Since last August, I have done alot of advertising for employees. Out of dozens and dozens of calls, I hired a total of 4 people, 3 of whom stayed through the 90 day probationary period. I hired the best out of the pool that was available.
The other 95% of calls that came in was constituted by a few different categories of candidates. Most noteably, and somewhat surprisingly, the largest category was the call that lands on my answering machine that goes a little something like this:
"Yah my name's Mike and I live up in the Islands. Uh lets see I been self-employed in remodeling and painting for the past oh about 7 years. Real interested in talking to you about your opening. I got all my own tools, truck, staging, ladders, and I'd be willing to come on as a sub."
In other words, sure Mike, while I'm focusing on building a better business I will gladly bring you on board as a sub since you cant find any work of your own right now and when things pick up you can bail. No problem. And I'm sure you dont carry comp, so I will pick that up for you. Would you take $40 an hour?
I guess part of the ongoing sub/employee discourse on here has a regional component to it. In this podunk little state where I engage in acts of commerce, there are no big fish paint companies. So when someone rolls into Painttalk for a hit and run post in the middle of a serious thread saying that "all the best paint companies in (his) area use all subs lol :thumbsup: you guys take it all to personell lol :thumbsup:", that doesnt make much sense to me because I am a small fish in a small pond. NEPS is a bigger fish in a much larger pond. And we scratch our heads. But someone said it and I believe it just as much as I believe that someone can out cut me with his 4 inch cutting brush even though he hasnt been in the field very much in many years. Clearly, I digress. But in the end, many of us have good businesses and are part of the larger community.
I've used subs in the past, and without question, I could sit here for hours and entertain you with unbelievable stories about things that the subs did. It must be a reflection on the fact that we have such a small talent pool here in Vermont and so therefore not as many good painters available to us, but then I guess that would mean not as many bad ones either. I've seen, hired and fired my share of bad ones. We see it on here all the time, someone with some basic paint skills, no equipment and insufficient product and process knowledge has one "job" fall in their lap where someone will pay them $20 an hour because they wont pay a real paint company more than twice that, and a new sub is born. Then another and another. The posts pile up: "How do you gyus market?" "What advertizing work bestest?" "How do I price new contructoin?" Then we really confuse them and their customers by telling them that they need to charge $40/hr when they arent worth 12.
Ultimately, there are successful paint companies and not so successful ones. There are a few roads we can take to get there. As JTP said, we take the road that suits us best, or something like that. What matters most is that the good and legitimate companies get there.