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: Growing pains  ( 14032 )
RandyOnR3
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« : February 02, 2012, 10:47:47 AM »

  We're finding something odd happening around our shop and not sure how to handle it...
   For years , its been my wife and I and kept it that way for control purpose of quality..
   Well, our quality business has created a landfall of customers and a good size backlog of work..  started with adding another Canvas guy and he is god sent.. with over 15 years experance, I can turn him lose and the job gets done..
  add another to run the quilt room and all is well there but recently we added a couple doing upholstery work..
   and our business has turned from a small personal shop to a business.. and little things are bugging me, like someone making coffee at 3 in the afternoon, or going through my tool box for a speciality wrinch..  or something as simple as rearanging the incoming fabric..
   I feel like my space has been invaded and I'm really uncomfortable about it..

At times I feel like yelling at someone for crossing boundries but being the business is growing, I myself dont know where those boundries are anymore.....

CanvasAndUpholstery.com
JuneC
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« #1 : February 02, 2012, 07:55:26 PM »

Ooooo, I do feel your pain.  I have to bite my tongue sometimes.  I don't have employees, but share my shop with my husband and our boat refit business and have gotten crazy when, on occasion, one of the subcontractors assume what's ours is theirs.  For instance, a painter who shows up with no paint, not enough sandpaper, no stirrer, etc and proceeds to raid our supply shelves for their missing items.  Now if they were employees, I'd be responsible to give them supplies, but not subs  :-\ 

And then, on occasion, one will grab a pair of my scissors and cut fiberglass with them  >:(  Or make off with one of my tools without asking/telling and I spend a good 30 minutes looking for said tool before I figure out someone took it.  >:( >:(  It's VERY non-productive. 

IMHO, for your own sanity, and before you lose it and lay into one of them verbally, set some boundaries so everybody knows.  If they then cross one of them, you have a valid point for a serious conversation.  One thing I've found is that many people are completely oblivious and will assume that everything in the shop is fair game.  Sometimes they truly try to be helpful, but are a hinderance (like our mechanic one day saw me struggling with a vinyl skin and got Awlgrip (paint) on it trying to help me pull it on).  You need to spell it out and carve out your own space/tasks/whatever that'll keep you happy.  I often wondered why so many small businesses hired a manager when there were just a few employees.  Now I know its to shield the business owner from the aggravation that happens on a daily basis. 

June

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."

     W. C. Fields
bobbin
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« #2 : February 02, 2012, 07:57:02 PM »

Ask yourself this question:  "is this the hill I want to die on?"

I completely understand having "your way" disrupted.  But is your way the only way? is the rearrangement an improvement from the other person's perspective?  see where I'm going with this? sometimes we get "territorial" for no good reason, other times there's a very good reason!

Tools.  Big issue!  In my own shop I'm very careful with them and put them away when I'm finished with them.  I bought 'em, paid for 'em, and when I need 'em I don't want to jackass around hunting for 'em!  The husband has felt the wrath of the She-Devil a couple of times and now "knows better" unless permission is given.  So, when I'm "workin' for the man" I am equally "anal" and easily pissed off when I have to hunt for something I need, find the steamer full of water that's been sitting in it for weeks, or find glue all over the foam saw's blades.  Seeing the only 1/4" welting set up left carelessly on the edge of the machine bench (over the trash barrell) sends my blood pressure up.  But, know what? I'm careful, if the others aren't and things are lost... I really don't give a -hit.  Not my problem!

Maybe coffee at 3 could be moved to a shop wide break at 2? easy fix.  Rules are good, and "no" is not a dirty word.  But you have to be clear about expectations, willing to make concessions, and willing to stand firm when you feel strongly about something.  Be up front and be honest  and you'll be fine. 
Mike
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« #3 : February 02, 2012, 09:06:25 PM »

I used to work a a furniture company start at 7 am. Break at 9 am lilunch a Noon 2 pm break and quit and qiuit at 3:30 I'm my worst problem for misplaced tools I try to alway place it where it goes but then I place something  somewere new and forget   I misplace my talemeasure the most. 

rustyeod
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A Stitch Aweigh


« #4 : February 03, 2012, 09:16:14 AM »

Thank you all for reafirming my desire to stay a 2 person shop, and sometimes it still seems crowded. 

