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Posted: 6/21/2016 12:52:57 AM EDT
Hey guys,

Just a little background: I currently work for a commercial and residential fire and water restoration/mitigation company. We are independently owned and operated but are a nation wide company. Currently I work with 3 other production techs and a few people in the office so we are pretty small operations wise but our work load is astronomically high to say the least.

Within my line of work we deal with everything from mold mitigation and remediation to asbestos, lead decontamination, water damage, demolition, flooding, reconstruction, dealing with hoarders covered in cat and dog shit, piss, puke, you name we deal with it. More times than not we are in full hazmat suits with respirators or SCBA masks depending on severity with a myriad of other equipment. Things can get pretty hot and uncomfortable when we have our dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and other equipment running while we're working.

Me and another tech currently make $12/hr while the two lead techs make $15-17/hr. We've been here about a year and a half while the other two have been there for a few years. We have an on call schedule that runs week on/off. If called in its an extra $50 and two hours guaranteed work pay. A lot of times you can go weeks without getting called in but you're still tied to being close to the shop.

Here's where I want some opinions: do you think it would be out of line to ask for hazmat pay while say maybe being in suit or mask? Maybe time and a half or a couple extra bucks an hour when certain conditions are met? As well for the on call schedule, what's others look like? Are people getting a higher baseline pay or some other form of compensation? It kinda really sucks when you're tied to basically being at home for a week or two straight while not getting compensated for it if you don't get any call ins.

If anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate it.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 12:56:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/21/2016 1:03:28 AM EDT by rollin_hot]
I would ask for standby pay. Basically they are asking you to be ready to perform your duties at a moments notice with the only compensation being if you get called out. They are essentially asking your to put you life on hold to support the organization with zero compensation. I'm not sure I would do that for a $12 an hour job.

They should be paying you to stay sober and fit for duty on the days/weeks you are on call.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:10:36 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By rollin_hot:
I would ask for standby pay. Basically they are asking you to be ready to perform your duties at a moments notice with the only compensation being if you get called out. They are essentially asking your to put you life on hold to support the organization with zero compensation. I'm not sure I would do that for a $12 an hour job.

They should be paying you to stay sober and fit for duty on the days/weeks you are on call.
View Quote


That's pretty much what I've been trying to formulate in my head. We've got a leadership meeting coming up that I'd like to drop some ideas on the table but don't want to seem like I'm asking for too much...just feel like we should be compensated for our time both on and off the clock. I just know one of the bosses is gonna get all butthurt for bringing it up and thinking we're asking for too much money. Guess they forget too often who makes them the money in the first place. Someone's gotta pay for the 3 new 2016 duramax's for only the office people to use...
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:15:00 AM EDT
Perform your own market study to see what other companies with similar responsibilities are doing in the area or region. Find out what the normal and prudent practices are for your line of work.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:21:26 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rollin_hot:
Perform your own market study to see what other companies with similar responsibilities are doing in the area or region. Find out what the normal and prudent practices are for your line of work.
View Quote


I appreciate the suggestions. We currently cover about 150 miles in all directions at any given point and only have a couple other companies that do similar work to what we do but ill see what I can do.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:40:36 AM EDT
The only way to know for sure whether you are being fairly compensated is to find out what you can earn elsewhere given your current skills and experience. Could you quickly find a job with better pay and/or working conditions if you had to. If you can, and especially if you can't, you need to know that before starting a compensation discussion with your boss.

The other factor is how easy you are to replace. How difficult would it be to find someone who could quickly learn your job at the same or lower pay?

Honestly answer both questions and you'll be in a more knowledgeable position to discuss your compensation. Good luck.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:51:49 AM EDT
I am not an ARF millionaire.
I do not own a new car.
I do not make tons of money.
Im probably not even "middle class".
So please, take this from someone who has been there and is clawing out of it,

Dude, $12 an hour is shit for that kind of work. There are plenty of manual labor or low skilled jobs that will pay a shit ton more. You just have to not do drugs, and show up everyday on time.

Learn a skill, find a market, and move out of that bullshit. I highly doubt they will negotiate with you on wages.
My buddy spent 2 years living on Ramen taking his EMS test and going to firefighter school. He had no marketable skills. He makes half again what I do as a journeyman mechanic.

Link Posted: 6/21/2016 2:05:07 AM EDT
Need some opinions about work

Avoid it at all cost
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 2:21:00 AM EDT
It's overrated.

I looked into doing some hazmat stuff not long after I got out of school. Nope. Sounds like you may be getting screwed. Do you know what they're billing your time out at?

All the stuff I'd looked at was like working a crappy construction job, or worse because you're probably at a minimum sealed up in tyvek, with a *LOT* more additional risk in some cases.

Do they require you to have any OSHA certifications?
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 2:29:57 AM EDT
That's really poor pay.

I may get laughed at here but look at Fedex Express opportunities in your area. The starting pay is more than $12, full benefits and you aren't on call. It's hard work but you don't seem averse to that. Plenty of opportunity to grow within the company if that's something you want.

Not Ground... Express.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 2:41:06 AM EDT
In my line of work (Field Service Engineer) on-call and haz-mat are a part of the job. We get two hours a day for being on-call with full pay if we're called in. Haz-mat is considered a part of the job so there's no extra pay.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 9:26:42 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Argus21:
The only way to know for sure whether you are being fairly compensated is to find out what you can earn elsewhere given your current skills and experience. Could you quickly find a job with better pay and/or working conditions if you had to. If you can, and especially if you can't, you need to know that before starting a compensation discussion with your boss.

The other factor is how easy you are to replace. How difficult would it be to find someone who could quickly learn your job at the same or lower pay?

Honestly answer both questions and you'll be in a more knowledgeable position to discuss your compensation. Good luck.
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Good call, I'll do some digging around and see what I can find. At the current moment, it would take up to about a year to get up to speed and learn everything that's needed in training to be semi comfortable about sending someone out on their own, hell even then they are pretty leary. I appreciate the suggestions though!
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 9:29:59 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By CaverX:
It's overrated.

I looked into doing some hazmat stuff not long after I got out of school. Nope. Sounds like you may be getting screwed. Do you know what they're billing your time out at?

All the stuff I'd looked at was like working a crappy construction job, or worse because you're probably at a minimum sealed up in tyvek, with a *LOT* more additional risk in some cases.

Do they require you to have any OSHA certifications?
View Quote


At the moment I don't have an exact amount as to what they are billing out but I know for sure it isn't cheap. Just showing up without even touching a tool is $375 up front. As far as certs I think I'm up to 2-3 fire certs, 3 water certs, 1 lead cert and a couple different asbestos certs
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 9:32:04 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By hollywood387:
Need some opinions about work

Avoid it at all cost
View Quote

Link Posted: 6/21/2016 9:45:06 AM EDT

Learn the business and start your own

Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:01:40 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Nailcrusher:

Learn the business and start your own

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Agreed.

You seem like you're smart enough to realize that you have better options. Yeah, office guys are driving the new rigs...they are also handling some of the ins and outs that you have no clue about.

My advice? Start doing the same shit you do now, on the side. After 6mo, get the required insurances, biz licenses, etc and do this shit yourself for way more fucking money.

I'd venture to say that you're probably doing work that is sometimes, if not usually, hazardous to your health. Fuck that for $12 an hour.

Around here you can cut grass working for a legit landscaping company and make more $ than that.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:04:37 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By anthem_of_the_mind:
I am not an ARF millionaire.
I do not own a new car.
I do not make tons of money.
Im probably not even "middle class".
So please, take this from someone who has been there and is clawing out of it,

Dude, $12 an hour is shit for that kind of work. There are plenty of manual labor or low skilled jobs that will pay a shit ton more. You just have to not do drugs, and show up everyday on time.

Learn a skill, find a market, and move out of that bullshit. I highly doubt they will negotiate with you on wages.
My buddy spent 2 years living on Ramen taking his EMS test and going to firefighter school. He had no marketable skills. He makes half again what I do as a journeyman mechanic.

View Quote

Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:08:26 PM EDT
Are you a certified asbestos handler/worker?
Are you a certified de-leader?

Please tell me you guys are not winging cleanups of ACM or Pb for 12 bucks an hour. Prevailing wage by me is $37 bucks for Asbestos Handlers.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 1:09:55 PM EDT
I worked in that business a few years for my cousin. Things I learned...

1. don't work for/with family.
2. I hated being on call. I drink, don't smoke pot, yet boss(my relative) tells me I should smoke pot instead so I can do it and still go on calls.
3. Only 1 or 2 guys need certs, depending on how busy your area is. The other guys are throw away. Guys with the certs(typically 1 guy with fire type certs and another for water/mold certs) get paid more not only for their certs/knowledge, but also putting up with the monkeys that are doing the work.

If you have the certs, $12 isn't sh*&. I hated that job maybe more than any I've had.
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 2:21:07 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zoomer302:
Are you a certified asbestos handler/worker?
Are you a certified de-leader?

Please tell me you guys are not winging cleanups of ACM or Pb for 12 bucks an hour. Prevailing wage by me is $37 bucks for Asbestos Handlers.
View Quote


Nah when we run into asbestos we end up sending the work straight to ACM. Our boss doesn't want us messing with the stuff
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