Does anyone bring the real workers anything?

andi_kMarch 15, 2012

A friend of ours built a custom home about 2 years ago. He said the "secret" was bringing coffee/donuts every Friday morning to the guys in the field....or as he called it "the ones doing the real work".

We just started framing, and thought...hmmm...not a bad idea. Anyone do anything like that? Not necessarily to bribe them...just to be nice...bc afterall they are building your home!

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I used to bring our guys something quite often. At least once a week, sometimes oftener. I would go to McDonalds and tell them to fill up a bag with breakfast sandwiches. They loved it. I made them homemade brownies, and I'd make fresh coffee, juice. Usually had sodas available for them. I really appreciated all the good work they were doing. And they were great guys...very bad language...always greeted me when I was on site. I once commented on how respectful they were, and they said they wouldn't have a job if they were any other way.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:17PM
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My hubby took beer occasionally on Friday afternoons and they all sat around and chest bumped for about an hour. They did not get drunk.

About every two weeks I took a Subway sandwich platter to the house. Anyone working was welcome to it.

I was at the house almost on a daily basis anyway.

Got to know the guys pretty well.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I bring coffee.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:30PM
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We brought something every time we went out to the build site when the guys were there. Our home was built primarily over the late spring-summer-early fall months so there was alot of ice cream & popsicles as well as pizza or Subway lunch a few times. They definitely appreciate it & by the time we were finished building, we knew several of the guys pretty well. I think it also helped when we had questions as they worked--they were very patient with us. I was just thinking this evening how much I missed one of the brick layer's homemade tamales he shared with us one of the times we brought lunch out & he had packed his lunch that day. We never took alcohol as we're smack in the middle of the Bible Belt and you never knew who you might offend--better to play it safe.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:34PM
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great idea!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:01PM
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I had a crew here for tree removal for a week. Provided my mini fridge with creamer and fresh fruits. Coffee maker on top (they went through 3 bags of coffee in a week) and made apps (bruscetta). Also had a tile guy here for 3 days for reno work. Supermarket large subs fit the bill. I have been known to make breakfast on occassion for the crews here...just cheap: eggs, toast,... They always love it and they appreciated it when I invited them in to sit at the table rather that standing on my deck for lunch. I tend to go overboard but I know some of the workers are not paid very well as they are subcontractors.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:18PM
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I'm not a big eater and if I'm busy I can go the whole day without thinking of food, so feeding people or thinking others might be hungry isn't the first thing that pops in my head. The main 2 guys that have been at our site for the last 8 months will get several hundred dollars each as a tip. I hope that will make up for not receiving any food from me!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:46AM
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Funny story ( well, I thought it was funny) about a friend of mine who posts here once in a while. He had a new house built a few years ago, and decided the guys working on the house could use a place to sit during lunch. He bought a nice picnic table, and set it up far enough from the house so they wouldn't be tempted to use it as a sawhorse. All was fine until near the end of his build, when it disappeared one day. He looked all over, even in the dumpster, and had just about decided that some so-and-so had stolen it, when he looked UP. That's right, they took it apart to use the lumber for his porch ceiling framing!

He wasn't amused....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:09PM
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lol cute story!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 7:02PM
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I will be bringing the workers lunch once in a while!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:18PM
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I was recently just thinking about this...They are getting paid for the job they are doing, but I think it would be nice to treat once a week. I was also thinking that I would like to get a couple of those giant gatorade coolers and fill with water and lemonade or something daily for them. Poor guys sweating and working their rears off so I can have my own bathroom.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:28PM
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My guys and I ALWAYS appreciated it when someone went out of their way do so something like this.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:46AM
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The actual grunt workers don't get paid that much and always appreciate thoughtful gestures. Most GCs provide water to their crew, but it's not usually cold. A small fridge or chest full of sports drinks and water is pretty much the minimum I would suggest that you provide to your crew. (Coffee and instant hot chocolate in the winter) If you aren't on site to do it, get with the GC to make sure it happens every day. Especially as we go into summer, keeping them hydrated and functioning is key to getting good work. A shady place to sit for their breaks and enjoy their cold drinks is also a must as well. Even if you have to provide a bunch of patio umbrellas anchored into buckets of cement, they need to get away from the sun. Winter crews also need a spot to shelter from the cold for their breaks and meals if the house isn't dried in enough to provide that yet. Yes, it really is the GC's responsibility to care about the welfare of their crew, but it's your house getting built, and if the crew sees that you care about them, they will go the extra mile for you.

For your "inspection trips", it always helps to bring some food so that it's not, "aw crap, it's her again. Wonder what she'll pick apart now!" If they look forward to you visiting the site, they have more incentive to please you and less resistance to doing minor changes without making a big deal out of it.

"Completion bonuses" are also good things to think about. As each trade finishes up their work on the site, such as the excavation contractors, the roofers etc., think about giving them a ham or turkey or small grocery store gift certificate. Again, a lot of the actual workers are existing hand to mouth and will appreciate the gesture. This can make a difference at hit list time if anything needs to be tweaked.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Took Donuts to the crew just this morning!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:57PM
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My husband and I are GC of our house build. So its a little different relationship. I do not bring food. My husband springs for lunch on fridays, for whoever is working that day. We pay them immediatly when work is completed, or when we are invoiced. So far we have not had one complaint or problem and all so far are pretty happy to be working on the house.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:35PM
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Thanks for all the feedback! Brought the guys lunch today and they were very appreciative.

flgargoyle - that's a funny story!!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:48PM
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We took doughnuts routinely, and would often call the Super if I was coming out for breakfast or lunch, and would include him.
Also, last summer here was brutally hot. We kept a case of water inside the pantry with note (in both English & Spanish) taped to the plastic which said "For the Workers - Thanks)
Everyone seemed to appreciate anything we did.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:07PM
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