Rusty
TheHogRing
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« #5 : February 03, 2012, 01:28:43 PM »

I'm with bobbin on this one. Expanding your business may take you out of your comfort zone, but that's only a problem if you let it be.

As the boss, it's your job to set and enforce boundaries - but be open to new ways of doing things.

TheHogRing.com is the #1 online community for auto upholstery professionals and enthusiasts. Here you can search for a job, browse pictures of car interiors, read news about the auto trim industry and connect with others who share your passion for auto upholstery.
RandyOnR3
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« #6 : February 03, 2012, 04:59:55 PM »

   I think its just getting used to new ways.. and boy do I have to watch my mouth..
   I'm just about to turn my 60th birthday so things arnt as easy to climb all a boat doing the marking and such..
   Our long term goal..
 Is to have the shop running on its own merit, to pay its own bills so the overhead is paid as well as the berth where we keep our 45footer.. In this way, when we retire, we will always be able to come into the shop and work on some small job and make the funds free and clear of overhead..
  and just had to hold my mouth again..
 Our Canvas guy , as good as he is, has an attidude where he always knows better or more than I and keeps telling me so.. well that could be true but he had his own business and failed.. where ours has grown.. and whenever he spouts off of doing something better or running the business like he ran his, I almost, and say almost, want to ask him if thats the reason he is still in business.....But I hold back, let him spout off,  as I.m making about 3 to 4k off him each month..
  Do I cut off my nose to spite my face............

CanvasAndUpholstery.com
bobbin
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« #7 : February 03, 2012, 06:06:29 PM »

Define the parameters of the "hill you want to die on". 

You're still "all about" how "right" you are.  But you haven't bothered to share your "rules" with the rest of the crew.  Smarten up, dummy!

I was polite the first time around.  If it isn't working,  the odds are your ability to "take it in" is slim to virtually nil.  If you're unable to move up a notch professionally, it's OK.  But be honest with your emloyee(s) and continue on with what works for you.

I'd be looking for the door, personally.
TheHogRing
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« #8 : February 03, 2012, 06:30:36 PM »

$3-4K off of him alone? What he's doing is working. As long as your reputation stays good and the quality of the work he does is something you can be proud of, I say let him slide with the tiny things.

Why not let him win a few little battles? Seems like you're the one winning the war here...

TheHogRing.com is the #1 online community for auto upholstery professionals and enthusiasts. Here you can search for a job, browse pictures of car interiors, read news about the auto trim industry and connect with others who share your passion for auto upholstery.
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #9 : February 03, 2012, 06:52:04 PM »

The volley here between Bobbin and Randy is interesting.
Bobbin expresses herself from the point of view of an employee who has a knucklehead boss that can't see the forest for the trees. Just from reading her posts on this forum, I have no doubt that she has ideas that would make her day job go infinitely smoother, but the boss is stuck in his old ways.

Randy writes from the other side, the boss who doesn't want his employees telling him how to run things.
You could probably walk into any workplace in America, and find employees that think their boss is an idiot, and a boss who exclaims "You just get good help anymore!".
 
Randy: you've been biting your tongue so far, and that's probably for the best. Remember, no matter how intolerable you think your employees are, you could always find some that are WORSE.

I'm kinda with the others, pick your battles. But there probably IS a tactfull way to let that guy know that his way isn't the definitive one. As you pointed out, if he was 100% right, he'd still have his own business.

But I think you've already summed up your own problem....Growing pains!

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
RocketmanMH1
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« #10 : February 03, 2012, 08:36:52 PM »

What we have here ............ Is a FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE!!!!!!!!!!  UMMHH AAAHHH  I ah I         uh I     oh         What I mean to say is  if you can deal with the jackasses that come in the door wanting you to do work for them and you have the people skills to talk to them and get the mission accomplished, why the heck can't you give your employees the same respect?   

