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One man crew vs hiring employee

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    One man crew vs hiring employee

    My entire business life has been myself working by myself. I have really come to enjoy it, but there are times I get very busy and end up having to work late and weekends. I can call a few people in to worm for a week or 2 but really never thought about hiring a full time employee. I always fear slowing down to the point where I either don’t need him or worse, don’t have cash flow to pay him. Is this something that any other small business owners deal with? I am still relatively young and have no problem working 70+ hours a week when need be but I doubt I’ll want to do that when I’m 45+.

    #2
    Well, I worked by myself for many many years and the only way to do that is to learn to say no to some jobs. The issue of getting too bust or too slow comes up for everyone.

    I recommend that you put some money in the business account and keep it there so when you are ready to hire someone you have the money to do it. At this stage of my life I am solvent enough that when things get slow and the guys only have 1/2 to 3/4 of a day, I just pay them for the entire day. Obviously you can't do that forever but it is always a touch and go game in the business
    They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
    She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
    I can't help it if I'm lucky

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      #3
      Being an employer is a whole new ballgame.

      Start looking into those responsibilities now, before hiring. Make sure you understand payroll. OSHA rears it’s head immediately. Insurance. You will still be working 70 hours a week but more of it will be paperwork. Charge enough. Pay them enough.

      That said, I started hiring help at 35, when I figured out my back could no longer handle the work load.

      Tom
      TBLO

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        #4
        It's the back 9 of my career , and i'm finally alone again.

        I'm picking & choosing jobs

        and if i'm too slow, they can call somebody else

        ~RJ~

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          #5
          Any help I hire is contract labor. Show up, get paid, no bennies. Not only do I do this myself, but other ECs hire me under the same terms.

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            #6
            I think a lot depends on your personality. Some people are good at dealing with people, others not so much. I'm in the not so much camp. I get frustrated when someone won't or can't do something the way I think it should be done. I tend to irritate workers. So, for me, I was mostly a 1-man show.

            Now, if you are good with people and you want to build a multi-million dollar/year business, then make sure you are good with people and know how to delegate, and ... remember that you will deal with work that you might consider inferior or time frames that you don't expect.

            You have the same scheduling problems whether it's you or a team (you might be able to hide/juggle things better with a team).

            You can go broke very quickly if you grow too fast.

            Know yourself, make the decision based on what your inner self desires. If you want big bucks and big toys, then you will need to hire and grow. If you are satisfied with better than average earnings and enjoy working with your hands and by yourself, then keep on as a one-man show.

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              #7
              Something to consider is do you want to hire a helper (an apprentice) or someone that can do the work even when you are not present (basically a journeyman level person), or at least an apprentice that will become a journeyman (and stick around when he reaches that level).

              That helper needs supervision to be legal in most jurisdictions, so even on those one man jobs you have an extra body with you that is somewhat a waste. Maybe not an issue if you don't have too many of those jobs. Someone that can work alone and is trustworthy enough to do so, you can send to one project while you take care of other things when necessary. That person easily becomes a bigger asset to have around as productivity is increased when you can each take on those one man projects separately, of course that usually means you need second vehicle and second set of certain tools/equipment to support this kind of operations.

              One other problem with the more experienced guy is they will either eventually want more pay or will want a taste for themselves at becoming their own owner/operator. If you lose them you need to start all over training someone else. Someone already trained - may at least need extra attention at first until you trust them enough, plus they still may be looking for that better opportunity and will leave if they think they found it.

              It is not easy to find that one good person to help for long term in a small operation like that unless they are family, really close friend, etc. and have some sort of motivation to stick with you.
              I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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                #8
                I was solo for the first six years or so and then started hiring help. Some of them could run circles around me but others usually settled into a mode of production that was considerably less than I was used to. The trick is to know your workers well enough to be able to bid work, keep them busy, and make a profit. Pay them well, treat them well, and understand that none of them will ever have the interest in your company that you have. Five or six of my former journeymen have gone on to establish their own companies in direct competition with me and I couldn't be more proud of that.

                This past January I sold out after 41 tears in business (45 years in the trade), to my son and he is handling all of it now with five other workers and an office person (wife). I still do consulting and special projects on my own but at a much more leisurely pace.
                Bob on the left coast.

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                  #9
                  Something else: There's a reason most of the people filling out applications are not currently employed: They're simply not very good.

                  The cream of the crop are employed elsewhere. Their talent and skills have been recognized by their current employer, and they're usually well compensated as such. When it's time to cut back on payroll, the less desirable are the first to go. So those are the ones who show up at your door looking for a job.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Dansos View Post
                    My entire business life has been myself working by myself. I have really come to enjoy it, but there are times I get very busy and end up having to work late and weekends. I can call a few people in to worm for a week or 2 but really never thought about hiring a full time employee. I always fear slowing down to the point where I either don’t need him or worse, don’t have cash flow to pay him. Is this something that any other small business owners deal with? I am still relatively young and have no problem working 70+ hours a week when need be but I doubt I’ll want to do that when I’m 45+.
                    Maybe someone could respond to this question from the perspective of productivity. What is the increased productivity of adding a helper? What is the increased productivity of adding a journey man to the company? In my experience a helper will increase productivity by 50 percent. For me, I do not want to employ a HELPER. I want to employ a DOER.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As someone who is a better electrician than contractor, I would love to partner with someone who is a better contractor than electrician.
                      Master Electrician
                      Electrical Contractor
                      Richmond, VA

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by LarryFine View Post
                        As someone who is a better electrician than contractor, I would love to partner with someone who is a better contractor than electrician.
                        The house next to mine is available..... come on over!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by 480sparky View Post

                          The house next to mine is available..... come on over!
                          To do what, exactly?
                          Master Electrician
                          Electrical Contractor
                          Richmond, VA

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by LarryFine View Post

                            To do what, exactly?
                            Work.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by LarryFine View Post
                              As someone who is a better electrician than contractor, I would love to partner with someone who is a better contractor than electrician.
                              I learned early on a spark doth not a contractor maketh....

                              Unfortunate the trades are just not, and never will be a meritocracy

                              ~RJ~

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