The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Patman187, Feb 27, 2012.
For the folks not from the Midwest, $20/hr is pretty darn good wages and ABOVE AVERAGE.
Maybe so, but without health benefits, you are one illness away from bankruptcy, unless you happen to be married to someone with benefits.
Real pro's aren't going to go for a $12.50, 16 hour trial after which wages will be discussed.
"Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. says it's raising its minimum wage for full-time employees to $13 per hour."
That is very good food for thought Gimpy but I do not pay myself what you guys are talking for wages but that also is probably how we can afford a new building without a bank. The biggest problem is that people think we charge to much now but not everyone is our customer. We probably get 1 out of 30 projects that we look at, That is why this year we are going to travel to try and pull in the type of work that we want to do not just what ever comes in and has someone that wants to pay for it.
EldelBroke we have pictures on our website but it needs updated we usually get the hardest parts of people's projects so it really varies what we work on and then they take it to have somone prime and paint it for half of what we would charge then bring it back and want us to fix their paint.
The reason that I have put the work trials in place is so that we do not get burned I have paid guys what they ask before for a work trial and they don't last half of the first day. That 12.50 for the trial is figured so a guy (In the state guy) can break even on hotel and gass.
What you pay yourself is only reavent in regards to what YOU bill. I out-earn my boss. Why? I out bill him. You have to EARN your pay too, not just take it.
Do you make your target hours, just like your employees?
Maybe if you leased, or had a mortgage, instead of buying a building outright, you'd have the cash-flow to pay your employees better. This is basic business science here. I know, I studied it.
It is all about your priorities. You will find the solution to all of your problems there.
Your single biggest asset in your business are your employees, not the building, not the tools, or the customers. Without your employees, you have nothing. Invest in them as such, and they will make you a rich man.
It's not the work trial that's the problem. I suspect that your business model needs retooling. You indicated that you were not paying insurance--do you expect a highly skilled, multidisciplinary craftsman to work for $40k sans benefits?
I think you should do financial projections for the next 24-36 months, with conservative assumptions about booked business. Factor in one heavy hitter (the guy you are trying to hire) at $70k ($55k + employee burden). See if the business will work under those parameters. If not, redo it. Maybe you need to move the business, or as you indicated you were doing, bring in more business from outside the area.
Gimpy is dead on the money. I have built and sold multiple business which were nerd farms, full of $100k+ geeks. Nothing is more important than human capital.
We have the work in the shop right now and a waiting list its finding someone that can do the work. But a guy that I know nothing about that wants 20 bucks a hour or more should be able to do about anything that is asked of him his first week. People like that are just not out here if they are they are already working somewhere else. One guy that I interviewed last week was 90 miles away he was the metal man at his work very talented guy working at a shop were every car in there is 150k plus and they were paying him 17 he told me that he would come here for 20 if some of his other things didn't pan out he ended up taking a job for 18 and didn't have to move I would have been more than happy to pay what he aked because I have seen his work. But the guy I know nothing about needs to show me something.
Ha, ha - Its Nebraska dammit, you can't compare it to the real world.
(I grew up in Hastings Nebraska)
I'm sorry, your experience is foreign to me. All the numbers you are bandying about: 17, 18, 20, all sound extremely low to me. Things must be waaaaay different in Nebraska.
I think cleatus posted while I was posting my "foreign experience" comment. I can understand that things work a bit differently in NE.
This is not at ALL a sarcastic comment (I lived in IA for a year as a kid, and am a farm kid): could you include working on IH and other farm stuff as an option? I mean, the skills are somewhat similar. They even race combines in IA.
I guess that is the thing that I am having a hard time with to Dino. I have no idea what it costs to live in jacksonvill but here we rent a storage building with a friend that is 10,000 square feet for 600 bucks a month it has 220 and 440 power old military storage built like a brick shit house. It does not cost that much to live here but I can not hire anyone for any wage that can do anything.
