for a family disconnect. In my opinion too much possible pain to make the risk worthwhile.

I have been in this business almost 40 years. I have seen plenty of family businesses. It is rare when a family does not have problems that the identical business without family members would not have the same problems.

If you take the risk then make sure you have a perfectly designed Job Description.

Just my 2 cents….Richard
 

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Including steps and halves, I come from a family of ten siblings.

Those of my own blood are the most enegetic and aggressive. But we cannot stand to work around each other. I have a brother who works for another brother who quits at least once a year, going back every time. I quit him permenantly.

If you can hire and promote family members with the same fairness and expectations you have of outsiders, go for it.

Otherwise you have to consider the resentment garnered by familiar aggrandizement. That is, I have had people more deserving of trust and advancement than my own family. And think about it, if they're so wonderful and great, why ain't they working for your competition knocking down the big bucks?

My own son accused me of cussing him like a Mexican, lol. Well, let me say here that I held the same expectation of performance from his sorry tail as his peers. Truth is, I was harder on him than any of the others because I expected more. When he is not in College he works for another contractor who says, "Sheesh! What a great kid!" I have a point about that. Too many times I've seen fathers who worked their tails off to be "successful" while neglecting their kids. Then they decide to give them a cushy life, as if that helps, usually as an employee of the company they built or run. This does no favor to them.

Bottom line is not to give preferential treatment to family members, rather expect and demand more of them, in interest of your other employees who deserve the same, if not greater, opportunities.

The most successful long time construction companies I know about did not turn the business over to their children, but rather to aggressive hard working outsiders. There are some rare exceptions, CM Black , but the majority of those who incorporate family into their business invite resentment from the dedicated employees that got you where you are.

I don't like family hiring unless they meet the demands and expectations you require of all your employees. Too often, this is not the case.
 

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GCMAN,

You make an interesting point about your son working with another contractor. That is a great concept. The NRCA has a program where the sons of owners work for other owners.

From what I know those sons that worked at different companies are leaders today in their family business.

My father was constantly shifting me to other offices so see how they operated. The learning experience was awesome.

My 2 cents…Richard
 

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my brother who works for me, now works full-time at another company building and setting up modular homes in another area. (not my competition) i couldn't give him year-round full-time employment. i have other guys who've been with me longer and have families to support. however when i need him and he can get away, he works for me. the reason i let him run a crew is not that he's my brother. he knows what he's doing,and knows and exceeds my expectations. he's earned the respect of my guys,and that's not easy to do. i know that if i'm not there, things will get done like they would if i were.
 

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Hey Richard, that's a great concept! My son is doing that on his own because he can't stand working for me, LOL. But I made him better and more valuable. I can only hope he appreciates it, and when I'm gone I know I did right by him.

EDIT: Carpenter1st, I hear ya, count yourself lucky. Whoa, maybe not lucky. Maybe you know the quality of guy you got in your brother. But too often we are satisfied with knowing the devil in a man, not always family, and think we know how to deal with it. That is usually a family member or a friend and it isn't fair, compared to taking the chance to find better people.

There are guys out there who can hardly breathe that are more qualified than most, only because they care. That is what many hope to accomplish by hiring family, usually with good results.

Double EDIT: I understand that your brother is doing great things, Carp1st, and angled my comments towards those less fortunate than you.
 

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My brother is an excellent carpenter, but always seems to let me down when I REALLY need him. Most of the time I work by myself, so he knows when I call I really need him. I've tried to talk to him about it, but he just says he's sorry and shrugs it off.

I wish he were more reliable 'cause when we work together we make an awesome team! :Thumbs:

IMHO try and keep family out of the picture for business, but if he needs a hand on his house, I'll be there in a flash. :cheesygri
 

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Hiring friends and family complicates things. It brings more emotion to your business decisions IMO.

If someone is messing up and needs to go it's easier to let them go if they are not family. If they are family you may give them warning ontop of warning, and then yoru business suffers.

When I started my company I boldly stated I wanted my wife knowing nothing of my business. I didn't want here involved. Well it didn't take long before I had to eat my words and ask her for help. She offered it many times but I declined. I don't like working with her. I do not enjoy it at all. She works one or two days a week and she does a wonderful job too!

I believe like church and state there needs to be a seperation of business and family. I don't even work for my family. I just give referrals to subs I trust.
 

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Another related issue is employee expectations, which is aggravated by family and friends. That is, there is a growing sense of entitlement in our society.

We are all so spoiled. Sometimes I think the answer is another dust-bowl and great depression.
 

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i made the mistake of going into business with my best friend when i first started out. we had been friends for years and had worked together several times. talk about a total mess. eventually we split the business. now he runs a separate office from mine. he bids and works his jobs,i do mine. strangely enough, we have remained best friends.not to mention that when one of us books a big job, we'll sub for each other. and neither of us subs for anyone else, imagine that .
 
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