For the first time I'm thinking of hiring a finisher. I have no idea what the typical wages are for this person and was hoping to get some feedback. I'm in Atlanta so cost of living is higher than many rural areas. Thanks.
what type of finish would this person be applying? spray or wiping finish? any custom stain mixing/matching, or any staining at all? distressing and glazing? toning? maintaining finish materials inventories?
obviously, this position can be responsible for all or none of the above and pay should be arranged accordingly. good luck.
We do some custom stain matching but we use a company to get the actual stain. We then produce a proof sample for the customer. There are times where we have to tweak colors via finish tinting. So he would be applying stain and doing slight color adjusting.
For the most part we do spray on conversion varnish but we also do a simple hand applied one. Buff on, let set, then buff off so nothing like a french polish.
As for material inventories there would only be a little of that. Common sense things like telling me when he's running low on this or that.
Test employment then raise where warranted. make them show you, I have seen house painters swear they can do architectural only to be overpaid for the time they wasted. look out for the artist and the premadonnas they can be a real PIA
Something to keep in mind is the ability to manage the work flow, thru the finishing department in a way that keeps production humming. I have had good finishers who could apply the finish, but constantly created bottlenecks when we needed them to properly plan their day. At that time we had a lot of primed work, going back to production, but a shop with finished work always leaving would be different. A finisher who can apply finishes has one value, one who can plan and also manage work flow is worth more. If your system already has an established management, not as important. I paid mine the same as my best floor employees, but always under my shop floor supervisor, if that helps. But I do use a wide range of finishes too, not just mixing the same ratios day after day.
Finisher with 20+ yrs. of verifiable experience. I understand perfectly what you are asking and your second response that expanded your thoughts and descriptions.
Looking at you as a perspective employer, I would be asking what product line(s) you are currently using,........looking for an idea, from your perspective as the owner, how you see work flow through your shop?
"In that door and out that other door" = a bad answer. This was an actual response from an owner during an interview.
An owner that has enough sense to realize that all "bottlenecks" are not somehow solely created in the finishing area. That is one term I am sick of hearing since it is a cheap shot and easy way to shift blame off of production and more often, scheduling issues.
Since you are thinking of hiring a "finisher" for the first time that gives me some sense that you realize it is a position that adds value to your product.
Or maybe you hadn't thought of that?
As a finisher, I would also make it a point to see your finishing shop, as in a dedicated space ideally situated away from the main production/dust producing areas.
I have seen it all at this point in my career, open spaces within the shop that had two fans cut in the wall for ventilation, spray booths with either the filters so packed with over-spray or in one instance the filter wall with no filters in the frames because....?, a "spray booth" consisting of 2x4 framing and 6 mil clear plastic sheeting.....
I actually did work in one shop that had an enclosed booth, which you would think is a bonus until you opened the door and inside were two massive steel lolly columns that you had to work around...fun!!! Of course, the real downside to the upside is that the area was not heated. We're talking upper mid Atlantic states here.
Everyone of the owners on this forum have at one point or another decried the fact that they can't hire or find good cabinetmakers. If you think you're having that much trouble finding CM's, try finding quality finishers. NOBODY is entering this facet of woodworking. If I can find a somewhat qualified helper candidate and squeak four months out of them before they quit; I consider that a victory!
I think Mitch has a good handle on what he needs, I understand what James is trying to say. But having said that, I personally would not take that bait. You have either thought and budgeted for the position and are asking the right interview questions.....or you haven't and aren't, very simple.
There are as many so-so owners/shops as there are so-so finishers. It takes a good while to work your way up to a top tier place.
I am currently at 58k salary plus bonus eligibility, great schedule/benefits and working environment in a very stable company with innovative management.
I am blessed and grateful. Best of luck in your search to fill your position.
Thanks everyone. I found a great guy and it seems to be working out well. We actually have a custom made positive pressure spray booth and try to do the best we can in all steps of production but as we get busier we'll have to keep thinking of ways to make it run smoother. We're not a large enough company to have just one job for each guy so it's still a work in progress. Thanks again though.
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