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Hi all,

 

We started our business in 07 and it has been my wife and I working together full time building up a successful reputation, we have used self employed lads on and off when we are very busy and they are available, a bit hit and miss but we usually make it work out. 7 years on and the graft has taken its toll on the wife (who is only 5' 3") and we looked for a more permanent replacement for her on the tools.

 

Last year we employed out first full time guy who came from another landscaping/fencing company and had experience will small scale fencing but wasn't very good on the equipment and had no tickets. We matched his salary of £24K /yr on a basis of a 7am to 5pm day with overtime beyond that, all ppe provided and usual 28 days holidays. 

 

During his time he did get grumpy when we had to work late or travel for some of the jobs. I did become a bit stressed about getting gone off site on time so as not to upset the guy and started wondering who was working for who? 7 months on and he served his notice to quit stating the main reason was the hours we're too much and that he expected to be home by 4:30 as his dinner was at 5. We never had any trouble from the self employed guys before and didn't really think about it until now.

 

Our hours are usually 7am to 5-6pm depending on the job and the travelling (which is usually 45-60 mins but can be up to 1.5 hrs each way)

 

Just wanted to ask all on the forum what their usual hours are and what is acceptable to expect from staff for a days money, or should we look to pay per/hr? 

 

Thanks in advance

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Hi,

I reckon you could get a lot of different answers for this. I am happy to work whatever hours and try to fit this in around staff at time. At present the guy I have is great and wants plenty of hours, in fact usually more than me as we have a new family and I love spending time with them. We generally start about 7.00 and if someone works till 5 then that is a fair days work especially when on hard going and in summer heat. In winter can be determined a bit by daylight hours. Sometimes if very local start a bit later as no point getting to site and sitting for an hour waiting for day light.

My old chap was on a fixed salary for anywhere between 42-46 hours a week, but that included half hour for lunch. So In fact was for 39.5 hours to 44.5 hours and then overtime after those hours, which on a weeks work you can soon get to them hours.

Current chap is on hourly rate 11.00 per hour for all responsibilities, looks after things when I am away, etc etc. good staff hard to find, especially ones willing to put in the hours. We are looking for someone but just no joy.

I think you have to try someone out and see what they work like and if they are earning the money and doing the work, you can afford to pay them more. Some people are just better than others and can be worth more.

For a lead hap we pay for travelling to and from site, but then they are driving the vehicle home, if it is just a labourer we pay start time from the yard in the morning and then pay to,finish time on site unless more than an hour away and the. Pay additional travel time over an hour. Usually if we are to far away we would look at accommodation. 2 -3 hours a day travelling can soon be paid for in extra work if staying 5 mins away.

 

I think subcontractors is a good way to go if you can find them and if reliable, a lot less hassle. Although having someone full time can also be very good. I wouldn't want more than to full time I don't think. But then. I don't handle stress and pressure of it very well. I prefer to fence.

 

As said in a previous post for a grand a week or there abouts I am available.

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Thanks front row for your honesty, sounds like we are not being too unreasonable then, we pay time to and from site, but perhaps an hourly rate would be fairer/clearer for our next try.

 

I am the same in that I enjoy fencing and running my own days and choosing my tools & equipment, I didn't enjoy the stress of worrying about a full timer but it works well for us as a 2 person team and I'd enjoy working with the right guy I'm sure.

 

Someone else told me that I'd probably need to try 10 guys to find 1 that would fit well with us, just have to start trying...

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When i started working for a fencing contractor many moons ago i was on an hourly rate, picked it up really quick and then received bonus after a few months, as time went on, i was put on jobs myself. When things got really busy boss employed some labourers. Most  couldnt handle it, one morning arrive in yard and another new start is there, he was put to work with me and he was a diamond , not afraid of work and most importantly wanted to learn. So you will try a few before you get someone that suits you, another important thing is you have to get along with the person you work with, it isnt fun working with someone if you have dont have any common interests. Think the best way nowadays is a trial period, if they dont suit you move on to the next one, but good folk are hard to find for this sort of work.

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Does everyone just build fences or does anyone have a farm too? I built fences as a teenager but then didn't do it while away at college. I got into this after moving back home and taking over operations of our small family beef operation.  While working a full time job I started growing that and building more fences to have pasture for the growing herd and not have to feed as much hay.  As I caught up with my own fences, others started wanting me to build theirs.  My off farm job let me cut back to 4 days a week and I used my extra time for fencing.  A few years ago I replaced the off-farm job with fencing.  My biggest challenge now is the amount of time on the fenceline (or really the time not on the fenceline).  There are always things coming up with the farm, then all the administrative tasks such as QuickBooks/accounting then estimates, errands into town etc.  I had a college kid in between semesters helping me with the farm and fencing, he just went back to college and I hired a new guy who is picking things up pretty well but still not ready to have him on his own when I'm not there.  I would think due to the nature of agricultural fencing that others find themselves in my situation and I wonder how you deal with it.  The estimating tool on Tornado's website is actually what brought me here, I think I noticed the YouTube videos.  That looks great and look forward to seeing it further developed.

 

A construction contractor friend of mine says he pays travel one way.  That seems consistent with what others have mentioned.  
I spoke with our State department of Labor, and it seems at least for here that building AGRICULTURAL fences for other farms falls into what we call in the US "Secondary Agriculture" and allows you to fall under agricultural exemptions such as not having to pay overtime rates.  However, it doesn't matter if you can't find help willing to do it.  They did tell me that if a farm had an ice cream stand and wanted a fence in front of it, then that part of the farm is "retail" and not "agriculture."  I would then lose all agriculture exemptions when doing that.

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