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  • Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

    ARRRRGH!

    I work for a big box in the cabinet refacing installation department. My company is a subcontractor—the biggest one for the Big Box and was actually #3 in 2007 for residential remodel companies in the country.

    I make decent money. I have also worked my way into the top tier of the food chain as far as the install crew because I give a **** about what i am doing and treat the customers like they are MY customers. This is a tough road because there is so much incompetence above me that there is usually a lot for me to make up for once I set foot in someones kitchen. From lying scumbag sales people to mismeasures to mismanufacture to short shipments to scheduling problems---let's just put it this way. I had a job last week that only had one door measured and ordered wrong, the wrong shipment of hardware that fortunately was big enough to cover my job (the guy in Seattle who got MY box wasn't so lucky), and one computer error on materials that I was able to work around. And this was the best job I have had in months. Seriously, the last 6-7 jobs I have had were not completed because I had to reorder parts. When this happens the installer then has to go back and complete the job when the parts come in on his own time since we work on commission.

    And that doesn't even begin to count all of the free labor I end up providing doing modifications, rebuilds and redoing the parts that can be redone onsite. Literally hours and hours each week.

    There are many other things wrong with the company from an installers point of view—they are shady to say the least. However, I can usually overlook a lot of this crap because I take pride in my work and if I focus on my relationship with my customer and how 99% of them end up delighted with my work it makes me feel pretty good.

    The point I am trying to make is that my sanity comes from my pride and work ethic and to a smaller extent the reputation I have for doing top quality work. This makes it all the more vexing to deal with all of the people ahead of me in the process who drop the ball consistently, obviously don't care and don't have the same principals when it comes to their responsibilities.

    So it seems like things are going downhill in that regard. Not just in my company, but the world at large. I took delivery of the engagement ring I ordered on Friday, and I am severely disappointed. It's the same ****! The craftsmanship is garbage, and now I have to deal with sending it back, complaining, making sure that they make it right...WHY!!??

    Why can't I expect people to do what they are supposed to do? No wonder this country is falling behind. Our whole culture is slipping. I am only 33, but even in my lifetime I have seen a decline in work ethic and personal responsibility and pride in a job well done. Everybody wants to get the most they can for the least effort, and it makes me sick, and is making our country sick. I see you guys on this site, and I look up to many of you because I can see the integrity in your words. It is my ray of hope, but a lot of you are self employed. I am beginning to wonder, is the only solution to work for yourself? Is it too much to ask to find an employer that will honor and appreciate the kind of work I am willing to do by demanding the same from themselves and everyone else in their employ? Is that just not cost effective? Have the standards fallen to the point that the protocol is to do the bare minimum—or less—and hope that the competition will fall to that level as well? I can't help but think that is what is going on here, and it makes me very sad.

    So what the hell should I do? There are guys in my company who make more than me simply because they cut corners and don't strive for the quality that I do. They slam out jobs and produce more, thus they are more valuable to the higher ups. They get 400% more service callbacks than me, but produce 150% of the revenue that I do. Still, those complaints are after the revenue is in the bank. I see it clear as day. I can not-- I will not do wrong by the customer. I will really hate this job if on top of everything else I am doing my final walk through hoping that the customer doesn't notice the five or six shitty details I left in their kitchen—even if I know they probably wouldn't. I like doing the walk through hoping that they notice how every detail is just right—even if they probably won't. I will. That's the thing. Am I crazy for caring more about that than my boss, the company, the big box and the effin shareholders do?

    Anybody out there want to hire a hard working, honest as hell, conscientious company man who will care as much about your business as you do? I'll learn how to do anything at this point if I could just have the stability of knowing that my hard work means as much to my boss as it does to me. I'd take a cut in pay, work long hours. I just want my immediate world to resemble what I think is right, the way I think the world should be.


    AARRRRGGHHH!
    Last edited by woodenstickers; 06-30-2008, 11:16 PM.
    A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

  • #2
    Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

    I skimmed your post. Loooong. Sounds like you had a loooong day to match it.

