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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    Yes and no. I absolutely hate having employees. And, I love working alone.
    But, it took me about exactly 6 months to burn out after my only employee quit. And, I hit the wall HARD.
    It really depends what your business is trying to do to weather the optimal strategy is with employees or by yourself. There are certain jobs that require equipment a single person shop is not going to be able to justify having.

    If you have employees it is really important that people give feedback AND listen to their feedback. It is not possible to optimize a process if you don't understand all the steps at a basic level. If you have any experts don't treat them as black boxes have people justify their decisions so everyone can learn. I am not saying that everyone should be in meetings all day but if you have operators performing sequential steps on the same part and they don't regularly speak to one another you will have problems.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    I guess the simple solution is to figure how to get 2x more work done in half the time without anyone having to suffer having me as a horrible slave driving boss.
    You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar..

    That WALL thing.. Fuck the WALL, I hate the F'n WALL... That F'n WALL can kiss my fat hairy ass.

    The worst thing about that F'n WALL.. You hit IT, IT hits you back.... You hit IT again, IT
    hits you twice, and then its twice the recovery time.. Hit that F'r again, and IT hits you
    3 times.

    Going from a 1 man band to having help.. That's tough..

    I've had a cleaning guy/handy man for a bit over 9 years now. I don't have to worry about the
    shitter, I don't have to worry about the trash, I don't have to worry about the floors. He shovels
    the machines, tops up the waylube and coolant.. 4 hours a week, and he works on some of my projects
    when he's on vaca or after his real job if I need him.

    I tried bringing in a skilled guy part time, and that worked sort of... Depending on the mix
    of work.. And he still comes and helps when I need him. I wish I had the right mix to keep
    him busy all the time..

    What has worked for me for the last 9 months or so, is an unskilled helper. I pay her well,
    about 30 hours a week.. She can run parts, deburr parts, swap jaws, top up coolant, deliver
    parts, pick up material, run to the hardware store/bank/grocery store/beer store.... Run the
    saw, spray weeds.... When I don't have that stuff for her to do, working on remodeling the
    bathroom, organizing and cataloging stock, cleaning my desk, filing paperwork, setting up
    files.... ETC...

    I've found it a lot more handy to have a "helper" around all the time than another machinist..
    Though I do enjoy having another machinist around when its needed, its nice to have another
    set of eyes and somebody to bounce ideas off of.

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  4. #83
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    It is no secret women are far more productive with mundane tasks than men.
    And, sometimes simply just flat-out better employees.

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  6. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    It is no secret women are far more productive with mundane tasks than men.
    And, sometimes simply just flat-out better employees.
    That..and.. One thing I've found is that they tend to not have the male ego when it comes
    to mechanical things... When they don't know how to do something or are unsure of something,
    they ask... 19 year old that changed his water pump once, he won't ask, he'll scrap everything
    in sight because he thinks he knows better.

  7. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    That..and.. One thing I've found is that they tend to not have the male ego when it comes
    to mechanical things... When they don't know how to do something or are unsure of something,
    they ask... 19 year old that changed his water pump once, he won't ask, he'll scrap everything
    in sight because he thinks he knows better.
    You have a way with words Bob, and you are usually spot-on. I like it.

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    Just an update on recognizing the employee who is going to be a real keeper. The young guy I work with that I mentioned? Well the boss has finally seen what I see and promoted him over his own choice for operations manager. Thank god, I was really worried this young guy would quit first, he had offers for Way better money!

    Holy crap I’ve got another one! He is a relative of another employee and worked here as a summer intern and I was very under impressed. He really came off as a slacker. Then the boss hired him on graduation from college as an engineer working under me. He has just been absolutely kicking ass! So good I told my boss to give him a raise after 2 months. He continues to knock it out of the park.

    I think that when he worked with his relative he was treated as a helper. I suspect he was given tasks not goals, and no responsibility. I don’t work that way. I outline goals and give ideas how we can get it done and explain that they need to become expert in what we are doing. He has really taken it to heart. He just finished a project where he modeled everything in SolidWorks. He did a wiring schematic, built the electrical panel, programmed the PLC and HMI. Then he installed the panel and plumbing and sensors and valves at a site out of town, wrote a user manual, and trained the operators to run it. Damn!

