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#158033 - 03/23/06 04:27 AM Slow Spells
Tiger Offline
Member

Registered: 05/04/05
Posts: 714
Loc: Crystal Lake, IL USA
Nobody likes to confess about the occasional slow spell, but we all have them. I'm curious how you handle it when you have employees.

You still have the full page phone book ad, payments on the vans, all the usual overhead, and well trained employees with nothing to do.

It seems like you'd be reluctant to lay them off, so every hour is eating up your profits from previous profitable work. You don't want to loose a good employee because you've invested in them & their training.

So what do you do when it slows down?

Dave

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#158034 - 03/23/06 07:01 AM Re: Slow Spells
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I don't really have employees to worry about; there is my partner, and myself.

I "slow moment" is an opportunity for my to clean my truck, sort through my parts, catch up on paperwork.

Then I turn to my cats. Yup, the four-legged kind. I take the latest pics around to my regular customers...just a friendly "hello." Quite often this turns into a general chat about what they're up to, and how I can join in. Or, my visit will give them a chance to bounce some ideas off me- things that were not so urgent that they didn't want to 'bother' me.

This is the time a regular customer really prooves his value. They will also have some little things they want done -things like changing lights, moving an outlet, little 'fixes' discovered in the course of other jobs- that they just haven't had the occasion to fix.

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#158035 - 03/24/06 12:33 AM Re: Slow Spells
macmikeman Offline
Member

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
Consider the lillies of the field. They neither reap, nor do they sow. Yet in all his glory King Soloman was not arrayed like one of these..... Stop worrying and lay them off. If they liked working for you they will come back.

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#158036 - 03/26/06 06:17 AM Re: Slow Spells
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Wow Mike that is just plain cold.

I have always worked for others, and when I do I give 100% to the company, for that I expect some sort of loyalty from the company.

When things have gotten slow the companies I have worked for have found things to keep me busy and on the payroll. I have split wood, organized stock, once I even helped do a engine swap on a 40' fishing boat.

I have experienced a layoff only once while employed as a full time electrician and that was after a long slow down. By that point it was down to laying off the owners brother or me.

Bob
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

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#158037 - 03/26/06 10:42 AM Re: Slow Spells
macmikeman Offline
Member

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
Ok guilty as charged. Cold. Now when general contractors that I sub to get slow, should I go whine to them to go underbid some projects since I won't have any work now that they are slow? And should I expect my wholesaler's to cut the prices across the board since my company is slow and suddenly cannot afford the regular prices? At the end of every large bridge project that ever got built the workforce was sent packing. That was the way it was. At the end of WW2 the troops were dismissed. And since workforce labor is the highest cost of doing business, it does not take very long to drain the company into non existince. I know how hard it is to lay off a family man. I had to make that choice many times. But I gave the original poster the encouragement he needs to do what is necessary.

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#158038 - 03/26/06 10:45 AM Re: Slow Spells
Electric Eagle Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Good employees are too hard to find to just lay them off unless it was going to put me out of business if I kept them. I would even pay them not to work if I couldn't find other work for them.

This is why it is critical to make a healthy profit during good times, because the slow times eat that profit at an accelerated rate.

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#158039 - 03/26/06 10:45 AM Re: Slow Spells
Rewired Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 567
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
When our company hits the odd slow spell, the boss will always find stuff for us to do.. I have done all sorts of things from push lawnmowers, to basic boiler maintenance to even help the boss' wife move furniture around! We don't mind as it is a change from the norm. Our boss likes to see us busy no matter what and would rather see us get our hours than have us go home early, and I have yet to see him lay off someone because its slow...

A.D

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#158040 - 03/26/06 10:53 AM Re: Slow Spells
Electric Eagle Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
duplicate post deleted

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 03-26-2006).]

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#158041 - 03/26/06 10:57 AM Re: Slow Spells
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Mike I would not expect you to put yourself out of business.

The company I work for now will when necessary bid below cost to keep us all working. Of course we try to make up for that with extras.

We have about 200 people and the payroll is a very large drain if we are not bringing $ in.

We just had the first layoffs in years a few months ago. However many of those let go where not pulling their weight and it was a good time to clean house.

Many of us senior guys volunteered to take some vacation days.

Bob
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

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#158042 - 03/26/06 11:01 AM Re: Slow Spells
Dnkldorf Offline
Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1091
Loc: nowhere usa
I'd rather be laid off, than a cut back in hours myself........

When I worked for people, that was my option..
I'd rather sleep late, work on my house, go fishing ect...and collect, rather than show up for 2 hours today to clean a shop, 4 hours tommorow to do this...screw that, let me have off and collect, call me when you got work in a couple weeks....

Be honest with the guys, give them options...

Dnk..

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