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I have two young children and have been subing out for years and really not making a lot of money The hourly money is good and I have the flexibilty to take them to Dr. appoinments and do things like you would expect a father can. With my wife working 40+ hours a week I tend to worry how much flexibilty a union job would give me. I am journymen skilled at a point in my life where I just want some stabilty in my job as my kids are enough stress my employees are even tougher to handle. My best installer is great at the install but often shows up late and wreaks of drink often quiting early and asking for an advance. I keep poor records and could use a little kick in the ass.

Union or not? I live in the St.Paul area and would like some feedback on the union vs. non. Being a frustrated manager of installers I wonder if the union is a viable alternative? Are they flexible to top notch installers with very good people skills? I wouldn't mind somedody taking care of buisness for me and just being told when to show up but I fear being fleeced. I have heard good and bad. If anyone has a contact in the mpls/st.paul area they find fair let me know. Hard surface with a specialty in vinyl, laminates and hardwood have done dozens of ceramic floors, backsplashes, tub surrounds. Never done a shower pan but understand it, just have not done it.

Already know the industry looking for something more. Have references and knowledge.

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651-398-1909
 

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I know a couple of union installers that wouldn't have it any other way. They enjoy the ability to install everyday without the headaches of running a business. Not everyone is cut out to be a businessman, even though they may be a skill craftsman, so they decide to work for someone else. It sounds like you are good at what you do but lack the business skills to get ahead.(is this about right?)

About getting fleeced by an employer, thats relative to what you want out of life. No, you won't have complete control over your scedule, but you will have a stable schedule and steady income.

Personally, if I were to give up self-employment, I would explore the union route. The Flooring unions have a pretty decent training program(INSTALL) that you may need to go through.

Here's a link to the area Local

HTH
Don
 

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Just so happens i am in the local that sponsors and set up the install program here in St. Louis.
I joined the unio about 15 years ago and would not have it any other way.I cannot put into words the way it has helped me and mine.Anyone who has an argument as to why not to join the union such as, paying someone to work,fleecing you,etc. i would love to talk to them and try to swing them.
Think of the dues that you pay as taxes,you pay the taxes and electthe officials for representation and that is exactly what the dues represent.Is is so much easier that when you have the need to look for another job to just call the hall and they will direct you to the right place and all the chanels you would normally go through in getting a job are pretty much non existant,yea you stil have the interview and the fill out the application but,for the most part it is just formality.
Also if you are having problems with getting money say from somebody who likes to write bad checks, and there are few,then they will do all the arguing and collecting of funds for you.But that is few and far between and has only happened once to me and they stepped up and did all the work for me all i had to do was make the call.
Insuance,the best coverage you could possibly imagine comes from the union.I cannot go into detail, but if the coverage was not what it is i would be bankrupt cause of the medical problems my wife has had here in the last 10 years or so,very little out of pocket cost for us.
Training,some of the best guys in the industry run our training facility here and they used our school as a model for others in the country.They are constantly upgrading their skills and passing that on to the cubs that are coming up in the ranks.They also have upgrade classes for the journymen.
I have worked up in minneapolis and have experienced some of the workings of the union in that part of the world and have to say that they are doing pretty good for the guys that they take of their,now i don't know everything about that particular local but what have seen of it they are pretty good to 'em.
So if you want some more info or if you or anyone else would like to talk more about this please let me know and will be more than happy to try to help out any way that i can :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Need a good installer and a good guy?

Don Benham said:
I know a couple of union installers that wouldn't have it any other way. They enjoy the ability to install everyday without the headaches of running a business. Not everyone is cut out to be a businessman, even though they may be a skill craftsman, so they decide to work for someone else. It sounds like you are good at what you do but lack the business skills to get ahead.(is this about right?)

About getting fleeced by an employer, thats relative to what you want out of life. No, you won't have complete control over your scedule, but you will have a stable schedule and steady income.

Personally, if I were to give up self-employment, I would explore the union route. The Flooring unions have a pretty decent training program(INSTALL) that you may need to go through.

Here's a link to the area Local

HTH
Don
I saw you were not hiring but would be very intersted if you were. I know good companies are made up of good people and I am one. Flawless no, but just want to do better for my girls. I guess location would be the main factor as I am in Maplewood. Let me know if you have any interest. I looked at the attached message and I am curious. I have all my own tools and a very good flooring van. (Ford 250 cargo clean) plus I am clean cut and VERY good with customers. But like you said some people are not cut out to run they're own buisness. I thought I was but the real world and children hit me. I don't want to have to question wether my girls will be taken care of I want to add a certain amount of security to it. 10 years at it and I only know I am looking for a job instead of easy money. I have been contacted by the union before and know I should call Pro-floors or any number of them but your response was also a wake up call and led me to respond. I am not sure if your company has interest or this is just a talk board as I have posted my first message the other day.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
resaerch

Don Benham said:
I know a couple of union installers that wouldn't have it any other way. They enjoy the ability to install everyday without the headaches of running a business. Not everyone is cut out to be a businessman, even though they may be a skill craftsman, so they decide to work for someone else. It sounds like you are good at what you do but lack the business skills to get ahead.(is this about right?)

