Does anyone do work these days?

We’re told the economy is bad. We’re told that unemployment is at 100 year highs. So why is it so hard to get contractors to do work? Here’s my past few weeks in no particular order:

  1. We need pest control at home and are told it’s a 2 week wait.
  2. I need a mason to repair some brick work. Three separate contractors have not showed up in the past 10 days to even look at it.
  3. I hired an architect to finish some drawings for a patio roof (about a 2 hour job). It took him 4 weeks.
  4. I need to hire a general to build the roof. 4 contractors contacted over a week ago - no return calls or bids.
  5. We have a tear in a booth. Dr. Vinyl was to be there at 8:30 to fix it. He shows up at the front door at 8:30 and bangs on the door but all the help is in the back. He calls at 8:32 and says he left and isn’t coming back b/c noone was there.
  6. We have had 2 servers all but beg for jobs and not show up in the past 7 days.
  7. My home dishwasher broke and it took 7 days AFTER the part arrived to get it fixed.
  8. Don’t even get me started on the neighbor kids we hire in our effort to be a neighborhood restaurant. <19=useless

The list goes on and on. It seems like contracting out to get anything done takes weeks when, given the state of the economy, people should be lined up for cash-paying jobs.

Luckily, the staff that works for me is very eager. But I’m starting to sound like the old guy who says this country is going to he$$. Maybe I’m right. Who is John Galt? :slight_smile:

Patrick Cuezze

Hi Patrick:

Not that it helps but those are common problems. Contractors in all fields are running with very lean staffs. They tell us that they are reluctant to add workers because, although everyone appears to be busy, business is not booming. They would rather operate with a small crew and keep them busy rather than add staff.

In addition to the business climate the costs, in addition to wages, of keeping workers is a growing burden.

Just what I hear.

George Mills

I had a busier than normal Saturday a couple of weeks ago and one of my drivers had her car breakdown. I started calling around to get somebody to fill in, the best response I got was “I can’t come tonight, I just washed the truck because I am going to visit grandmother in the morning and I’ll really hear it if she thinks I am not taking care of my vehicle”. The same guy stopped by yesterday and wanted to know if I would come over to his house today to fix his mower. RIGHT!!

Started reading your post and my first thought was to suggest that you read Atlas Shrugged to understand what is happening. Had to laugh when you asked the question, “who is John Galt”? I try to re-read this book about every three years and I am listening to the CD version now. Amazing how it parallels current conditions/events. The only thing about the book I have never liked are the journeys into the person relationships that do not have much to do with the essence of the book.
I can relate to your experiences especially with respect to hiring. When we advertise for help we get an almost overwhelming number of applicants. It takes many hours to sort through the candidates and then to contact via email the potentials. In the last few months we are finding that people return the emails with information and then they disappear. Some stay in the process and we schedule interviews but most do not show. I have heard comments and have had people tell me that one of the big reasons for this is that people are looking for “places I have applied” so they can justify their unemployment entitlement. We have been trying to hire a bakery person for a bakery we own. We are short help that this is putting a strain on the existing people. I mentioned the problem to my lead bakery person today and she said its the unemployment thing. Along with this I heard a conversation between two guys in the locker room at the health club recently. They were talking about “fun money”. I listened in because I had never heard this term. Turns out it is unemployment money. both of these guys were kicking back because they were on unemployment taking trips, etc. They said when their benefits ran out they would look for jobs. Some people, especially in certain parts of the country, need this help but my sense of it is that there are a whole bunch of people out there who are milking it for all they can get. Well, I guess its fulfilling the Socialist plan for this country which includes having as many people as possible either working for the government or dependent on it for unemployment, welfare or whatever.
How ironic…our locations have been advertising for help for several months at a time when so many people are out of work and we cannot get good people, you know, the ones that show up for work and act like they are interested. Though we were very hesitant to expand we had been working on another location that was a pretty good deal. We cancelled the deal and half of the reason was the realization that if we cannot even find good people for our existing locations how smart is it to open a new location? Indeed, who is John Galt?


The same here in Australia except that they all think they can charge more than doctors for a half arsed effort, that is if you can get them in for a quote in the first place.
Where do plumbers, electricians or nail hammerers (there not even doing thant now - using powered nail guns !!) get off charging $90 + per hour, plus a call out fee just for turning up.
As with parts supply and costs we buy any equipment for the shop on the internet from USA as it is about a quarter of the cost here, gets here in a week while local suppliers take two weeks or more to get it from the east coast (Sydney or Melbourne) which is only 3 - 4,000 km away
And I sit here sometimes wondering why I stress when a customer blows up because their $15 pizza was 15 minutes late from the delivery time we quoted. And guess who the biggest whingers are ? Not the doctors.


Just browsing and saw this thread. Incidentally, more people ought to know who John Galt is, or rather the book in which he is a character. Atlas Shrugged is happening at a rapid pace in the U.S.
As for who works any longer. What we have found out is that people would rather collect unemployment than work. In our area they refer to unemployment benefits as “fun money”. I was listening to a couple of guys talking about it the other day. Both of them were drawing unemployment benefits and taking the opportunity to travel and enjoy themselves. They said when their benefits ran out they would look for a job. THis explains why we have been having such a difficult time finding employees. Ain’t it great to have the government take care of you? Unfortunately the government is us taxpayers. All these people who are “entitled” to all the numerous benefits and who get angry when the benefits are (1)not enough, (2) not delivered quick enough or (3) not all encompassing enough. It used to be in this country that the successful, the well to do were examples for the rest of us to emulate. All we had to do was follow the blueprint they left us. Work hard, save money, read & educate ourselves and the opportunity to be successful was there for us. Today it seems, the successful and/or well to do are targets to brought down to size. After all, if any of them have money they must have cheated to get it. This kind of thinking is not how this country became great. In deed, “who is John Galt”.

Forget contractors, I have enough issues finding and hiring capable people to work. If I see another application that wants full time BUT no nights or weekends I’m going to explode.

IT sure feels like it is the beginning of the end. Pretty much comes down to everyone wants a job but nobody wants to work. I hear it all the time. “I won’t let you down, I’ll be the hardest worker you’ve ever seen.” 2 days later, anybody seen the new guy. And the unemployment claims. You didn’t show up for three shifts and didn’t call, yet you think you are entitled to unemployment. Or you physically assaulted another employee and expected to still have a job. All have happened in the past few weeks. I won’t even get into HVAC companies or any of the others. Walk in down for five days because the compressor was bad, wait, it’s the defrost module, never mind it’s just a leak, wait no… Well, here’s your bill for all the stuff we replaced and the 6 visits we made.
Now look what you did (rant ending).