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Have job offer for Hardware Store Assembler but need tools





SpaceInvader75
So, after being unemployed for a while, I think I finally found a job as an assembler. I will be going to hardware stores in my area and assembling products (bbq grills, wheelbarrows, patio furniture, tillers etc.). I'm excited about the job, but I'm going to need some tools. I don't have a start date on my training yet, but hopefully I can get some money together for some basic tools.

The most expensive tool will probably be the cordless drill. I read somewhere they recommended an 18V Makita. I really don't think I'm going to be able to spend $170 just on a drill, and I was wondering why I would even need an 18V drill for assembly? They haven't given me a complete list of what I'll be assembling, but typically I'd assume a bunch of screws so I was looking at something like this power screwdriver:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-7-2-Volt-Ni-Cad-Cordless-Two-Position-Screwdriver-DW920K-2/100656704?MERCH=RV-_-RV_nav_plp_rr-1-_-NA-_-100656704-_-N#.Ut1iotLnbGg

But I don't know, maybe it wouldn't have enough torque for bolts? I don't see what I would have to be doing actual drilling, but if I do need an 18V drill I was looking at this Ryobi:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-18-Volt-Lithium-Drill-Kit-P828/204321535?N=c27f%3FNao%3D24%26Ns%3DP_REP_PRC_MODE%7C0#.Ut1jzdLnbGg

It's only $40, but I can't find the actual torque (the main reason I'm assuming I'd want a big drill) and I don't know how long the battery would last. If I have to buy an 18V drill with 2 batteries I'm probably looking at closer to $100, and then I'm still going to need bits for it and some wrenches, at least.

Any advice? Smile
watersoul
Whatever you get the battery is really important so I'd say only go for Lithium Ion as they last and hold their charge much longer than nickel–cadmium (NiCd NiCad)
I used to use a Makita but it's 18v DeWalt for me now, they are both hardwearing tools with strong components etc. Have a look on ebay or similar as a used DeWalt or Makita can last many years, they are marketed at builders who expect durability.
Perhaps a combination of a used drill/driver, but a brand new battery to keep costs down?

Either way good luck man, don't go for a hand powered screwdriver, the company will be assuming you are using a power driver so there will be no way you could keep up with the workload without one.

This may be helpful... http://toolmonger.com/2006/05/18/selecting-your-next-cordless-drill/

Pity we are in a different countries, I'd let you have my old Makita, I'll always help a man out if he's trying to get work. Ask around your social circles/older builder types you may know, for sure someone will have a spare in their workshop to help you get started - working blokes usually want to help each other out, no shame asking, ever.

*Edit* I don't know the tax situations where you are but here in the UK every sales ticket for tools I buy reduces my tax bill. If it's the same for you keep hold of all those sales receipts/tickets and make sure to get every $ back off your annual tax returns Wink
SpaceInvader75
Quote:
I used to use a Makita but it's 18v DeWalt for me now, they are both hardwearing tools with strong components etc. Have a look on ebay or similar as a used DeWalt or Makita can last many years, they are marketed at builders who expect durability.
Perhaps a combination of a used drill/driver, but a brand new battery to keep costs down?


This is a good suggestion. I did see a DeWalt 18V Lithium Ion for around $100. Maybe I could find a decent used one, and get one or two batteries.

Quote:
Either way good luck man, don't go for a hand powered screwdriver, the company will be assuming you are using a power driver so there will be no way you could keep up with the workload without one.


No, I wouldn't be able to keep up with a hand powered screwdriver, plus I get paid by the job, so I'd probably end up making minimum wage lol
watersoul
These are also really good tough workhorses as well: DeWalt DC925 18V NiCd
A mate of mine has battered one of these for over 3 years daily, drilling concrete, stone, driving 150mm/6" screws into timber etc.
Now they're getting older they are dirt cheap to pick up, and although they've got NiCd batteries, my mate has collected about 10 or more for next to nothing as so many people have now switched to Lithium Ion.

