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Old 02-09-2020, 12:38 AM   #21
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HD parking lot.
They work hard and if you call ICE at the end of the day you don’t need to pay them.
I know a guy that actually did something like that. It did not end well for him or the homes these guys had worked on.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:01 AM   #22
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I know a guy that actually did something like that. It did not end well for him or the homes these guys had worked on.
That does not surprise me.
I've used them a couple of times for non-construction jobs. They worked hard for a day's pay.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:20 AM   #23
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I keep hiring people and they keep turning out to be duds. Some fail in the first few days and others can last a couple of months. I have come to the realization that in order for me to get the kind of employees I need I will have to invest in training them which is difficult since I am a small service contractor who can't afford much training. The people I need must not only be excellent electricians and troubleshooters, but they must look good, smell good, and have great customer service skills. All these people are already employed.

I have this fantasy of one day setting up a facility in a warehouse where I will test prospective employees and provide training to those who pass the employment testing. Only people claiming to know what they are doing can apply. I'm not trying to reinvent the apprenticeship school.

This testing will include written tests, some practical wiring and pipe bending, but the pièce de résistance will be an attic obstacle course simulation built just a couple of feet above the ground with gym mats underneath.

There will be total darkness, fiberglass insulation, Romex to step on, duct work to climb over, tight spaces to crawl through, alarm wires to accidentally rip out, and of course it will be heated to 120 degrees. If a prospective employee can enter at one end carrying a flashlight and a bucket of tools and exit the other end without destroying anything or falling through the drywall "ceiling", then they might be worth hiring. Multiple low-light cameras will observe the fun.

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Old 02-09-2020, 11:45 AM   #24
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@Coppersmith It isn't going to get any better, unless you develop them from the ground up.

I am looking to hire Jman, but I also realize I have to take on an apprentice to train them into what I want and need. I've had several, one that was awesome, but he ended up moving out of the area. I've got another that has started part time, and he's looking promising.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:51 AM   #25
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I've had several, one that was awesome, but he ended up moving out of the area.
That's another problem. You invest lots of time and money in training and they quit.
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:03 PM   #26
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That's another problem. You invest lots of time and money in training and they quit.
That's all part of the game. Maybe they don't, and then you've got something really good.

Besides, if we as business owners just sit and complain about "No Good Help" all day, but are loathe to do anything about it, then we are part of the problem.

We take risks everyday as owners, this is just one of those risks that has become the reality of the world we live in. And if you don't do it, someone else (Your competition) is doing it. And they will have a more qualified work force.

You could also try poaching. Sit in the truck at the SH and wait for the guys to show up, give them your card and offer them a job. Dunno... Worth a shot?
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Old 02-09-2020, 01:49 PM   #27
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That's another problem. You invest lots of time and money in training and they quit.
This is not aimed at any particular person but generally speaking (not always true), if they're treated well and more importantly, paid well, the chances of them staying around is greater. Usually much greater.

By treated well I mean a lot of contractors have the attitude of 'any ol' electrician can do any ol' thing any ol' time'. This is a sure-fire way to chase off even the best people.

Each of us has stuff we like and stuff we don't like. Learn what your guys like and try to get jobs accordingly. But don't continually send them to stuff they hate just because it's easy for you to get that type of work.

For example, I hate, and I mean HATE, resi service work. I really enjoy industrial service work, especially if it involves controls. If I were sent out to houses all the time, I wouldn't last very long. If a resi guy is sent to do industrial, he won't last.

Further, by paying them a bit more than the standard, you'll keep them longer. Of course, the contractor might not be able to have a vacation home in every state, maybe only 2 or 3 cars instead of 15 new ones every year.......lol.

My point is that as a contractor, you might need to sacrifice a bit in order to retain good help as opposed to endless hiring and firing and ending up with less $$$.

Note; the above was written by a guy with 45 years in the trades, the last 29 as an electrician. I've never been a contractor so I don't know what it's like. I could easily be way off........
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Old 02-09-2020, 01:59 PM   #28
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@micromind is correct. As contractors in the market we are in, we really do have to up the wages and packages for employees to both retain and attract them.

Couple that with the fact that the next generation is always a bit different than the previous, so "Business as Usual" never really works. You have to somewhat forget about how it was when you came up, or "This is the way WE do things".

To attract talent, you need to become attractive. Is your company attractive, or is it simply just another company? What are the types of people you want to hire? What do they want, need and desire from an employer?

For example, if they are a huge family guy, maybe letting them take off Tuesdays and Thursdays an hour early so they can coach the kids team is what that guy really wants. Or maybe someone really wants an hour lunch so they can swing by the house and see the newborn.

Benefits don't always cost money, but lack of them always costs money.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:11 PM   #29
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This is a good topic, and a difficult matter. I hire maintenance electricians, both experienced and fresh out of school with AS electronics or trade licenses.

About twenty years ago the success rate with new hires was about 75%. Now it has dropped to about 30%. What changed? I'm not sure.

Here is what I do to check prospects in addition to the interview, resume, etc.:

1. The WALKING SPEED test: I take them on a tour of the factory including several flights of stairs. I try to walk at a brisk pace but not fast. Then I observe the candidate to see how they keep up. If they seem "energized" during the walk and stairs it's a positive. (This isn't a physical fitness test so I adapt and accommodate all ages/body types.)

2. The INTEREST test: During the interview and tour I show them numerous cool things (VFDs, PLCs, huge motors, chemical processors, etc.). I watch if they LOOK WITH INTEREST at the things or ask questions. (Of course I am mindful that different personalities will be more overt with their interest.)

And of course regular interview questions, a brief written quiz, etc.

Candidates that pass the WALKING SPEED and INTEREST tests mostly succeed compared to those who don't pass. Whatever.
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