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No good help these days

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No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:56 pm

I am off to clean an IMAX theater (500 seats plus carpet) and my helper just called to tell me that he hurt his foot and will not be able to work. The other 2 on-calls are not answering their phones despite begging me for a week now for more work. If I don't find one in the next 2 hours, I will be in for a miserable night.

I don't blame the guy for injuring his foot, but the other two have me annoyed. I provide transportation, dinner, refreshments, and pay $20 per hour yet nobody wants to answer the phone. Hell, I am the one who does all the work, I just need someone to pull hoses and do some spraying to give my back a rest between rows of chairs....too much to ask for these days.

Oh well, off to get the equipment prepped and loaded, maybe someone will return my calls. Sad
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Re: No good help these days

Post by Larry Henson on Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:01 pm

Will you get all of that done in 1 night by yourself?

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Re: No good help these days

Post by dp1 on Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:12 pm

Wow, sorry Bob !
Welcome back Larry Very Happy
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:30 pm

Well Larry, that is a very good question.

We are about to find out, because there has been no takers and I am out of time. Basically, looking at 500 seats and 5,500 sqft of carpet with 10 hours max to get it done. Mathematically, it is doable, but my old body hasn't been added to the equation yet.

Time to beast up and get to work!
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:25 am

Home and complete....just after 3 am now.  Security let me get in a little early since the final movie showing was over even though the building itself was still open.  Just short of 9 hours, pretty good I think.

More importantly, I can still stand up after although the back did stiffen up quite a bit on the drive home.  I wore a back support on this job and it probably saved me.



Time for some sleep and back for the event center (another 6-7 hour job).  I either have no work or end up working like a dog.  I really would like to find something more in the middle.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by dp1 on Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:59 am

Wow ! My back hurts just looking at them seats Sad
Well done man ! As of now I still think too much work is better than no work, I'm sure that will quickly change when I have to work 12 hour shift 2 days in a row, lol.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:19 am

Once it ends, it is better than no work, that much is certain. Not so much during.

I should be back on the wand in about 2 hours, The back recovered well, those last 2 months working on getting my 6-pack back paid off. I can't say the same for my shoulder and knee though. Laughing

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Re: No good help these days

Post by Freemind1 on Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:48 pm

Well, while Bob is running around cleaning giant theatres, I went out to do the first estimate of the season for someone new. Job won't roll around until May, but none the less, it seems the season is about to start for me.

Great work Rob. I sure would not have done that much by myself.

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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:13 pm

Glad to hear things are heating up for Freemind, it has been a slow start.

Evening number two in the books. A convention room of 7,000 sqft.  I just cleaned it a couple of months ago so it still looked pretty good going in.  Normally, it takes me and a helper from 5-6 hours to complete....solo today, 4.5 hours!!  



I am starting to think that going solo isn't such a major handicap as I once believed.  If I was a much younger man, I would probably keep that system in place, but I am way too sore to make it a fixed plan.  Damn old age!
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Re: No good help these days

Post by kevinj6121 on Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:59 am

I feel for ya buddy, good help is most definitely hard to find, I have the same problem all the time. Had a good guy for a short time till he moved away.
I talk to people, they seem cool, they need money they swear up and down they'll they will show up then don't, i'm tired of excuse's from people.
I have and always had a good work ethic. I can count all the times i've ever been late to work or for a job on one hand. I'm 56 and have been working since high school.
Am happy all turned out ok and you got the job done in time, no go have a beer and get a lap dance from some hot chick, you deserve it, LOL
On the other hand if your married just go with the beer
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:23 am

I finished the Aquarium last night in bad shape.  The building didn't have any lights after an hour as they try to keep the fish on normal cycles, so I was wanding one-handed while holding a flashlight.  After 4 hours, I strained the bicep tendon on my right arm (wanding arm).  It was a cuss-fest the rest of the night.  I have no idea how the floor looked when I was done once the batteries died on the flashlight.....probably blotchy at best, but what can you do when the rooms look like this?



I have one last event building to clean tonight (8,000 sqft) for some International Horse Show that has everyone's panties in a bunch around here.  The right arm is dead and the rest of the body very sore....nobody wants to work, I have called 5 people already.

So, I will have to try and do this wounded.  I am hoping that maybe I can run the rotary extractor without putting too much stress on my arm.  It is slower and will not help with the stairs, but it might reduce stress on the body.

I don't have anything scheduled for Wed. and only a lake house on Thursday, so I can rest for the weekend.  I just have to get through tonight......somehow.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:34 pm

I just returned home and thrilled to be done with this job.  I learned a couple of things in the process as well.

