Things have been steadily picking up and I'm going to need to try and find at least a part time helper soon. I tried this before and it didn't work out so well. It was mostly my own fault for a variety of reasons, but I consider it a learning experience that will hopefully make the next go work out better. In hindsight I believe I paid too much for what he brought to the table. Plus all the extra expenses of workers comp and payroll really made it an expensive mistake! So I want to try and avoid making the same mistake twice.
I think I'm probably going to look for a general helper vs. someone with a lot of experience. I want to offer a fair rate, not looking for super cheap labor or anything, but I also don't want to overpay again. What do you guys pay for this type of help? I'm in the NE just outside a major city.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor A:
Regardless of all those that will post their disagreements to this, this works staggeringly well: post the wage and the requirements, don't assume you are underpaying. For example: Need experienced wood worker, $10/hour to start. Of course your full ad will be much more detailed than that. Hire the most qualified person that agrees to start at your starting wage - this is key. I have hired very talented people this way. Then you give raises when it is wise to. I’m 20 years in business and this is the best way of getting the most bang for your labor dollar.
Contributor G, I like the up-front approach. Last time I hired I was looking for someone with just a bit of experience and was very, very descriptive in the ad with what I was looking for. I still had guys coming in looking for $25-$35 an hour! Heck I wish I made $35 an hour!
I think you guys have given me enough to have a general idea of where I should be. I also appreciate the other ideas. The plywood daily list is a great one as well. That was one problem, (of admittedly many), I had last time around. I wasn't nearly organized enough to keep him busy so I was constantly stopping what I was doing to get him set up for something else. Anyway I learned a lot from the last go and hopefully I won't make too many of the same mistakes twice! Though I'm sure there will be plenty of new ones to make.
You have to work on two fronts: one - make sure you have the work to keep you both busy, and two - you have to work to make sure you aren't working for the helper. Don't fall for the old, "It is just easier if I do it myself." That is, in a one man shop with a second hand, it is not reasonable to assume the number two guy will be a helper forty hours a week. They have to learn to work independently and to think independently. This makes them more than a helper, and worth more, eventually. So, your hiring task just got harder. If you insist on them only being a helper (or that is all they want) you will end up working to keep him busy and that will reduce your productivity. The second guy needs to double your productivity within three months or darn near it.
The upside to this process was us finding things that the worker does very well. For example, I have not made a drawer box in two years. All I have to do is give a list, and they are done in a day. This guy started off at $10 an hour, now he can step in for me when I'm out and do 90% of all the shop tasks. He now makes $15/hour with health insurance.