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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 42
And I was warned a hundred times.....Upon opening my Electrical company 4 years ago, I wanted to be a big time Electrical Contractor. It all seemed like everything was headed in the right direction. I solicited buisness like crazy. Went after it full steam ahead and before I knew it I had more work that I knew what to do with. What else right? HIRE MORE MEN.. 12 paid enemy's later, a $7000.00 payroll, Supply house bills raceing out of control.Jobs that looked like my 3 year old daughter did them and a bunch of screaming customers. It was a NIGHTMARE. Im finally all cleaned up from that mess. This is just a word of advice to those who have BIG dreams.. GROW SLOW. your company is only as good as your employees no matter how good of an electrician YOU are...

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
And many times your employees are only as good as you treat or train them.

Yes, I know some just plain stink, but all 12 where bad?


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Totally agree with northstar.......

It seemed no matter how well you treated them, they wanted more, and/or stole more.

The best advise I ever took was from a great employer I had once.
He told me when I started out, you should expect to go through 100 guys before you find one who is loyal.

Till this day, that holds up.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 507
"This is just a word of advice to those who have BIG dreams.. GROW SLOW. your company is only as good as your employees no matter how good of an electrician YOU are... "

And as you grow being a good electrician is only part of the job. Most of the electrician decisions will be made by your job foreman. Being a good manager becomes your primary job.

Just because you are a skilled electrician doesn't mean you will be a skilled manager. They are very different animals.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 507
Good thread Northstar. I can relate to everything in your post.

Welcome to ECN!

You from Minn.?

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,936
Likes: 34
Golf, I think you may have hit an very important point. My favorite builder says the biggest problem she sees from her trades is lack of leadership on the job. If the lead guy on the job is weak on the fundamentals (leadership or craft) it is reflected in everything the rest of the crew does. You really need to build teams.
That is probably a worse problem here where people get paid in sunshine and just skip around the trades working wherever they get paid the best. Right now, it seems, a lot of electricians are nailing down shingles.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 72
I think you would find beter help if you payed more then $14.58 per hour
I don't get out of bed for less then $46
Thanks for the growth advice.
I do think about openen a shop but just want to stay small. Is that a choice I'd have I don't know?

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
I have to side with Bob (iwire) here.
Surely the whole lot can't have been that bad.
Northstar, to come in here like that and basically run all of your staff down as you have, tends to make me think that you have a lack of people skills.
Sure, it's only my opinion, but why do you call your staff "paid enemies"?.
I think a change in mind-set might be in order. [Linked Image]

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Also, a $7000.00 a week payroll? With 12 employees? That works out to be an average of around $14.50/hour. At least a couple of these are licensed journeyman? Thats a pretty small pie no matter how you slice it.

Here in the northern Minnesota area where I live there are over 50-60 electrical contractors within a 25 mile radius. Why? I believe its because the few larger established ones don't pay well enough. Nobody can effectively live and raise a family these days on those kinds of wages, so they are all forced to go at it on their own, once they have enough time in for the master's license.

And its not like these low paying contractors couldn't afford paying better, most of them live in $500,000+ lake homes, drive around in brand new matching his and hers Hummers, and spend endless afternoons rubbing elbows with their cronies at the country club.

They cut every imaginable corner when it comes to the jobs they do, yet they charge the customer big city fees. But they have an established business, so the work keeps trickling in. They will make deals with apprentices to fudge on their hours so they can take the journeyman's test early, with the agreement that the guy stay there for a minimum number of years.

Before you go running down your help, take a look at your own lifestyle. Could you do with less in order to find and retain good, hard-working, honest employees?

[This message has been edited by Matt M (edited 03-27-2005).]

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 42
I will add that (3) men are with me today and have been for 2.5 years +, I hope that they never leave.(great guys, Hard workers, and responsible people). They are few and far between, (the good ones so I think I will hold on).Thanks Guys.. Happy Easter

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