Patman, you're in a pickle. I left a shop as their manager, mainly because the owner didn't believe in the buisness. By that, I mean he didn't value the work the same as the industry nat'l average. Example, I wrote up a customer's job to replace the expensive and unreliable Lucas batteries in his 120 Jag. Now this guy was worth a lot of dough, didn't care about authenticity that much, and was sick of spending over $600 for batteries every year or 2. I wrote the whole job up start to finish for just under $3400. That was for a full R&R of the interior, metal fab done to a fashion that it was fully reversible, paint and rewire for his Odessy battery. When the shop owner saw that he said "Aw fuck this!" and tore it up. He thought that was too much to replace a battery and would not listen to reason. Then he cried about cash flow. His rationale was how incorrect this Jag would have been. When questioned about it the conversation went like this:
What if he wanted a SBC installed?
Well I don't know...
Would you tell him to fuck off like you told me about that estimate?
Well, what would you tell him?
I'd ask him what color would he like that engine painted. Don't let the fact that he's worth $60 million dollars have any effect on your judgement. I think he can have anything he wants, but hey, it's your shop...
That's only 1 example. Now try not to internalize this reply. For $20/hr on your area, you may not find the talent you seek. There was a discussion here before about the max wage in shops like yours, and the most popular response was 1/3 the shop rate. Go back to the 20% deal above. For your overhead, your work load, you should consider stepping up. Maybe not immediately, but soon. Think "money in, money out" in your labor dept. I don't expect a Fay Butler or a Jesse James even for $25/hr, but if that guy can work within your means and expectations of quality you'll have a winner. $75/hr is right within the industry standards. Time and mat'l is the only way to do restoration or custom work. You may be able to set a time standard for select things (you mentioned a fender bottom for a GM musclecar?), but is it the same with all of them. Does it include the inner brace? Metal finished or really close with a light glaze? "Concours Quality" or just a really nice repair that will last for decades? You can see the variables. This is the toughest buisness model in automotive history as far as I'm concerned. I'm a bit tough to satisfy, but I understand the reality too. This isn't philanthropy, it's buisness. My back story had too much philanthropy thrown in...FOR FUCKIN MILLIONAIRES! I'm certain that's not the case for you, but consider the 1/3 idea, and don't forget the 20% rule. It has never ever failed, except when that 20% was not lost. All smiles then. Yeah man, you're in a tough spot. A real shop ain't no TV show.
I think Pat might be getting beat up a little over this wage thing when all he is trying to do is fill a position and provide someone with a job. $ 20 an hour might seem like chicken feed in some areas but in other places it is a decent, average wage for this type of work. Check out the job market in your area and I think you will find companies are not paying the big wages and providing all the benefits they once did. Sometimes it is not to take advantage of an employee but to just keep the business solvent.
In the marine business I retired from recently we didn't pay our Techs a lot more than $ 20 unless they were certified in a lot of the brands we serviced and had years of experience. Our top guy made $ 28 an hour and was happy to get that much. Our average tech made $17 to $20 an hour.
The days of huge union scale wages, lots of paid benefits, and umpteen paid holidays a year are going by the wayside. The businesses that are surviving these times are the ones who run a tight ship and watch the pennies.
As for the trial period, that is very normal and we always are on trial the whole time we work for someone. Even after the 90 days or whatever is over there are still no guarantees that you will keep your job if you aren't performing or if business falls off.
your pay practices and trial policy sounds reasonable to me. I get mechanics at work that I hire on a probabtionary basis to evaluate their work. some make it some don't but no body claims its unfair. I would rather hire an eager learner than a know-it-all full of bad habits. good luck in your search!
Hastings NE is home of Cool Aid. That should be worth something
If your looking for someone that can use an english wheel and is very comfortable doing shape work to a high standard then i dont think you will find anyone at $20 per hr,wherever you live.At that level of skill they are probablly running their own company.They are exceptions but it could take you a very long time to find that person.
my weekly metal work blog www.themetalsurgeon.com
Gimpy I am at or above the target hours weekly but I work 6 days a week as some of my time is taken up by business stuff and wrangling suppliers. The guy that was with us for five years made more than I did and still do. I do not pay myself overtime the shops fiances are separate from mine. The building that we are in right now we rent but with the rent we have paid we have bought it a couple of times. Cash flow is not the problem to be paying a higher wage its just the talent pool is so shallow out here having a guy that can do something at any wage is tough.
Highlander the fender bottom example would be a brace and bottom skin everything would be butt welded with tig as the guy doing the work can fit the brace and actually correct the fit of the fender by placing the brace in the correct plain to correct the fit. fender bottoms and wheel arches are metal finished as they take alot of abuse from rocks . Worst case any hard edge that need any correction will be done with lead and no filler of any kind thicker than the metal some guys still abuse lead terribly because they know that its not going to come off.
Metalsurgeon we use hand held ewheels alot Im not talking about a guy that can make a roofskin thats my job, but a guy that is good with a hammer and dolly needs to know that he can use a hand held wheel with the right anvil and the machine set to material thickness and just squash a dent and cut his work in half.
These numbers sound low to you guys, come to Idaho where the pay really sucks. That is VERY good pay here...
The average rate around here is in the $75-$100 range at the better shops also. But with how sad our economy has gotten, most of them have cut staff and charge $45-$75 an hour.
Me? My rate is only $35 an hour plus materials. I don't mind though because overhead is next to non-existent and I have no employees. I still make profits this way and it is affordable to a very broad range of customers. What is a bit sad though, is that this is where the old "pay for what you get" saying begins to become unapplicable. I charge less and deliver a superior product than a lot of the shops in this area. I redo a lot of cars from other places... But as I said before, It is worth it to me as well as the customer. Goldchainer quality for a blue collar budget.
Good luck with your search, were looking to add to our crew as well and finding good help is always hard. As a custom or restoration shop you make you living off peoples disposable income. and finding the right shop rate and keeping the customers and employees happy is a big task. Building cars will never make a person rich, we do it to bring one more car back to life preserve our automotive history. I'm making 20.00 an hour out in Colorado and i have been at this for the last 16 years not outstanding pay but it keeps the roof over my head, sometimes i think about making a career change and picking something else or relocating to the mid west were 20.00 hr would be great pay in KS or NE. but still get up every morning bright and early to build one more rod and set it free out on the streets.
Just my two bits.
I heard on the radio today that the average income in the US is now around 50K a year. Simple math 50K for 52 weeks at 40 hours per week means the AVERAGE hourly is only $24 NATIONWIDE. I think Pat is fair.
I think you should go union. You do not have to be a union shop. They can supply you trained craftsman. They are easy to fire by having a reduction in force. If they have worked for you before you can call by name. This would be the construction craft unions.
They come to the project or shop pre drug tested. You can have a reduction in force every day of the week. The sheetmetal workers would probably be the craftsmen you would want most. You can run double breasted which means union and non-union,
I think the only union stuff we have around here is the railroad and a bakery there is just not alot of poplulation out here. Traveling to sheet metal seminars I am amazed how many unions are out there but the work is not out here to draw them Nebraska. Not trying to ruffle anyones feathers but I think alot of guys that have commented negatively about the wage do not realize what it doesn't cost to live out here and that we are not a shop that does a million dollars worth of business a year that is really hard to do out here. Our expansion does not hinge on more employees as over head is so low out here but with the way we are running now it will just take a few more years to get to where we want to be. I would like to thank everyone for thier advice and opinions but I think its time to let this post die as it has wound up some headhunters please do not call the shop with "a opportunity of a life time" speach. I will make time for any HAMB member that would like to talk to me but not for headhunters, once agen I would like to thank everyone for thier advice and opinions as this has been a eye opening and educational experience.
I think 20 an hour is great for this time. So many shops closed in the last few years, the pickens are slim. I have been a painter goin on 24 years and its been a bitch to find a job. When I find one, the guy is nuts. Its not just the employee thats hard to find, I could never find anyone who wanted to work, most find out that you have to work hard, and they quit, the bosses can be a pain also!
I think this thread has run it's course. I think I will use the option to delete e-mails for new posts. It is going nowhere.
thank you for the update.
my weekly metal work blog www.themetalsurgeon.com
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