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Discussion Starter #1
Well guys it's getting to the point where I'm getting worn out by all the labor sometimes. Not ready to hire employee helper yet but looking for alternatives.

I have an upcoming project that will involve tearing a 1950s bathroom of plaster and lath down to the studs, removing cast iron tub, all the fixtures and the old tile floor. Plus now it has turned into a kitchen remodel with another 80 sq ft of old tile floor to remove and the mud bed beneath it and knock out a wall.

I'm considering some day laborers for this demo phase, but I'm really nervous about they causing more damage than good. I can just see them cutting through some wiring with a recip saw or any other worst case scenario you can think of.

Is my thinking off? I would love to stand around for once and watch somebody else work and supervise, but that might be a dissater waiting to happen. Is using day laborers going to be more of me doing the work, tearing stuff out and telling them to take this pile out to the dumpster?

Do you guys buy them lunch? Am I going to be totally shocked at how much work they won't be doing in an hour?
 

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Mike I know a general contractor who uses day labor for demo, but he does disaster recovery so your worries are not his worries.

If I might add my opinion I think your best bet is to hook up with a colleague or two willing to help you with the demo on as as needed basis. Maybe a couple guys just like you, or local "handy men" who do their own thing and can take a day off of their own thing to lend you a hand.

I was in a similiar situation and bit the bullet and hired a full time experienced repair guy. Now I'm looking for ways to keep him busy but I think it was a good decision.
 

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Dharma Building
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Mike,
I've had fairly good luck with day labor for demo. I think you may find that you can demo faster than your laborer can haul the debris to the dumpster. With lath & plaster, the crap gets deep in a hurry.
 

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If it speeds up the project go for it. The majority are decent folks between regular jobs and a few were recent guests of employers who only furnished room and board. All will be broke so spring for sodas, a pack of smokes and lunch at Mickey D's. It will come back to you.
Most agencies will have restrictions on them using cutting tools so they're restricted in that department, but for lifting and tote'n, you'll be in better shape the next day.
 

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shopdust nailed it. Here, they can't use power tools but one good guy slicing and dicing can keep three of them busy totin'. They're heaven sent for moving tubs and other heavy stuff.
I supply lunch, bucket o' chicken and soft drinks. Most are alkies and appreciate a beer at the end of the day. Limit it to one each to keep yourself out of trouble. I have about 6 regulars that just love working for me for the above mentioned reasons and they are not digging ditches in the rain or hot sun.
 

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Painting Contractor
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Hope I'm not changing the subject too much but...

How do you pay your day laborors? My partner and I have been discussing this exact same thing lately. It would be great if we could hire an extra person for the prep portions of our jobs. Do you pay them a set amount a day or by the hour? On the books or off? How is it worked?

We don't have workmens comp or offer benifits or health insurance... basically we are not set up to handle any "reguler" employees.
 

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Humble Abode said:
Hope I'm not changing the subject too much but...

How do you pay your day laborors? My partner and I have been discussing this exact same thing lately. It would be great if we could hire an extra person for the prep portions of our jobs. Do you pay them a set amount a day or by the hour? On the books or off? How is it worked?

We don't have workmens comp or offer benifits or health insurance... basically we are not set up to handle any "reguler" employees.
I used a temp agency last week for moving furniture from one home to another for a client, paid $15 and some change per hour total and they sent me a $10 man. They took care of all the legal issues and sent me a bill 5 days later.

As long as I was there to baby-sit it worked out pretty nice.

Best of Luck,
Jesse R. Kirchhoff

Kirchhoff Handyman Solutions LLC
“Making Your Life A Lot Less Complicated”
www.midmohandyman.com

Advanced Power Washing and Restoration Solutions LLC
Professional Products ~ Professional Service ~ Professional Results
www.advancedpw.com
 

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Some people hire them off of the corner and pay cash, not me, too dangerous. Labor pools cost more but take care of ins. and WC. almost foolproof. Corner guys will work for $6-8 per hr. our pools charge $12.00 p.h. with a min 4 hrs.
 

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Here's what I usually do: I figure out how much I am willing to spend and call everyone I know and tell them the job and dollar amount I am willing to pay. Usually by the fourth person I found one. Then I take him out there thank him go see him at lunchwith a burger and coke then come back in the afternoon, and help clean up with him, pay cash thank him again and all's well that end's well. I know alot of people that have thier own buisnesses and have downtime or bounce around and will make time for a day or two with cash payment.
 

