Last week I talked about encouraging young people to go into the trades by helping them see the satisfaction involved in the work we do.Paying Well

What else can you do to help find or create skilled employees? Satisfaction is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills. If you want to attract the best people to your company, then you need to offer them the best package.

The definition of what’s best will vary based on where you are located. It begins with a decent starting wage which increases as their knowledge and responsibility increases. Minimum wage won’t get you a lot of takers. Don’t tell me you can’t afford to pay more; the cost of your employees should be in your estimates, and you will end up charging more for your work.

Let me digress: In an article we wrote about how you need to charge the right price for your work, a commentor on our website wrote, “What was common sense decades ago no longer applies. Here’s the reality. The new breed of contractor is more likely to have arrived here from another country. Their idea of being successful and profitable is to continually book jobs at the lowest price.”

News flash: Those contractors have always been around. They haven’t always been from another country, but cheap contractors have always been out there lowballing your prices and making you look expensive. That’s why you need to sell your jobs, not bid them. Sales skills are necessary; if you don’t know how to sell, develop the skill. Stop focusing on price and focus on what you’re providing that others don’t provide. There are few contractors reading this article who couldn’t raise their sales price by at least ten percent today and still make the sale. Almost all price objections are located right between the salesperson’s own ears.

Also, it isn’t common sense that requires you to charge a price that allows you to pay your bills and make a reasonable profit. It’s math.

Back on topic: Your goal should be to pay the highest hourly wage in your area for the position. When you pay more, it’ll be easier to find the quality of employee you want. When you have higher quality employees, your jobs go together better with fewer problems, and that saves you time and trouble. It all pays off.

Along with good pay, you need to offer benefits, like a health insurance package. You can include membership in direct primary care if that’s available in your area; if not, consider a health savings account. Again, when you offer this kind of compensation you attract the best people and you can then make great use of that fact not only in attracting new people to your company but also in the marketing of your company and your services.

I’ve been told that one thing some young people value over money is freedom. They want time off to pursue their hobbies or have fun. How about setting incentives on every job for those who want time off and don’t need the money? For instance, if a three-week job is completed on schedule, you’ll give them two days off, unpaid, before starting the next project. Of course, if you’ve been in construction awhile, you know that can happen anyway.

When you pay top dollar and offer decent health insurance, even if the labor pool is small, you stand a good chance of attracting the better employees. If you’re smart, you’ll also promote that in your advertising so potential clients know they’ll get their work done by the best.

Put yourself in the shoes of your potential employees. What would you want if you were on the street, looking for a job? Find a way to offer it.

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