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Advice-ready to close doors unless we get help :(

lisarenee818

Plastic
Joined
Jun 7, 2024
Location
SANTA FE SPRINGS
Hi, I'm here hoping to get some advice. We have been in business for 38 years. We are a small (4-5 people in the shop) sheet metal fabrication company. We have been completely failing in getting a new press brake operator. We always have trouble doing it. This time, it is proving impossible. The last guy that came to us about an hour ago thru an agency came in, retreated to the rest room and then apparently slipped out without a word. He just left. Our press brakes are Cincinatti. They are about 30 years old. One has a computer screen, one does not. One is big and one is small. We offer about $27-29 per hour to start. We require 5 years experience. We require people to know how to do this from the jump. Training in only as much as our procedures and that's pretty much it. We have been searching for months. Indeed has cost a fortune and NO results. Lots of applicants...none at all pertaining to what we do. The couple of people that came in (literally, 2 people) they both said they have no idea how to run our machines. We are going to be forced to close if we can't find someone. Can anyone explain what we are doing wrong?? Is it us? Is it the people who are not doing this anymore, especially with old machines? If we are going to lose, I at least want to know why. Sorry everyone. I am very, very upset:(. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Lisa E.
Weld Eng.
Santa Fe Springs, CA
 
I am sorry to hear that Lisa. If you are literally considering shutting down the shop because of this particular issue, yet business is booming in every other way; I would suggest putting out an obscene amount of money on offer - the sort of money that would even temp someone out of retirement.

Shop for the top guys in your area, not middle of the road operators. In the meantime, have you considered running the press brakes yourself to catch up on the back log? If you do that for 3-6 months, you might find that the entire department needs some work.

I would not rely on head hunters to find you skilled labor; skilled tradesmen do not need to use those services. Those agencies are for replaceable, high turnover positions like assembly line workers, forklift operators, cleaning service employees and the like.
 
Well...then we may as well close doors. That is ridiculous.
Really? In California?

Hard to believe since we are completely in line with the other companies around us.
Maybe that's the problem. If you don't offer something more... cleaner shop, nicer machines, better environment; cheaper insurance, better retirement, more flexible schedule... what to you have to entice good employees?

Is $29/hour all it's worth to keep your brakes running? If so, then you're probably right; best to just pack it up and call it a day.
 
I am sorry to hear that Lisa. If you are literally considering shutting down the shop because of this particular issue, yet business is booming in every other way; I would suggest putting out an obscene amount of money on offer - the sort of money that would even temp someone out of retirement.

Shop for the top guys in your area, not middle of the road operators. In the meantime, have you considered running the press brakes yourself to catch up on the back log? If you do that for 3-6 months, you might find that the entire department needs some work.

I would not rely on head hunters to find you skilled labor; skilled tradesmen do not need to use those services. Those agencies are for replaceable, high turnover positions like assembly line workers, forklift operators, cleaning service employees and the like.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. There are a myriad of problems that is wrong at this time, sadly. We have asked all the other businesses we have know and we are in line with the pay. I mean, we can not double everyone's pay rate, and it would just be a matter of time for the pay rate for the press brake operator to come out and our other guys would quit. It is the minimum wage trap. That's why a fast food meal is like $35 for 2 people now here in California. And that is why fast food places are starting to close or get rid of employees. It's a trap. We will have to double what we charge and customers would go down the road.

We gave up on Indeed because no one who applied even read what we were looking for. What a waste of time. When they were even remotely involved in the sheet metal industry, they would just disappear. We had several come in and start to work then quit in a few days. One had multiple sick or dying relatives and would promise to come tomorrow, only to have another tragedy. It is overwhelming.

It may just be our time to go, I'm afraid.
Thank you so much for your advice and time tho.
 
The last guy that came to us about an hour ago thru an agency came in, retreated to the rest room and then apparently slipped out without a word. He just left.
They are about 30 years old.
We require people to know how to do this from the jump. Training in only as much as our procedures and that's pretty much it.
Well...then we may as well close doors. That is ridiculous.
Hard to believe since we are completely in line with the other companies around us.
Can anyone explain what we are doing wrong?? Is it us?
Is it you? You bet your ass it is. How can you be this far in trouble and still not be willing to change how you're going about things??? You need to take a good hard look at your business, without emotion, and start changing things that aren't working. Whether you like it or not, it's up to you to adjust to the current employment climate, and right now, the employees are in control and they know it. You either give them what they want, or you don't have employees.

