To have employees ... or not

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by 99k, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    I am an owner/operator of a plumbing company. I suspect that most people on this site, as myself, are very conscientious about their work and customer service.

    I am considering expanding and would like to get firsthand experiences from others who have done the same. I work like a dog, however, like the fact that the work is performed correctly and I don't need to worry about slow periods, absences, etc. However, I am getting tired and would like to start becoming more of a manager / boss ... it is the transition I am afraid of.

    I've bumped into many others in the trade who tell me, "you got to get some help", in which I respond "yeah, you're right". I now am starting to loose some work, however, I can be a little more choosey or raise the job price slightly in busy periods. It is very difficult for me to calculate the net benefit if someone else was on the payroll or the headaches I would encounter for that gain.

    What do you suggest, a helper?, an apprentice that you can train? A Journeyman who's up to speed but who may have some bad habits?

    I sure appreciate your feedback.
     
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Occupation:
    Tech. Instructor
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Without employees your business can never expand past what you can accomplish by yourself in a day.
     
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  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    The problem is finding honest, competent, reliable help.

    Anyone who's is as good as you will most likely be working on their own like you.
     
  5. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    help

    If the HELP is not trained already, he will be of little benefit, but a big expense, until it does happen. One employee is not going to generate the same income as you do so you will not be a full time"boss" for quite a while until you get additional help. Even the best employee will probably not work as hard as you do, and definitely not the same hours.
     
  6. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    employees are a headache

    I have ranted and raved here on this subject before.

    you put an ad in the paper and you dont know
    what is going to walk through your door....

    You end up becomming a slave to your employees
    with constant troubles rangeing from benefits to higher
    wages than you yourself presently make , to giving them a
    truck to drive so that they can steal from you to having to constantly drug test them .....................

    of course they probably falsified the employment application...

    but you can still try to get info on them by simply calling
    around town and asking if this fellow ever worked anywhere
    that is not on his app......


    My suggestion is

    Put an ad on Craigs list for apprentices..

    find someone about 20 grateful to learn the business
    from you and have trade taught to him .
    treat them good and they will certianly speed your day along.........

    you will have to probably repeat this procedure every 5 years
    cause once they get their lisc, they always moved on ..usually
    calling me a SOB as they left.......



    Anything is better than some "journeyman" that feels "entitled" to
    every perk in the book cause he has a journeymans lisc.

    just tell them to go to work at the local UNION...

    or because they think that they are so good.....Go plumb the next Space Shuttle....

    you will be much better off.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  7. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    I would imamagine your income goes backward after the first 1-2 employees. Do you have experience or are you aware of the "breakeven point" of making the same money you were making by yourself vs. the number of employees necessary to be on the payroll?
     
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    First thing is that the problem faced by any company...from one employee to General Motors....is employee motivation and morale. They are on *** many dollars per hour, and what the hell do they care if the job gets done sooner or later? If you are lucky, you find someone who does have some work ethic and will give you an honest days work. But bottom line is we are all humans, and respond to carrot and stick. If the carrot is sweet enough, that helps. The stick only works for a little while, since it pisses people off and they can leave!

    Employees don't have an ownership interest. They do not look far enough into the future to realize that doing an excellent job today will pay off far in the future with repeat customers, or to see that the repeat business will not only benefit the company, but will help keep them employed!

    There are incentive methods like commission structure. That is another whole debate which could become another world-record thread like the "Union" thread now running! Bottom line, one of your challenges as a business owner is to motivate employees to do consistenly good work, and if you're lucky they will occasionally do the excellent work which is your standard!

    Welcome to Boss-dom. It's a whole new world, baby!
     
  9. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    I am not surprised by this comment and why I have been relunctant.


    Well this is a creative thought ... how many responces have you received in the past doing this?

    Have you ever thought about or tried a bonus plan to encourage them to stay?

    So all the aggrevation of training and necessary paper associated with an apprentice is still easier / more cost effective in you opinion than a journeyman? That is interesting.
     
  10. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    I agree with you, human nature as it is responds much better to motivation. Have you any experience with some kind of bonus plan?
     
  11. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Craigs list is FREE...

    I was very surprised how many apps

    I got from Craigs list....I put in an add and within

    2 hours I got a call..... Probably got about 30 alltogether..


    The add stated I would send them through the apprentice program
    and train them in all aspects of plumbing....


    The good thing about Craigs list is they have to at least
    have access to a computor ....and know how to work one..

    therefore I can deduce that they can read and write..
    (elementary my dear Watson)..


    with the newspaper, you must pay $$ for the ad and then any
    drunk or someone just getting out of the county jail can pick
    that paper out of the trash.---and be knocking at your door tomorrow.
    with a sob story.......

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    As far as a bonus plan or incentive.....I have tried them all....

    they will stay with you till you give out the x-mas bonus then leave,,,,

    It dont matter what you give them , eventually they hit
    that "glass ceiling" where they cant go higher....




