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Folks Of Interest SHOP OWNERS, How do you get workers?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rocket's Hot Rod Garage, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Don't convince him to raise his hourly just yet. I may need him to work on my '39... Then he can crank it up :)

    Posted using the uh, er, whatever. Who cares app
  2. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,947

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Have you considered the possibility of assuming (buying) the business and incorporate your line of parts into it instead of waiting for the owner to set your eventual layoff date? You have 10 years there + maybe another 5. Clientele must be familiar with you and happy with your work, so it's not like a total stranger was to assume the business. What if he sells the shop to someone in 6 months and they're impossible to work for?
  3. Isn't that pretty much how old man Edelbrock started out? He was busier selling intake manifolds than turning wrenches in his shop.
  4. Kiwi Tinbender
    Joined: Feb 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,155

    Kiwi Tinbender

    I know Jim`s situation and it isn`t feasible to buy out his Boss. Like alot of places, the Name on the Door is the connection for prospective customers. I think each situation is different. If we were all as sour about it as you, Gimpy, perhaps there would be alot less startups, dreamers, call us what you will. My Labour Rate is $45hr, and it will go up to $50 on June 1 this year, when I celebrate 10 years in business for myself.....And I came from another Country to pursue the Dream...
  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,502


    I'm not sour, I am realistic.

    This is a very difficult business to turn a profit in, while paying good people good wages.

    In the end, when my medical bills took me out, I gave my client list to my lead, so he could run with it.

    I would not call that sour.
  6. 55willys
    Joined: Dec 7, 2012
    Posts: 1,600


    The painter and I have talked about what it would take to buy it. One of the obstacles is the fact that the shop is at his house. The painter has started his own business and it is taking off. I have started my business and hope to be doing ok in a couple years. I have good connections in the hot rod scene in my area and all the people who get stuff done at the shop know who does the work on their cars.

    Chances of the shop being bought out by anyone other than I or the painter are slim to none. I feel I am ready for the big change in a couple years but can go as long as five without a problem. I just got a house with a shop and am going to use the time to get set up to work out of it. The long term dream is to get the old Chevrolet dealership building in town and work out of there. But we will see, for now I just want to grow it and stay within my means and not over extend as that leads to financial ruin.
    Jim Ford
  7. I probably shouldn't but I'm going to bump this so so can vent a bit.

    Man what a pain. I've hired a few guys and not one of them has worked a day in the shop. They where all qualified and we negotiated a fair starting wage that they agreed to. They all ended up bailing and leaving me hanging. The last of which was a real bummer. The guy said he'd start last Monday and was a total no-show. After trying to reach him I finally got ahold of him on Wednesday his reply saying "oh I meant to call you". He said he decided the drive was a little longer than he wanted. What the heck, would have been nice to know that before I sat aside work. What's a guy gotta do?????
  8. I hate to say it, but it's tough to find somebody with a good work ethic anymore. And even sadder to say, you can't really blame most workers for this; most employers these days do little to instill any loyalty or pride in their workers. When you do run into an employer who does, they don't understand...
    henryj1951 and michael knight like this.
  9. Have you ever thought of maybe hiring retired guys?. They have the work ethic, passion for the hobby, most probably have the experience of a lifetime, they're reliable, honest, probably will work the whole time they're there. The only downside would be stamina for under the gun deadlines and long hours to finish a build. But if you find a few of them, you could spread shiftwork out so as not to overwork them, they'd be happy. You wouldn't have to hire them full time, most prob wouldn't want to work full time anyways. You won't have to pay for medical, that's what Medicare is for.It's better than working as a greeter at Walmart or working the Mcdonald's drive-thru. Even though most have a fixed income later in life, and can't afford a project, they still get to be involved in the hobby. Alot of these guys were in the thick of the hot rod craze when it started in the late 50's-70's so they know what it takes. It's a win/win. Just a thought.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  10. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,858

    Buddy Palumbo

    It's a shame you're on the other coast , or I'd be knocking at your door. I'm getting the arse of my job (restoring vintage British cars for around 25 years) . The boss' 28 year old son is basically getting given the business when the boss retires next year , even though he can't stand the cars or clients and doesn't have the patience or the finesse for it (he's into ricer/tuner Honda crap) . I don't want to work for someone who doesn't like the cars he works on. For this line of work, you must have the passion - he doesn't get it . I think that it's time for a change for me . At 46 , I've still got a few good years left to change it up .
    michael knight likes this.
  11. X3
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  12. Boy man, if that ain't a sign to get out, I'd be listening to that little voice in the back of my head saying, "Get out while you have a choice". Seen this scenario time and again with similar situations, they didn't turn out pretty. Just sayin.
  13. 29 Speedster
    Joined: Aug 2, 2011
    Posts: 151

    29 Speedster
    from Colorado

    I don't know if it has been suggested,'but McPherson Colloege in McPherson, Kansas (north of Wichita), has a the only 4-Year Auto Restoration Program in the US. I know it is focused on restoration buy the workmanship is the same.

