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to all shop owners.where did you find good help?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hot rod pro, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    from Garner, NC

    You said or did nothing wrong don't sweat it. My best employee so far I got from another shop because they treated him just like you said you were being treated.
  2. syracusegli
    Joined: Jan 31, 2010
    Posts: 71

    from ny

    too bad im not closer to you. im novice and willing to learn. i also hate New York.
  3. storm king
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,991

    storm king

    Ahhh, the age old probelm of good help, at least since the age of unemployment insurance and welfare! The ratio of good help to sorry asses who have to be watched and corrected continually has shifted. Used to be a man knew if he didn't perform, he was fired. These days, I've had guys come to work for me for the sole purpose of hanging out long enough to collect unemployment and then going to the house and whinning to their wives how they can't find a good job.
    What I've seen in the auto industry is that a guy'll hire an employee with some skills, and next thing you knw, the guy starts his own business and is competeling with him. Ususally the former employee does this with no knowledge of how to run a business, and all he ends up doing is making the customers that he stole when he left the first shop angry, and then they won't return to you either because they are too proud and don't want to admit they did a stupid thing just to save a few bucks. From what I've seen, the custom shops, and particualrly race chassis shops are effected most by this scenario.
    We are somewhat insulated form this do to the specialized nature of what we build, and we hire folks with no prior experience in the field (which is not a problem where we are located) and train them "our way" so we don't have any bad habits to break.
  4. My wife gave birth to ours 28 and 30 years ago!!
  5. Smokin' Joe
    Joined: Jul 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,001

    Smokin' Joe
    Member Emeritus

    I own a Custom Paint/Restoration shop and I've probably had 50 employees over the past 32 years. I've found that the best ones to hire are the ones with absolutely NO experience, for that exact reason. I know you have to go through a training process, but really... it's not rocket science, you have to have somebody that's good with his hands, but most of all... he or she HAS to have a passion for it. I've hired guys with 12-15-20 years experience and they couldn't last 2 months, because all they know is "get it in, get it done, and get it out...NEXT"

    I've got one man who has been with me since 1978, one since '95 or '96 and we all kinda "grew up" together in the biz. The other guys are 2 and 3 year employees, but the one common denominator is that passion to learn and be the best. Are you gonna have to go through 50 to find them? Hopefully not, but that's what it might take.
  6. Hi!
    Joined: Oct 4, 2006
    Posts: 730

    from SoCal

    I wonder if some of the good help problems stem from the shop owners themselves. Ive seen alot of good help "chased" off, just saying.
  7. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,825

    from Wa.

    Finding good help is only half of it.
    Keeping them is the other half.
    In my younger days when I had 15 employees in an automotive
    machine shop, I found most of them at the race tracks.. I would go and
    study the crews of the top 5 cars and talk to them after the races..
    These guys weren't working for the top cars because they were inexperienced.
    It usually didn't take more than 5 minutes to determine if they were potential
    employee material..If they were disatisfied with their current job I would tell
    them to call me if they might want to change.
    I started them at union scale or more if they had the experience to warrant it.
    I let them use the shop facilities to build and work on their cars on weekends or nights.
    We had better medical than any shop in town.
    We had dinners and parties at shop expense every other month.
    We had shop provided coffee all the time and free donuts every Friday morning.
    About the only time I lost an employee was if he retired or was killed in a race accident.
    Those were good times. (Not losing the employee)
    It's just my son and I now but the good times are still here.
  8. hot rod pro
    Joined: Jun 1, 2005
    Posts: 2,706

    hot rod pro
    from spring tx.

    to all who are interested, if you are looking for a job in a hot rod shop send me a resume. please be truthfull in describing your skills, within a few days i will know what you can and cannot do anyway.

    our shop has been building quality hot rods since 1981. we currently employ 12 people, working out of a well equipped 22,000 ft shop complex. as of last year, we have added restorations of classics and muscle cars to the projects that we accept. for those who want to relocate to the spring, tx. area, you will not find a cheaper place to live.

    thank you for watching this thread.


    p.s. please add your hamb name to your e-mails.
  9. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,567

    ems customer service

    i agree, tough time finding good help,

    going to reopen a closed division soon and need about 20 guys where am i going to find them???? i am clueless
  10. Wow, I am just a young gun and will take all this information to heart. It is great to be able to read this before looking for a job. Thanks guys!
  11. pinstriper ny
    Joined: Feb 13, 2010
    Posts: 42

    pinstriper ny

    it is tuff here in n.y. cost of living is very high so people need to make more money than most shops can pay . the cost to run a shop is also high to get them to work together where the shop can make money is tuff.
  12. bigroy
    Joined: Nov 25, 2009
    Posts: 160


