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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
I'm new to this site and I have a question to ask about how much I should be making. I'm currently 16 years old and started my first real construction job with a company last summer when I was 15. I started out making $7.25 last summer which makes sense because I was just an inexperienced kid that got to do all the brainless tasks. I made $7.25 all last summer and worked my Ass off and never had any problems with the boss or anything. This summer I came back to work for this same company and they're still paying me $7.25 an hour. Between this summer and last summer I have received my drivers license and have taken on the tasks of maintaining all the expenses of a car. I'm also expected to buy all the necessary hand tools for my job which really isn't that big of a deal. But recently the boss has let me take on more tasks that require more skill. I think I deserve to be making $9.00 to $10.00 especially now that I have a car and the ability to do higher level tasks but my boss is very cheap and I don't think he will bump my pay up, my question is do you think I'm correct to think this and if so how do I go about getting a raise? I'm not you typical slacker 16 year old kid I work my Ass off and I'm never late to work and I have never complai Ned about anything.
 

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Accidental Painter
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Hi Nick!

Your boss is a bum. Go elsewhere. Your first indication that hes a bum is the payscale. Min wage is a massive red flag. I don't care how old your are. Best believe he's making coin off you as long as you let em. You see, people are weird creatures. They actually like to be treated like crap. It's kinda like a fear of heights, it's just natural. But it can be overcome.

Never work for min wage, especially if it's anything remotely physical or uncomfortable (outside work). You can easily go be comfy at Best buy for the same price. Less physical work, less stress.

So yes, you can never expect to get a raise form this contractor. He has no respect for you or your time. If he valued his employees, he would pay them a living wage. And since that's not happening, well.... your just a disposable commodity.

You see, guys like you are hard to find. You show up for work, and actually work, and OMG you have a valid drivers license and a vehicle. Trust me, YOU are in demand. So demand more. If you can't get a living wage, move on and let him find another crackhead to schlub around.

While you are at this job, take the time to network with your fellow employees if you can to get names of other companies to seek employment from. Start planning your exit strategy before its too late.

VALUE YOUR TIME OR NO ONE ELSE WILL
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Nick!

Your boss is a bum. Go elsewhere. Your first indication that hes a bum is the payscale. Min wage is a massive red flag. I don't care how old your are. Best believe he's making coin off you as long as you let em. You see, people are weird creatures. They actually like to be treated like crap. It's kinda like a fear of heights, it's just natural. But it can be overcome.

Never work for min wage, especially if it's anything remotely physical or uncomfortable (outside work). You can easily go be comfy at Best buy for the same price. Less physical work, less stress.

So yes, you can never expect to get a raise form this contractor. He has no respect for you or your time. If he valued his employees, he would pay them a living wage. And since that's not happening, well.... your just a disposable commodity.

You see, guys like you are hard to find. You show up for work, and actually work, and OMG you have a valid drivers license and a vehicle. Trust me, YOU are in demand. So demand more. If you can't get a living wage, move on and let him find another crackhead to schlub around.

While you are at this job, take the time to network with your fellow employees if you can to get names of other companies to seek employment from. Start planning your exit strategy before its too late.

VALUE YOUR TIME OR NO ONE ELSE WILL
Thanks for seeing my point drifteeed, I couldn't agree more
 

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Were i in your shoes, and i have been, I would definitely be looking to switch employers for more reasons than just the low pay. It seems to me like the companies that pay minimum or near minimum are the same companies that ask you to do unsafe things and teach you incorrect work practices.

This means not only are you getting the shaft on pay but also that you are putting yourself at risk and probably learning how to get it done but not get it done right.

I know you didn't say anything of the sort in your original post but that has always been my experience with cheap companies. They dont see the value of a well paid, well educated, and empowered employee and instead treat you like the worthless, disposable, and temporary employee that they believe you to be.

Long winded post short: Get out of there. Find a company that trains you right, keeps you safe, and pays you well. It may be hard to find a company like that willing to hire someone at your age. If you can't find one you would likely be better off taking a more typical teenage job and enrolling in applicable classes either at your high-school or local community college. Many have programs during the summer that give technical and hands on training and education.

Where are you located? Maybe someone here that's local to your area could point you in a better direction.
 

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I agree with what's been posted already. Keep working there and learn all you can but take it with a grain of salt. While working there push hard to find a job somewhere else, it's always easier to find a job while you have a job.

Take that measly $7.25 and save all you can in the meantime, I assume you live with your parents so this should be possible. The more cash you have the less control employers have over you and you're less likely to be desperate enough to work for some goof like this in the future.
 

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I wish I could pay guys $7.25 an hour. :laughing:

Yeah min wage + requirement for tools + second year and not one more red cent...I'd ask for a raise.
 

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I couldnt get a laborer at any age for 7.25...

Its hot, hard nasty work. If they can make more at McDonald's, they dont need to be to smart to say good buy to that shovel.
 

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Livin the dream...
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I'm 26, so it wasn't that terribly long ago I was in your shoes. My experience causes me to give you advice from a little different angle.

I started working construction at 16 making $9/hr. It stayed that way until I graduated high school. Then it got a little better but not much. I got married at 21, was a top notch carpenter for my age, still only made $15/hr. Economy got tight. Boss cut our pay down. Put me at $13.50. Eventually after a year or so it went back up to $15.

