Our First Full-Time Employee Started Today

Over the years we’ve had numerous part-time workers, both in the warehouse and contracted workers doing various web stuff, but today was the first day that we had a full-time, salaried employee. The position is warehouse manager, and the guy is Charlie, who has been with us on a part-time basis for just about year now. Through his consistent hard work he’s proven beyond a doubt to us that he’s the right person for the job. No one else was even considered.

Given that we each only come in two days per week (everyone on Monday, one person each of the other four days), there was a big need for someone to “own” the growing warehouse responsibilities on a consistent day to day basis. We envision him being the person who trains and manages all of the other part-time (and maybe full-time) warehouse employees as we grow.

We’re super excited to have him on full-time.

Internally, what we had to get done to make the hire happen was very interesting. We had to bulk up our company policies documentation. We had to define his role. We had to decide on a benefits package – we’re covering the full cost of health insurance, something we plan to do for all of our employees. We had to get him a key to the building. We had to set up a laptop for him. We had to set him up on Google Apps and give him the appropriate access levels to various features. And that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s been an ongoing process for several months, one that will hopefully set us up to hire full-time employees for years to come.

We’ll begin to reap the benefits of having him around right away. Already today he was responsible for opening the warehouse before we got there, and shutting it down after we left. For now, we’ll be keeping our schedules, but long term this opens up the possibility for us to get together during business hours – say for a meeting, collaborative work, or even a meeting with our lawyer (something that we previously have had trouble scheduling) – while still knowing that the warehouse is being taken care of by someone we trust.

The other immediate benefit of having Charlie around will be to “cut the cord” on some of the communication between Greg and the rest of us. Greg handles customer service and inventory ordering, both of which require him to be in constant contact with the warehouse. Sometimes it can get tricky when he needs to talk to me on Tuesday, George on Wednesday, and Mike on Thursday. Now he can communicate directly with Charlie all of the time. This should really help simplify things and eliminate some communication mishaps.

In the big picture, it just feels good to create a job, hopefully a good job that can provide a good life to Charlie for a long time. And given that we bootstrapped our way to profitability, this isn’t a job where we’re spending our angel investment to hire a bunch of people in hopes that we’ll eventually make enough money to be able to justify keeping them on. It’s a real live job that isn’t going anywhere. It’s one of the most important roles that small business owners play in helping the local region that they do business in, and the economy as a whole.

16 comments on Our First Full-Time Employee Started Today

  1. Aaron says:

    Congrats that is huge and after a while you’ll begin to wonder how you ever did it without him.

  2. Anthony says:

    Congrats Adam (and Charlie)! That’s very exciting news

  3. Congratulations Adam – it’s been fantastic to see the growth of you + DI over the past few years. Keep up the great work.

    It would be cool to see another post in a few months time to show how the hire has impacted your workload specifically for DI and how that’s translated into more time to focus on LockerPulse. I’m sure you’ll keep us in the loop anyhow!

  4. Scott Messner says:

    Congratulations Adam!

  5. Tim says:

    Nice! There are certain undeniable milestones for businesses, this is one of them, congratulations!

  6. Rob says:

    WOOHOOO!!! Well done you guys! I hope you celebrated in an appropriate fashion 😀

  7. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks for all of the comments guys. We haven’t celebrated yet, but we’re planning on it in the next few weeks 🙂

  8. Neville says:

    I just saw this about “The Most Expensive Car Wash” and thought of DI 🙂

    http://www.luxist.com/2010/08/28/the-worlds-most-expensive-car-wash/#continued

    …oh yea, and CONGRATS! Helping the economy, serving your customers and making a better life for yourself and others…simply awesome.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thanks Nev.

      That video reminds me of a few of the detailers we know. $11k+ per detail is a pretty decent chunk of change. Can’t say I know of anyone charging THAT much 🙂

  9. Rob says:

    I’d be interested to know how you came to the package you did for Charlie – did you look at local competitors, just consider him purely on his worth to you or something else? I understand if this is sensitive and you wish not to answer.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Good question Rob. We just came up with a number that we though was fair given all of the variables (his experience, our location, the job itself, etc). At one time just after college George worked a similar job at a small local e-commerce company similar to ours, so we did have that as a baseline. We also made sure that there was plenty of room to grow into the job as his role expands and as we expand. Basically one of us threw out a number (I think it was Greg) and we all agreed. In terms of benefits, we decided to give him all of the same benefits that the owners get, although we did define things like vacation time a little more – he has a set # of days and we don’t.

      • Rob says:

        Sounds like a good way of doing things.

        I think it’s a good idea to set things like that straight from the start – with him being the only non-owner fulltimer there, there could be a risk of him feeling some kind of imbalance/unfairness if he feels you guys don’t pull your weight or take a lot more holiday (not that I’m implying that would be wrong, it’s your business after all, or that you would anyway – just it’s a situation a friend went through, where the owners did no work and dumped all the boring crap on him, the only employee…).

        Do you (plan to) have mechanisms in place for resolution of issues such as this?

        • Adam McFarland says:

          We don’t definitively have an answer as to how we’ll handle that type of stuff, but we’re very aware that it could be an issue at some point until the employees significantly outnumber us, which could be many years away.

          I think on our end it’s important to show that we’re working just as hard as he is. So on busy days, we’re in there just as early as he is getting a head start. Or when he suggests a good improvement to the system that I make it a priority to program it in.

          It will be a learning experience for sure.

  10. Adam McFarland says:

    In general I think we’re going to be much more flexible than a typical employer. I know I value the results more than I value the hours or the times of day someone works. However, his job is inherently more typical because he has to physically be at the warehouse during business hours. Not to say that we won’t be flexible with his time off and his hours, but it’s much less flexible of a job than a customer service rep or a programmer will be.

    Very observant on the header 🙂 My bday is actually August 31…it’s only been changed for a day lol

    And no, I had not seen “DI UK” before. I guess that’s our mistake for not buying the UK domain. As you know, Detailing is huge in the UK so we should have picked it up. Lesson learned.

  11. […] also hired our first full-time employee during that time period […]

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