How do you find good employees?

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
I was merely pointing out that you can leave a Union and open a non-union (or different union) shop, legally, without breaking any laws, its a free country...
And I suspect a savvy person can 'roll' a pension into an IRA, but I am no financial advisor.

Not trying to make any pro-con debate, just the facts.

Speaking of politics thats another thing I'll add to retaining employees, having a professional 'neutral' climate in policy like this forum does makes for a professional workplace.
I have seen good people quit not because of the money but because of a political atmosphere at work , so if your the boss don't hang a big banner of your political presidential choice, hang a safety banner or ohms law.
and keep the AM radio on your earbuds...
If your a boss trying to build a 100+ JW shop, keep all that personal stuff personal on facebook or wherever, and lead as a professional and neutral person at work.
I have worked with great JW workers of every gender (now plus 1), race, religion, union/or non-union, political up down left right whatever, To have a real growing company you need to keep your eye on the ball and retain those that are not exactly like you.
 

blueheels2

Senior Member
Location
Raleigh, NC
Occupation
Electrical contractor
This is why I at least ask the question of whether I should attempt to be a union contractor that is going to focus on residential service for a while. Why aren’t there a lot of union residential contractors? What is the benefit to my company to be union? I see the ability to offer health insurance and pensions as a major positive. Small Open shops can’t offer those benefits. I see contractors offering stipend for health insurance and that’s because they can’t afford the premiums. So that’s something I can offer my men that is great. But the hall can’t offer me the manpower that i am looking for? And are there not a plethora of union residential service contractors because it’s a terrible way to run a business? Should I tank my business just so I can feel good about being a union guy even if I lose everything? Haven't made up my mind either way but those seem like valid questions to me and someone who wouldn't ask them is not very smart imo.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I think you are unwilling to pay what it would cost to have a union service guy. You might not be able to charge enough to afford it. OTOH, you might be able to work out a deal with the union to cover your guys benefits with a lower wage. This is not unheard of. Where I used to work they had guys who were in the pipefitter union but were not classified as pipefitters and were paid less, even though they were more or less pipefitters, but got similar benefits. it would not surprise me if the IBEW has a similar plan available. I know there was a panel shop in town that was IBEW but they were not paying union electrician scale for panel wirers.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
This is why I at least ask the question of whether I should attempt to be a union contractor that is going to focus on residential service for a while. Why aren’t there a lot of union residential contractors? What is the benefit to my company to be union? I see the ability to offer health insurance and pensions as a major positive. Small Open shops can’t offer those benefits. I see contractors offering stipend for health insurance and that’s because they can’t afford the premiums. So that’s something I can offer my men that is great. But the hall can’t offer me the manpower that i am looking for? And are there not a plethora of union residential service contractors because it’s a terrible way to run a business? Should I tank my business just so I can feel good about being a union guy even if I lose everything? Haven't made up my mind either way but those seem like valid questions to me and someone who wouldn't ask them is not very smart imo.
(Please keep in mind that I am just stating facts and my experience as a union shop. I am not casting shade on non-union shops.)

I'm glad to answer those questions for you. I decided to become a union shop because I was thankful to the union for all that they did for me and because I saw many benefits for my business. There is plenty of upside to being a union business. The union has pension plans, health care, vision care, vacation fund, and training in place so I don't have to do anything other than to pay into those funds. This saves me a lot of work. These are benefits employees want so even non-union shops have to think about offering them.

The only downside to being a union business is the cost of the employees. The higher cost of employees is mitigated by savings in the areas I mentioned above and other areas. For gangbox jobs, I don't have to advertise for employees or interview them. I just call the hall and tell them to send over whatever number of people I need from each of the fifteen available ranks e.g. one j-man and one third year apprentice. They arrive with 48 hours. And since I can get workers very fast at very little cost, I don't have to keep them when the jobs ends. I can just lay them off and get new ones when I need them. This saves money.

The extra cost of labor is also only a downside if you are competing on price. Service work is much less price sensitive than large construction projects. I have no problem filling my schedule with small jobs where people pay the price I quote. (And my quotes fully cover my costs and a fair profit.) However, many large projects are being won by union shops because some owners are less concerned about price and more concerned about the quality of the work. Union members have a reputation for good quality work. So cost of employees is really not an issue for a small company.

