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Any installers actually making money out there?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by markheus, May 26, 2007.

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  1. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007
    Just curious. I've been installing for a midwestern HSP for about 3 years. The first two years or so it was great. I worked in my home market for about a year and have been travelling pretty much non-stop ever since. I've worked all over the midwest and some AFS markets out of the midwest. Good money, good times...

    Well, as you can guess with gas prices the way they have been lately its been getting harder and harder. I was working in a major metro area over the winter, but for the last few months its been nothing but rural areas. And when I say rural, I mean 150 mile round trips for service calls. I don't even know if I"m making any money. It seems that I've been paying the HSP for me to run my route.

    Anyone, just curious how those of you working in rural areas are doing. I'm thinking about jumping ship to another company but I really don't know if things are any better.
     
  2. BNUMM

    BNUMM Hall Of Fame

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    Dec 23, 2006
    If installers are going to continue to allow the companies to determine what the installers are paid things will continue to get worse. I set the rates and if companies do not want to pay them they do not get to have me do work for them. Not all of my work is based on installs. I get service calls because they cannot get Dish or Direct out to do the job. I also get many calls to set up dishes for seasonal customers at campgrounds and boats.
     
  3. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007
    That's great that you are in a position to do that. I guess you own your own installation/sales company? I wish I was in that position but that wouldn't enable me to travel like I do. I've thought about becoming up straight-up contractor, but I need the reliability of work and perks like insurance, etc.

    My home office is in the process of bringing in the CWA, which is great. And they have my complete and total support, but I don't think that's ultimately the answer.

    Anyway, without getting into a rant - my own business eh? LOL Guess I'm SOL
     
  4. urnote96

    urnote96 Legend

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    Jun 22, 2004
    YOu can say Premier if you want...
     
  5. Mertzen

    Mertzen Hall Of Fame

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    Dec 8, 2006
    I'm an inhouse tech at one of the major HSPs in the NE and NYC markets. I do business installs [ which pay more ]in brooklyn, do Ka/Ku [ which pay more ] and do OJT training. I need not to worry about gas, tolls and most tools.
    I do have slower weeks but most weeks work out pretty well.

    Well I'll be a tech supervisor in a few weeks anyway and will have a steady check every week.
     
  6. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007
    Haha - So much for being subtle :)

    I've thought about going up into management, but I'm having philosophical issues with it. Let's just say that the company I work for (which may very likely be Premier !) doesn't have the best employee relations. I get along great with my immediate superiors because I'm pretty much self-sufficent. But if I made that leap myself then I'd have to work with people who honestly don't give a rat's behind about the people that work for them.

    Business installs are nice but I don't do a lot of them. MY HSP doesn't have a dedicated business team, which would be nice. I thought about applying at Mastec, I've read about their spot team. Gas cards, company trucks, etc. Plus they fly you to your destination. RIght now I drive and am issued a check for expenses. That check used to go above and beyond. But again, with gas the way it is, its hardly covering gas now.
     
  7. Ext 721

    Ext 721 Icon

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    Feb 26, 2007
    As previously stated, got out of the install gig because the 95 jobs paid crap, and I was the brilliant idiot who actually completed one solo before we got birddogs. Get this: $12.50 extra from the HSP for the OLD-STYLE a-frame round POS, routed to a 6x8, and the receivers back then took 20 minutes to auto-detect the sucker.

    I refused doing them until extra pay, and one icy-cold february day, after being PROMISED I'd not get any more, yep...4 in a row scheduled.

    Then a call that the cell-phone I wasn't paying for..."oops" they forgot to charge me, and were taking $300 out of my next check for the oversight.

    I cussed out whoever it was on the phone, got my boss asking if I still wanted to work for the company...as in, a threat.

    I said "nope".

    :lol:

    I figure all things considered, it was about $15-20 an hour. If I was really picky, dishonest, and tip-begging, I could have jacked it up to 20-25. Fun work, loved working with my hands, feeling of accomplishment, lots of alone time.

    But the hassle broke it for me.

    Actual dollar pay for installers in my area actually DROPPED over time...and of course, the value of those dollars also dropped.

    Skilled trade. In demand (note the commercials D* is puttinmg out) and yet pay was decreasing.

    A single strike at just one or two "shops" wouldhave woken the system up. I tried to organize, and whispers of union were spread. Unions have been given such a bad name, but they have uses.
     
  8. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007
    I'm going to go off on a tangent here..

    All companies talk about how everyone has to make sacrifices in order to become more efficient and competitive. The problem is that the only people that seem to be sacrificing are the people that can least afford the sacrifice. Exec's are now paid many more times the average employee compared to the past. And I don't see the same sacrifices being made by them that everyone else is making.