    Don't worry about your competitors, concentrate on what you do. And focus on what things are done right. Not on what is done wrong.

    I already know it's easier said than done. But you might be happier.

    J.C.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

      If you're paid on commission, then bang those jobs out as fast as you can. Unless you're docked for/have to do your own future repairs for no extra money.

      I would assume the salepeople are probably on commission as well, yet their time selling is perhaps less than your time installing. On the other hand, the work is provided to you to complete, but if you're not given the proper tools and materials to complete it then that is definitely impacting your earning potential.

      What about selling the stuff instead? You're a well-written chap, so you're no doubt well-spoken as well. Based on your avatar, you don't look like Igor and you've snagged yourself a gal, so those blue-haired old ladies looking to update their houses should be all over you.

      You've got the benefit of installation experience, which most sales guys don't. Of course, you don't see a lot of installers morph into salesmen, at least not in my business anyway.

      Ask the boss to let you try selling some stuff. Or ask that you can move on to the next installation until the proper parts come in on your current installation task. Or, bang out those installations and worry about repairs later. Most places worry about getting things completed and getting paid. You know, some customers will never be happy either way, so make sure you get their money.

      Either one/some of the above, or find some place that values installation more than sales. In most, if not all renovation gigs, sales drives everything else - no sales, nothing to install.

      Of course, a company I worked for did a 180 flip a few years ago and decided installations were more important than sales. Sales have declined steadily since.......

      Installations have always been a problem whatever the industry. Most times it's no problem selling the junk/widget/gold plated bathtub/whatever. The problem is getting it installed. Having to deal with bad part orders/no support from management doesn't help that matter.

      So maybe it's time for a change. Time to sniff around the sales end perhaps? Time to divest yourself personally from jobs you install? If your employer is like most reno companies, you're installation standards are probably double or more what they require. Maybe it's time to dumb it down a bit, slam more jobs together, and make some more money in the process.

      I know, sounds like it should be the other way around, but it's not.........
      I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

        I tried to edit but screwed it up. When ordering I've found that I HAVE too put my thumb on the person on the other end. I WILL get their name and have it attached to the order. They screw it up... I track them down and make them responsible. That's as important as anything. If it happens a couple of times, I make sure there boss knows.

        You shouldn't have to put your thumb on adults. But I've found in todays times when ordering things if you don't the % chance it will get screwed up is much greater.

        But when you ask, "What's your first and last name? I know the computer says you have it, but go put your hands on it. How's (bosses name) doing?" The screwup % goes down DRAMATICALLY.

        J.C.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

          The point I am trying to make is that my sanity comes from my pride and work ethic and to a smaller extent the reputation I have for doing top quality work. This makes it all the more vexing to deal with all of the people ahead of me in the process who drop the ball consistently, obviously don't care and don't have the same principals when it comes to their responsibilities.
          Woodenstickers...you sound like me right before I quit my job and started my own business. With your excellent work ethic and high standards of customer service, you might just be the self-employed type!? Maybe think about going out on your own, is that something you would enjoy or would it be a headache for you? Make a plan to do it if it feels right.
          Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

            The title of this thread sounds like a "Die Hard" sequel to Pinnochio.

            Think about it.

            J.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

              Eli, bottom line...these aren't your customers, do whats lucrative until you have made enough money to advertize your own business.

              I wouldn't work for box stores, they pay crap for subs and in your case you have a salesperson that may or may not know what they're talking about that hypes the customers expectations before you get in the door.
              I strongly resent HD, Lowes, Sears and any other large chains that have dipped their greedy hands into local contractor markets.
              It's bad enough that they have ruined many smaller suppliers businesses, now they want to ruin local contractors and endenture us into servitude to them.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                Eli, man, the sky is the limit for people like you. Keep doing your good work. Make sure these customers know your name. Let them know you do side work. They will refer you to their friends and before you know it you have more sidework than day work and you quit the big box.

