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Livin the dream...
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I am 18 and I will be graduating high school in January. I live about 20 miles from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I currently work for a very small residential construction business. (4 employees) We basically do everything. (concrete, roofing, drywall, whole home building ect.) I love my job but I don't think I am getting paid nearly what I am worth. I make $9.00 per hour and get more work done than the guys I work with who have been doing construction for years and I take a lot of pride in doing a good job. I also get NO BENIFETS including NO WORKMANS COMP. This is a bad situation for me because as soon as I graduate I can't be covered on my parents health insurance anymore.

My question to all you residential construction business owners is how much money am I worth? I have 2 years experience and have a very good knowledge of all aspects of general construction as well as good carpentry skills. I have a good attitude and try to learn as much as I can every day.

What should I do about my situation of being uninsured in just a few months? I am very loyal to the guy I work for but money and more importantly having full health coverage is very important to me.

I can't seem to decide whether or not to start looking for another job before I graduate. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.
 

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spencer, you're 18 w/ 2 years exp, $9 isn't a wage you can have a life on, but, you have to build up work referances, your'e not going to work where you are for more than a year or so, set your sites on one of the bigger international companys. or get an engenering degree, a degree will open a lot of doors. if you plan on staying in your area, you will end up hustling for work, or worse yet, become self-employed.
do you know the dilfferance between self-employment & unemployment? an unemployment check.
 

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Repair/Remodeling Tech.
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I don't like the term "self employed", 'cause it implies you are indeed employed, rather than in business. SO in that respect, I agree with reid37, I don't want to be self employed, and it would be worse than being employed by someone else. However, If you're IN BUSINESS, and you don't just figure cost plus a certain hourly for yourself, and that hourly is all you (and the business)get outta the deal, then you're "self employed", not in business.

Since we're talking about it, I've also heard people say "Oh I don't take a paycheck, I put every dime back into the business"......... :eek: ARE YOU F-IN KIDDING ME?????????.....pay yourself first...always....(ok thats a good theory, but here's what I mean) pay your employees, burdens, overhead, etc., the company gets some obviously, but THEN pay yourself, whether it's hourly, or a percentage of the net profit, or however you want to do it, but pay yourself. Then if (God forbid) your business would ever fold, at least you have SOMETHING to show for it, you haven't been working for years for little or no money(savings) in the HOPE that you could sell the business someday, and now you can't.

I know the last part wasn't the discussion, but thought I'd throw it in there :D
 

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pwrpapa said:
Get out of the construction Biz. Be a Doctor or something.

I like that idea best but if your going to stay with working sounds like you need to know the difference between Workmans comp. and health insurance. Workmans comp. covers you for injuries on the job and is usually required by law. If your boss isn't paying Workmans comp. you should probably quit today. Health insurance is another story. If you like construction and want to stay with it, you better marry a girl with a good job and health ins. and quick. Just kidding. Just keep doing what your doing, asking questions. You'll figure it out.
 

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Perhaps after high school you could enroll in an accredited trade/tech school and get some solid training (in a field of your choice). Upon graduation from trade school, you could apply to a good solid company and move up within that company/industry. Lots of opportunities in manufacturing, welding, aviation, computers..etc. Most of these companies offer excellent medical/dental benefits as well as some kind of retirement savings....Just a thought.


Talking about self employment...

Self employment is not always a bed of roses. I've had 3 businesses in the past 19 years and after awhile you get tired of chasing the next job/sale and very tired of dealing with the public.
 

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DGR,IABD
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Of course, you could always have a work related injury, sue the heck out of your boss for not having worker's comp, and then move to the keys and relax. :cheesygri
 

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Livin the dream...
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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you very much for the advice you have given me so far. I decided a while back that construction was what I am going to do with my life. For some odd reason I love building. My plan is to start a construction business in a few years after I feel like I can be successful. Right now I spend a lot of my spare time learning the trades and the business aspects of owning a business.

My 2¢:
Join the Union.
There you will learn and get good benefits.
After a couple years there, you will know what you want to do by then.
I have heard about how much money and benefits there are in the Union. Can anyone tell me a little more about it? Who exactly would I be working for "in the union"? What kind of starting wages would I get? Benefits? I want to work in residential construction rather that heavy construction or steel framing.

Once again any advice or information you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I don't know if it's the same in the states as in Canada, but here, if you're an employee you ARE covered by workers comp. If the employer is a sleaze and isn't paying or hasn't registered or whatever, and you get hurt, you show WC your pay stubs to prove you were employed and they pay you and go after the sleaze for the money plus fines. Rich.
 

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On the negative side of the Union coin, they are often characterized as a jobs protection racket. That is, your original complaint about being worth more than you are paid compared to other workers will not fly in a Union. For example, if the value range of a carpenter's actual worth is from 20 to 30 dollars an hour, you will all make the average of 25 or higher. So you may find yourself in the same boat you are rocking now, making the same wage or less than the slackers.

On the positive side of the Union nickle, they rely on professionalism to carry the day. From that you may get the elusive sense of job satisfaction. Here in the Southeast, Union contractors compete in an open shop environment, and because they pay their men well, they are most efficient and workmanlike. I enjoy being associated with these guys on any job. A Union bricklayer in the Southeast will beat the others, but only if quality matters.

And don't forget your Union dues go to marketing, political advocacy and Union operations overhead. And don't trust pension plans. 401K's offered with contributing matches by larger construction companies, and available to the individual, are better.

I have some anecdotal information for you. I work for a large commercial general contractor, BE&K, and there are a couple of guys in our organization who are like you. One is an English major who worked his way through college and stayed with it because he liked the business and the money. Another I know is a guy who was studying criminal justice with a job lined up with the FBI. He worked one summer in construction and loved it. He completed his degree in an unrelated field and is now a junior project manager. I like these guys.

Bottom line is this. If you love the industry, as I do, learn and grow as much as you can to have a positive influence on it. This business needs people like you.
 

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keep after it if you love it. however, learn as much as you can about the business side before you quit your day job. if you're not careful, the only thing you'll ever nail is yourself to the wall.
 
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