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  1. #1
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    Default Pay Rates for employees. New to Expert.

    Hey everyone. I know this is always a touchy subject but I am having a hard time finding people at any rate. And when I do, I am mostly always surprised by how much they want to start, even without the experience. I know you definitively get what you pay for in life as well as employees.

    We are currently a 4 full time person shop. Including 2 operators and 2 experienced programmers (my dad and myself).

    We have a lot of work and would like to get another programmer / Setup guy. I guess what I am asking for is how do you know what someone is really worth. We have a 4 year program at our local college and they have a "Pay Scale," but it does not consider much other than how long they have been in the class. The rates are as follows:

    Year 1, $10.78
    Year 2, $12.50
    Year 3, $14.23
    Year 4, $16.17
    Journeyworker $21.56

    These are the latest report from 2019. We would have a hard time finding anyone completely new for the rate of a 3 or 4 year person. We are located in Florida and have MANY large companies around us. Harris, Grummon, Lockheed, Blue Origin, SpaceX, not to mention Amazon distribution, Walmart distribution. Being a small shop, we cannot compete with the $30 an hour these big companies are paying, with exception of Amazon and Walmart, which are $15 or more to start.

    So, do you guys have a way to see where people are on the scale of new to experienced? What do you start fresh, green employees at? I have seen a couple resumes that will say "operator 2" or "programmer 1" but that doesn't really tell us what they are capable of. Is there a master list of what a "programmer 1" should be capable of?

    What do you guys pay? Sorry its blunt but I need to get a better feel for what everyone else is doing. Maybe it will be good for all of us to get some sort of idea what is going on in other shops, pay wise. Or maybe it will help me decide to just go get a "real job" somewhere and not have to deal with running a business.

    Here in FL, our 2 Operators are at $16 with years of experience, but not much more than just operating.

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    this is knda what I was trying to find out the other day. Didn't get very far.
    I know a couple shops around here that are loosing people, which is hardly surprising. Who would want to work in a hot smelly shop when you can make almost double just to kick rolls of bubble wrap around in a warehouse.?

    I would say you 16/hr for operators was reasonable. Now you'll probably be looking at 22+ for a new guy, and the guys you have will probably quit if you don't bump them up north of that.

    I'm starting to lean towards robots.

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    You don't have to compete with the big shops in wage. There's lots of people that would rather get paid a little less and work for a smaller outfit. Your problem is you're paying less than I could get at Burger King for someone that shows interest and possibly promise by putting themselves into school.

    How much are people asking for that you consider too much? For instance, we don't start anyone that's full time under $15/hr.

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    Well the employees we have no do not show much interest in getting better. They just want to sit there, run parts (good or bad), and get their paychecks as quick as possible. They are not in this program at the school. I may need to get an employee from the school and start with a fresh person that I can train.

    I had a guy call last week (first one in 6 months). No experience on Mazaks, which is all we have, but has ran some manual mills and laths and could "probably learn them quickly." Wanted 27-29 to start.

    Few weeks ago, we were running a SIMPLE pin. 3 weeks worth of parts were no good. I should have been double checking him, but I assumed they would be correct. He is currently running them again. So essentially, we are paying him $32 an hour to do the work. not to mention all the overhead and material in the scrap bin.

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    I started as a cnc operator with only manual experience 11 years ago for 17/hr, a few months later, with some experience I was up to 19.

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    The pay in this field has to increase or in a few years there will not be a single employee left. And anyone worth having will either be in a different field or bought machines and will be competing with you.

    I teach at a community college. And the shop is about empty. The big box warehouses are paying $17 to start. $21 after a year or so. Some have good benefits and college reimbursement. My friend is a supervisor at a security company. You sit on ass 85% of the time watching video feeds and netflix (many take online classes). 15% of the time you walk rounds. Anything suspicious? Call the cops. Someone breaking in? Get away and call cops. Do not ever try to stop them. Starts at $16. All the overtime you want.

    Horrible freight pays $14 to put chinese wheelbarrow tires on a shelf. Sheets pays $14.50 to make coffee. $18.50 to supervise making coffee. Honda Aero tried to pay me $11

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    At $15 an hour working in a Walmart or Amazon distribution center is a physically demanding job. Most of them have very high turnover in entry level positions, they do have the benefit of being large with a name everyone recognizes. Considering that I would start the inexperienced at $16 an hour, but you obviously need to find a way to screen the applicants better, only hire people with an aptitude to learn. There are a lot of people who are not wired to progress in a machine shop. Not sure what area of Florida you are in or if prevailing wages vary greatly by location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiTillIdie View Post
    Few weeks ago, we were running a SIMPLE pin. 3 weeks worth of parts were no good. I should have been double checking him, but I assumed they would be correct. He is currently running them again. So essentially, we are paying him $32 an hour to do the work. not to mention all the overhead and material in the scrap bin.
    Some guy ran junk for 3 weeks, and you did not fire him? What was wrong with the SIMPLE pin that he missed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiTillIdie View Post
    Well the employees we have no do not show much interest in getting better. They just want to sit there, run parts (good or bad), and get their paychecks as quick as possible. They are not in this program at the school. I may need to get an employee from the school and start with a fresh person that I can train.