Got any drill/tool repair shops in your area? They can be great people to chat to because they know what breaks on different brands and models. They can also have reliable and good value refurbished/surplus tools available for sale sometimes, if you ask.
SpaceInvader75
Well, I was officially hired, but I don't think I'll be able to start work. Sad I talked to my new manager and he wanted me to start training a few days ago, but I didn't have the money for the tools. He said that I needed an impact driver, which is even more expensive, plus an extra battery, and I think I would need another drill too, because the impact driver would probably strip out the screws. I found an impact driver at Harbor Freight for $55, but that include an extra battery. After looking online and realizing I didn't have enough money I emailed the manager, but I haven't got a response back, so I'm thinking I'm going to be looking for another job.
watersoul
Sorry to hear that man, hope something comes up soon for you.
Blaster
That really sucks. I don't know why a hardware store wouldn't have the tools needed for the job you are looking for. That sounds kinda foolish to me. Anyway best of luck
SpaceInvader75
Well, they contract the work to another company, but yes, you would think they could at least provide you with something in training (or maybe make a deal with the hardware stores. Some of my friends said that they should provide the tools, but I think it's fairly common for companies to require you to provide your own tools. With that being said, this company only had about 50% good reviews when I looked them up, so it might not have been the best company to work for anyway. I think I'm going to try to do labor and save up some money to start another lawn service.
Blaster
Lawn care is a great business. I'm not sure where you are from but the problem with lawn care is it can be a seasonal job. It is easy and relatively inexpensive to start up though
SpaceInvader75
Yes, the seasonal part is a disadvantage, but I live in a pretty warm climate, so the grass should be growing about a month from now. I'm going to start a post on my Lawn Service plan, in case anyone else is interested in doing the same.
SpaceInvader75
Since I emailed the manager and asked him for more time to get the tools together and didn't get a reply, I assumed I was not going to be able to start this job. Then, at the beginning of this week, another manager called me and said he was taking over this area from the manager I talked to, who wasn't really supposed to be my area manager. And he said "You're on my roster, so why haven't you started training?"

So, I told him what happened, and I said I still want the job, but I didn't have the tools. He said that he had an extra impact driver I could borrow, so I started training this week. The first day I trained with him, and he let me take his extra impact driver home, which was unexpected, but great, because now I can start my training, and hopefully get a paycheck before I have to buy another impact driver. If I buy an 18 volt, I'm probably looking at $130 for a Ryobi with 2 batteries and charger. And the price goes up from there, except for the 12 volt models. The smaller 12 volt might be able to reach in smaller spaces, but putting those bolts in the wheelbarrows is going to drain it down fast, so I'm not sure on that.

Anyway, my first day, I only got 2 or 3 grills done. My second day I got 3, but I only worked 4 hours. My third day I did 5. I was hoping to do better, but at least there was an easier model I got down to 45 minutes. I'm hoping to learn most of the models in my training, because the first time I put them together is really slow, but once I do a couple it usually starts getting faster.

I like my new job. Very Happy Time goes by fast, when I'm working. The only problem I've had so far is stripping the heads of the screws and bolts. One reason might be because I'm using an older impact driver and it keeps turning a little bit after you let go of the trigger.
Blaster
Well thats good to hear. I personally love putting stuff together that I buy so it sounds like a fun job. Good to see that you have a good boss who will help you out. As for getting a good driver good luck and check out amazon. They have great reviews on stuff and are pretty fair with their pricing.
SpaceInvader75
I think I enjoy putting things together because the time goes by fast when I'm working. There are some that I do not enjoy however. The worst one so far is the smokers. It's rather tedious because it comes with a bunch of little bolts and nuts and I'm not looking forward to getting paid by the piece for those.

