Wow those drinks go so fast!
In article rEKKj.12102$4Q1.9698@trnddc06,
Robert Allison wrote:
"Robert Allison" wrote in message
I have hired a team of electrician (3 of them) to do some re-wiring of
the house I am working on. They are 50% completion and I have been
furnishing all the materials.
Something that bothers me.
I hooked up a fridge and told them to help themselves, I asked them
what they like and everyone seems to like Arizona ice tea or
Gatorade. So I stock the fridge full with those drinks.
Problem, at the end of the day I go around and between the three of
them it is not unusual that I found 15 or more drink bottles. They
drink a lot? Noooooo... most of those are 80% full. So they worked
in the kitchen, went and got a drink, took three sips, leave it
sitting on a half framed wall, 30 minutes later he moves up into the
attic to pull some wire, goes to the fridge and pull out a new cold
drink, carries it into the attic, took three sips and sat it down in
the attic...so at the end of the day they went through half a dozen
16oz drinks but only drank a little out of each.
Same thing with materials. I got them a box of EMT couplings, 50 of
them, three days later they needed more, ok another 50, then another
50, I started to wonder, that is 150 EMT couplings, they have not laid
that much pipes. I walked around and round up everything and yes I
have 3 boxes of couplings, almost 90% full in each of them, so they
forgot where they left something and ordered new. Same thing with
wire nuts, connectors, MC connectors, reducing washers, switch plates,
outlets etc...just seemed to be misplaced.
Now I am not worried too much about these materials, compared to the
labor it's insignificant, but is that an indication that they may be
sloppy and absent minded in the wiring as well?
Welcome to the wonderful world of general contracting. If you supply the
materials, what incentive do they have to conserve anything? Now a really
good human being and electrician may do it because it is the right thing
to do, but those guys are not around much anymore, so you have to deal
with what you get.
Here is how I do it: I supply drinks, but I get a 10 gal. cooler and fill
it with water and the gatorade mix of their choice. I give them enough of
those packets to last however long they are going to be working, or a
weeks supply, whichever is less.
Materials; I give them the materials and I tell them that this is enough
to complete the job (plus some) and I tell them that if they run out, they
need to show me where all of them went. I make sure that they understand
that there will be no more coming unless they can demonstrate that they
used more than I estimated. Sometimes they do and I don't give them a hard
time, but I do check to make sure that they haven't walked off the job.
Ask them to be a bit more organized because it is a money and safety
But they are professionals! Don't they want to be treated as one?
I don't get it.
Professionals today are not what professionals were when I was
younger. In the old days, missing 3 days of work over a month
would get you fired. Showing up late more than three times a
month would get you fired. Using company time to make phone
calls would get you fired. Spending too much time in the
bathroom would get you fired. Wasting materials would get you
fired. Not knowing how to do your job would get you fired.
Nowadays, if you fire someone, you had better be ready to defend
yourself in court, unless you have a document trail showing every
thing that he did to cause him to be fired and every infraction
had better be signed by the employee.
Not only that, but if you count the number of personal phone calls he
makes, you had better count the number of phone calls every other
employee makes, too. Otherwise your ass is in a sling for singling him
In addition, it is very hard to come by anyone to work, much less
quality workers. I no longer employ ANY workers (except for the
occasional day laborer) and do everything by subcontractors.
When I did have employees, there would not be a week that went by
that someone didn't come on the jobsite and offer them work at
another company, for more money!
The trades are suffering, because kids don't perceive any glamor and
prestige in them. And then by the time an apprentice becomes a useful
journeyman, he sets up shop for himself. My mechanic, plumber, and
electrician are all guys that work by themselves. They've all tried the
employee route, but it takes at least six guys to make that business
model viable, and it's a PITA in many ways.
I don't know if this is still the case, but when I spent a month in
Germany as a high school exchange student in the early 70's, high school
was for the academically gifted students who almost always went on to
college and a "professional" career. The other kids were sent to trade
schools after junior high, so that by the time they were 18 they had a
reasonable level of skill as a tradesman of one sort or another. Makes
more sense to me than what we do here in the U.S.
So, I guess that treating them like I do, IS treating them like
the professionals of today. When you get a real professional on
the job, you will quickly be aware of it, and treat them
accordingly. It doesn't take long to recognize the difference.