When to hire, currently sole proprietor
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Missouri
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    102
    Likes (Received)
    93

    Default When to hire, currently sole proprietor

    Everyone says dont quit your day job until you have some steady work and savings built up. I've ditched the day job for about a year now, and work is steady enough. Savings.... well that gets converted to tooling at a 1.5:1 (in their favor) ratio seems like.

    I've been positioning myself as the guy to call for general machine work when nobody else wants to do your parts, whether it's deadlines, tolerances, larger size, needs engineering, mobile work, or 0.1% machinability index material, or ideally all the above.

    I see quite a few rfqs that there just is no way to get done on time without some help. But they arent generic lever yanking / button pushing work, and a lot of the jobs would need at least some CNC work. It's maybe 50 parts at 1-4x each. And most of them are big enough to need a forklift or crane to load in a machine, and have tolerances that you need a decent background in the trade to inspect.

    Seems like the older gentlemen who are retired and might consider part time work to get out of the house dont want to mess with anything they cant load by hand, and if cnc comes up, just forget about it - and the young bucks wouldnt be interested in part time, or ideal to trust with a 2000lb block of stainless.

    So do I just dive in the deep end, become HR person, hire anyone that seems sober, and pray - or is there a method to getting past this growing pain? and thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    tucson arizona usa
    Posts
    5,066
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2198
    Likes (Received)
    4777

    Default

    I hired a young girl to answer the phone and the emails, she did the packing and shipping and helped run the machines. 6 years later she was running my shop and in charge of 15 employe It will be cheaper and easier to find a helper than a machinist. Get a helper and train them you wont find a machinist

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Missouri
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    102
    Likes (Received)
    93

    Default

    I'm talking B2B, where one email is an rfq for an entire machine worth of parts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,948
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    515
    Likes (Received)
    445

    Default

    Well I will toss my .02 in for what it is worth, I am on the East coast, so the people I have interacted with might a bit different than your pool of applicants. First off make sure your protected i.e. become an LLC, or the equivalent so if something goes side ways your financially somewhat protected. If you do not know or have access to a lawyer get one, especially if your not familiar with local labor laws.
    Over the past 10 or so years I have worked for a Co. similar to yours. Single owner (who is in his 80s) except for his son, am the only employee that has stayed. I have seen say 10-12 people come and go or had to be let go. It is bloody difficult to get and keep people that don't do drugs / drink on the job, don't want to or cannot follow simple instructions, think on their own, have one iota of common sense, take responsibility or just plain don't give a rat's ass.
    Not to totally discourage you, sorry. I have worked a few very different jobs over my years and found the above to be a pervasive and never ending PIA.
    You think RFQs are a black hole for time & patients just try interviews.
    So what can offer are the conclusions from my observations as a "fly on the wall", both from an employee and employer's perspective. Right off the hop inform them they will be drug tested after filling out the application and at random intervals during their employ if hired (put it the add if you run one) it will begin the eliminations). Don't ignore your gut, or that little voice in head. Look at work history, try and avoid job jumpers. Treat your employee(s) fairly, honestly and above all communicate things right quick whether the subject is good or bad; pull no punches. These people are your employees not your friends, they can be both but the line must drawn and respected by both of you. I guess lastly I would say make them feel appreciated and part of the business, not just a tool you use to run it. Make sure that they now they can come to you with any problem, concern or issue personal or related to work, or personal and they will not be judged or reprimanded, at least not right away! Really just treat them like you would want to be treated. Offer some kind of incentive for them to want to come in every day, feel a part of the business and do their best.
    I would encourage a family type approach; we all do our best get along, work to better the business and make them feel appreciated. DO NOT give bonuses, I have seen too many people that once one is given they expect it every year, and ya have a so so finical year and cannot do it, they get way pissed. I would do more like a profit sharing type deal, the Co. does well so do they. It is a complicated thing more art than science in my eyes. Be somewhat flexible and tell them that works both ways. A lot of times comes to you get what pay for, and always hire with a probationary period that way you can boot them for any reason you like if needed, depending on local law.
    Good luck may the farce be with you.

