Number 1 Problem – LABOR

Brian Cvetezar

The Most Frequently Sited Challenge of HMI Product Installers for The Past Year Is Finding Good Help!

HMI account managers are constantly talking with customers to help with jobs, equipment, or any aspect of their business.  Additionally, the HMI sales department recently completed a survey with several installers to find out what their greatest challenge is. The unquestioned #1 issue noted was finding quality help. You might have thought that getting enough business or achieving great profit margins would have been the top concerns of small or startup businesses. Unfortunately, our new economy and evolving work force has changed the paradigm.

We thought we would offer up some of the best practices in recruitment and labor management that our most successful installers/customers volunteered.


Do you have definitive and documented standards for each job that is clearly understood by your staff. Everything from: how they greet/speak to customers, clean up post job, step by step equipment start up and shut down procedures as well as equipment maintenance. Are these standards written down and measured? Do not assume one briefing will imbed your desires. Document and continuously measure. This allows you to reward conformity. Employees like clear rules and guidelines.


This is not about marketing or knowing what your competitors charge. This is about identifying your competition for help/labor and finding out what they pay. Recent inflationary trends have had all employers continuously adjust salaries. Do not be last to react. As you know the cost of employee turnover is HUGE and probably greater than the dollars per hour you should be adjusting salaries to. Consider: recruitment cost, training cost, productivity loss, and refunds for bad jobs by new people. The incremental lift in an hourly wage is modest and can be priced into each job when considering the alternative. What is your salary philosophy? Do you want to be perceived as at: the high end, mid-tier, or low end in your market?


Do all your new employees go to HMI U to be trained the right way from the start? Do your employees have access to the HMI Portal so videos on HOW TO are perpetually at their fingertips 24/7?


Too often we settle just to get a body in the van or truck. Fight the impulse. An extra day or two to find the best candidate will greatly outweigh the cost and hassle when you make a mistake. However, if you do make a mistake and employee poor performance continues after training and warnings, do not hesitate. When you know it is a bad fit – separate! It is your reputation, image, future referral sources and equipment that you risk by waiting too long.


Do your employees have goals, per day, per week, per month? The WIFM factor cannot be ignored. (WIFM – “what’s in it for me”) How do you incentivize your staff. What percent of their compensation do you plan to be above salary rewards? At the HMI Discovery and Training Seminar Jeff gives all attendees an overview of the program we use in or contracting division, RaiseRite. Connect with your account manager to review this tried-and-true program that has worked for a decade. I am confident it can be tapered to meet your need and improve your employee satisfaction and productivity.


Always remember how you felt when you worked for someone else. Remind yourself how you; wanted to be communicated with, rewarded.

YES – it is a tough labor market. Don’t just deal with it – MANAGE IT!

Operator leveling concrete with onlookers

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