About getting fleeced by an employer, thats relative to what you want out of life. No, you won't have complete control over your scedule, but you will have a stable schedule and steady income.

Personally, if I were to give up self-employment, I would explore the union route. The Flooring unions have a pretty decent training program(INSTALL) that you may need to go through.

Here's a link to the area Local

HTH
Don

I just got this thread and saw some more of your postings. I am a newbie to this type of thing. Disregard that last call for employment as I understand now you are not even twin cities based. Thanks for the info. I just have to move forward. Thanks for the links.

In Xanudu did Kubla Kan a statley pleasure dome he did decree.
 

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I did the union thing for about 5 years, including 4 years as an apprentice. Longer than it should have but I got stuck with an employer who enjoyed my outstanding sanding/finishing skills more than teaching me installation skills. Good and bad everywhere, union life certainly has its pros and cons. Plenty of presure to perform and earn those benefits!
Then I got involved in union politics and served on the SF district council. What I saw there sickened me. A few smart guys making lots of hay off the dumb and ignorant. The final straw was seeing a monthly parade of "charges" against members for "causing dissent". No exageration, it was in the bylaws! If Clarence Darrow (one of the firrst and most powerful union organizer) only knew that he could no longer dissent! Just couldn't take anymore on principle. Of course, i didn't have a family to worry about.
Bought my own equipment and have been where you are now. Hungover empoyees causing embarrassment and not making enough money. Took some small business classes, laid off the employees because you discover you don't really pay for your management until you have 8 guys working. After managingand working in front offices of some high-end shops, I've settled on working for myself-alone. All the money goes to me, it pays well and I have no worries about who shows up drunk. You should concentrate on just one facet and learn it well, better than anybody else, then charge more moeny, you can do very well with the right marketing.
 

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I've settled on working for myself-alone. All the money goes to me, it pays well and I have no worries about who shows up drunk. You should concentrate on just one facet and learn it well, better than anybody else, then charge more moeny, you can do very well with the right marketing.
Marco hit the nail on the head.
Developing your own specialty niche is a very good way to stay in control of your own destiny while eventually reaping a very good living.Large jobs requiring additional help can be dealt with using Temporary services.
Learning to keep good records is the bane of many good installers.Consider getting an accountant.you wont believe what they will do for you for a very small fee.
I am in Northern Minnesota and knowing the rates that are being commanded by twin cities contractors,If you are having a hard time making a living you need to take a hard look at how you are operating.
I am making a good living and bringing in about 40% less for the same work as twin cities based installers.(and thats at 10-15% higher than the going rates up here)
Granted I am not getting Rich and I wont be retiring tomorrow or next year,but i never lack for work and never take work that isnt profitable just to keep the help happy.
Take a hard look at how you are operating,make some changes,develop some goals and some good habits.Use professionals in the area's that you are weak(accountants etc) spend more time making money and less time second guessing.Small goals attained add up to large successes over time.
And lose the Drunk!! I dont care how good he is,he is hurting you far more than he is helping.People that reek of drink will not get you refferals even if the work is satisfactory.
I kept a drinker on 1 time.......for about 30 seconds while he layed out his excuses than I fired him and never looked back.Guys like that give the trades a bad name!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Drunks

I have had my best worker Jay as my top installer for a few years now he actually tought me the buisness but was unable to put his life together and now he works for me. He is a great hard surface man and blows away any others I try because they seem more reliable or "normal" his problem is he drinks so much he often reeks of it the next day and if the job were to start in the afternoon he would have had a few by then. Most customers like him but a few smell him after to much talk. I try to tell him to just install and not talk to much but he is the type that likes to talk and it is mostly OK but it is clear to some clients he has drink on his breath. He is my only trusted installer as far as skills and when I pick him up for a job I know he will do well as long as they don't smell him. Plus he can't drive due to DUIs and no car. He is constantantly late for work and penniless but he does do a great job often going out of his way to make sure it is done right, instead of quick. By 5pm he gets twichy and always comes up for a reason to quit.

I don't know, My wife thinks I would be better of without him. But then I would be on my knees! I think I would to. But it is a tough decision. I like starting and finishing jobs while he does the middlework. And I profit by taking care of buisness. While he installs I pick up new jobs. Then do the finishing work myself.

I guess I don't have a question just getting a little something of my chest.
 

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I guess that is one of the reasons i like the unoin so much.I can still keep my hourly job with all the bene's and then i can still do the side job thing on my own while i am deciding on what i want to do, either keep working hourly or quit and go on my own.But twith my wife being so sick lately i think i better stay where i am for now.
I said this once before and i will say it again,if it were not for the union and all the great benefits and wages that are provided by union membership i would not be in the position that i am in today ,i am not rich but i sure could be alot poorer.
I know alot of unions around the country have a bad rap but alot of them are doing there best to turn that around and the carpenters union is one of them,there are some other ones that claim to be union but they are just trying to ride on the coatails of the carpenters :cool:
 
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