    Now...Their are companies in our town that pay their
    employees a base pay and everything else is on "comissioin"
    so whatever they can gouge the customer for , you split half with them.....

    If you dont mind them gougeing some blind little old lady
    in your plumbing truck....and you can sleep ok knowing
    what they are doing....then it will work out ok

    till the BBB or some TV reporter comes knocking at your door...
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------


    two apprentices learning the trade and going to school
    each makeing 13 bucks an hour are better than one
    ungrateful journeyman that thinks everything is
    "beneath his talents"...

    again ......tell him to go plumb the space shuttle...

    or kick back at the Unioin...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  12. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Occupation:
    Tech. Instructor
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Few things in life will trigger a migrane faster than hiring employees. I figure about 1 in 20 are worth keeping.
     
  13. Ladiesman271

    Ladiesman271 Homeowner

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Occupation:
    Care and maintenance of transformers


    Homeowners also get migranes from those same employees (about 19 in 20). Maybe that is why there is a big DIY market for simple "plumbing" work. What is so hard about changing out a sink and faucet, new toilet, garbage disposal (or similar basic "plumbing" project)?
     
  14. Ladiesman271

    Ladiesman271 Homeowner

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Occupation:
    Care and maintenance of transformers


    That same scenario is not limited to "plumbers"!
     
  15. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Occupation:
    Tech. Instructor
    Location:
    S. Maine
    There's nothing hard about it. We're all overpaid, pompus, self serving idiots just trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Plumbing is the best kept secret ever. Anyone can do it, We can Help 1,2,3, :D
     
  16. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    This is not what I had in mind and will only encourage fraud / ripping off the customer. Any business model that depends on commission usually is not in the customer's best interest and will backfire.

    I was thinking of a plan that somehow captures installation time, quality / cleanliness at the jobsite, monitoring of callbacks, positive feedback from customer, etc. Not sure how it would be administered
     
  17. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    a can of slimey worms......


    99k.. that is the point I am trying to make....

    the only way you can win is to make
    a deal with the devil and let them steal everyone
    blind.........its the only way to make them happy......


    Or YOU have to be the fellow that has to administer this
    bonus plan or incentive plan to get your drunken idiots to
    clean up their act......

    It all becomes a can of worms after a while ,,
    basically with you running around chaseing your tail,
    YOU trying to make idiots produce.......

    Eventually you become their slave or their fool thinking you actually are
    going to get them to help you grow your business...

    like picking them up for work when their car breaks down..
    cause you really need them that day....


    The Really Big trouble starts when the idiots realize that
    you need them to pay for all the ADVERTISEING you have
    contracted for this year........to help build up the business,

    they they usually ask for a large raise....
    and then you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    and you have to give it to them or start over and train new monkees.

    .....yellow pages really dont care about your problems....
    .they still want their cut.


    I decided to fire them all and just paid the advertiseing bills for
    only about 5 months more till they
    were through , .....grin and bear it ......., or so I thought...



    actually, to my surprise, it all worked out great...
    no payroll, no SS payments, no Withholding,
    no idiot losers to worry wether they were going to be sick
    today or not.. .... no headaches....

    and I realized I did better that year anyway without all
    the aggravation. I paid yellow pages and still did very well..

    and I did not have to spend endless hours finding and bidding crappy work
    to keep all the ungratgeful idiot employees busy that week either.......


    You should really pay me for this lesson in the

    school of hard knocks...

    I take master card and visa....




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  18. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    So I take it you're back to being an owner/operator:D This is why I started this thread ... I have heard over and over from different owners and in different businesses who ramped up to 7 or 10 or even 20 employees and are now by themselves again. In each instance they complained the stress was huge with little or no financial gain.
    One of the reasons I got out of industry and started my own business was to get away from the Bulls**t, however, it is a delimma in that earnings are tied to my production.

    Check is in the mail:D (you never heard that did you)



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/QUOTE]
     
  19. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    buy my new .....E-book

     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  20. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Occupation:
    Contractor of Radon Reduction, Testing, and Water
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    The one thing that has worked great for me was to make alliances with other owner/operators. I have / had a Master Plumber owner/operator who I would team up with on larger jobs. His work ethic and quality was fantastic, respectful of my customer, and very responsible. Sure I made less profit, however, I didn't have to have him on my books, SS, workman's comp., etc. One problem though ... once everyone started to figure out how great he was, his availability become nill. I am very happy for him but that was a nice way for me to grow without the hastles. Now I'm back to square one.
     
  21. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    anoter approach I have heard of

    I have heard that you can also hire plumbers from
    the local man power places around town.....

    for about 18 to 25 per hour.....


    they show up and you use them for as long as you wish,
    you dont pay for SS or withholding, or any benefits
    or insurance either, that all is paid by manpower..

    and when you are through with them you let them
    go back to the manpower place...or keep them for as long
    as you want to

    they cant file for un-employment on you either....
     
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