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bobbin
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« #15 : March 08, 2014, 10:38:05 AM »

Raucus applause for Paul!!! (whistles, too)

There was an interesting story on NPR this very AM, about apprenticeships and their relevance in this time and age.  I met a very bright, ambitious young woman just the other day and her work was great.  She has chosen the trade because it suits the lifestyle she wants.  She good at it and she markets it well and I'm all for sharing knowledge.  There is enough work for everyone who's good at what we do.  Competition is good!
sofadoc
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« #16 : March 08, 2014, 10:58:26 AM »

When I say that I don't want to train anyone who will just compete against me, I'm mainly referring to the ones who learn a BARE MINIMUM, and strike out on their own.
I'm not seeing anyone who genuinely has the patience to apprentice for several years.

And as I said, I can't offer them the incentives that would keep them loyal and happy for an extended period of time. I just don't have enough work for two.

I come from a town where several sewing, and furniture factories have closed. Many of those employees (who barely knew how to drive a staple) started their own upholstery business. It didn't take them very long to fail.

My step-grandson will soon be old enough to start helping me. He will immediately become the highest paid helper anywhere around. If he shows an aptitude for this work, I would be happy to train him for a career in upholstery. But odds are, he won't.

 

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
bobbin
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« #17 : March 08, 2014, 11:44:04 AM »

I understand how hard it can be "compete" against the "back roomers".  Boy do I ever! and I know about people who only want to do the bare minimum (I've worked with several over the years), but the more I get out there the more I find talented, dedicated people who're interested in sharing skills. 

A trade is not mastered in a series of "classes", as we well know!  It take time, patience, and learning how to conquer frustration and keep plugging away that defines success and deep base of knowledge.  You have try different things all the time and you have to be willing to fail and then deal with the failure productively.  I agree, a lot of people are not "wired" that way, but I think that's partially because we don't tend to reward perseverance at very much. 
Darren Henry
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« #18 : March 08, 2014, 12:11:31 PM »

I'd like to expand on Pauls 's point;
Quote
But we also taught a young person the trade and didn't let it die.

Cause and effect has killed my former vocation as an orthopaedic shoemaker. That is why I do what I do now and that too has changed since the move here to Brandon.

When I was a lad every town had a cobbler who could fix shoes and larger cities had someone who could make shoes custom made by hand.Because it wasn't a "licensed" trade in Canada they were poorly paid and no one wanted to take up the torch as they retired/died.When I moved to Winnipeg there were 2 shoemakers and 50 some shoe repairs (13 of them within walking distance of the shop I was managing). By the time I had completed my apprenticeship as a shoe maker (albeit unofficial), there were less than 20 cobblers left.When I left the trade there were only 6 places in all of Canada making shoes by hand.average age 60+ and almost all employees were not born here.

catch 22---The service isn't there/people don't use it.People don't use it / the service cannot be there . In our case you come to a point where people don't even know about the service.In our disposable world (at least here in North America) everyone just tosses it out and buys new garbage.

My apprenticeship in upholstery was 5 years---the same as a plumber or a pharmacist. It was my military service that got me an audition for my apprenticeship as a shoemaker,not 3 years experience as a cobbler.

we need to ALL OF US raise John/June Q Public's understanding and appreciation of our trade and teach them to appreciate and pay in league with they're --plumber,designer,mechanic etc...Otherwise we will be repairing garbage furniture , re-stitching rotten canvas, and patching up old car seats from our garage for peanuts until death our trade does come.And the next generation will not want to be part of that.

 Rant ends--podium is open again

Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!
bobbin
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« #19 : March 08, 2014, 01:49:22 PM »

Another round of rousing applause!
kodydog
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« #20 : March 09, 2014, 07:51:57 PM »

but the more I get out there the more I find talented, dedicated people who're interested in sharing skills.

 That's what this forum is all about. I can't tell you how many upholsterers I've worked with who told me when they were learning this skill it was hard to get other experienced upholsterers to show them how.

This blows my mind. I love sharing my knowledge. And when I was learning I was very fortunate to have skilled craftsmen who gladly showed me the ins and outs of upholstery.

I may not be the oldest person where I work but I feel I'm the most experienced. And any time someone needs a little help figuring something out I'll set down my staple gun and give my undivided attention.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
Mike
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« #21 : March 09, 2014, 07:53:43 PM »


When I was a lad every town had a cobbler who could fix shoes and larger cities had someone who could make shoes custom made by hand.Because it wasn't a "licensed" trade in Canada they were poorly paid and no one wanted to take up the torch as they retired/died.When I moved to Winnipeg there were 2 shoemakers and 50 some shoe repairs (13 of them within walking distance of the shop I was managing). By the time I had completed my apprenticeship as a shoe maker (albeit unofficial), there were less than 20 cobblers left.When I left the trade there were only 6 places in all of Canada making shoes by hand.average age 60+ and almost all employees were not born here.


...... It was my military service that got me an audition for my apprenticeship as a shoemaker,not 3 years experience as a cobbler.