1.  A rotary is not any easier on the elbow / bicep.  It was actually more painful and I still find them too slow for commercial carpet.  I love them on residential carpets, but not on commercial even though that is what it was supposed to be designed for in the first place. I went back to the wand after about 10 minutes.

2.  Cleaning can be just like running a marathon.  My arm was killing me when I left the house and I was barely able to hold my sprayer when the job started despite wearing a support wrap and taking a couple of Tylenol capsules.  However, once I started cleaning, I never even noticed the pain any more until I finished the job.  I just focused on the job and everything else just faded away.

So, my 4 night tally was over 40k sqft of carpet, 500 seats, and 32 steps in  about 22 hours of work.  I earned my day off Wed. and despite the bicep strain, the body held up pretty well.  More importantly, the equipment held up without a flaw as well.

Here are a couple pics of the final job, a theater lobby that included 2 floors.



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Re: No good help these days

Post by Mo on Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:22 am

Wow It just amazes me the amount of square footage that you clean Rob.

Im seriously thinking of getting a Jacuzzi to recover and heal faster from busting your ass when cleaning for long periods of time.

I know your superman but the amount of time that you'll be able to do that type of cleaning by yourself is limited. Hopefully in time you'll be able to hire someone full time or transition to more residential

There was an old guy here in town who would simply not clean your carpet if you had stairs
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:52 pm

I was just thinking about a hot tub last night Mo. I am a huge fan of epsom salt baths for pains, but it pales compared to a hot tub.

I know my time is limited for doing these jobs, I realized it after the 3rd day when the right arm went south, but until residential picks up or people decide that they want to work, it has to be done.

I was serious about commercial cleaning cleaning being like running a marathon. I used the same mental tricks that you do to handle running 26.2 miles and applied it to cleaning large jobs. It really is a mind-set thing and not everyone wants to do it.

That might be why my help has disappeared, money wasn't enough of a motivation for them.

Interesting thing about last night's cleaning, there was a guy working on the projector that told me he used to clean carpets for about 5 years. Even though he kept saying that he was glad he didn't do it anymore, he kept coming around wanting to talk shop. He kept telling stories and always ended with "The money was sure good, though".
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Re: No good help these days

Post by ACE Services on Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:36 am

I use the hot tub and Epson salt together.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:22 pm

@Mo wrote:Wow It just amazes me the amount of square footage that you clean Rob.  

Im seriously thinking of getting a Jacuzzi to recover and heal faster from busting your ass when cleaning for long periods of time.

I know your superman but the amount of time that you'll be able to do that type of cleaning by yourself is limited. Hopefully in time you'll be able to hire someone full time or transition to more residential

There was an old guy here in town who would simply not clean your carpet if you had stairs
We have one of those too. "Don't do stairs".

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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:29 pm

The "no stairs" rule is a huge mistake as they are often the worst part of the house's carpet and also has the greatest potential to impress the customer. Wanding isn't any harder with the right tool and as long as you have a good agitation device, it is really easy.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by dp1 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:12 pm

Since this thread is about lack of good help, just wanna throw something in the fire, heard in the news earlier this morning about some factories in rust belt states are having a tough time getting workers since 20% of applicants failed drug tests Shocked

That's crazy high #s, since only about 30% qualified candidates left ( based on 50% qualifications met ), and then it still going to thin out from there due to lack of salaries expected and other things.

So yes, it's not going to get any easier to get reliable help.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:47 pm

You have no idea Dp how real that statement is. One of my old subs (2 years ago) just got fired from a job after the client discovered him with Meth in the bathroom. Just glad we parted ways years ago.

I do have a lead on one potential employee. He is a really good guy (39 yrs old) that might be getting laid off come June. He is a power lifter who competes in Highlander Games so he wouldn't complain about any lifting. His only downside is that he doesn't come off as a very warm person when you first meet him, so customers might not be comfortable.

Like you said though, it is getting very difficult to find good ones.
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Re: No good help these days

Post by Larry Henson on Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:24 pm

I started cleaning carpet back in 1984 for a guy who had a huge business. He mainly was into stripping, waxing and maintaining big commercial businesses in 3 states. Anyhow back to the subject. He would hire people with a family to support because he new they had to work or that was his theory.

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Re: No good help these days

Post by milspec6 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:52 pm

It isn't a bad theory Larry, but my last two were family men, but they wanted an easier job. I think that these days, the secret is if you can offer good benefits far more than the pay.

With medical insurance premiums what they are these days, that would be a huge carrot to dangle in front of a new employee.
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