    Meanwhile another young engineer here whines about how much he makes, how he gets no respect, and takes forever to get stuff done. Exact same opportunity way different results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    That's part of the problem with this 13yr hump. I've always been in a bit of a niche and a few great customers, but still turning away $100k/yr easy and they don't like that I can't meet the demand. Right now I'm giving a couple cnc dealers another chance to see if I can get another machine in here soon. I really hate that I never got to learn CNC/G-code before I went on my own, CAD/CAM saved my ass so far but not my lack of confidence with this type of machine, so I need to do something about this. Cranking handles 3000+hrs a year ain't easy on the body.
    Adding machinist employees typically means adding more equipment (into a bigger shop space). You will also spend time lining up work and materials for them, so you probably don't get a lot more time to do productive work yourself. Best you can manage is to really get that second guy logging 7 billable hours a day, instead of your 4 (in an 8 hour day). So he takes home half of what he makes, you lose 25% of your time in keeping him going and so you might net 2 billable hours a day off that employee. So you might not get ahead for a long time if you have to add $50k or more in equipment.

    So the question to ask yourself is, can you create 2 more billable hours per day for yourself by increasing your own efficiency? You'll be as far ahead as adding an employee.

    I like Bob's idea of hiring a helper, if you have enough mundane stuff to keep them busy, but they have to free you up to add more billable hours to your day, or else you're just doing community service by hiring them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    Yes and no. I absolutely hate having employees. And, I love working alone.
    But, it took me about exactly 6 months to burn out after my only employee quit. And, I hit the wall HARD.
    Part of that is because out of 4320 hours in 180 days you were running 4000 of them.....

    The wife and I just had a girl this year, she is now 10 months old, I am 41. I am putting her first, I still do what I need to at work, but I am only going to have one go at seeing her grow up and so far it is alot more rewarding than anything at the shop, toys included. I don't know what works for others as everyone has their own variables and parameters of their lives, but so far I have had alot more good days than bad.

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    No doubt about it, taking on employees is a huge step and changes the entire concept of your business. If you make the inevitable hiring mistake it starts you on a learning curve harder than Mastercam. It may be several difficult years getting a handle on a shop with a crew of employees doing the work, but the sooner you can manage that the sooner you can quit being the workhorse. Forget about running it as a hobby or even doing machine work for the joy of it—although you can still teach for the joy of it, and because it enhances their capabilities your bottom line will go up.

    Take this for what it's worth. I didn't raise any kids so never had that particular burden on my time. My hat is off to anybody who can raise both employees and kids; the two tasks are not entirely dissimilar. Now I'm pushing 70 and can sit in my office reading PM on salary while parts are being made out on the floor, which almost counts as leisure. However I would not have got to this point without facing the fact that turning handles 'til 3 AM had to stop. Otherwise it would've killed me.

    Your results may vary.

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    My daughter' boss died two weeks ago. He owned almost 100% of a little business called Conair. He said he wouldn't leave the business to kids, but apparently he did. All 3.4 Billion $ of it! Only one son was involved with the business. This should be be interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    It is no secret women are far more productive with mundane tasks than men.
    And, sometimes simply just flat-out better employees.
    They smell better too.



    Hopefully

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  18. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post

    What has worked for me for the last 9 months or so, is an unskilled helper. I pay her well,
    about 30 hours a week.. She can run parts, deburr parts, swap jaws, top up coolant, deliver
    parts, pick up material, run to the hardware store/bank/grocery store/beer store.... Run the
    saw, spray weeds.... When I don't have that stuff for her to do, working on remodeling the
    bathroom, organizing and cataloging stock, cleaning my desk, filing paperwork, setting up
    files.... ETC...
    So how did you go about finding this wonderful lady that will work in both the shop and office? Inquiring minds want to know...

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamm View Post
    So how did you go about finding this wonderful lady that will work in both the shop and office? Inquiring minds want to know...
    A friend hires moms to work while the kids are in school. Most are way over qualified education-wise, but it's not a career anyway. They make a few bucks and get out of the house for a couple hours. He has a screw machine shop so there's a lot of simple second op type work and pretty much any odd jobs around the shop. He gets some smart dependable workers.

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  21. #94
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    I do appreciate the helpful input that many of you have contributed to this thread. Different points of view, but honest just the same.

    Unfortunately, early last year I lost a good, steady employee who was coming along quite well for a couple of years. My work slowed a bit and at the same time his family decided to move across the country. So after almost 2 years, I get a call from him a couple of days ago and he said that he is coming back.

