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March 16, 2022

TCL Episode #21 – Millennials in the Construction Industry

Show Notes

The first generation to make a transition from landlines to smartphones, from desktop to laptop, from TV to Internet, from VCRs to DVDs, are the Millennials. One of the largest groups of population in Canada, Millennials can prove to be the promising future of the construction industry.

Flo – Pro Custom Painting

Born in Albania, growing up in Italy, Flo is an Italian Canadian who went into construction six years back when he shifted to Canada. He is running his own business now, with a sexy sprinter van. He seems confident about his work, his worth, and the way he does things. His journey was not easy as any other struggler. Flo is very efficient in his work, if he gives an ETA of 7 days, he will complete job on the 6th day.

Omid- The Tile Guy GTA

Omid says he thinks he has been in construction his whole life. He went to school and became a construction engineer. He attended 5 years graduation program. After the first year of his school, he wanted to do a job to fill his pockets, he went to a job site and was offered a tiling job, since then he fell in love with it and couldn’t stop. Throughout school, he kept doing the tiling work. Now, he is doing it full-time tiling for 7 years. He thinks the school program was quite repetitive and almost 100 people out of 300 left the program after the first year. There were many people in their 40s who wanted to change their career path or wanted to create one.

The thing that benefitted him the most from the school was Estimating. He is using the same template to estimate his jobs on a formatted clean Excel Sheet.

Two 24 years old as guests of two 47 years old, discuss their thoughts on whether age matters in this industry or not. Here are some of the valuable takeaways from this episode with two successful Millennials of the construction industry!

First Learn then Earn

Both Omid and Flo started their journey as a learner. Flo explains how his first boss gave him a chance to learn and was impressed by his work. He believes that before asking for a rate, prove yourself you are worth that rate, and even if you don’t earn the expected rate, don’t lose hope, and keep going. You must have confidence in your work and you must know your worth right. Whenever you first go to work, your target should be learning, not earning. Don’t care about money, get to learn as much as you can, once you master a trade, money will come after you.

Omid also never asked initially about the pay, but every youngster who is passionate about his work needs appreciation. If you get that you are a lucky guy!

Everything on the Job Site is Gold!

Millennials don’t realize the importance of tools or small things at the job site. Even if there is a $10 tape fallen on the ground, you should not see its price, but its value to your work. You cant complete your work without it, so pick it up. Treat everything at your job site as Gold. A tile setter might be getting $25 per hour, but if he breaks 5 tiles, he doesn’t realize that he just broke tiles worth $250 in a second! So work carefully!

Millennials are Learning Sponges

New guys are like sponges, they learn the way you teach them, and they can soak as much knowledge as they can. If they strive, the quality of their work is high. Flo believes in giving new guys a chance because someone gave him a chance years ago. 10 years of working experience may not deliver as per your expectation. You have to learn new techniques.

Eddie’s Story!

Flo tells an interesting story of how non-serious Millennials can be. He told the story of Eddie, who called himself a third-generation painter with good experience. And it’s surprising that he didn’t know anything about spray painting, crown molding, etc. He was so confident of his hard work and skills, that Flo gave him a chance. He was asked to come by 7:30 at Flo’s house, but he didn’t show up, Flo waited for him for about 20 minutes and left. Eddie didn’t even leave a message of why he couldn’t come! He never heard from Eddie ever again.

Be Yourself, and Know your Worth!

You can work one day with the business owner, and he will assess your work and he might give you more than you expected. Prove yourself with your work, and prove that you’re worth the rate you are asking. Flo tells how he went out of the way and offered a friend more than the average pay rate per hour. But he refused the offer, saying he want more. And now he is working with an old boss, who doesn’t meddle in his work, doesn’t bother about the quality, and is not usually at the Jobsite. Though you are talented, if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might get stuck to that pay rate for your life!

Omid’s way of Assessing Newbie

Omid tells his experience of how things should be done in the right way. He makes the new people understand they need to wear safety glasses, and hearing protection. By the second week, he asks them to bring a bag of cement and gives them an easy time. Just to see how serious they are when nobody sees them. This reflects their passion for their job. Flo prefers a small team, preferably a team of three (including him) because he wants to maintain high quality. He believes bigger teams that you can’t manage can deteriorate your image and the quality of your end-product.

Key Takeaways for Millennials

Though every age group has some problems in the construction industry some of the issues of working with Millennials identified by Millennials are as follows.

  • Millennials are not serious about their jobs, they are either on the phone all the time, they are late, or are calling in sick. Flo and Omid are at the top of the food chain, and at such a young age, they have established themselves because of their seriousness.
  • Respect the Owner. Make trade easier for him/her. Your work ethic reflects your professionalism.
  • They expect too much pay. They should understand that the pay rate is not determined by what you ask for, but you have to give high-quality work with a professional attitude.
  • Learn how to customize. Understand your customer. No trade in construction is uniform, you cannot work on every job site the same way.
  • Don’t find shortcuts, don’t find bosses that don’t bother with the quality. If you want to grow in the field, learn to work from badass bosses.
  • Reach your job site on time, in fact before time. Your first impression is your last, this shows your seriousness and passion for your work.
  • Learn the basics first.
  • Omid doesn’t take calls when he is working unless it rings 3-4 times and he thinks it could be an emergency. This shows his dedication to his work.
  • Those who think Mommy and Daddy got their back can never make big in construction. You have to be a tough guy to survive and excel in this field.
  • Learn to innovate. Flo explains how even many homeowners and tradesmen get surprised about spray paints. Flo says when he is charging more than other painters, it’s because of the flawless work he provides. You have to learn new skills or techniques to get the upper hand.
  • You can’t give someone something they don’t need. To develop a craving for learning.
  • Give 150%, don’t compromise on your work.
  • Don’t look at the clock to go back home.
  • You get one shot to prove yourself and make a difference, make sure you don’t miss that one shot.
  • Figure out what it is you want to do in your life, switch until you find one, don’t run after money, do something you are good at.
  • Make positive relationships!