Well the holidays are gone, gave a nice bonus to the guys, took them out for dinner, one guy (call him Tom) in particular, loaned him my car for a month while his was getting fixed, paid for a weeks worth of bereavement when his dad died. Now, here we go. Been trying to grow my business, thought I could trust Tom to run several jobs and handle several contractors. Boy was I wrong. He has 7 years experience and has been with me for a year. I noticed that all his jobs were taking too long to complete. When I approached him on this issue he always pointed the finger at the contractor, homeowner etc. never at himself. Some of the contractors were screwed up so I passed it off as a loss and tried to implement different approaches to deal with these problems. Nothing worked... Jobs were still coming in late. One day one of my employees came to me and said that he can't work with Tom any more because when he is on the job he never lifts a finger to help out he just sits in a chair and barks out instructions. He is on the phone all the time and will not put his tools on. After hearing this I started to get angry. I decided to call one of the contractors and ask him what was going on. After prodding him for a while he finally opened up. The contractor told me that Tom did no more than 2 hours of work a day. He took 2 to 3 hour lunches. No wonder the guys are mad. So I decided to go to the jobs and check in. Remember I trusted Tom and was trying to leave it up to him to do the right thing. The first day that I checked in I saw him wandering aimlessly with no tools on. I confronted him and told him that I am not making any money on his jobs and that he must put his tools on and work hard to get this job done fast, I said the same thing to a couple of other guys as well. I was pretty angry at this point and it showed. I came back the next day and stood in the hallway as they took a 1 hour and 50 minute lunch. Jimmy was lying on some sheetrock sleeping and Tom was sitting in the same chair for that time. I could not go inside because my anger was too great and I didn't want to loose control. I fired Jimmy that day and confronted Tom. He did not deny or confess. The problem is Tom knows the ins and outs of some of these jobs which are in various stages of completion, if I let him go it would be difficult to complete. I called other contractors and got similar stories one of which fired us. It's been a rough few weeks. Paid enemies I tell you!!!
[This message has been edited by tsolanto (edited 02-11-2003).]
tsolanto, i feel your pain. I have always been a hands on boss. Just in the last six months we have grown to having three crews working in different places. I basically play fireman and put out the flames on my crew. I have the same problem going on right now.
One crew leader is good as gold and he puts his heart into his work, i have never caught him loafing on a job. He gets his materials together every morning and heads straight to the job. If he has the smallest problem that he isn't 100% sure of he will call and get my input. He runs the job right and on time. We worked together for another company years ago when i was getting my training and have always had a good relationship. I take care of the guy and he takes care of me.
I hired a guy about 7 months ago from another company and it has been a nightmare for the most part. He drags out the jobs, rubs my help the wrong way, loves to point at say "get your @ss over there and do it". I have always been one to hop in the trench first and get my hands dirty. My help is about fed up with the guy and the tension is growing. He does real neat work but it's not done the way I have taught my guys. That will be the first change I shall require which will likely end in a arguement.
The other issue is he never has his crap together. It shows on the supply tickets, one sealtight connector here, one 5/8" plaster ring there. This guy has a trailer and a truck and never keeps em stocked. Hits the supply house six times a day...worthless!
He also loves to talk on the phone and run his personal errands on my clock.
This will probably end this week though since I have written a two page employee memo addressing these issues. If it doesnt then he will be terminated.
So don't feel like the lone ranger tsolanto, it happens to all of us i guess!
tsolanto, You have to end it now! Don't let the fact that he knows the job(s) let you talk yourself into keeping him. That just prolongs the problem and wastes more of your money. If you have now one to finish the jobs then you may have to reorganize your schedule and do it yourself until you can find a replacement. I have one question about the guy you fired. Did you fire him because he was taking a long lunch? Wasn't he taking a long lunch because his boss was and his boss set the precedent for the job? I don't know the whole story but if the Forman didn't set the pace of the job like that would he have been a good worker? (I guess that’s more than one Question ) What I am getting at is something a Superintendent used to tell us. "It's easier to replace one Forman than it is to replace a whole crew." The Forman sets the pace and if he is screwing off then the crew probably will too.
Nick, I didn't mention all the problems that I had with Jimmy, including drug abuse, not showing up to work etc. it was more than one issue but if I had to explain his situation that post would have gone on for days.
This is one of the big reasons that our little business has stayed a 2 or 3 person operation. Most of the time, around here,if you can find someone who has a good knowledge and work ethic,they are well on the road to becoming licensed and working for themselves.Most all business owners here must be hands on wire-yankers and box nailers or your business will quickly fail for lack of decent help. I know that we could generate a lot more cash flow if we had 3 or 4 good crews but I hear these headache stories from the 2 biggest companies here all the time. And the turnover they have will make your head spin.
[This message has been edited by ga.sparky56 (edited 02-09-2003).]
It is very hard to fire someone, at least for me it is. But I'm getting better at it. I've tried being friends with the guys, but they will take advantage of your good nature in a heart beat. I don't want to be a jerk, but I guess you have to if you want your compnay to prosper. Although it's getting harder and harder to do, I try to show up on job sites unannounced to see whats going on.
Speaking of not having supplies on the truck, one of my guys called me the other day to tell me he didn't have any 14/2 romex on the truck. I told him to wire the job in 12/2, but he didn't have enough of that either. How can you leave the shop without WIRE!
I think Jimmy must be 'code' for 'slacker'... the so-called electrician who was recommended by my realtor when I bought this house was named Jimmy. He had to schedule time for my residential work around his day job and his community service or jail time for his DWI's....