    I went to Wyo tech putt everything I had into learning the trade and got very little in return overall it was a giant waste of time and money. Now I'm just trying to get in to a shop to learn the trade the right way, but nobody wants to bring in a young guy to there shop. That's why there is no good help out there cause everybody looking to start is turned away in favor of the older guy. Just to make it clear I don't have the trade school I can do anything attitude, I'm looking to putt the work in by listening, observing, doing jobs and learning from those more experienced than my self.Because I'm, young (20) and I made the trade school mistake employers blow me off
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  13. GasserDave
    Joined: Feb 15, 2010
    Posts: 132

    from Sin City

    Check the local trade or high school programs. We always found untainted good help was best created than hired depending on the skills needed..
  14. Man, I hate to break it to you like this. Because of our economic situation and our countries penchant for exporting menial task, entry level positions you are going to have a hard time until you gain experience.

    Shop owners like myself have been hit hard and have little or no expendable cash to train someone. We need people that can start right away, don't need to be mollycoddled. Our clients expect results with very little or no wasted labor on a project, entry level employees are risky. And from my point of view, because you went to school to learn how to do this, you may have picked up habits that either do not work or are contrary to what we need.

    I have said it before, I believe in this thread, that you would have been better spent to taking a welding and drafting/CAD courses at your local community college and used the rest of your money building a car and buying some tools. Far more impressive to me if you show up in a car you built yourself than handing me a form letter resume from the Wyotech computers.
  15. willie57
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 378

    from wisconsin

    I worked in a body shop and always had to do the black cars and vettes. I did 8 mini vans in one week and still went to school full time. got paid $13.00 an hour. went back to being a machinist.
  16. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466


    I started working on cars and trucks when I was 14, dad had a full service station. Then worked at a few garages, but they didn't want to offer any benefits and when my family came along it didn't pay not to not have benefits. You could go out and get a simple job and benefits and go home clean everyday. I am semi-retired now and do work on others cars from time to time, but I charge a little less than shop rates and could get more work if I wanted. I know I'm not the best at everything, but I don't have to ask how to do any of it either. Another thing I notice is alot of new guys from tech. schools have no ideal of how to engineer a piece, either too light weight or over build. It's the electronics age to most youngsters and if there good at that they can write there own ticket and keep there hands clean. One more reason is that more kids go to college now a days and want to be the boss right out of school.
  17. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    This thread is/will be a priceless learning tool for the "young guns" entering the hobby and business as employee or moving ahead to becoming a supervisor.
    Congratulations to you all for participating in such an open and frank discussion without any personal attacks or crazy accusations.
    Good job.
  18. BRENT in 10-uh-C
    Joined: Apr 14, 2004
    Posts: 502

    BRENT in 10-uh-C

    Roy, you may be right however that is not my thoughts regarding this. While most of us here like traditional things, one thing that I have personally noticed from the younger generation is their lack of practicing traditional values. Things really have changed, --and while many times it is not the fault of the young person looking for a job in the market, it is also the fact that times are different for the shop owner too. Like mentioned above, we now must operate on a much tighter margin, and we are cautious to spend money on what some might consider as a risky investment. Naturally you are not viewing yourself as a risky investment yet to a shopowner that has bad employee experiences, you are sometimes (unjustly) lumped into that category.

    The bottom line for you is that you need to prove to a shopowner that you are a value to them. If that entales working for minimum wage sweeping floors and doing menial tasks to prove your work ethic to that employer, --then so be it. If you find it takes several years to climb the career ladder, then you will likely appreciate the difficulties. Please understand that while it appears that you are being discriminated against, --a shop owner has had the same type of discrimination of having to find customers in the beginning and likely has had to walk down the very road you are traveling more than once! Keep your head up and continue to look for open doors and opportunities. :cool:
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    from SIDNEY, NY

    I'm glad that that's working out for you; I've seen too many family businesses that sound like a script from American Chopper every time I walk in on them.
  20. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    After being promoted to lead mechanic I got with my general manager and since he did the hiring,I set up a show me what you got program.Mechanic gets to work 3 days with pay,This worked,after 1 day,had alot of guys who just didn"t really want to work but got some damn fine mechanics out of it.Started a lot of guys with good work skills out as PM men and that alone taught them more than any school can.
  21. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466