  5. Likes NRDock, dalmatiangirl61, Hillside Fab liked this post
  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Hatch, NM Chile capital of the WORLD
    Posts
    9,034
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    13822
    Likes (Received)
    10686

    Default

    I'm with KPotter on this one..

    For a while, I had a skilled helper.. But it didn't help me all that much..

    What I really needed was an unskilled helper to do the stupid stuff..
    Pick ups, Delivery's, shovel the machines, top up the waylube and coolant,
    run to the store and get toilet paper and copy paper and a jug of acetone,
    put together my job folders, pick up my messes as I'm making them.. Change
    jaws and tools.. And even run parts and deburr..

    A lot easier (and cheaper) to find somebody to do that type of work than
    it is to find a skilled person that is going to be up to your own standards.

    Having somebody around to do the stupid stuff freed up a lot of my time to
    allow me to do the stuff I'm good at.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    137
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    106
    Likes (Received)
    230

    Default

    If you're just looking for a part time worker you might consider an engineering student if you have a college nearby. There are a lot of them that are not mechanically inclined, but there are some that would really surprise you, especially if the college participates in the SAE competitions. I've had a few students come through that have been spectacular.

  8. Likes Hillside Fab liked this post
  9. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Arkansas
    Posts
    464
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    95
    Likes (Received)
    200

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lastrada View Post
    If you're just looking for a part time worker you might consider an engineering student if you have a college nearby. There are a lot of them that are not mechanically inclined, but there are some that would really surprise you, especially if the college participates in the SAE competitions. I've had a few students come through that have been spectacular.
    I did all this above ---^ when I first started and its all fine and great if you want to stay at a few employees. Grow to 50 employees and that wont get very far. I personally have found its better to hire skilled labor and pay more per hour than the shops around me. Of course you have to run your shop right so they are happy as well but the money...money always talks.

  10. Likes Hillside Fab liked this post
  11. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Florida
    Posts
    3,717
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1531
    Likes (Received)
    1760

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    I did all this above ---^ when I first started and its all fine and great if you want to stay at a few employees. Grow to 50 employees and that wont get very far. I personally have found its better to hire skilled labor and pay more per hour than the shops around me. Of course you have to run your shop right so they are happy as well but the money...money always talks.


    This is the crux of it. I don't have anything to offer... maybe offer a helper type job for slightly above avg wages for your area, give them a math test or whatnot, then offer BIG (relatively speaking) raises when they prove themselves.

    2 jobs I had with completely different opinions of raises (just a story to share), both having experience in machining and the work in general...

    Job 1 (small family owned place) -
    Work there part time for a while (them recruiting me BTW), learn a bit of the process and what they do/expect/want. Jump ahead a few months or so... Talk to them about applying full time. Plant manager schedules a damn near 2 hour interview! Ok, whatever... Skip ahead to first 'review', long process where I fill out a bunch of paperwork rating myself, complete with short paragraphs of examples (ugh). Spend a good hour doing my review and he gives me a fucking 15cent raise!! WTF!!? I would have walked had I not had a family to support

    Job 2 (small family place again) -
    Short to the point interview, get the job offer, I counter for more money, they accept. Work is great. I am like 40 days in working to my 60 day review and boss calls me in and gives me a $2/hr raise. I WAS FLOORED! It's not like I came in cheap either. At 1 year I get another $2!!! I would prolly still be there if I hadn't moved away.. anyways, cash is king as they say....

  12. Likes Hodge, Hillside Fab, Fancuku, Oldwrench liked this post
  13. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Arkansas
    Posts
    464
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    95
    Likes (Received)
    200

    Default

    cash is ALWAYS kind. I start at $15 an hour for every position, thats my lowest paid employee, all the way up to 6x figure salary positions and I feel I overpay what the market pays for every single position. Button pushers $20-30 depending on setup capability. Programmers $35-40 depending on how efficient add to that a profit sharing plan.

  14. Likes Hillside Fab, Fancuku, Job Shopper TN liked this post
  15. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    88
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    30
    Likes (Received)
    50

    Default

    Hire people through a staffing agency. They are your HR department. everyone gets hired as temps untill they prove themselves. The staffing agency will have them take a drug test. You dont have time to waste being your own HR dept.

