When is the right time to hire

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
When did you guy decide when the right time to hire was.
When work was booked for x months?
When you had x amount in savings.
When you just felt ready.
I am either looking for an apprentice to help me or a journey man so I can focus on PR, and getting jobs.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Bottom line is this.

You hire someone. These days you will probably be paying at least $20/ hour plus fica, medicare, wc, health insurance etc. you are likely looking at close to an $800 a week hit. Do you have $800 a week to pay this guy to help you?

A jm type guy is probably going to be $1500 a week minimum.
 
Last edited:

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Other answers are correct, from a current, tactical perspective.

I’d add that you also need a long-term strategic view. Where do you want your business to be in 3-5 years and what steps are required now in order to get there? This leads to questions like “How many employees do I need?”; “Am I capitalized properly to support my strategy?”…….
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
You need more than just anyone if you want them to do the work while you BS. This is coming from personal experience.
Apprentices take time. Don't expect them to 'know' anything for four years.
I hired when my back hurt so bad from doing it all, I couldn't.

Finding someone is another deal. I am wanting to retire. A local young EC would like to take on some of my customers and purchase some of the stock I have. The biggest draw for him is 'does my help come with the sell?'.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
As soon as you can possibly afford it. You can't do it all alone. An experienced guy can handle some of the jobs while you scout work and you can work together as needed. A new guy will help with work and may take awhile to train but can still help you move things, go to the store, clean up the shop and truck, etc.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
You need more than just anyone if you want them to do the work while you BS. This is coming from personal experience.
Apprentices take time. Don't expect them to 'know' anything for four years.
I hired when my back hurt so bad from doing it all, I couldn't.

Finding someone is another deal. I am wanting to retire. A local young EC would like to take on some of my customers and purchase some of the stock I have. The biggest draw for him is 'does my help come with the sell?'.
The help might come with the sell, but it is not like they are slaves and can't take off. Chances are even if they sign on with the new owner some of them will not like the way he changes things and move on.

You need to ask yourself this question. Would I be willing to come to work for me right now? A guy who has real apprenticeship potential might as well go in for an actual apprenticeship. Can you provide that for him? Or are you basically looking for grunt labor.
 

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
This is we’re we are at.
We have saved 75k just to set aside to tap into to pay a future employee, be it a journeyman or apprentice.
we figure that a apprentice will cost us 62k with taxes included. This does not include take credit that are state offers.
journeymen will be 97k.
Right now we can afford an apprentice, and he should help easy the load so we can accommodate more customers.
Figuring, we will not make money on apprentice and might lose a little on them.
Journeymen will cost more but I can do bids and work when we’re busy and when slow he can work and I’ll hunt for work.

Things that scare me are the economy. Even though it’s busy it does not look good over the horizon.
I don’t know when the proper time to higher is do you need constant work for two,three,eight weeks. This I don’t know. Especially since winter coming.
Was hoping family would want to work cause I could use them when busy and when slow I would not feel so bad lol if I told them to go home.
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
This is we’re we are at.
We have saved 75k just to set aside to tap into to pay a future employee, be it a journeyman or apprentice.
we figure that a apprentice will cost us 62k with taxes included. This does not include take credit that are state offers.
journeymen will be 97k.
Right now we can afford an apprentice, and he should help easy the load so we can accommodate more customers.
Figuring, we will not make money on apprentice and might lose a little on them.
Journeymen will cost more but I can do bids and work when we’re busy and when slow he can work and I’ll hunt for work.

Things that scare me are the economy. Even though it’s busy it does not look good over the horizon.
I don’t know when the proper time to higher is do you need constant work for two,three,eight weeks. This I don’t know. Especially since winter coming.
Was hoping family would want to work cause I could use them when busy and when slow I would not feel so bad lol if I told them to go home.
Hire.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
Things that scare me are the economy. Even though it’s busy it does not look good over the horizon.

I work the southeastern US, and I haven’t been slow since Q1 2013. Work is there if you’ve got the staffing.


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James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Depending on where your work comes from...

The time to hire is when it's no longer feasible to "line up" a guy to help for a week or two because you're busy.

The time to hire is when you constantly have 60 hours of job site work every week.

I'm going through it right now. I'm back to new construction wiring, and I have 4 small builders.

Collectively, they have me scheduled into late November with more commited into mid December - just don't have the dates set yet

More foundations already going in, too. What's booked is 70 hours of work per week. What's coming is 85 hours per week.

Verbal commitments into next spring already.

I just hired a great wireman.
 