Why did a guy bail after seeing your shop? I know I personally went on an interview decades ago, and it all went well. When the shop tour portion of the interview started, I told him to have a nice day. The shop was an absolute shit hole. So, Lisa, is your shop a shit hole? Is it clean and organized? A/C? Well lit? Are all the cars in the employee parking lot nice? Or is everybody driving beaters?

And refusing to train someone is asinine, especially when you're in the position you're in. I mean, this feels like a small child throwing a tantrum because they didn't get their way. If there aren't any pressbrake operators available (which I'm not surprised about), then you better start training one!!!
 
Who are the owners? Do they operate the press brakes while you search for operators?
:popcorn:
In other words do the actual owners bust their asses and can't keep up? Or are tired and looking for relief? Or.....have zero clue how to run the machines, and sit on their asses and complain they can't find any help? Cause there's a big difference between the 2 situations. A 3rd scenario is owners are old and not able to work much anymore.
Which is it?
 
We require 5 years experience. We require people to know how to do this from the jump. Training in only as much as our procedures and that's pretty much it. We have been searching for months.
Why not offer training to a person with the right work ethic, and maybe some mechanical or shop experience?

You are ruling out about 90% of good candidates because your company is not willing to train....

ToolCat
 
Fast food workers in your area are making that much. And I bet they get better benefits. Also looked like the folks working at In-N-Out were having a pretty good time too. I was actually just in that area this week, its incredibly expensive. Houses in your area, are like 800k. If you can't charge enough for your services to account for that, yeah its time to close up shop.
 
Guys..my dad passed away. My mom is 79. I don't know about this business that much. She is doing the best she can, as am I. Training is not possible. We had one press brake guy and he quit in March. Training is not a possibility. Fast food workers make that much. And that is why people are leaving this state. To those who have genuinely tried to help, thank you.
 
I think your stuck, just sell the stuff and shut down to what you can do with the labor you like. my area different field has finally slowed down and all the extras i was giving my guys are hurting the bottom line and they don’t appreciate it, they expect it, i let them know that if they last through to first of august i will give them an extra couple months pay but im done with employees for 6 months minimum at that date . i can gross as much by myself as my guys are doing and instead of all going out half of it will stick. I wasnt planning onbeing a people manager and dont want to learn. My guys were great absolutely top of the line. its my management that is incompetent but im sick of it and dont want to do it. while the snow ball was rolling down hill it was fun but now its not and im slowing down and taking care of myself instead of them.
I hadnt seen your last post just close it down and hope there is enough for your mom to live out her life you dont need the stress
 
Guys..my dad passed away. My mom is 79. I don't know about this business that much. She is doing the best she can, as am I. Training is not possible. We had one press brake guy and he quit in March. Training is not a possibility. Fast food workers make that much. And that is why people are leaving this state. To those who have genuinely tried to help, thank you.
Now you've given the details that provide a clearer picture of the situation. It might be you could reach out to a skilled operator that would be interested-willing to come in after his day job and help out some. Which is better than nothing. Also such a person might be willing to train a full time person.
 
Now you've given the details that provide a clearer picture of the situation. It might be you could reach out to a skilled operator that would be interested-willing to come in after his day job and help out some. Which is better than nothing. Also such a person might be willing to train a full time person
Thank you for your advice...I'll see if that can be done.
 
Now you've given the details that provide a clearer picture of the situation. It might be you could reach out to a skilled operator that would be interested-willing to come in after his day job and help out some. Which is better than nothing. Also such a person might be willing to train a full time person.
I think your stuck, just sell the stuff and shut down to what you can do with the labor you like. my area different field has finally slowed down and all the extras i was giving my guys are hurting the bottom line and they don’t appreciate it, they expect it, i let them know that if they last through to first of august i will give them an extra couple months pay but im done with employees for 6 months minimum at that date . i can gross as much by myself as my guys are doing and instead of all going out half of it will stick. I wasnt planning onbeing a people manager and dont want to learn. My guys were great absolutely top of the line. its my management that is incompetent but im sick of it and dont want to do it. while the snow ball was rolling down hill it was fun but now its not and im slowing down and taking care of myself instead of them.
I hadnt seen your last post just close it down and hope there is enough for your mom to live out her life you dont need the stress
Yes, I understand your point of view regarding people wanting more and more. It's not sustainable. But let me say this...the bottom will fall out for them on day. They are going to price themselves out of work when no company can complete with demands and they close. I firmly believe that.

I wish you the best in the future for your business and thank you for your reply.
 








 
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