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Old 02-08-2020, 11:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Wirenuting View Post
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, 09:01 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, 10:20 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, 10:45 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, 10:51 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, 11:03 AM   #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, 12:49 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, 12:59 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, 07:11 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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Old 03-03-2020, 08:47 PM   #30
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its hard and no one has a single answer that works.keep trying till you find correct people and then....GOOD LUCK!!
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:09 PM   #31
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My last employees are either in jail, prison or their graves.... It's no joke out there.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:59 PM   #32
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How do you even get them to come out to rural areas to apply? I can't even get a feeler for anyone wanting to come out to the prairie where the wind never quits.
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Old 03-08-2020, 10:22 PM   #33
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We started offering hookers and blo as a benefit, things have never been better.
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Old 03-09-2020, 12:07 AM   #34
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We started offering hookers and blo as a benefit, things have never been better.
In some cases, that would actually work..........
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Old 03-09-2020, 02:05 AM   #35
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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....

That’s the right answer right there! That realization you had, do it!

Nobody wants to train so how are you to expect employees to get better. They just keep bouncing from one company to another not learning anything. If everyone just taught them a little bit at a time before throwing them out then eventually one will come rolling in with the desire to learn and if you can see the potential within them to be a good employee then offer them what they are worth and keep them. Don’t make them ask for it, offer it to them! That goes a long way in showing respect to them and even if it is not mentioned by them it WILL be noticed!


Training is the cost of being an employer. If you want good staff treat them well and train them to meet your standards. A good tech will have a desire to learn so keep training them and freeing courses even if they are unpaid, just let them know about it. Those ones that suppliers put on with a free dinner because it’s after work hours. Try to provide at least one paid training class each year. That’s the stuff that will keep them.

Flexibility on hours will help secure them also. If they need to start later and end later then try to accommodate that. If then want to work 4 ten hour days to have 3 day weekends then try to work with that. Those things matter a lot.

... but still, since the problem is not about how to keep the good ones but rather how to find them then then the solution is through training. Good guys don’t sit on the street waiting for someone to offer them a job. They are the ones interviewing the employer to see if the employer is the right work place for them. If you want a gem you are going to have to polish it yourself.

I find from reading on boards like this that it people are quick to fire techs when they make a mistake. The thing is, once they have made that mistake they are less likely to make it again. That was a lesson. Why fire them and eat the cost of that lesson just to send a now better tech to your composition. If they don’t already know then let them know the mistake that happened and educate them about it. Be glad that should be the end of it and give them another shot at it.


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Old 03-09-2020, 02:16 PM   #36
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Training is the cost of being an employer.
I understand why most EC's do large commercial and industrial jobs rather than residential jobs. They can't hire electricians that have any skills beyond running pipe and wire. No people skills, no math skills, can't take a bath, can't brush their teeth, can't stay sober, can't show up on time, can't be trusted with money, illiterate, can't follow a plan, can't troubleshoot, can't stay out of jail, wreck the truck, etc.

The people I need to run a service truck need all the above skills. There's only so much training a small employer can afford.
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Old 03-09-2020, 05:37 PM   #37
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4. You hire on attitude first, then on skill set.
When I interviewed at my current employer they asked me the question,
"What is more important Attitude or Abilities"
I answered Attitude because I can teach ability's but I can't change Attitude!

Everyone in the room nodded yes good answer, that is when I knew these are the people I want to work with.

So it work both ways.

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