Member Discussion

Integrators, Do You Use Day Laborers?

For anything: demolition, cleanup, a pulse, etc.

I always did when I was a trunkslammer. It's cheaper than hiring a crew, and you don't need to be highly trained to unload trucks, carry cable, hold ladders, etc. And if a guy is half decent and speaks a few words of English, you give him a permanent job and train him in. If not, you never have to see him again. There's no such thing as being slow and not making enough money to pay your guys because you don't have guys. Just get a big box of hats and t shirts and windbreakers with your company logo on it and keep it in your truck. Boom, instant professional looking crew, just add cash.

I have also hired day laborers for inventory, cleaning out the truck or garage, picking up and dropping off stock, washing the truck, and other duties, anything that needed two hands and a willing attitude and not much more.

I know a trunkslammer who bought a plow for his truck and a couple of snowblowers. When it's snowing too hard to take the truck out on the highway and he can't get to the jobsite, he becomes a snow removal service. He gets a couple of day laborers to clear walkways while he plows, and he keeps their cellphone numbers because he has guys he likes better than others. He makes money, the laborers don't have to worry about whether or not they'll find work, and people walking around town wearing his logo and telephone number is always helpful.

Just get a big box of hats and t shirts and windbreakers with your company logo on it and keep it in your truck.

I assume you provide at least some "on the (way-to-the) job" training as well? Reciting your name and company name, for instance, as well as 'looking busy' pointers?

No, I didn't, because of the language barrier. That said, the cities I've worked as an installer were experiencing building booms, so no one expected laborers to be able to speak English anyway. It would be different if I thought the customers would try to talk to my insta-crew.

So during the 'interview' process, do you at least throw out some feelers for skills, like maybe 'backhoe', or 'lay cable', 'camera' or even 'multi-site VMS federated architecture' ?

Yes. I'd pull up to a pickup site- some townships set up "muster zones" with picnic tables and awnings and Port a Potties- roll down the window and yell "trabajo, dos, nueve la hora!" And then when guys would rush forth, I'd be all "yo, can you guys set up a DDNS service or forward ports on a router?" and then everyone who only had experience with VCRs would shuffle back to the picnic tables.

Trunkslammers nowadays probably ask to see your CCNA first.

Similar to Ari, espencially digging trenches. A rent-a-drunk works just fine for trenching.

Next discussion: Integrators, do you drug test your day laborers?

No, I just worked under the assumption that they couldn't be trusted with power tools or motor vehicles.

We have never used day laborers. For those of you who have how did you work that out with your insurance provider?

If their gross wages fall under a certain amount (I think it's $600?), you do not need to "1099 'em", and essentially they are independent contractors that are not covered by any E&O insurance you carry.

So there is some risk - if they dig a trench and sever the main fiber link between NYC and LA, you're culpable.

And as a result your insurance probably won't cover the damage done to said fiber optic, your company will pay out of pocket and you will be looking for a new insurance provider :)

or even a new company to startup. :(


Insurance coverage.

Pick one.

And, yes, I have gotten hurt on the job and had a heck of a time getting workman's comp. Glad I decided to go legit.

No - IBEW, CWA, bonds, prohibitive contracts, and prevailing wage projects are prevalent in the areas I work within. Even if none of the above applied I would be very cautious about using uninsured installers on my projects. It takes only one large mistake for a company to lose face, insurability, and profitability.

So Ari, since you are apparently the sole member brave enough to utilize the day labor pool, can you tell us how much cheaper it is?

Can you pay $20/hr and bill $80/hr? That can buy a lot of aspirin!

For Labor, wire pulling, Clean up, Basic Non experience task which you just need a second hand to help out.

I ususally sub out to someone else and include in scope to transfer to others as part of thier responsiblity.

Parts,& Smarts is Best Scenerio for Technical Knowhow only. Finish Work only.