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Old 11-06-2005, 03:22 PM
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Question about finding good help (MI)

This post is for those shop owners out there or anyone for that matter that might know what the secret is for finding good help in my position...I don't know if there's a answer but a few tips might help..
Ok my shop's in Sw mighigan, not sure if that matters. Well i've been fairly busy lately and have been having a little problem keeping up.. The problem I have is that i'm not sure if i can afford a trained technician.. I do pretty much everything here. I do collision, custom, and restoration.. You can get a idea of what i've done if you click on my link.. The problem i'm having is trying to keep up with all three.. Personally I don't like collision.. But it pays the bills so a new tech would probably get trained primarily for that, but i'm not sure if I have enough collision to keep one tech busy. So if he get's things done maybe do some of the resto work with me.. I am also pretty picky when it comes to the way things are done, so i might be better off training someone from the beginning anyways. I'm just not sure what to do.. i've been working through the weekends for the last few months, but i'm still behind, i'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but something usually happens that changes things.. So we will see.

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Old 11-06-2005, 03:33 PM
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The other thing problem is that i'm starting to get what I wished for, which is why i've been so busy lately.. and that is the custom work and resto work has been keeping me more busy than ever as there is only one other shop in the area that does it other than me.. but it's still funny cause most of this work comes from usually over 1hr away, or more.. Don't get me wrong I am definetely not complaining, i'm just wondering if there is a solution to my problem.. I'm very hesitant to hire someone because of all the problems that come with that, but i'm starting to realize I might not have much of a choice.. as I've got 2 complete resto jobs, 2 that need a complete custom interior done, which is something i'm just now starting to get into so that'll probably keep me busier yet. also 1 that needs body lines shaved, a V8 conversion, caddy tail lights installed, full air ride suspension, retro dash modified and installed, suicide doors and complete paint.. which is the work I like to do I just can't get to it as I need to.. the guy with the one resto has another to do when this is done.. this is his 2nd i'm doing now. A few collision jobs already scheduled in the next few weeks. A custom flame job i'm just finishing now, that's only a month behind.. And next week another custom job is coming in, I already shaved the handles, now he wants a custom cowl hood build for his ride. I don't know.. any suggestions... Some one's got to have some idea's... lol... SORRY FOR THE NOVEL
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Old 11-06-2005, 03:35 PM
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Sorry I forgot to post my link, If you think this will help you in giving me a response.


http://photobucket.com/albums/c216/chadsbodyshop49119/
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Old 11-06-2005, 04:50 PM
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Are there not any vo-tech schools in your area..?? Check with them to see if thay have any graduates looking for work..At least you will beinterviewing folks who are dedicated enough to have paid for schooling and completed the courses..

Those guys should have the basics down..then it is up to you to determine just which one is one that you are feeling good about working with..

OMT
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Old 11-06-2005, 04:54 PM
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There's really no vo-tech schools anywhere around here, nothing at all.. actually, there's not much of anything around here...lol... my town has a church, my shop, and a 200sq ft convience store that sells milk beer and pop.. lol oh yeah cigerette's and candy bars also..lol...
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:50 PM
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Hmmm I must be on my own on this one..lol...
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Old 11-06-2005, 06:22 PM
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First off you are not alone" I had similar issues my-self with my tranny business a few years back! only that the shop helpers were more of a burden when it came to poor installations damage to vehicles etc" found out that if i just took things day by day, an customers on a first come first serve basis things and chilled out life got easier" on occasion scheduled work 3wks in advance" if you do good work your customers will wait!
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Old 11-06-2005, 06:59 PM
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Well that's kinda what i've been doing actually. and i definetly know what you mean by people messing things up, but it's like 9:00 on sunday and i'm still here trying to get things done, as the one im working on is already 1 wk behind and it is a small job... just didn't get to spend as much time on it as planned cause of all the other projects.. I guess my big thing lately is that i want to be spending my time on the jobs that i enjoy a little more.. and the way it is i never get to them. and don't know if i ever will the way it is now... sometimes I think i just need someone to help tape the cars and scuff parts and do some of the easier stuff that way mayby things will go a lil quicker... this might end up being the type of person I hire, and that way if they do good maybe he could move up and start doing more things.. but it still scares me as someone that is inexperienced can do more harm that good and not even know it...
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:40 PM
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Doc here,

Not being in the Body end..I can only generalize..

If you hire someone, Do it with the understanding of his reported skill level..and make it clear he has one payroll period to "Sink or Swim"..

Give him a selection of jobs to choose from to start, from rudimentary to mid level difficult, to advanced, AND let him choose what job to start, ask him a time frame, (and if within reason) Let him do it..and hold him to it.

Monitor his work epic, and skill level from afar, but monitor it..If he chose a job clearly above his head, he's trying to impress, you don't need that type of liability..

If he chose one he clearly breezed through..he's smart enough to sand bag you..and hungry enough to need employment, and probably capable of harder tasks..which MAY be good thing..maybe a potential employee.

If he chose a level that matched his skill, then he's honest, and willing to work to keep schedules as they come..

Another thing to watch, is how he takes care of HIS tools and shop tools...are they clean and put away organized at the end of the shift..is the Area of operation as clean as possible? If he doesn't do that much, how will he be with your costumer vehicles? no fender guards, dirt and grease inside, ect..It also shows an attention to detail..important when re~assembling the car..

Is he on time, takes the right amount of time for lunch and breaks, does he stay a little after to "Pick up" or complete a task near the end to get the job out? and my pet peeve..Does he have a Cell stuck to his ear all day long?

When it comes to policy, does he ask questions? or "Wing it"? or have a "Know~it all attitude?

Does he interface well with the public..(your customers) and most of all..does he interface well with other employees and you?