Darren my father  one of his first jobs was working for a shoemaker in Massachusetts.
Later when he was in the navy he ran the shoe shop onboard his ship in the navy.
funny after he got out he worked for a painter who was a pilot on his ship  just by chance they met up.

down here there actually is a few shoe repair shop around as well as clock repair shops.

west coast
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« #22 : March 11, 2014, 08:43:29 PM »

I have gone from 13 employees to 1, me and could not be happier or more jaded. I trained guys and when they finally started making me money they took off. The last two guys both took my last contacts when they left. I will never hire again I will never train anyone again. I was told by an old boss you always train your competition and he was right. I never went and burned my old employer I went into service which he did not do and he was grateful and his boys still treat me well and feed me work. I have a bad attitude for staff now can't stand the idea of hiring anyone anymore call me bitter call me a jerk don' t care. Keep it small keep it all. Rant over
gene
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« #23 : March 12, 2014, 07:54:24 AM »

I would call you a typical "small business owner".

And you didn't mention anything about unknown costs, taxes, liabilities, and paperwork involved in having an employee.

gene

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sofadoc
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« #24 : March 12, 2014, 08:51:01 AM »

I still occasionally have someone watch me work for a few minutes, and say "Hey, that looks like fun! Do you think you could teach me? I'll work for free just for the training".

Most of them think they can just watch for a month or 2, and then they're ready to open their own shop. They're only interested in learning just enough to start making money.

And you didn't mention anything about unknown costs, taxes, liabilities, and paperwork involved in having an employee.

The employees who take your training, and compete against you usually start from their garage, and they don't have any of those costs, so they can easily undercut your price.

Am I afraid of competition? No, as long as it's FAIR competition. But when a guy gets free training, and then steals your customers, that isn't fair competition.

I just don't think that we live in an apprenticeship society anymore. There are just too many shortcuts. 


"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
bobbin
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« #25 : March 16, 2014, 01:08:31 PM »

I'm the grateful beneficiary of several  "someones" who were willing "to train their competition".  And I daresay, SO ARE MOST OF YOU.  (get over yourselves!)

I have had the very great opportunity to work for supremely capable people over the course of many years.  Those wonderful people (mostly women, BTW)  were open, generous, and supportive.  Precisely the opposite of what so many of YOU have shown yourselves to be in this thread.  And you wonder why our trade is "dying"?  I have no doubt, whatsoever!

Maybe our trade is dying because too many of us refuse to share any of what we've learnt over the years? do ya think?

MinUph
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« #26 : March 16, 2014, 02:21:14 PM »

I'm the grateful beneficiary of several  "someones" who were willing "to train their competition".  And I daresay, SO ARE MOST OF YOU.  (get over yourselves!)

I have had the very great opportunity to work for supremely capable people over the course of many years.  Those wonderful people (mostly women, BTW)  were open, generous, and supportive.  Precisely the opposite of what so many of YOU have shown yourselves to be in this thread.  And you wonder why our trade is "dying"?  I have no doubt, whatsoever!

Maybe our trade is dying because too many of us refuse to share any of what we've learnt over the years? do ya think?



Might have a little to do with it. Life is sometimes unfair but we must keep trying. Good to hear you've had good mentors. 

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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sofadoc
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« #27 : March 16, 2014, 02:37:13 PM »

Are there people today, who would be willing to apprentice for a very meager wage for several years? If so, bring 'em on. The only ones I see around here want to start making good money immediately. I toiled at a near-poverty level while working for my grandparents/parents for over 10 years.

I'm not in a position where I could train someone, while at the same time paying them a decent wage.

I have a competitor in town who hired a couple of trainees a few years ago. It took them an entire week to complete one job. When they were finished, he handed them $100 to split between them. He never saw them again.

Those of you who would be willing to train an apprentice.......how do you handle the money situation? Do you pay them well? Or do you treat them as unpaid interns? Or somewhere in-between?

I don't think that the unwillingness to train is the cause of this dying business, but rather a by-product of it.

I have trained (attempted to)  a few relatives and in-laws over the years. They get REAL disenchanted REAL fast when the big bucks don't quickly start rollin' in. 

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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« #28 : March 16, 2014, 03:45:25 PM »

Years ago when I had a larger shop we would hire young people to tear down and make del.
If they seamed interested we would start giving them more responsibility . We would have them start with filling cushion , hand sewing and other simple task. Give them small wage increases as they went to kept them interested . However saying that most of them would not stay with it because it was never enough.(with a few exceptions ) And by the time they started to make you money they would go down the road for an extra 50 cents and hour .
 I had a very good friend whose brother drop out of high school and he asked if I could but him to work and teach him something. I invested 2 years in him and one day he came to me told me he needed 2 dollar an hour raise or he would leave . I explained about how much time and money I had invested in him and I would meet him half way , he agreed and a week later he quit.
  Since then I am real reluctant about training someone .
Unfortunately its easier and less time consuming to hire someone with experience .

bobbin
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« #29 : March 16, 2014, 05:42:05 PM »

You give entry level people garbage work day in and day out and you think they'll hang around?

Look, I understand that taking on a "grunt" means you're sharing hard won experience with some "low life/know nuthin'".  But weren't YOU once a "low life/know nuthin'"??? and not everyone grew up in the business, Sofa.. 

Point is, most of us sucked it up and applied ourselves.  Did I "move on" when offered /.50/hr. to do alteration work? you bet your ass I did!  Why? because I was good at doing alteration work and I was polite, well spoken, and "good with" the clientele! AND THE COMPETITION WAS WILLING TO PAY FOR THAT!  Duh. 

I spent 7 yrs. in marine canvas for my first employer (who wanted me to sign a non-compete agreement).  I spent another 13+ with Boss.  Did I leave them in the lurch? depends on who you ask, doesn't it?? see where I'm goin', guys?  My point is that you want it YOUR way and the practical reality is that YOUR way doesn't pay the bills for the grunts. 
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