Temporary workers, or “temps” as they are commonly called, are workers you can hire by the day, week or month.
These folks are generally untrained help that can come in handy in a pinch. I’ve used them quite a lot in my early years.
The results were generally mixed until I figured out the best way to make use of them (more about that later). Anyway… I’ve used temps for many jobs that I wasn’t able to staff on my own for one reason or another.
Cleaning job where temp workers were needed
For instance one time I was hired to clean a large retail store that was having a complete makeover. This large contractor found me online and needed a price to perform a construction clean up. I bid the job and had to start pretty much right away, as in he next day.
That was both good news and bad news to me. I was happy to get the job, but all my employees were tied up on other jobs and I couldn’t spare anyone. I certainly couldn’t clean it myself, as it was like 25,000 plus square feet and it needed to be done in just a few days start to finish.
So I had to call a temp agency and bring in some workers. It’s not a perfect solution because they are not trained plus you don’t know what you will get. Some are hard workers and some aren’t, so it can be pot luck in a sense. To make a long story short, all worked out and the job got done.
Other times I’ve used temps to clean the common areas of large apartment complexes and to clean the turnovers. I did that for a while because it was hard to hire for that type work at times, and I had no other choice. The work had to get done one way or another!
Pros and Cons of using temp workers
Their main benefit is in performing work that you can’t schedule for, like some big job that comes out of nowhere, like that construction clean up job I spoke of. Using them for the apartment complexes was not a great setup, but my hand was forced in a sense.
The best way to handle them is to closely supervise them in my opinion. If you think you can just let them go clean on their own, you will have trouble. The reason is two-fold. The first reason is because they are untrained, and you can’t let untrained people out on their own.
Secondly, and this is the main reason, is because they tend to have checkered pasts. A lot of these people can’t hold a regular job for one reason or another. There can be a million reasons for that, and I won’t go into them all, but they tend to be on the unreliable side.
This means you have to stay on top of their work and make sure the quality is where you want it to be. I normally stayed with them all day, or had a supervisor with them. At times we would leave them for a few hours and then come back and check on things. We did that if we had the same temps before and had a feel for their work ethic.
I will say that you will find a few superstars as well. These are people who can regularly exceed expectations. Whenever I found one I liked a lot, I would always “put in” for them. I didn’t always get them because many times the temps will have “favorite” jobs, and yours may not be one of them.
For instance many temps I dealt with liked working for a local trash company because the work was real easy and they were guaranteed a full days work. Many times I didn’t always have a full days work, and they didn’t like that. So remember, the more hours you can offer the better your choices will be.
Can I hire a temp to just work for me?
Every now and again you may be tempted to hire a temp to work for your company INSTEAD of the temp agency. I tried this a few times whenever I found one of those “superstars” I mentioned earlier. This never worked out for me because their star ALWAYS FADED for one reason or another.
Like I said earlier, many temp workers have issues that keep them from obtaining full-time employment, and it’s just a matter of time before these issues raise their head and get in the way of their employment with you. It’s sad, but that was my experience time and time again.
I’ll wrap this up by saying that using temps can be a great way to get work done that you could not get done otherwise. You just need to understand that they are untrained, probably lack transportation and need supervision. But in the right setting they can be a good fit for your company when you are in a pinch.