My only real problem is I can't get resi service guys from the hall. If I want those I have to find them myself. This would be true if I was a non-union shop so no difference there. I'm required to send the guys I find to the hall so they can sign them up. Then these guys are required to be paid union wages and benefits. If I was a non-union shop, I would have to pay them at least that amount to keep them so no difference there.

Why don't you see a lot of union resi contractors? A lot of resi contractors want to build houses. Building houses pays terrible. You can't afford to build houses with union workers. (You can barely afford to do it with non-union workers.) Service work and remodeling work pay well. There are several resi contractors in my local that do this work successfully.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Being able to use the union hall as a temp agency for electricians is hard to beat when you need a bunch of guys for a short time.

I have not noticed much difference in the quality of work between non-union and union electricians for construction type work. But my experience with control wiring guys is like yours with service guys. There just are not a lot of good ones around that can actually read drawings and wire things up right. It does seem to be better these days though than it was 10 or 20 years ago. But even so it is not unusual to have to make up wire lists for the electricians because they can't read schematics.

Where I used to work they would bring in pipefitters from the hall when the shop got overloaded. It was kind of a mixed blessing most of the time. Very few of the construction pipefitters were any good at the kind of work they had to do out in our shop so a fair number of them lasted the three day minimum and were told not to come back at the end of their third day.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
Our company uses a group called.... Tradesmen international. They have a website. Not sure what all areas they serve.
I’ve used them; they’re hit or miss on quality help. I’ve sent several packing before lunch.

The last three years we’ve used a company called Latin Electric out of Atlanta; 99% of their employees are Latin, and so far they’ve all been good or great electricians. Most of the guys are from South America, and a very high percentage of guys from Venezuela. I highly recommend them if you are in the southeast.

The only issue I’ve had is some language barriers but they’ll always have someone in the crew that speaks decent if not good English. I’ve really tried to work on my Spanish over the last year and I’ve gotten to the point I can decently communicate with Spanish only speakers.

My other advice for if you go that route is to stay on top of time sheets daily. That has been an issue a few times.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Ravenvalor

Senior Member
Man that's really difficult, resi service truck?
Do you do any admin, shopping for parts , parts delivery, billing, inventory, job clean up, phones, intake, scheduling, reminders, permitting, payroll, estimating or stuff like that? If so you might train someone to do one or some of those for way less headache and keep doing your service work.
That is a good idea.
 

junkhound

Senior Member
Location
Renton, WA
Occupation
EE, power electronics specialty
Here's one from a Master electrician who wanted $40.00 per hour. This clown cost me a $10,000 job because he tore up all kinds of crap in a house.
Scanning old threads to try to go back to sleep.
Saw old #17 post in this thread - WOW, classic hack, makes a HO DIY hack look good. My 12 YO grandson does much better work. .
Are the photos posted in #17 a crooked camera or is the 'install' crooked also?
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Scanning old threads to try to go back to sleep.
Saw old #17 post in this thread - WOW, classic hack, makes a HO DIY hack look good. My 12 YO grandson does much better work. .
Are the photos posted in #17 a crooked camera or is the 'install' crooked also?
I think I was holdingy phone a bit crooked when I took those pics.
I was so upset I couldn't even see straight
🤯🤯😱😱😭😭🤬🤬
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
The last three years we’ve used a company called Latin Electric out of Atlanta; 99% of their employees are Latin, and so far they’ve all been good or great electricians. Most of the guys are from South America, and a very high percentage of guys from Venezuela. I highly recommend them if you are in the southeast.
What % are legal or not (or do we not want to know)?

Sounds like you just made an argument for immigration allowances. :)
 

Besoeker3

Senior Member
Location
UK
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
I don't know. Maybe by good employers? We had about 40 employees. I did all the interviewing myself - my choice. And, of course, my problem if I got it wrong. It worked for me as the employer and it also worked with the employees. Not perfect though. There was the one guy who was insufferably argumentative. I had to dismiss him. I suppose that's not too bad for 45 years.
 
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