One man crew vs hiring employee


Senior Member
If you are running a job the trick is to always have everyone with something in front of them to do, to not make them wait on someone or something else, and supervision to make sure they do it. If you can do this everybody is 100% efficient. It works best on a one man crew. The moment there are two people there will always be times when tasks are man waiting on the other. The bigger the job, the worse it gets.

Imagine for instance if you have an MDP you are wiring up. With one man they aren’t waiting on anyone or anything other than tools/parts they forgot at the truck or need a parts run for. We can speed up the job with a helper passing parts, making tool and part runs back to the truck, fishing, etc. The helper will spend a lot of time standing around though because there isn’t enough space for two guys working on a single MDP. So the job goes faster but not twice as fast. If we put 3 men on the job, they will do the same work as two. All we did is drive up the labor cost. Now we could put the third guy on doing rough ins working at 100% efficiency except when the MDP crew is waiting on a rough in or the rough in guy is waiting for the MDP crew to break for lunch or whatever.

For me personally it’s hard for me to shift from doing something to chasing helpers. It breaks my rhythm. I’m much better off not just with one helper but 4 or more where I spend 100% of my time working on making sure everyone has work in front of them, eliminating bottle necks, staging materials, gopher and parts run jobs.

The better situation is an all craftsman crew. We know what to do without being told. We still talk to address bottlenecks but the work just goes fast and easy. But when you have apprentices and helpers you sort of have to give them jobs they can handle and spoon feed them. Eventually they learn of I ride them until they go elsewhere.


Staff member
Simi Valley, CA
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.
That's what I was going to say