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Old 09-13-2017, 10:02 PM   #1
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Default Thinking outside the box

I am wondering how everyone gets their employees to think outside the box? Most of my guys do commercial jobs. Follow the blue prints and run wire from point a to point b. But there are slow times that we have them do residential jobs. Its like they are lost. Deer in headlights. If something is even slightly different, they freeze. A 2 hr job takes 4 or more.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:11 PM   #2
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Maybe tell them this should take 'x' amount of time and see what happens.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:10 AM   #3
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It has been my experience that commercial electricians struggle with residential.

Unless you do residential on a regular basis, you will not compete well with those that do it on a regular basis. Same thing in reverse.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by was240 View Post
I am wondering how everyone gets their employees to think outside the box? Most of my guys do commercial jobs. Follow the blue prints and run wire from point a to point b. But there are slow times that we have them do residential jobs. Its like they are lost. Deer in headlights. If something is even slightly different, they freeze. A 2 hr job takes 4 or more.
Take the blue prints away.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:21 AM   #5
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Some would find what I'm about to say offensive, but ...

You have installers working for you, not electricians.

I was in the one category myself and have started the shift to the other but am humble enough to not make the claim I am fully in the second category...what the hell am I getting at...

I was an installer, and a damn good one and then I went into business for myself and was quickly made aware of how much I don't know. Coming from a commercial or industrial background generally means that everything is designed and engineered for you. I'm not discrediting the amount of skill required to be a good installer, but I never had to size equipment because it was already determined. I didn't have to be super sharp on code requirements for the same reason. I needed a basic understanding of both code and design, and was trained in both, but like any other muscle group it will atrophy if not exercised on a regular basis.

Doing residential work or smaller commercial/industrial work (where generally there is no engineering/design budget) means you become the designer and have to ensure sound designs that will meet the customer's requirements and satisfy the applicable codes at the same time.

Knowing what I know now, I feel fake calling myself a (master) electrician because there are those that have the total package (theory & code, hands on ability, problem solving/troubleshooting and customer service) and I know where the gaps are in my game.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewsserviceco View Post
Some would find what I'm about to say offensive, but ...

You have installers working for you, not electricians.

I was in the one category myself and have started the shift to the other but am humble enough to not make the claim I am fully in the second category...what the hell am I getting at...

I was an installer, and a damn good one and then I went into business for myself and was quickly made aware of how much I don't know. Coming from a commercial or industrial background generally means that everything is designed and engineered for you. I'm not discrediting the amount of skill required to be a good installer, but I never had to size equipment because it was already determined. I didn't have to be super sharp on code requirements for the same reason. I needed a basic understanding of both code and design, and was trained in both, but like any other muscle group it will atrophy if not exercised on a regular basis.

Doing residential work or smaller commercial/industrial work (where generally there is no engineering/design budget) means you become the designer and have to ensure sound designs that will meet the customer's requirements and satisfy the applicable codes at the same time.

Knowing what I know now, I feel fake calling myself a (master) electrician because there are those that have the total package (theory & code, hands on ability, problem solving/troubleshooting and customer service) and I know where the gaps are in my game.
I agree. I have worked with many "installers" who hold a Canadian Red Seal license
This One guy, was an amazing worker. If you had a transformer, conduit and wire to install this guy would get it in the fastest. It would be plumb, level and look great as well. Boss loved him.
But, if we turned it on and it didn't work, he would say "I can't trouble shoot. I don't even have a meter in my tool bag. Get someone else. Do you have more conduit to install for me?
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:47 PM   #7
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It's more than a matter of thinking outside the box. It's a matter of experience.

Experienced electricians can learn resi, commercial or industrial more quickly than a newbie because all phases have the same basis, but it still takes hands on experience to do any job efficiently.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:32 PM   #8
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I agree. I have worked with many "installers" who hold a Canadian Red Seal license
This One guy, was an amazing worker. If you had a transformer, conduit and wire to install this guy would get it in the fastest. It would be plumb, level and look great as well. Boss loved him.
But, if we turned it on and it didn't work, he would say "I can't trouble shoot. I don't even have a meter in my tool bag. Get someone else. Do you have more conduit to install for me?
They're called "pipe & wire electricians" Nothing wrong with that as they're needed also. Sometimes "electrician" can be an ambiguous term.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:09 PM   #9
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If you want them to go outside the box ?
There has to be motivation to do so.
With the current system if they do only what they are told to do
Then if the **** hits the fan they are protected.
Why don't you try giving them a bonus,
next time they come up with a good solution to a tricky problem.
And compliment them.
Nothing motivates like $$$.

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