An open line of communication is the foundation of any relationship be it professional or otherwise.  If you don't know how to say what you want them to hear ask them what would they do in your position ....AND LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN. 

Did you ever work for someone who did not give a hoot what you had to say??  I mean really work your tail off for that person and they chopped off your comments regarding how to handle a situation? Then if the answer is yes you need to back the trolley up and open an ear!!!

The guy you got making you that kind of margin on him is kicking butt!!!! Sure his business failed, but why,   probably not because he didn't work hard enough, I know plenty  of people that are extremely intelligent but couldn't manage money well enough to keep a shop open.

The problems you mention in your first post are problems I would looooovvvvveeee to have!!!!!!!!!!   Someone making me that kind of money I would ask him at 3 everyday, You need a pot of coffee dude???        The tool box however I would have to take the hit and buy a shop box with all those special tools and call it the shop box, and keep mine locked up. Where I come from you'd be better off messin with a guys wife than his tools!!!lol

 I really do think the answer to your problems lies in the ability to communicate from any frame of mind, meaning.... If youre mad or sad or pissed or grumpy or ?????????? ,  You still need to see your self thirty years ago looking back at that person and give them the respect you want and wanted when years ago you were in their shoes.



After all, Life needs to be about enjoying what you do, and do that everyday.... BECAUSE TOMORROW..... IT COULD ALL FALL APART AND BE GONE!!!!

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."
RandyOnR3
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« #11 : February 03, 2012, 09:29:36 PM »

Define the parameters of the "hill you want to die on". 

You're still "all about" how "right" you are.  But you haven't bothered to share your "rules" with the rest of the crew.  Smarten up, dummy!

I was polite the first time around.  If it isn't working,  the odds are your ability to "take it in" is slim to virtually nil.  If you're unable to move up a notch professionally, it's OK.  But be honest with your emloyee(s) and continue on with what works for you.

I'd be looking for the door, personally.

  No I dont think so.........I'm the one with the degree in business, I.m also the one that started this business and its my work that has built it to the point to where it is now..
he is an employee, nothing more and nothing less, he didnt build this business, work 12 to 14 hours a day for years  to make it work or put in the workmanship or detail to make it work..
  and your coment has made me realize he is a piece of meat to be paid for his work and nothing more..
Thanks Bobbin
   

CanvasAndUpholstery.com
hidebound
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« #12 : February 03, 2012, 09:53:18 PM »

     I might be wrong but I think what Bobbin meant is if she were the employee she would be looking for the door.

As for myself as soon as I felt that the boss thought I was a piece of meat to be paid for my work and nothing more I would find that door quickly.
RandyOnR3
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« #13 : February 03, 2012, 10:15:19 PM »

     I might be wrong but I think what Bobbin meant is if she were the employee she would be looking for the door.

As for myself as soon as I felt that the boss thought I was a piece of meat to be paid for my work and nothing more I would find that door quickly.

  and as an employee, why would you expect anything more than a good wage for the work you do.. and only that.. This guy dosent need to know how I run my business..

CanvasAndUpholstery.com
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #14 : February 03, 2012, 10:54:29 PM »

Reading these threads makes me wonder.
Would you rather have a boss that treats you like a "piece of meat", but pays well?
Or would you rather have one that treats you with the utmost respect, highly values your opinion, even lets you make executive decisions, but pays poorly?

Randy: Is your canvas guy trying to tell you how to run the business end of things? If so, I agree with you. You're the one with the business degree, not him. All he has on his resume is a failed business.

OR is he trying to tell you how to run the "nuts and bolts" of the actual canvas work? If that's the case, there's gotta be a way that you can at least show him that you value his opinion and experience, while at the same time maintaining control of the final decisions.

I hope it works out for you AND him. Good stitchers are getting rarer every year. I'd hate to see egos get in the way of a growing enterprise.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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