I'm still trying to figure out which impact driver I should get. They recommend 18 volt, but I'm interested in some of the 12 volt models because they are much smaller, which means I can fit them in tighter spots.
Blaster
Why don't you ask the guy who lent you his what his suggestion is. He may be able to help you. And how is the one you are borrowing working out for you? Just some things to consider
SpaceInvader75
Well the guy who loaned me his uses 18V, possibly because of the wheelbarrows. You have to torque down the long bolts at the bottom so they are flush. 12V tools are more compact though, which is an advantage to me, for reaching into tight places. In fact, I considered getting a right angle impact driver, but those are difficult to find, especially in a kit.

I found a Craftsman right angle impact driver kit for around $100. I'm considering that, but not sure how long it will hold up. Milwaukee has a 12V cordless ratchet, but the torque and RPM on that are not near as high as the impact drivers. The advantage to the M12 is there are a bunch of M12 tools the battery would work in. I think the Bosch PS41 is probably a better buy than that Craftsman for $20 more (kit) even though it's not right angle, because it looks really compact.

The one I'm using is a Makita 18V. I don't know how old it is, but it works great. The only problem is that it doesn't stop instantly when you let go of the trigger, so at first I was stripping the heads on screws. One time I broke the head right off of the screw! lol
But, I didn't even realize at first you can go slower if you barely press the trigger. Now that I'm getting used to that it's a little easier. Also, I was using a number 2 bit for some of the number 3 screws, so that was stripping the heads.

I'm still not done with my training, but it looks like it's going to take me a while to get fast on the Smokers, which could be an issue since I get paid by the piece. At the rate I'm going now, I won't even make minimum wage! If I can get fast enough I think it will be a good job for me. The time seems to go by fast, and I enjoy it much more than I did stuck in the office all day.
Blaster
Its good that you enjoy your job that is important. You will build up speed eventually. As for tools have you checked out Amazon? They have great prices and its an easy place to shop around. Always look at the reviews I find that helpful.
coolclay
Hey just saw this post.

I used to work at Ace Hardware for 4 years through high school. I did pretty much everything there including assembly of grills, mowers etc.

It was always one of my favorite activities and I would time myself and try to break my records!

Either way I would definitely get a lithium drill, the brand doesn't matter too much. Check out Harbor Freight for some cheap chinese tools with pretty decent warranties. You can almost always find a 25% coupon on the net somewhere.
SpaceInvader75
Sorry I haven't been on in a long time. I ended up quitting this job. I liked it at first, but I wasn't getting fast enough; since I was getting paid by the piece sometimes I was making less than minimum wage. I got tired of being in the store till 10 PM to finish all the assembly and then when I counted what I made it wasn't even worth it. Possibly I should have stayed there longer to see if I would get faster, but if I could barely make minimum wage, it looked like it was going to be a long time, if ever, before I would make a decent amount of money.

So I saved up enough for some basic mowing equipment, and started my lawn service up in May. I think I have a thread about that, so I'll post more details there.
BigGeek
Sorry to hear about your experience with per job work - what you experienced is typically the problem with assembly jobs and payment per job like being an Auto Mechanic and flat rating jobs.

If you can significantly improve your times for doing a job and can get the job completion time to well under standard - SOMETIMES - you can make good money with piece work. But the standard situation is what you experienced where you typically earn less than minimum wage.

I had a similar experience as a mechanic - working at Toyota dealerships was quite profitable - Cars were easy to work on, and most jobs you could complete in much less time than the flat rate manual specified for the job. They paid about $20 an hour and it was common to work a 40 hour week and flag between 50 and 60 hours pay for all the jobs I did. I went to work at a Chevy dealer and they paid $28 an hour but the flat rate times were low, and the cars much more difficult to work on - with that job it was common to work 40 hours and only flag and be paid for 25 to 30 hours a week. So I actually made less per week at a Chevy dealer earning 8 bucks an hour more than when at the Toyota dealership.

I feel your pain bro and I don't blame you for letting the job go - usually the best decision when you can't even make minimum wage with the time spent per job!! Best of luck to you in your lawn business!
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