  16. Likes Hillside Fab liked this post
  17. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Milverton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    610
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    167
    Likes (Received)
    255

    Default

    Well, I dont have any experience with this... but im going to quickly.

    I hired my first guy today. Young guy with a heart condition. Wants to start out part time, thats perfect for me.
    He approached me. Hes seen some of the wierd stuff I do out in the wild.

    Hobbies include building cars, watching machining videos, and church group events. He has a little business with his small router table, told him I would never disuade him from that.
    If I hadnt had the support I did from fromer employers, Id never be where Im at now.

    Did a 3 year university engineering program, and is willing to start by following me around cleaning up my mess.

    Im really looking forward to having someone to do the mundane stuff (to start), someone to talk to, and ESPECIALLY teaching a young, ambitious guy that wants to learn.

    I would NEVER go through a staffing\temp agency.
    Network, talk to other business owners, aquaintances.
    Dont hire friends or family.

    For me, I dont really have time to lay out work for a mid skilled guy, and I dont consistantly have the work for a full time PRO. And frankly, a guy that can do the stuff Im doing is either making big coin in a big gravy shop, or is working for himself.
    I can however afford to have a young buck follow me around, clean up and sponge. If he can prep material on the manuals in reasonable time, ive got a winner thats not breaking the bank.

  18. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    South Carolina
    Posts
    643
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    231
    Likes (Received)
    381

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DanASM View Post
    Hire people through a staffing agency. They are your HR department. everyone gets hired as temps untill they prove themselves. The staffing agency will have them take a drug test. You dont have time to waste being your own HR dept.
    Pretty sure I would take the time to choose a prospective employee.

  19. Likes Hillside Fab liked this post
  20. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    11,223
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    5314
    Likes (Received)
    3363

    Default

    Maybe write up a business plan for where you are and what you want it to become, then how you'll get there. Do you want to manage, or do you want to do the hands on work? Do you want to be in the shop 16hrs a day 7 days a week or do you want to bang out all the same work load in a 5 day 40hr week?
    Are you able to get the financing/$ to make it happen? figure out how much can you afford for an employee now.
    Good customers that pay on time all the time, prospects for more of those?

    It's a lot easier to figure out certain things and take a plunge when you have a 3-6+ month back log of steady repeat work, than when you're the quick turn around guy going week to week, and there's a new one of those guys starting a shop every year.


    AS to finding employees, there might be a few more Canadians up for adoption at the end of October who will work for food and a green card...

  21. Likes macds, cnctoolcat, Hillside Fab liked this post
  22. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Missouri
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    102
    Likes (Received)
    93

    Default

    Thanks everyone, this has been helpful.

    After giving it some more thought, the type of person Bobw described would probably work out really well. Shouldnt be too hard to find either.

  23. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Hatch, NM Chile capital of the WORLD
    Posts
    9,034
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    13822
    Likes (Received)
    10686

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillside Fab View Post
    Thanks everyone, this has been helpful.

    After giving it some more thought, the type of person Bobw described would probably work out really well. Shouldnt be too hard to find either.
    I'll add a little more.. I find that females are really good shop helpers.. Not because they
    smell better and are nicer to look at, but they tend to not have the "Mechanical Ego" of a male.

    When they are unsure of something, they aren't afraid to ask, where as I've found unskilled males,
    especially young ones, will just go on full steam ahead scrapping everything in sight. This can
    be aggravating on occasion, but in the long run, better parts go out the door, and less tooling
    gets broken.

    They keep the bathroom cleaner.. And when you blow up a bowl of chile in the microwave, females,
    especially the older ones will instinctively clean it for you because its going to drive them nuts,
    whereas I just leave it.

    They tend to be more detail oriented than most males, and for some reason don't seem to get
    as horribly bored with repetitive tedious work.. I had one lady years ago that just loved
    sitting and deburring thousands of tiny little parts.. Tiny nylon washers that have a
    couple of tiny little strings hanging off of them, or thousands of little gaskets that the
    die had seen better days.. She was a champ at it, she'd even take the parts to her weekend
    job and do them there when it was slow.. So Saturday afternoon, I'd be sitting at the bar,
    and the bartender was deburring my parts, it was kind of nice. She said that the small hand
    work like that reminded her of knitting with her grandmother when she was a kid.