    I had a guy call last week (first one in 6 months). No experience on Mazaks, which is all we have, but has ran some manual mills and laths and could "probably learn them quickly." Wanted 27-29 to start.

    Few weeks ago, we were running a SIMPLE pin. 3 weeks worth of parts were no good. I should have been double checking him, but I assumed they would be correct. He is currently running them again. So essentially, we are paying him $32 an hour to do the work. not to mention all the overhead and material in the scrap bin.
    You either protect quality with talent, or with process. Ideally both, but we should all be so fortunate. Unless this was an unusual situation, it sounds like you're trying to protect it with hopes and wishes. QC might be a line item, but done right it saves more than it costs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CITIZEN F16 View Post
    Some guy ran junk for 3 weeks, and you did not fire him? What was wrong with the SIMPLE pin that he missed?
    No one to fill his place. The 45* chamfer was 37*

    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    You either protect quality with talent, or with process. Ideally both, but we should all be so fortunate. Unless this was an unusual situation, it sounds like you're trying to protect it with hopes and wishes. QC might be a line item, but done right it saves more than it costs.
    We usually check parts first thing in the morning but with the lack of employees, we have been more busy then ever and skipped it. Obviously that wont happen again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiTillIdie View Post
    No one to fill his place. The 45* chamfer was 37*
    That sounds like a programming issue/setup issue.. Are you trying to have him do programming, setup, production, and first article inspection for 16 an hour? Because that is $30 + an hour for someone competent enough to do all of those things correctly.

    Those scrapped parts more likely cost you in the ballpark of 60 an hour when you figure for scrapped material and 3 weeks of lost spindle time. When you look at it that way $30 an hour for someone good is worth every penny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiTillIdie View Post
    No one to fill his place. The 45* chamfer was 37*



    We usually check parts first thing in the morning but with the lack of employees, we have been more busy then ever and skipped it. Obviously that wont happen again.
    You need to print this out on paper, put your phone away, walk away from your computer and just sit and think about this situation for a while. Bring a pencil and do some very very basic math.

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    #1 question an employee wants to know, do you have AC?

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    Any intangible benefits to go with that $16/hr?

    401k? Company Christmas party? Boss takes you hog hunting once a year?

    Because....

    Well, it's low. And it has brought you low quality work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiTillIdie View Post
    So essentially, we are paying him $32 an hour to do the work. not to mention all the overhead and material in the scrap bin.
    That means a $25/hr employee that you can count on to make them right the first time, every time, is cheaper than a $16/hr guy....

    We're in the middle of massive inflation, both in product costs and wages. If you're quoting work today at rates that cover 5 year old wage rates, you're putting yourself out of business whether you realize it or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CITIZEN F16 View Post
    Some guy ran junk for 3 weeks, and you did not fire him? What was wrong with the SIMPLE pin that he missed?
    Quote Originally Posted by TiTillIdie View Post
    No one to fill his place. The 45* chamfer was 37*



    We usually check parts first thing in the morning but with the lack of employees, we have been more busy then ever and skipped it. Obviously that wont happen again.
    How the hell did a 45 degree angle get made at 37? That seems real odd unless it was on a cam automatic with worn or out of time cams, that would be real odd for a programming error.

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    No tool nose radius comp?

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    Well, what do you guys do to evaluate what an employee is actually worth? Like what do you guys think each level is worth? What are your different expectations at each level?

    Brand new guy, never seen calipers, or even pressed green button. 14-16?
    Guy that worked somewhere else for a while, knows calipers and can make offsets, use calipers, mics, shadow graph, 16-18?
    Guy that can set up repeat jobs, start making minor program changes, rarely late, makes good parts, understands spindles need to be turning at all times, 18-20?
    Guy that can program a new part from 2d drawing, shows up on time, works hard, takes pride in his work 20-25?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    No tool nose radius comp?
    ... Misread your post

    Edit:

    Or it could have been a gouge caused by the backside of the insert - that seems more likely now that I think about it.
    Last edited by TheBigLebowski; 09-13-2021 at 04:22 PM. Reason: added note

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    Quote Originally Posted by CITIZEN F16 View Post
    How the hell did a 45 degree angle get made at 37? That seems real odd unless it was on a cam automatic with worn or out of time cams, that would be real odd for a programming error.
    Or a bad model and nobody did a first article check. I had to have a come to Jesus conversation with a designer years ago to explain why modelling a chamfer at 30*, setting the print tolerance at -9*/-11*, and displaying as a limit tolerance (ie it will show as 21*/19* and be interpreted mentally as 20* +/- 1* was awful practice. It turned out he had figured out he could save time by adjusting the drawing tolerances rather than updating the CAD. Usually this works fine in a drawing only world, but as soon as shops start doing programming from the .step file it gets ugly.
    My boss wanted to know why our parts kept getting quoted more expensive as the relationship seemed good (and was). A lot of it is that our machine shop had to start re-modelling everything from the drawing, comparing their model to ours, and then rectifying the differences with us. That takes hours, and their time isn't free. We paid the bill, but suddenly better CAD practices got a lot more attention.

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