Many in the log home preservation industry today prefer being their own boss. Most successful log home companies have engaged in subcontracting labor. While we have an employee base and offer apprenticeships in spring, most individuals with experience in this industry prefer to be a 1099 subcontractor. They like to set their work schedule to be flexible with family time, like to take the winter off, and be available for other client projects.
Benefits of Subcontractors
Independent contractors see the subcontracting benefits. Aside from leaving their scheduling options open for other fulfilling contracts, it helps them with skills or staff they lack. For example, administrative staff. A good office staff is critical and costly to succeed in your small business. Consider what most businesses need at a minimum:
- Skilled Tradespeople Staff to supervise and complete the service provided (i.e., log home restoration and maintenance services),
- Management staff to support the service people, juggle multiple jobs, quality control, training, certifications, vendors, purchasing, sales, and estimates would be best for any company.
- Market staff to manage your internet presence to bring in business and update your website and other media outlets, take and edit pictures and videos, create informative content, etc.,
- Business administration staff to manage the endless administrative demands like accounting, legal, budgeting, acquisitions, employee timekeeping, government, state, and county expectations, and taxes, customer services, paperwork, and company and employee insurances.
Running a small business like ours is challenging. It gets even more difficult during the winter months when log home restoration and weather conflict. Project progression slows, and many have taken three months off during the winter since managing a repair is too costly. That adds to the struggles of finding and keeping an entire staff.
Challenges over the winter
While most log home restoration companies stain removal and log rot repairs between the winter holidays, staining is often too complicated and costly. Not to mention, our staff likes to be home over the holidays, as most of us do. This makes project completions drag out and raises the price of services.
So what do you do for your staff over the winter. Layoffs? That means an increase in unemployment insurance premiums. Since we want skilled tradespeople to stay with our company year after year, we ensure our employees are not affected by the winter slowdown by paying their average wage, regardless of available work. This is taken from the company’s bottom line, but worth it.
Importance of Employee Retention
“Are you paying them over the winter to not work? That seems unnecessary and a wasted expense,” you may think. Currently, finding dedicated employees and training apprentices in this trade is more expensive. And many others like us do the same. However, not all small businesses can do this. We only recently were able to do this ourselves.
Now, you can see why labor costs are so expensive and why many prefer subcontracting. But why is it so hard to find employees when you have all the benefits of becoming a Log Master employee?
Log Home Industry Leaders Are Mostly Skilled Men
Log home services trade falls in the construction/painter category. And let’s face it. Statistically speaking, most in the construction trade are men who work hard outside with strength and endurance. Many prefer to avoid paperwork and must be trained to run a small business as the government and customers expect. They don’t like sitting behind a desk and filling out paperwork. They prefer working with their hands doing what they know. Subcontractors can focus entirely on the log home restoration services, customer satisfaction, and quality without worrying about handling estimates and customer calls.
Cost Effective for All
The simplest answer… It is more cost-effective as it saves on the hassle of business expenses. This isn’t uncommon for a start-up business as it may be the entrepreneur’s only option. At some point, however, it rides a fine line of legality under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Please take a look at the chart below.
Classification Word of Advice
The classification determination could be more specific for the employer, and it is difficult for the typical small business owner to confidently decide where the gray areas exist. While it may be expected in the industry, it doesn’t always mean it’s legal if expectations don’t fall into the correct categories outlined above. The safe bet is to make your workers employees until a government agent or labor lawyer audits the situation. A labor lawyer is the quickest way to get answers, as waiting for the government may take years. I’m just saying.
Log Home Industry Demands and Low Supply
The construction industry needs help with the labor workforce. Almost everyone is struggling to find laborers, especially in trade-skill jobs. ‘Dirty Jobs‘ host Mike Rowe discusses this growing skills gap in detail. Even more so in this post “Covid pandemic.” You may have to hire an employment agency. Could you afford to take out ads to find qualified employees? You likely want to hire a Human Resource Manager to navigate the employee-employer U.S. Department of Labor regulations.
Struggles: Keeping a Full Staff Year after year
Our industry works with the seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Winter weather presents many obstacles. During the winter, keeping dedicated and trained log home professionals on staff year after year is vital for all log home restoration companies to succeed. No one understands the importance of employee retention like those in the log home business. Training new employees every new year takes time and effort to gain trade knowledge. Even after many years, we can be surprised, but our years of experience can help solve new issues when they arise. Becoming a Log Master takes determination, but comes with many benefits.
It requires savings and careful budgeting by a dedicated administrative staff. And that is an all-year project. Paying staff when you are not making money is expensive. We know. When finding employees is difficult, no one wants to do seasonal layoffs. Hence, small business contractors find subcontracting for advertising companies like ours and offering labor services easier.
Log Home Preservation Tradespeople in High Demand
Log home building or painting companies occasionally hire us as subcontractors for log rot issues on a pre-existing log home. Due to the high demand for log home restoration services, we have started hiring subcontracting crews to help meet the demands of the communities. As winter turns to spring, we begin our search for future apprenticeships—those who learn quickly and display skills and understanding advance well in our company. There is limited space, so could you email us your interest early? We are always searching for experienced log home workers and subcontractors. To learn more about our open call for experienced log home crews, visit Calling All Log Home Subcontractors – Log Masters Restorations.