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Not to drag this thread off topic, but about 10 yrs ago, we were doing some w/c R&R at a condo complex in the hallways/dining/rec room areas. I was asked to bid on the painting portion too. Didn't get that part, but later noticed the guy showing up to start work that was awarded the job. The complex would give contractors an empty unit to store tools/materials in. I noticed this guy toting in a couch, TV, and some cots. Next day, I see his 'painters' wandering around, cut pot/brush in one hand, trash bag of worldly possessions in the other. The dude had recruited homeless/soup kitchen guys for his painters. Un-frickin-believable. And these guys were supposed to figure out how to spray Muraspec Duo-Tone on the walls below my installed w/c. Holy cow. I finished that job and never looked back.
 

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LOL !!! I think I know those guys. The tall one would have been 'Spud', the guy with the reddish hair was 'Tokay Tommy' and the short fat one is 'Cornbread'.

"Workmanship in the finest tradition of the Union Resue Mission"
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Humble Abode said:
How do you pay your day laborors? My partner and I have been discussing this exact same thing lately. It would be great if we could hire an extra person for the prep portions of our jobs. Do you pay them a set amount a day or by the hour? On the books or off? How is it worked?

We don't have workmens comp or offer benifits or health insurance... basically we are not set up to handle any "reguler" employees.
My thoughts were to use the labor agencies. It's on the books with a company check. All you do is pay the invoice and they take care of their guys insurance and WC. It seems like a nice safe way to keep yourself out of trouble. I am not considering grabbing guys off the street/soup kitchen and going down that road.
 

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Mike Finley said:
My thoughts were to use the labor agencies. It's on the books with a company check. All you do is pay the invoice and they take care of their guys insurance and WC. It seems like a nice safe way to keep yourself out of trouble. I am not considering grabbing guys off the street/soup kitchen and going down that road.
I don't want some hung over loser either... But my experience with Temp agencies hasn't been much different, I used to run my fathers binderey. We brought in temps for some big work occasionally, and if they came back after lunch it was a miracle. I guess you take what you can get and hope for the best.

I do like the idea of them being covered by the agency and having certain work restrictions. It seems like it would be worth the extra $2-$4 an hour.
 

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Here, that $2-4 looks pretty small when you consider the alternative. Trip to jail, $5K fine, the state breathing down your neck forever unless somebody gets hurt and then you can add on hospital bills and civil suits. Those couple of bucks are starting to look like money well spent aren't they?
 

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Trey said:
... come back in the afternoon, and help clean up with him, pay cash
Why anyone would pay cash is beyond me. I don't pay anything without cutting a check and having an invoice to file.
I use temp agencies to provide 'certified' traffic flagmen. They hold state issued cards that verify their training. The agency covers w/c, etc., etc. Flagmen cost about $3 / hr more ($16 - $17) than the usual flunky. I might need flagmen 10 days a year - if that.
 

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PipeGuy we are in much different lines of work. I paint sometimes I have a property management job that requires little skill and my men are too busy other places. Other times it might mean sanding or wallpaper removal. Sometimes it may be a crazy job like cleaning out under a house so we can dry lock the foundation. Its always very rare.
 

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Teetorbilt said:
Here, that $2-4 looks pretty small when you consider the alternative. Trip to jail, $5K fine, the state breathing down your neck forever unless somebody gets hurt and then you can add on hospital bills and civil suits. Those couple of bucks are starting to look like money well spent aren't they?
Agreed.
 

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I use to hire day laborers for demo and clean up, paid them 10/hr cash. Couple of years ago I hired a professional work comp abuser. His lawyer got him $40,000 from my workers comp company. His 5th lawsuit. I get my day help from labor ready or labor finders now
 

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bob said:
I use to hire day laborers for demo and clean up, paid them 10/hr cash. Couple of years ago I hired a professional work comp abuser. His lawyer got him $40,000 from my workers comp company. His 5th lawsuit. I get my day help from labor ready or labor finders now
Good point,i'm sure labor ready/labor finders screen out these types,plus have the resources to hire lawyers to defend against this sort of thing. Its my observation that people who sue for a living will target smaller companys thinking you will want to settle rather than go to court. This also applies to customers who hire contractors not intending to pay them.
 
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