Years ago, when I found it necessary to employ men and women, I had to make several decisions. I had to decide what type of individual would get the job done efficiently and right the first time. I had to come up with effective ways to manage them. I had to settle on a sum for a fair wage that could be managed and which would be profitable. I had to determine what my company would offer that would retain good help. Finally – this was actually my first consideration, at the time: Could I find cheap enough labor to compete with the unprecedented number of illegal immigrants doing the work currently? Of all, that question held the most apparent answer. The answer was no. I could not.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. I think that is true. But, my situation had an added motivation. I started my own company because I could not find a job anywhere else. In those days no one was hiring, and certainly not at the wage I asked. Finally, a single crew framer hired me and my helper, Alfred. The framer hired us because he was given notice to finish his current job within the month or he would be tossed off of it. That same week, his two top framers had gone back to Mexico for a cultural holiday. Alfred and I worked for 2 weeks straight. The framer boss seemed happy with our work but he complained bitterly every Friday when he paid us. At the end of the second week he told us he didn’t need us any longer because his guys had returned. I told him I was behind on bills and would take a cut in pay if I needed to. He laughed and said that I wouldn’t work for what his “Mojo’s” were making.
The media tells us that undocumented workers take only those jobs that American workers won’t do. There is even some justification in that illegal immigrants bolster our economy. I am not here to make broad political statements or to use this site as my soap box. I will share with you my decision and my commitment to that decision. I hire only American workers. My affiliates hire only American workers. My company provides good paying, long-term positions to men and women at a wage that can support a family and allow for personal and economic growth. My company does not profit at the expense of the American worker or our customers due to poor quality and cut corners.
Many builders, from the moment that the contract is inked, search for places to take money from the job and feed it to their bottom line. I believe you get what you pay for. That works both ways. If you pay low wages you get low quality. If my customer pays for a feature rich quality home, I do what is necessary to provide that product. We are profitable – absolutely! But we are profitable because we provide a valuable and measurable service to our customers. We keep our rates competitive through our methods and formatted techniques. The expense in our industry comes from one thing: poor planning. The biggest cost over run creator is having to redo or fix errors and oversights. We eliminate those problems by doing it once and doing it once every time.
Our procedures are easily duplicated by others. There are other companies who do what we do. The reason most do not, lies in a lack of experience and/or a make do and get away with it attitude. We have made our motto “And Then Some” because that is the only way to keep the “art” in artisan and the “con” out of construction. “
Since those days the labor climate has changed. With talk of amnesty and open borders the non-American work force has become more competitive in price. Where once illegal labor was offered at a lower rate in exchange for the employer keeping the dirty secret that the worker was breaking the law.
Nowadays society is more accepting of the illegal immigrant so they now earn what any American in the same position earns. I pay my employees and my trades a lucrative wage for superior quality. I price my jobs with their well-being in mind. I see no reason to export my work to someone other than an American family.
Safety on the job is another big factor. Quality is determined by how well I manage those performing the work. I don’t speak Spanish fluently. I can’t effectively and safely run a project if I can only communicate with one man who must translate my detailed instructions to non-English speakers. My clients have, over the years, shared that they appreciate that they can talk with the artisans. This daily interaction keeps the client involved and free of frustrating confusion. No mattter where you fall on the issue politically, when you have strangers in your house, you want to know what they are up to.