Take a lunch and break with him, get him to talk a bit..does he boast about dubious things? this is a red flag.. unless you know it's just a joke..

If a "Mistake occurs" does he first try to resolve it?.. or ask for help? or does he "hide it"?

I once had an employer (and I never forgot it..) when I applied for a job rebuilding electronic speedometers for BART trains fresh out of high School..Who asked to see my car..

He looked inside, and under the hood and the like..

I later after being hired for a time asked him what that was all about..He told me :

"The way you leave your car, is indicative of how you approach work ... if your car was full of trash, old coffee cups, half eaten burgers, wrappers and the like..It shows a lack of respect for your own property..how can I trust you with consumer property..? "

"If your engine was not maintained, had bare, spliced wires, hoses off, no air cleaner..It clearly shows your inability to do the job correctly and to it's end..This will spill over to your work here.."

If your car is a hundred shades of primer, and covered in dents..it shows a lack of attention, to detail and respect for it and yourself.."

And he was right..

Hope that gives you SOME direction anyway..

Doc
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:58 PM
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I like your ideas and will use them, especially the idea of looking at the persons car.. as now that that i think back about the people I have worked with it is a definete reflection.. I know a guy that had a hacked truck,, well he was a hack, know a guy that goes through a bunch of vehicles.. well he goes through a bunch of shops. a guy that didn't care if his truck was clean or in good shape.. well that reflected his work area... a guy that beat the crap outta his car every single day... well he, well wait there is no way to describe this guy..lol hmm.. I know a guy that took meticulous care of his truck, even though it was a older truck with nothing fancy about it.. lol.. now that i think of it he was really cheap with money, but yet very meticulous, and he is one of the best body techs i know... I will definetly use this one to help me out in finding a good employee...lol...
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Old 11-06-2005, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
"The way you leave your car, is indicative of how you approach work ... if your car was full of trash, old coffee cups, half eaten burgers, wrappers and the like..It shows a lack of respect for your own property..how can I trust you with consumer property..? "
I disagree with that, only because my car is often messy but I have a lot of respect for any customers vehicle. I've already been told on stuff I do on the side that I didn't have to clean it, that they could do it, but I always clean the vehicle on a larger job anyways. I am a lot pickier then most people I've done work for. Same at jobs, and I would never abuse a customers car. Many bodymen drive dented primered cars, not me. Why, they are usually working on someone elses car all day, and never get around to thiers, and the pay is too great normally starting out to stick a bunch of money into thiers after paying bills and buying tools. I've seen a lot of mechanics with beat up out of tune cars too.
Maybe someday I will get to the point of having a shop of my own, but I would probably be a wreck if I had to hire someone.
It would be hard not having control of everything knowing how you like things done. But guess I could eventually handle it, because you work with other people at jobs, but tough because this time your name is totally on it and will be exactly the one the customer is looking for if something did go wrong.
All I can say is talk to a few people and give someone a chance on a trial bases. You don't necessarily have to hire someone right away, just get a feel for your options. Then there is the temp agency's where you can try someone out and not have to worry about health insurance and other things you would hiring outright, but imagine you would have to pay quite a bit to the agency. Maybe some kind of work study thing if you don't need full time help. Sanding and stuff isn't overly difficult, if they can last when they find out how much work it is to prep properly. It may be difficult finding quality techs in a small area, since the pay is normally low for the amount of work you do. A lot of smart people get out and get into a different trade. Dummies like me keep sticking it out, telling themselves things will eventually get a lot better, and never learn a more lucrative trade.
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Old 11-06-2005, 09:17 PM
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I think your last sentence says it best..lol... I think the same things at times it's gonna get better...it's gonna get better... lol... but It has a little.. just not what i'm hoping for...lol
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Old 11-07-2005, 06:24 AM
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business

You are facing the same problem that every business owner has...

I am a one man shop but there are times when i need help to get work through the shop on time. I have found that you need to match the job to the guys personality/abilitys. I own a automotive machine shop so my requirements are a little different then yours... But i have one guy that will do any thing with out question, but he could distroy a bowling ball. So he never get's to do any critical work. I have a guy that is a good engine builder but has zero confidence, so i lay it all out for him in steps. Every thing he does is 100 percent correct, but he cannot do it with out my re-assurance to him...

My point is that it is very tough to find a single guy to fit your needs,,,,, Unless and this is a big one .............you can "PAY" him what he is worth!!!!!! Maybe you can find some part time help to work with you. This way you can get an idea of what they can do work wise and if it does not pan out then it's alot easyer to part ways......

I think to big trick is to find a young guy that is into that typ of work and really wants to learn... Teach him and if he is doing a good job for you treat him like gold.......

Keith
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:15 AM
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We have one of the best autobody courses in the country being offered at our local college. I know the instructor very well. He may be able to help you locate a good tech. PM me and I can tell you how to get in touch with him.

tom
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:22 AM
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I am a repair shop owner in Michigan, and over the years I have learned that you get what you pay for. For the longest time I thought I didn't have the work to support a good auto tech so I would hire the OK guys and just got by. Then I took the leap and hired a very good tech and let me tell you what a difference it was, my OK guys would turn around 30-35 hrs a week my good guy his first week turned 69.8 hours, and kept it up for almost 2 years until he hurt his back (fractured his spine) and had to get out of the business. (sorry to see him go) So now I am looking for his replacement. I have talked to many so called auto techs and still have not found one yet.

So I say hire someone that can handle most every job, That way it lets YOU THE SHOP OWNER have some freedom, after all thats why we open our own business. Do you plan on paying this person a salary or a commission base pay? Don't forget about all the other cost involved in hiring a second guy. Workman's comp, Payroll tax, ect...

What part of Michigan are you in?

Steve
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