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  • Tech dilemma

    Posted by chopshopcustoms on January 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Ok let me start out by saying my tech ‘John” has become probably my closest friend over the 3 years he has worked for me.

    Im an easygoing boss- you need to come in late? Ok. take the day off ? OK. but I expect to have hours still produced and can get very passionate about [email protected]

    The problem?

    John doesnt produce enough hours to pay him his salary- I lose money on him (this week,his work totalled about 10-15 hrs) and I pay for 40. He comes in about 11-12am (he says he just cant get up earlier in tiem to get there any sooner) and stays all evening -sometimes well after I have left for the night at 9pm- to do jobs that I think another tech could do in half the time (or close to it)

    Of course, is the restoration industry it isnt always so cut and dry but even then- he is slow slow slow.

    What to do here? I was thinking about making him a part time employee (3 days a week) thinking he might get back on track. was also thinking of telling him he wont get paid for all the hours unles he is able to bill out at least 75% of them- sort of like a contractor or flat rate.

    I know I could have another tech in here in 24 hrs- we get tons of resumes every week wanting to work for me.

    I was told (and I’m not sure if its the truth) that a contracter cant be hired unless he shows prooof of his own workers comp by my payroll company. anyone know about that?

    Bottom line is- Im damned if I do and damned if I dont-

    Ive sat him down and told him numerous times where its at- it just doesnt seem to sink in.Now what? The other employees are also starting to resent him for making his own hours and being so lazy.

    jbrenn77 replied 11 years, 3 months ago 10 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
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  • Alan Ollie

    Member
    January 8, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Sape up or ship out. wow if i only had the same problem asyou. We hardly get any apps and we pay 20-28 per hr.

    Lenny Schaeffer wrote:

    > Ok let me start out by saying my tech ‘John” has become probably my closest friend over the 3 years he has worked for me.

    > Im an easygoing boss- you need to come in late? Ok. take the day off ? OK. but I expect to have hours still produced and can get very passionate about [email protected]

    > The problem?

    > John doesnt produce enough hours to pay him his salary- I lose money on him (this week,his work totalled about 10-15 hrs) and I pay for 40. He comes in about 11-12am (he says he just cant get up earlier in tiem to get there any sooner) and stays all evening -sometimes well after I have left for the night at 9pm- to do jobs that I think another tech could do in half the time (or close to it)

    > Of course, is the restoration industry it isnt always so cut and dry but even then- he is slow slow slow.

    >

    > What to do here? I was thinking about making him a part time employee (3 days a week) thinking he might get back on track. was also thinking of telling him he wont get paid for all the hours unles he is able to bill out at least 75% of them- sort of like a contractor or flat rate.

    >

    > I know I could have another tech in here in 24 hrs- we get tons of resumes every week wanting to work for me.

    >

    > I was told (and I’m not sure if its the truth) that a contracter cant be hired unless he shows prooof of his own workers comp by my payroll company. anyone know about that?

    >

    > Bottom line is- Im damned if I do and damned if I dont-

    > Ive sat him down and told him numerous times where its at- it just doesnt seem to sink in.Now what? The other employees are also starting to resent him for making his own hours and being so lazy.

  • chopshopcustoms

    Member
    January 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Hey Ollie- not sure if that IS the answer- he is a great tech with the older stuff- not everyone can do that. I just need to tery to get him motivated to do that work I guess.

    He is an AA member- for 15 years- not sure if the ;aid back attitude stemms from that at all? MY step father has the same way of lookign at life- might be part of the alcoholic profile? (not sure and he is stone cold sober and not off the wagon or doing drugs )

    As for finding staff- where do you advertise? Websites are where people look now- not the papwre- maybe try auto-tech usa( I think thats the name) It was good forme when I was in the dealership world for finding staff and also maybe a local headhunter- they are great to weed out the people not qualified

  • Tom Ham

    Member
    January 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Lenny:

    With all due respect, it sounds like you have lost much of the control of your business. A strong response to a situation like this is in order. It might be time to create written guidelines on the way you want things to be, communicate them to the staff, and begin to enforce them.