                Only the self-employed know true freedom---and anguish, and frustration, and fear,........Now aren't you ready to take the plunge?
                "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                  Since you work hard and take pride in your work I'm sure you'll be successful whatever you decide to do. Opening your own business is a big plunge, that I personally am not looking to do; and I know it isn't for everybody [I get the sense that it isn't for you either; you would rather spend time doing a quality install than selling, thinking about expenses; etc.]

                  I'm just guessing here, the answer might be to go to a higher-end outfit though that servies a different market. I know that your cabinet refacing is beautiful, but I tend to think of cabinet refacing as a way to save money over new cabinets; and I am sure that other people do too. If you can get a job with someone installing truly custom cabinets; the focus may be in the other direction instead of banging out lots of jobs (that are by definition with cheap customers), you would do fewer more expensive jobs that might have a higher expectation of quality.

                  Anyway good luck. It probably helps just to rant.

                  Also, that the ring showed up substandard is just unacceptable. There is just no excuse for that. I hope they make it right for you quickly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                    I used to work for a major computer server manufacturer. I was the "sales engineer". That translates into installation manager/customer manager/bottle-washer. The servers I spec'd never came in properly. I had to fly to San Fran on a regular basis and babysit the actual builders (subbed out to several companies) for EVERY order. And even THEN the stuff wouldn't arrive with the proper parts. At least the servers were configured properly. The company itself made the cables. They NEVER were right. I spent days redoing server racks and making cables for each and every install. I had to arrive on the customer site with a hacksaw and dremel so that I could cut and shape the server racks for the equipment that was sent, since usually the wrong rack was sent for the order. Then I'd get **** for not properly ordering cables and racks. I always felt that since I was the only female in our group, they always figured it was my fault. My customers loved my work. Everything was done properly when I left. Servers were installed, working, tested, and the cabling was neat and tidy. The racks were nice-looking and all cuts were sanded and painted. In other words, they got a total custom install (usually thousands of servers) that they could show off. Usually no one but the server monkeys (the tech crew for the customer) ever saw the servers, but they were done right!! I knew I could walk away and the customer had a server farm that would run, run right, and stay running for a long time. I worked as hard as I possible could, stayed up all night at times to make things right.

                    I got fired.

                    I run my own business now.

                    The other sales engies for the company felt the same way as I did. The only difference is the other engies just did the install and made the company re do every mistake while they went off and made more sales that would go wrong. I suppose I could have done that. If I swallowed my pride and submarined my ethics. Maybe I'm a perfectionist, but I think if I'm paid to do a job, it should be done right. Not surprisingly, soon after I left that server company their stock dumped by more than 80%. Customer complaints piled up and there wasn't time or personnel to fix the stuff. It's too bad, since the equipment the R&D department thought up was really inspired.

                    I've ranted enough...sorry Eli. I guess this is just to show you that you're not alone. Running a business is scary. Speaking of....I have a computer customer to go see!!

                    Good luck, my friend. I hope you can work out the problems. If I could hire you, I would!!
                    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                      It should always be quality over quanity but it doesnt always work out that way. If you are working on commision alone then you need to find that right mix of quality and quantity, not an easy task to do. As long as you stay working for this big box, sadly, you will probably have to sacrifice SOME of your quality to make more money. If money is NOT an issue then just keep doing what you are doing. Good luck

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                        Originally posted by woodenstickers View Post
                        Anybody out there want to hire a hard working, honest as hell, conscientious company man who will care as much about your business as you do? I'll learn how to do anything at this point if I could just have the stability of knowing that my hard work means as much to my boss as it does to me. I'd take a cut in pay, work long hours. I just want my immediate world to resemble what I think is right, the way I think the world should be.
                        You two should talk

                        http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18733

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                          Thanks everybody for reading my rant and your comments/encouragment. This has been a struggle of mine forever. I want the world to work the way I think it should, but it doesn't. You' think I'd get that by now, but I always forget.

