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#158033 - 03/23/06 08:27 AM Slow Spells  
Tiger  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
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


Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#158034 - 03/23/06 11:01 AM Re: Slow Spells  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
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.


#158035 - 03/24/06 04:33 AM Re: Slow Spells  
macmikeman  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
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.


#158036 - 03/26/06 10:17 AM Re: Slow Spells  
iwire  Offline
Moderator
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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

#158037 - 03/26/06 02:42 PM Re: Slow Spells  
macmikeman  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
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.


#158038 - 03/26/06 02:45 PM Re: Slow Spells  
Electric Eagle  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
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.


#158039 - 03/26/06 02:45 PM Re: Slow Spells  
Rewired  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
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


#158040 - 03/26/06 02:53 PM Re: Slow Spells  
Electric Eagle  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
Alpharetta, GA
duplicate post deleted

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


#158041 - 03/26/06 02:57 PM Re: Slow Spells  
iwire  Offline
Moderator
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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

#158042 - 03/26/06 03:01 PM Re: Slow Spells  
Dnkldorf  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
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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