My thought is that Journeyman may seem expensive, but is probably cheaper than an apprentice. (at first). I have a guy working for me now who isnt even completely green. He has dabbled for years, done stuff for friends and rewired part of his house. I can accomplish easily 5-6 times what he does. That apprentice may seem cheap but their lack of speed will probably amaze you.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
My thought is that Journeyman may seem expensive, but is probably cheaper than an apprentice. (at first). I have a guy working for me now who isnt even completely green. He has dabbled for years, done stuff for friends and rewired part of his house. I can accomplish easily 5-6 times what he does. That apprentice may seem cheap but their lack of speed will probably amaze you.
A helper/apprentice is a long term investment, for sure. It takes a while to stop losing money on them
 
A helper/apprentice is a long term investment, for sure. It takes a while to stop losing money on them
Years ago at one of my first jobs (not electrical), I had been there 6 months or so. I asked my boss for a raise. I said, "surly I am worth more now than the $X when I started." He said, "when you started, you were worth LESS than $X" At the time I thought he was kinda a scumbag, but now I realize its so true.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
This is we’re we are at.
We have saved 75k just to set aside to tap into to pay a future employee, be it a journeyman or apprentice.
we figure that a apprentice will cost us 62k with taxes included. This does not include take credit that are state offers.
journeymen will be 97k.
Right now we can afford an apprentice, and he should help easy the load so we can accommodate more customers.
Figuring, we will not make money on apprentice and might lose a little on them.
Journeymen will cost more but I can do bids and work when we’re busy and when slow he can work and I’ll hunt for work.

Things that scare me are the economy. Even though it’s busy it does not look good over the horizon.
I don’t know when the proper time to higher is do you need constant work for two,three,eight weeks. This I don’t know. Especially since winter coming.
Was hoping family would want to work cause I could use them when busy and when slow I would not feel so bad lol if I told them to go home.

It really sound to me like you’re ready to hire.

Are you doing smaller service type jobs or bidding new construction projects?

We turn about 75 1-week projects per year, maybe a dozen 3-month projects, and at least 2-3 12/mo projects every year. I schedule the service type work around staffing availability, so if I have a couple of guys in between jobs for a week, I can pull them to do the smaller stuff.

We’ve got at least 2-3 guys that are fully capable of running a service truck, they just don’t want to. I’ve had a really hard time finding a full time qualified service tech. I run the majority of service calls myself, and I’ll pull an apprentice or j-man from a job when needed to help. In between that I’m bidding and invoicing. It’s not ideal. I need a full time service guy. The work is there and I’ve been turning new customers away for going on 2/yrs.

If you’re worried about not having work for them, go on planhub or building-connected and start bidding projects. I will tell you that a lot of jobs on there are GC’s and project owners price shopping their existing sub base, but I do bid some of the smaller local stuff that fits my niche and some of them have turned into good working relationships with GC’s. I’ve seen jobs that I already have a contract on get listed on planhub, but not by the GC I have the contract with. It’s the owners that are price shopping their GC for the next one.


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brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
I mostly do service calls, and bidding very small project. Usually nothing that takes more than 4 days max.

If you’re just doing service, I think you need to hire a j-man level electrician to start. Once you’ve got a guy out there that can handle the calls, you can get him a green helper. But if you want to get an apprentice, I think you’ll have better luck training them on new construction work. I’m just thinking back on my path through the trade, and if I’d been dumped into just service calls from the start, I feel like I’d have less of an understanding of how things work. I’m not trying to discourage you from what you think is best for your business; these are just my thoughts from my own experience. I think anyone needs a solid 5/yrs in the field before they can be a good service electrician. Something to keep in mind if you want to start out with an apprentice.


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James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
If you’re just doing service, I think you need to hire a j-man level electrician to start. Once you’ve got a guy out there that can handle the calls, you can get him a green helper. But if you want to get an apprentice, I think you’ll have better luck training them on new construction work. I’m just thinking back on my path through the trade, and if I’d been dumped into just service calls from the start, I feel like I’d have less of an understanding of how things work. I’m not trying to discourage you from what you think is best for your business; these are just my thoughts from my own experience. I think anyone needs a solid 5/yrs in the field before they can be a good service electrician. Something to keep in mind if you want to start out with an apprentice.


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You're right.
A guy needs to learn new construction first.

He can't adequately add items if he has no idea where framing is and how the electrical.is routed.

And he would have no clue on how to troubleshoot and make repairs unless he's seen it brand new.
 

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
go on planhub or building-connected and start bidding projects.


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I have been on Planhub, I found that one from another post that you mentioned it. Problem with the town I am in. It has nothing but Homes. We don't really have to much commercial or industrial construction going on in this town. It a retirement town for Californians, 90% of the work is residential Remodels and new homes. Everything on plan hub is at least 60 miles away and I can't bid on them without having help, and I don't want to just hire some random person to help. I have worked with people that come from organization like TRADESMAN INTERNATIONAL, kinda bottom barrel(I was with them for a year :)).
I need to get in with a good GC around here. Though they already have there guys and won't try some one new. The few GC/house flippers I have worked for I stoped because they do crap work and are more disorganized than me.

My wife is trying to help but maybe I should hire a secretary before a j-man/apprentice. Then she/he can make calls, schedule thing outs bill out. Then I can just focus on work. Does that seem like a good way to go?

Any option I chose will be pursued once I finish my fixing up my office building. doing that on the weekends :rolleyes:
Thanks you guys for your input I take bits and pieces from all of it.
 
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