    To the younger guys: read, watch, ask questions and listen. You will learn if you really want to. I like the fact that alot of young guys come up with new ideals, where as us older guys are pretty much trained in the way it's done and that's it. I look for inventive ways to do things, but fall back on my old faithfuls when needed. Dad always said you can't learn if your mouth is running...:D

    Had a cool Dad, nothing ever upset him, and I gave him plenty of reason to get upset...;)
  22. Skeezix
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 845

    from SoCal

    I do know of a few race mechanics out of work that may be worth a turd PM if you'd like me to connect you with them
  23. motivebrain
    Joined: Oct 30, 2009
    Posts: 4

    from Ontario,CA

    I am 26 years old graduated UTI and currently working as a tech in a honda dealership. I have been trying to get into a custom shop since moving to Ca from NY, 3 years now. It is difficult to overcome that "tech school" label but I know I bust my ass. I do not regret going to UTI that is why I am where I am. My father taught me his work ethic and when recently leaving penkse honda the service manager told me he cannot find men/women that have that old school work ethic anymore. I am always looking for opportunities to work in a custom/hot rod shop.
  24. I been playing this game since 1978. Good help comes and goes !! You get a good helper and all of the sudden POOF they are gone !! What's worse is you get some help and you load up your work flow for a 9 month period with enough work for 3 people to do and one morning you find yourself alone in the shop looking at all of that work load and only yourself to get it done !!!! I had a good helper not to long ago but he is gone and I'll be damned if I can remember his name !! Good luck !!!! >>>>.
  25. bigroy
    Joined: Nov 25, 2009
    Posts: 160


    I realize times tough for owners right now, that's why I,m going into community college to take those type of classes and hopefully ride this economic situation out. By the way I threw out their crappy resume they gave back to me redid it. I am more than willing to work my way up by sweeping floors
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  26. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    At my current defense gig I weld, paint, turn wrenches, whatever hands-on shit needs to be done. Worked for VW / Audi and BMW for several years. Got a few certs but I'm not a master tech.

    I was lucky enough to get an interview with a big-name shop. Mr. Big-Shot Car Builder offered me ten bucks an hour. When I told him what I make now ($20 / hr) his response was "I got guys been working for me for ten years that don't make that much!".

    Guess I was supposed to be happy about a 50% pay cut to go back to turning wrenches? Minimum wage is, what, almost eight bucks an hour now and you don't have to buy your own tools to flip burgers.

  27. I wish you luck, there are hundreds of thousands in your same situation. Do your best to stand out of the crowd.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,093


    There's a bigger problem that many won't face or talk about. It seems most want that instant gratification that you see in movies and reality shows. NO SUCH THING. There's a work ethic that left us a generation ago. Building PERSONAL CARS, be it restoration or hotrods is a dicsipline like matial arts. It takes a dedicated craftsman to look at the same project for months or years and never lose the vision that the builder or customer had from the start or even deal with the changes that will almost always come up. I've delt with enough fit throwing baby shit in the last several years to last me a dozen lifetimes. It's gotten to the point that I've 'soul-searched' what we're doing. We're doing the right thing. We're doing kool things. It's not for everybody. What else isn't for everybody is a well rounded education. So many are focused on that "one thing" that's all the world to them and should be to you or you're just an asshole deserving no respect. Sound familiar? How fuckin sickening is it that you're impressed with a good waitress? A good bank teller? A friendly parts counter person with an average sense of humor? It's a different scale these days. I'm not hip to it. I don't get it. I just like things right and done once with no exuses. I think accountability should be 2nd nature to everyone who picks up a DA sander or a wrench. I think pride in one's work should also be 2nd nature. What's wrong with right or perfect? Why fight how to get there? This is what I've seen and I refuse to accept it in any form. If that makes me hard to work for or an elitist, so the fuck be it.

    Now, if any up and coming carftsman can deal with that walking in the door you'll have a future winner. The reality is that it can be delt with easily. It only takes an open mind and the will to succeed.
  29. BRENT in 10-uh-C
    Joined: Apr 14, 2004
    Posts: 502

    BRENT in 10-uh-C

    Whoa! 'THERE' is your sermon folks. Somebody needs to say the closing prayer and turn out the lights 'cause the service is over.:p Very well stated IMHO!! While I tried to touch on it with my point about traditional values, this was very to the point and needs to be absorbed.
  30. davidwilson
    Joined: Oct 8, 2008
    Posts: 595

    from Tennessee

    you sure won't keep good help by being a taskmaster!

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