                          Anyway, in an almost scary development my girl, Minh, is manager of a mattress store and had a customer come in today, less than 12 hours after my typing fit on here, who is dying to have someone do cabinet work including refacing for his business. He left his number for me to call and I am for sure going to give him a ring and see what's up. He told Minh that he needs someone full time to help remodel foreclosures that he and his brother are buying and that he doesn't like his current cabinet guys. I'm not getting over excited yet, but he spent a mint on new mattresses so presumably business is good for him right now. We'll see!


                          Eli
                          A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                            Originally posted by tinmack View Post
                            If you're paid on commission, then bang those jobs out as fast as you can. Unless you're docked for/have to do your own future repairs for no extra money.

                            I would assume the salepeople are probably on commission as well, yet their time selling is perhaps less than your time installing. On the other hand, the work is provided to you to complete, but if you're not given the proper tools and materials to complete it then that is definitely impacting your earning potential.

                            What about selling the stuff instead? You're a well-written chap, so you're no doubt well-spoken as well. Based on your avatar, you don't look like Igor and you've snagged yourself a gal, so those blue-haired old ladies looking to update their houses should be all over you.

                            You've got the benefit of installation experience, which most sales guys don't. Of course, you don't see a lot of installers morph into salesmen, at least not in my business anyway.

                            Ask the boss to let you try selling some stuff. Or ask that you can move on to the next installation until the proper parts come in on your current installation task. Or, bang out those installations and worry about repairs later. Most places worry about getting things completed and getting paid. You know, some customers will never be happy either way, so make sure you get their money.

                            Either one/some of the above, or find some place that values installation more than sales. In most, if not all renovation gigs, sales drives everything else - no sales, nothing to install.

                            Of course, a company I worked for did a 180 flip a few years ago and decided installations were more important than sales. Sales have declined steadily since.......

                            Installations have always been a problem whatever the industry. Most times it's no problem selling the junk/widget/gold plated bathtub/whatever. The problem is getting it installed. Having to deal with bad part orders/no support from management doesn't help that matter.

                            So maybe it's time for a change. Time to sniff around the sales end perhaps? Time to divest yourself personally from jobs you install? If your employer is like most reno companies, you're installation standards are probably double or more what they require. Maybe it's time to dumb it down a bit, slam more jobs together, and make some more money in the process.

                            I know, sounds like it should be the other way around, but it's not.........
                            I have considered the sales end of things a bit. I actually believe in the product and the process so I think I would have an advantage going in. And just for the record, there are two out of maybe 20 sales people that I was calling out as scum-bags--many of them are just fine. I am going to marry me one soon, so I know they ain't all bad.

                            I have really been contemplating changing my standards as far as my work quality goes. I still am faster than average, and behind the guy who slams them out like a maniac, who also has been doing it for over 10 years to my 1.5, I am the biggest producer. I also am the branch favorite and get the highest ratings on customer satisfaction, but no extra loot comes from that.

                            I have three choices:

                            Keep doing more than I am getting paid for and keep my pride in my work, but never get ahead for it and go through a large amount of frustration.

                            Drop my righteousness and concentrate on the money, but lose some of my self-respect.

                            Try to find another place to work where the culture fits my style better.

                            I think I'll probably do number one until I can get to number three.
                            A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Wooden's Big fat rant--no politics!

                              Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
                              Eli, man, the sky is the limit for people like you. Keep doing your good work. Make sure these customers know your name. Let them know you do side work. They will refer you to their friends and before you know it you have more sidework than day work and you quit the big box.

                              Only the self-employed know true freedom---and anguish, and frustration, and fear,........Now aren't you ready to take the plunge?
                              I know, I should. I have turned down so much side work because they keep me pretty busy and I signed a form promising not to take leads from HD customers. But I am the only one I know who honors that commitment. I'm a fool. That's the truth of it.
                              A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

                              Comment

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