    I hope to hire him back, because I know the most valuable asset of my business aside from my customer base is a skilled professional.

    My goal is to have at least 4 pros on my shop floor.

  22. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamm View Post
    So how did you go about finding this wonderful lady that will work in both the shop and office? Inquiring minds want to know...
    Word of mouth.. Came about through one of my customers... "My sister is getting laid off in a couple of weeks,
    maybe she can help you out a little bit".. Basically dumb luck..

    Years ago at another shop, we advertised for a "shop helper" and advertised "mothers hours"... What a cluster
    fuck. I think I'd rather shoot myself than put another want ad in the paper (on the internet now a days)..

    Then again, same shop a few years later, really needed a skilled person, so I went on down to the unemployment
    office.. They sent me one guy that was decent (on paper), and one other "operator".... I've told this story
    here before several times... At the end of the interview... Something about getting back home to bang
    his wife, and then he puts his hand in my face and asks if I want to smell his finger... WTF is wrong with
    people...

    And then for about 6 months the unemployment office sent over every person they could find that had
    ever seen a drill press. Waste of time...

    Finding GOOD people is hard.. In my previous life in a different field, when we needed a new "body"
    or 2, we would hire 5 or 7 hoping that 1 or 2 would work out.. Some left after only a few hours, some
    never even showed for the first day... None of those people ever asked me to smell their finger.

    I also have a theory on skilled hires.... Sometimes it can take longer to un-train bad habits and
    retrain good habits than it would take to train somebody up that didn't know an endmill from a crochet hook.

    I'm also a believer in "STEALING" people.. I don't mean running across town and trying to steal your
    competitors help, but there are places you go and folks that you meet and you think they might be a good fit...
    Steal 'em..

    That kid down at the hardware store that's always helpful and wondering what you are doing with all this
    weird shit you're buying.. Auto parts stores.. Those are the kids that WANT to do what we do, but they
    don't even know what we do exists. They want to build shit and make shit and play with mechanical stuff,
    so they get as close to that as they can.. The hardware store and auto parts store.

    Even that lady at the gas station that always seems to be going above and beyond, maybe she could use
    a few extra bucks..

  23. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    Word of mouth.. Came about through one of my customers... "My sister is getting laid off in a couple of weeks,
    maybe she can help you out a little bit".. Basically dumb luck..

    Years ago at another shop, we advertised for a "shop helper" and advertised "mothers hours"... What a cluster
    fuck. I think I'd rather shoot myself than put another want ad in the paper (on the internet now a days)..

    Then again, same shop a few years later, really needed a skilled person, so I went on down to the unemployment
    office.. They sent me one guy that was decent (on paper), and one other "operator".... I've told this story
    here before several times... At the end of the interview... Something about getting back home to bang
    his wife, and then he puts his hand in my face and asks if I want to smell his finger... WTF is wrong with
    people...

    And then for about 6 months the unemployment office sent over every person they could find that had
    ever seen a drill press. Waste of time...

    Finding GOOD people is hard.. In my previous life in a different field, when we needed a new "body"
    or 2, we would hire 5 or 7 hoping that 1 or 2 would work out.. Some left after only a few hours, some
    never even showed for the first day... None of those people ever asked me to smell their finger.

    I also have a theory on skilled hires.... Sometimes it can take longer to un-train bad habits and
    retrain good habits than it would take to train somebody up that didn't know an endmill from a crochet hook.

    I'm also a believer in "STEALING" people.. I don't mean running across town and trying to steal your
    competitors help, but there are places you go and folks that you meet and you think they might be a good fit...
    Steal 'em..

    That kid down at the hardware store that's always helpful and wondering what you are doing with all this
    weird shit you're buying.. Auto parts stores.. Those are the kids that WANT to do what we do, but they
    don't even know what we do exists. They want to build shit and make shit and play with mechanical stuff,
    so they get as close to that as they can.. The hardware store and auto parts store.

    Even that lady at the gas station that always seems to be going above and beyond, maybe she could use
    a few extra bucks..
    I am in this situation right now, and, IT SUCKS!

  24. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post

    What is it about "growing" a business, why do we let a business take over our life, rather than the other way around?

    ToolCat
    The trouble is Greg , how many of us are actually in charge of our businesses?
    The reality is customers want - we deliver. And if that means working all weekend, then we do it.
    Again
    And again...

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