Getting – and Keeping – Good Workers



Last week I overheard two people complaining about the quality of repair work they had been getting, along with the problem they were having persuading workers to come back to their homes.

As you may have noticed, I’ve recently had more than a typical number of workers helping with our farm and house projects. Three of the crews had worked for us last year and were more than willing to come back. When I called and left a message for my electrician over the weekend, he put me first on his list for Monday, which got me thinking about workers and working with them.

If you want to see better results, then, and get workers to come back for your next project, you might want to consider doing the following:



~ Have your work site ready. Start by providing parking spaces for them close to the work area. If raining, provide door mats and dropcloths where they will be walking. Move boxes, toys, and furniture out of their way. Keep your pets and your kids confined, as not everybody thinks they are cute.



~ Be there when the crew arrives. Introduce yourself and encourage them to call you by name. Go over the project together, as they may have only been handed a cryptic work order.  Encourage them to ask you questions about your project.

~ Learn and use their names. It’s the first step toward respecting them and their craft. As the day progresses, compliment them on their work.

~ Provide them with a cooler of bottled water and soft drinks.



~ Stay nearby to answer questions, especially at first, but don’t peer over their shoulders.

~ Don’t ask the crew to do more than is covered by the quote made by the owner or estimator.

~ Feed them. If you’re not buying lunch, then provide snacks along with the drinks.



~ If the project generates trash, provide empty trash cans — and help them clean up as the work progresses.

~ Pay for small jobs with cash, especially if it is a sole owner-operator.

~ If paying by check, send it immediately. Small business owners struggle with cash flow, as they have to make weekly payroll and pay their workers a competitive wage to keep them.



~ Tip your crews generously. If you hand out twenty-dollar bills near the end of the job, the crew will argue over who gets to come back to your house the next time.


Until next week,


Remember:  “Take care of them, and they will take care of you.”