    Perfect "Mothers Hours" type of a thing. Get the kids on the bus, and then go to work, and
    be able to get home before they get off the bus.

    The best part about hiring a female, you will never ever run out of toilet paper ever again.
    Same for paper towels and hand soap.

  24. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    5,117
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    8
    Likes (Received)
    834

    Default

    Yeah, what Bobw says about female workers.

    A late friend had 52 B&S screw machines. This meant a whole lot of second op work. He hired moms who worked while the kids were in school. They were conscientious, motivated because of the money and it got them out of the house. I don't know how that worked when the kids were on summer break.


    I mentioned "late" friend above. He was killed in a head-on on the way to work. A unique situation. He did have 52+ machines. Some were set up for repeat jobs and never changed. He fork lifted those out to a storage building until they were needed again. He seemed to have about 12 in the shop running at any one time.


    I had a women who's day job was a para-legal for a high dollar downtown law firm. She worked from 6 to 9 after work a couple days a week. That turned out to be quite a coincidence for me. A guy that sued me hired her boss. She knew some of the circumstances of the case from being around the shop so she was able to clue her boss in a bit about the merits of the case.

  25. Likes DanASM liked this post
  26. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Missouri
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    102
    Likes (Received)
    93

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    I'll add a little more.. I find that females are really good shop helpers.. Not because they
    smell better and are nicer to look at, but they tend to not have the "Mechanical Ego" of a male....
    I suppose my OP came off a little sexist. At the time, I was thinking along the lines of a skilled machinist, and there just arent any women working as machinists around here that I know of.

    I'm not opposed to females in the shop, especially to do the work you describe in this last post, but there isn't a lot of that to do in my shop right now. The thought of running thousands of tiny parts makes me cringe, but I wouldn't mind managing some of that work. The shop is also a pretty hostile environment in general, as opposed to a modern cnc shop banging out sub-25lb parts with good climate control.

    I could definitely use help with organizing and putting cutters and hand tools away, deburring large parts, shoveling machines, changing inserts, topping up fluids, and maybe tending a machine during a long 3d path where you just hit estop if the tool blows an edge. If all that is working out, and I somehow stumble into some higher volume work, I'd want them to do tend the CNCs for that as well.

    I do share your concern for guys/ego. I think I'm still going to try to look for someone semi retired that just wants part time work. I hope that will move me far enough along to keep them on until they want to fully retire, and then maybe start thinking about a full time person. Who knows, what I'm doing now is vastly different than the business plan I wrote a couple years ago.

  27. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Missouri
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    102
    Likes (Received)
    93

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Yeah, what Bobw says about female workers.

    A late friend had 52 B&S screw machines.
    Maybe I didnt explain well enough that I deal with large one off parts. 90% over 25 lbs, and 50% over 150lbs. I'll run anything I can lift with an 8k forklift and at least partially jam in a machine.

  28. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Wyoming
    Posts
    3,239
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7836
    Likes (Received)
    5206

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillside Fab View Post
    ...The shop is also a pretty hostile environment in general, as opposed to a modern cnc shop banging out sub-25lb parts with good climate control.

    ...

    I think I'm still going to try to look for someone semi retired that just wants part time work. I hope that will move me far enough along to keep them on until they want to fully retire, and then maybe start thinking about a full time person.
    Just my 2¢ but the reason anybody is "semi-retired" is because he is already tired of working. Those guys stick around only if the shop environment is better than what they're used to. And climate control is definitely a factor.

  29. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Missouri
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    102
    Likes (Received)
    93

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    Just my 2¢ but the reason anybody is "semi-retired" is because he is already tired of working. Those guys stick around only if the shop environment is better than what they're used to. And climate control is definitely a factor.
    Fair enough, I thought there would be some out there that were tired of corporate BS, and still wanted a reason to get out of the house. Maybe I will have time to address that more next year, but I'm not planning on competing with a Boeing shop climate.

    On edit, I'm not talking about a skilled machinist anymore, and the shop definitely beats outside construction type work on the climate control front.

    Edit 2: semi retired probably wasnt the right word, I'm thinking 40+yrs old with nothing better to do for whatever reason, except those with drugs/serious criminal history.


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •