Cheap labour is not necessarily cheap

There are two things you take into account when hiring technical staff: price and quality, and usually in that order. Pricing is easy: a euro is always going to be a euro, and that’s that. But what about quality? How do you accurately assess a pipe fitter or welder’s abilities? How do you find out whether you’re dealing with an expert or someone who just barely meets the legal requirements? Of course, such differences quickly become apparent once they start their work, but by then it’s too late. Wouldn’t you prefer to be able to take the measure of someone before you give them a job?


Imagine the following scenario. There are two cows, Betsy and Clara. Betsy gets to graze in the fields during the day, eating grass and clover, and is milked by hand - not at set times during the day, but whenever she needs to be. Clara spends all day inside in a cramped barn, without sunlight and without any fresh grass to feed on. Instead, she breathes ammonia-rich air and gets feed full of chemical additives to make her produce more milk. Both of them produce the same shade of white milk, but Betsy’s milk is guaranteed to taste better. This might seem like an odd metaphor, but it illustrates our point perfectly. Good staff can be distinguished right away, based on a variety of factors: their attitude and behaviour; the training courses they have completed; the certificated and diplomas they have obtained; long-term employment with their respective temping agencies; and the fact that they have completed dozens of jobs for dozens of clients.


What we are trying to say with this title is the following: not all white milk is the same; just as not all technical staff is the same. It is absolutely crucial, particularly in your industry, to be able to distinguish between skilled and less skilled staff. As such, you should always inquire about more than just the rates. How many jobs has the person completed? How many years of experience do they have under their belt? Which of their projects were completed successfully? Were their references confirmed? And what kind of (practical) training did they complete? These kinds of questions will ensure that you end up with the right person for the job. The hourly rate might end up being slightly higher than you had originally budgeted for, but a job that is finished properly the first time around will always end up being cheaper in the end than one where mistake after mistake is made by a substandard employee who manages to always just miss the mark – not to mention the damage that would do to your reputation with your customer!