Boss was a prick. Had to get out of there. Had an opportunity to run a millroom doing woodworking. Only problem was the boss was another tightwad. Promised if I came to work for him at $13/hr he take me to $15 after a year. After 3 years I was still at $13.50. I was dang good. I said I needed more money. Can't live off that. Boss says can't do it. Gave it a couple months and got my self lined up to start my business. Told them I was leaving. Suddenly I was worth $20/hr to them. Bunch of BS. Said adios and haven't looked back. Now if I don't make a net profit of at least $2k/week I'm having a bad week, it can be triple that.

Lesson #1 - You are always going to be making someone else money if you're working for them. Very few bosses pay good. Most pay no more than the market requires.

Lesson #2 - You have to be an employee for a while. Get your education on the bosses dime. Make mistakes on his dime. Learn everything you can and invest in yourself on his dime. If there isn't an opportunity to better yourself, move on to another job.

Lesson #3 - I say all that to say this. I never made any money working for someone else. Some do I'm sure, I didn't. I was as good of an employee as someone could as for. Bottom line is men are greedy and you are a tool to be used. Invest in yourself and it will pay off in the long run. Don't expect to be making big bucks now. Get a plan and follow it you'll get there and be making good money someday but it takes time. If you go back and read my first post on this forum back in 2005 I started out similar to you.

All in all. Your current pay sucks by anyones standards. Assess whether there is any value in what you are learning if there isn't, move on. Assess whether you can make more elsewhere where you can also learn. If you can, move on. There are many positive things about jobs besides pay. Only you can evaluate what those things are worth, if anything, example: flexibility, good work environment, location, etc.

Hope all this rambling makes sense.
 

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Kowboy
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Nick:

Neither you nor your boss sets your wages. That is done by the marketplace. When you have a higher paying job lined up, your boss has to match or beat it to keep you. It's just business, nothing personal.

Nothing will be sweeter than telling your boss he's going to be paying you $9.00 an hour or you'll be leaving the following week, trust me. He won't like it, but he will respect you.
 

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Nick:

Neither you nor your boss sets your wages. That is done by the marketplace. When you have a higher paying job lined up, your boss has to match or beat it to keep you. It's just business, nothing personal.

Nothing will be sweeter than telling your boss he's going to be paying you $9.00 an hour or you'll be leaving the following week, trust me. He won't like it, but he will respect you.
In that respect your wage is set by both you and your boss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies guys they have given me some confidence in what I'm going to do about this but let me ask all of you....if you had a 16 year old somewhat skilled laborer working for you with a car and his/her own tools what would you pay them by the hour? Just curious to know so I can get a reasonable number in my head.
 

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Thanks for the replies guys they have given me some confidence in what I'm going to do about this but let me ask all of you....if you had a 16 year old somewhat skilled laborer working for you with a car and his/her own tools what would you pay them by the hour? Just curious to know so I can get a reasonable number in my head.
It doesnt matter, different parts of the country are different rates and cost of living.

I imagine you'd be making 25 an hour in San Francisco ;)
 

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nickcarlile56 said:
Thanks for the replies guys they have given me some confidence in what I'm going to do about this but let me ask all of you....if you had a 16 year old somewhat skilled laborer working for you with a car and his/her own tools what would you pay them by the hour? Just curious to know so I can get a reasonable number in my head.
It's different in ever area of the country but I will say that minimum wage isn't enough for a skilled laborer - even if that person is 16-17 yrs old...

In this area, outside Philadelphia, anything under 8.50 per hour for a first year laborer/ helper around that age isn't enough.

Two summers with the same company would be between 9-10 bucks minimum an hour depending on skill set. (Disclaimer - these numbers/ wages are not transferable to other parts of the country. That's just an estimate of what I would pay a guy in your shoes.)
 

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Lowest I have paid in years was 11. That was to a nephew of one of my carpenters and the son of another on summer vacation. They earned every penny.
 

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Here in chicago my company pays brand new guys with no experience whatsoever 10+. After we get a feel for them management normally gives them a few cents to a few dollars raise after that.
 

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BTW, I ask myself that every time I read a P and L. Lol
 

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I don't want any hands on my jobs that aren't worth at least 12.50 an hour, and that is just digging ditches.
Cant keep a DECENT helper for less. Especially in the summer :laughing:

Although this one is mild so far. :thumbsup:
 

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Livin the dream...
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Thanks for the replies guys they have given me some confidence in what I'm going to do about this but let me ask all of you....if you had a 16 year old somewhat skilled laborer working for you with a car and his/her own tools what would you pay them by the hour? Just curious to know so I can get a reasonable number in my head.
You are a 16 year old laborer. I guarantee you have a long way to go before you call yourself skilled. Don't get ahead of yourself here. Unless you were born into this your are very much a green horn.

Regarding your car. Everyone has transportation to get to work. That doesn't mean anything unless your putting significant miles on it getting to the jobsite and material runs.

Regarding tools. Anyone I have ever met that worked on a construction crew from a 6th grade amish kid to old timer has provided their own basic hand tools/belt. Its part of the job. I had a trunk full of tools in high school to that I provided. Its just part of being a good employee.

You've received a lot of good advice here. We can't tell you what you should be making an hour. For all we know you are costing your boss $7/hr in screw ups in spite of your hard work ethic. All you can do it take action now and see what happens.
 
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