  • chopshopcustoms

    Member
    January 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    not at all- the rest of the team works way harder than I actually think they need to. this is ONE individual- Trying to find the right balance to get him back on track.

  • Patrick McElroy

    Member
    January 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Hi Lenny,

    Maybe it’s time to pay him only for the hours produced. There is no better motivation to work hard. He has been taking advantage of you and your other employees see it as well. Not only are you loosing their respect, they will soon follow in not working as hard. Real friends don’t sponge off their friends ( employer ). The situation sucks but it has to be delt with. Best of luck in your dilema.

  • chopshopcustoms

    Member
    January 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    yes, we think that may be the route to travel- even if its only for a probationary period so he can see the fruits (or lack of) of his labor.

  • Phillip Flowers

    Member
    January 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I agree 100% with Pat’s reply. I went through the same issue with a 10yr “friend”. Darn near ruined MY business. Fired him and my life is soo much less stressfull

  • sutton32-aol-com

    Member
    January 14, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Lenny,

    All of us shop owners have lived thru such a problem. I suffered thru 22 year relationship with an employee, who later left to become a teacher and free me from all the guilt and frustration of dealing with him. The doctors took out 14 inches of my intestines because I would not confront the problems. I think the its easier to tell someone what to do than doing it. I think Tom has some great points to follow, though the type of business you do makes it more difficult. Follow your gut, that’s usually the right answer. Good luck.

  • rhopp

    Member
    January 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “Become my closest friend” was my red flag. You need to get out more.

    Your business is much different than mine, however people aren’t.

    Release this friend to be his best. Who are you to hold him back? (Tongue

    in cheek, but only slightly).

  • classicimports

    Member
    January 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I have had several similar technicians, Bring them in as friends or become friends. It’s a small shop and we all need to get along with each other. We need to be flexible because life is full of problems.

    That is all fine butthe job is the means to support the life we want to be comfortable in. Technicians in general are “contract” type employees. Flat rate is peculiar to the auto industry and it IS NEEDED! If clients were billed out time and material it would cost more to have an inexperienced tech repair your car than a well qualified and experienced tech! He needs to be on a production based pay or be somewhere he can use his ‘superior abilities better’.

    I had a tech tell me there was no way to produce more than 20 to 25 hours in a week. Personally my best was 80 hours in a week… at a dealership.

    Incentives for the highest hours billed in a month might get a friendly competition going between techs. Say a $150.00 gift certificate to a good restaraunt.

    Some techs I have put on a hybrid salary/flat rate system. They get a base salary of 10 dollars per hour, That is above minimum wage and takes you out of many regulations. plus a ‘Production Bonus’ of say 10% of billed labor. By calling it a ‘bonus’ AND stating in your POLICY MANUAL (you do have one dont you?)that BONUSES are given because of good performance and are given subject to production and other decisions made by management, you can legally withold them if you NEED to reprimand an employee or terminate them when they may owe you money or have damaged uniforms etc. This is legal in the state of Michigan. I had several sources help me with this policy including a lawyer and payroll company. Get your policy reviewed by your lawyer before you implement it. I found mine through ASA Michigan office. Any questions please enail me directly at [email protected] as I seldom have time tobrouse this site.

  • kattos

    Member
    March 17, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Hi Larry, this is a great article that everyone should read that is in management.

    http://hbr.org/product/management-time-who-s-got-the-monkey/an/99609-PDF-ENG

  • rhopp

    Member
    March 17, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Re-link. Good stuff.

    leadershipdevelopment.iiwiki.edu.au/file/view/Management+Time-

    Who’s+Got+the+Monkey.pdf

  • jbrenn77

    Member
    March 29, 2011 at 2:42 am

    I’d lay down the rules. Show up on time, Stay late if you want, or not if you don’t want him to. If not production based pay then at least a min. acceptable amount of work. It’s your business, are you paying him good wages? If so, then you can’t afford not to have the best employee. If you’re not getting a good value after a little work, why wait? Give the guy a chance(sounds like you already have), and then if nothing improves get another guy. It may be painful short term but be better in the long term. I made the mistake of waiting too long and it wasn’t worth it.