    These guys have spent 4 years learning a load of metal far-painting-etc.

    If they stayed with it for four years, they are committed (and trained) to stay with the automotive business.
  14. I have. I interviewed a guy who sounded perfect over the phone who was everything you listed above. I invited him to the shop to meet. He was also a no show. I know there's gosta be someone out there.
  15. I've talked to multiple tech school but not that one. I'll have to look into it. Thanks
  16. Bummer. I'd love to have someone with your kind of experience.
  17. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,310

    from USA

    sorry i'm late to this ... but
    went back to IOWA for Christmas and ran in to a young lady quite by happenstance,
    we chatted and i found out she has 9 boys yes 9, and said all she wanted was a girl.
    we'll that led into cars some how ( i probably said i'd like to hire them boys)
    and it was an amazing conversation she says the boys , don't forget 9 of them cant drive until they can
    totally assemble(work on) the old cars they own 1920 something & a Chevelle and they all must learn this skill set. WOW!!!:cool::eek::oops::rolleyes:
    there's opportunity out there for apprenticeship .... heck if i was to open up
    ( a speed shop ) back in IOWA id want that family.
    they are NOT IN any trade school ages range 12/18 .:cool:

    PS if i was younger/single (she was a good looker) she has a WORK force living with her
    there out there ya just gota find em...:cool:

    PPS now i'll go back -n- read this entire thread...:cool:
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  18. jazz1
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,475


    The graduates of McPherson College likely have jobs to go to upon graduation as it is a Bachelor degree course and graduates cherry picked by the different from engineering companies wooing the most talented students in advance of receiving their degrees. You would no doubt have to get out and scout the talent
  19. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,310

    from USA

    I gave bonus money % of annual wage.
    Encouraged the workers to bring in work and tell the customer to say right up front,
    WHO recommended them, because the worker gained a extra% of ALL work he recommended.
    Those nasty no compete clauses can be over whelming, but worth it sometimes.
    You teach your skill set, and then they learn it, and go across the street an open up.
    And i wouldn't let them work at home to make EXTRA money, they knew if caught
    it was instant grounds for dismissal , you can be open for the guy that produces ,
    and he wants EXTRA money (no overtime pay) he was welcome to WORK on weekends on projects he started.(in my shop not his home)
    off the books...

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  20. luckythirteenagogo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2012
    Posts: 1,246


    I know what the OP is going through. I've worked at a few small shops way back when, and there was always a revolving door workers. Mind you I was young and new to the field and getting paid just about nothing to be treated as a slave, BUT I was there on time everyday. I looked at it as getting paid in experience. So anyway, one day at lunch I asked the boss at one shop why didn't he just hire an experienced bodyman and painter and actually pay them enough money to stick around. He told me that every time he found a guy that really knew what he was doing and paid him accordingly, they more times than not would spend more time telling stories about the cars they'd worked on and cleaning their tools than actually getting any real work done. He also said after they realized how much work the shop depended on them to get done, they would act like the rockstars of the shop and start to try to use that as leverage to get whatever they wanted. So in turn the boss would rather hire guys that would work for nothing and train them how to do the work. I left that shop as soon as I learned about the insurance fraud side of the shop, but I can see this kind of situation still being a problem for some of the smaller shops today.
  21. 35WINDOW
    Joined: Jul 7, 2005
    Posts: 454


    I was having a hard time finding good Diesel Tech's, and I decided that I'd had enough-I contacted a Diesel School in Walla Walla, Wa., and I sponsored one of their students that lived locally-it really worked out pretty well, as we worked out a written agreement (that was enforceable)-basically, he went to School, but would return Home and work for us during the time when School wasn't in session-they gave him credit for doing it, and, after he graduated he agreed to work for us for 5 Years (in exchange for Tuition/Books, etc.)-the agreement read that if he didn't stay for the 5 Year term that he would repay us for what we put out-he still works here after 15 Years-

    This takes the right individual, as it did fail with another Tech that I tried (but I was repaid)-just a thought-
  22. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,858

    Buddy Palumbo

    Yes, a bummer for the both of us. It would take one hell of an effort to pick up and haul across the country (sell house, etc.) . I was born in WA , so that part would be kinda cool ...
  23. That's the way most automotive manufacturer sponsored programs at technical colleges are run. Basically, it's up to the dealership to offer the student compensation (tuition, books, in some cases, housing) in exchange for an agreement to work for them for 5 years afterwards. The student is in school for 8 weeks and off for 8 weeks, during those off weeks the student works full time at a sponsoring dealer, and part time nights, weekends when school is in session. This is GM's plan,I think Ford's program is similar.
  24. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 15,289

    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    what a great opportunity for both parties. i can only imagine how many kids it put on the right course in life. real world experience, cost savings, pay, good deal!
  25. Marcosmadness
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 340

    from California

    Let me suggest another approach. Rather than look for someone who is ideal, has all the skills, has years of experience, speaks perfect english, has more tools than the shop etc.etc. Hire someone with no "Hot Rod" or fabricating skills. Every shop that works on cars has a ton of "grunt work" that has to be done by someone. It you use your best guy to do this work you are wasting his time and talent. If you are doing this grunt work yourself, shame on you. Look at your particular situation critically and you will find more work than you would suspect that could be done by a new guy with a little common sense. That will free up your time to do the work that only you are qualified to do. Bring the new guy along slowly. Spend the time coaching him on each new job until he demonstrates that he understands what is required and understands how to do it. Initially, this won't take much of your time since the new guy is concentrating on the grunt work which is easy to understand. It will also work as a screen" to determine if this is the right person for the shop. The right guy will dive right in and do what he is told and you will be happy with his work. Unfortunately, this is where most owners make their BIG MISTAKE. The new guy has done such a good job on the grunt work that they put him on a "skilled job" with little to no direction, no supervision, and then you are pissed when the job isn't done right. Remember, you need to coach the new guy on EVERY new job until you are satisfied that they grasp what you are asking them to do. Then you follow up regularly as they are doing the job to see that they are doing the job correctly. That is called supervision.
    Using this employment model your potential employee pool looks a lot better and admittedly a little different from what you expected. Find someone local since they know what it cost them to live in the area and already have a place to live. Look for a person that has a strong work ethic. Look for someone who is willing to learn. Don't worry about their lack of prior experience in building "hot rods". They can learn and you are going to coach them through the learning process. Don't worry if their English isn't very good as long as you can communicate at a basic level. After all, how much english do you need to know to strip rust, clean parts, and do basic disassembly? Most mechanical work can be learned by watching someone who knows how to perform the task. Remember, the objective here is to initially free up you time to do only the jobs that you are capable of doing by having someone else do the "grunt work" or less skilled jobs. Again, they will need coaching and supervision but the time spent will pay big dividends as the person learns and become more valuable as an employee.
  26. Not to be harsh, but small wonder some have trouble keeping employees....

    That's a good idea; it give the employee a stake in the business.

    You do know that these sorts of clauses are generally unenforceable if not outright illegal? Unless you're protecting special proprietary knowledge (and can prove it), it's restraint of trade.

    Another one that's hard to enforce and at least partially illegal; if you DO 'let' him work in your shop for no overtime for 'extra' money, if the employee keeps any sort of work log at some point they could file a ULP (unfair labor practice) claim against you and YOU become liable for ALL the overtime pay (federal law).

    If he was cheating his customers, he was cheating his workers too, and thinks that everybody is cheating him; bet on it.....

    35Window has the right idea, but not many employers want to make that sort of commitment. It all goes back to what I told prospective employers when I was looking for work... If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys....
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    jazz1 likes this.
  27. luckythirteenagogo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2012
    Posts: 1,246


    I worked there for maybe 3 months, and saw 4 guys come and go. I knew the owner was a little shady, but when I heard him tell an insurance guy the bumper covers I repaired were new because the old ones were too badly damaged I knew it was time to get out.
  28. rjones35
    Joined: May 12, 2008
    Posts: 865


    What a crazy problem to have!
  29. I've got one of these guys working for me now. The other has been with me for over 6 years. I'm trying to replace a guy who was with me before for over 5. I really need someone who has some experience. To busy right now to have to work with someone a bunch but I do like doing this if the situation is right.
  30. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,502


    Non-Compete clauses are unenforceable, and illegal in many states.

    Don't expect them to protect you, in any way.

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