8 Ways to Get a Raise at Work
How to fatten your wallet and improve your professionalism at the same time.
As custom installers working on your own or as custom installers working for somebody else, you can learn something about how to do a better job.
Here are some suggestions that might help you get paid more:
Be Punctual. The first thing that you can do right is show up on time. Running late is an arrogant thing in my book, indicating that you think your time is worth more than mine.
Use Your Pen. You may have your own code set for a specific wire in a specific place, or for simply describing where the wire is going.
Either way, labeling will save you time and aggravation. You can use Sharpie markers, or Labor Savings Devices Rite-Zits or use one of the label printers on the market. Make it legible and you'll be happy.
Labeling the wires between components will help you out in the long run as well.
Keep track of what you have done, and follow the installation guidelines that have been laid out in your project folder.
That way, somebody else from your company can quickly determine how something should work and can analyze the problem and fix it.
If your company has job sheets you need to fill out, do it even if you think it's a waste of time. Nothing bugs a project manager more than having to chase down paperwork from a technician.
Standardize Your Wiring. Keep things consistent so that another tech from your company doesn't have to figure out color codes.
That can be as simple as saying that blue Cat 5 is always data, yellow is always control and white is always voice. It can be that the green 16-2 is always going to the left speaker and the red 16-2 is going to the right.
It can be red and green for right and black and white for left out of a four conductor speaker wire. Whatever you determine to be the correct way, that's the way you should always do it.
Make It Worth Showing Off. Some folks like to use structured wiring products, and others like to use plywood boards to lay out their headend wiring.
The headend wiring is where all the coaxial cables return, as well as wiring for voice and data. An organized can or board will be something a homeowner will show off to his or her friends.
Keep it organized with properly trimmed and labeled wire, all going to the correct spot.
Neatness counts in lots of ways. Take the couple of extra moments to lay your work out logically. I like using Velcro ties for wire instead of zip ties, simply because there always seems to be one more wire that needs to be addressed.
That board is a perfect place to have a sticker with your company name and phone number, by the way. The house you're working on today may be sold next year to somebody else, and you'll be doing the new homeowner a favor by helping them find you so they can buy more things.
Respect Your Tools. Take a couple of minutes at the end of a job to put your tools back where they belong.
You'd be surprised how many rock saws, flashlights and tape measures are hidden in attic insulation and behind walls. If you make a point of putting things back where they belong every time, you'll have them to use again next time.
Be Considerate. Think of others when it comes to your jobsite radio, especially when working in an occupied house.
Your customer may be a huge fan of heavy metal or rap, but they might not be. If you want to play a radio, play something that wouldn't tick off your parents.
You can bang your head all you want on the drive to the bank.
When installing equipment in customers' cabinets and furniture, respect the furniture by protecting the surfaces. Use blue painter's tape on the front lips so that equipment doesn't knick it during installation.
If the piece involved is heavy, use blue tape and scrap cardboard to protect the shelving. Remove the tape as soon as you are done so it doesn't leave adhesive residue.
If you're doing the final installation steps, bring along a clean white canvas tarp to lie on the floor or carpet before you work. Check your shoes for crud.
Take your trash out with you when you're done in a room, not waiting for the end of the day. Who knows what might pull you away from the site in a hurry, leaving the customer a pile of crud at a jobsite?
Admit Your Mistakes. Mistakes happen in every job. If you make one, own up to it.
It's also not a bad idea to check the equipment for turn-on capability before you load it into the rack.
Earn Brownie Points. You don't have to be phony, but even if you are shy, say hello and goodbye.
Homeowners like to know when you're heading out for the day, and they really like to know when you're going to be back. Communicate that to them and they'll be happy.
Need to use a bathroom? Check with the homeowner at the beginning of the finish stage as to which facility they'd like you to use.
Be pleasant to those around you, including the customers and the customer's kids. Earn extra brownie points by setting up a TV and DVD player in the kid's room.
This way, the little ones have something to do while everybody else is working.
When I was in high school, I worked for Jack Houchins of Jack's Vacuum Exchange fame. After working there for about a year, I decided I deserved a raise.
So, I broached the topic with him. His reply was to ask, "Why?"
Jack went on to explain that I wasn't any more productive over the past couple of months; I wasn't selling more and so on.
Simply showing up wasn't enough, he said. I needed to earn a raise.
I thought about that for awhile and came to realize he was right. I really wasn't worth any more to him at that moment in time. I could change that, though, and I set out to do just that.
It was a great life lesson, and it's stuck with me since.
Start doing these things, and maybe you'll get that raise. It'll certainly improve the professionalism of your work.
It will increase the clients' satisfaction, too.