    Back from tangent, sort of…

    I think it’s going to take some major changes to institute any kind of reforms in this industry and it can't happen just at the HSP's. DTV contracts out the work because they don't have to worry about employee's relations as much. Sure, if employee's strike if will effect them temporarily, but they can always hire another HSP to do the work. Not only will technicians have to organize, but the HSP's will have to band together and negotiate with DirecTV. The problem is motivation. The exec's of these HSP's are making money on the backs of their employee's. If employee’s band together nationally then the HSP’s will be forced to band together and negotiate with DirecTV. This would also be in the consumer’s best interest. If tech’s were better paid and trained, and treated fairly, then the industry could attract the type of technician that would show up at a job and do it professionally. Of course, realistically, the money has to come from somewhere, and I’m sure these upper execs aren’t going to give anything up.

    I’m sure I sound like a communist but I think that unbridled capitalism is going to destroy this country in the long run.

    I would say that within 6 months of starting this job, I was averaging 25-30 dollars an hour. That was working in a major metropolitan area and paying about 1.50 a gallon for gas. Granted I took a lot of extra jobs, and sometimes worked very late. (once showed up at a customer's house at 11:30 at night!) but like you, I enjoy my job. I like working with people and I like the physical work, being out in the open, setting my own hours, being my own boss, etc.) Of course, a lot has changed.

    The company has implemented a tiered pay system. It used to be $57 for one room. The only chargebacks were for failed QC's and damage claims. Now they've implemented a system based on the percentage of phone lines installed. So, we're paid to install phone lines, what's the problem with this? The problem is that the system is based on a 5 week rotating average. So that if you had one or two bad weeks, you'll probably blow it for the entire period. That means that in essence, not only are you not getting paid for the phone lines that you didn't install, but you're also not getting paid for the ones that you DID install! How is this fair?

    Also, coming back to fuel. If I have to drive 150 miles round trip for a service call, with no other jobs on the way, I'm losing money. Not only am I not getting paid for the 2.5 hours of drive time, But I've spent about $50 on gas to make $25 dollars. I don't even see how this can be legal!

    The area I just came from was extremely rural. I was only up there for a month before I had to leave because it was becoming a black hole for money. I offered to stay if they could meet me halfway on gas. The answer was no. Apparently the HSP doesn't care enough about their customer base to do what it takes to attract and keep quality employee's.

    I was at a team meeting a year or so ago and someone asked why our pay didn't go up with the rising cost of parts, fuel, wire, etc. An FOM from DirecTV made an interesting comment, "employee's on commission don't get raises." I thought this was rather telling. I think that somewhere inside DirecTV our job has shifted from a technical nature to that of a service nature. We're all being dragged into the service sector of the economy.

    I'll probably end up taking a promotion because that's the only way I'm going to be able to afford to keep working in this industry. I'm sure I'll be replaced my a 19 year old with his dad's pickup and the neighbor's ladder.

    "united we bargain, divided we beg"
     
  9. RobertE

    RobertE New Member

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    Jun 9, 2006
    "Free Installs". Enough said. :(
     
  10. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007

    Agreed - And that's as likely to change as a National HSP organization or executive's volountarily reducing their salaries for the benfit of the customers, employee's, and company.
     
  11. tasp

    tasp AllStar

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    Mar 2, 2007
    I am an independent and upgrade standard installs done by D* and E* and local CATV.

    I do not recall a single D* or E* installer who has not complained about low pay.

    I have also noted the local installer organizations seem to delight in perversely scheduling their installations. Their morning installs will be in towns 100 miles apart, and the same for the aftenoon installs, and I frequently note multiple installers in the same town on the same day. It would seem the brain power required to schedule all the service calls in a small town on the same day to the same installer would be possessed by all life forms more evolved than flat worms, but not around here if you are a supervisor for the D* or E* installer organization.

    We also have an E* hub supervisor in the area who knowingly dispatches trucks without required hardware, this always results in multiple service calls to the same address to complete a job that could have been easily accomplished in one trip.


    The first step in making money is to stop losing it . . . .
     
  12. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007
    You know- its funny that you mentioned local routing. I myself have if the girls take particular pleasure in seeing how crazy they can make the routes. Some of it I understand there are limitations as to what they can do - But still. And siebel was supposed to make everything all better. I think its even worse. Back home my team lead just faxed me all the work for the techs in my area and we split it up amongst ourselves.

    I actually used to be happy with the money that I made. All I'm asking is that the company account for increases in OUR costs. I don't think its fair that we're required to eat everything.
     
  13. JLucPicard

    JLucPicard Hall Of Fame

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    Apr 27, 2004
    I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading markheus's post. I'd like to think that if there was a $10 or $25 dollar (or something) charge for installs that some of that would trickle down to the installers. And economically I don't know what the price point would be for install charges to the customer that would make sense, but man - I can see some people making their service provider choice based strictly on that.

    As a customer, I don't think I'd be thrilled with the idea of a charge for installs, but if it began to eliminate no call-no shows and improved the quality of the install experience, I'd have to say it was worth it (again, depending on the price point).
     
  14. memory

    memory AllStar

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    Nov 11, 2006
    Well well well I take it that Oklahoma isnt going that well huh HAHA
     
  15. memory

    memory AllStar

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    Nov 11, 2006
    You know the funny thing to is that everytime you say something negative about a HSP the word PREMIER comes up hmmm wonder why that is LOL!!!
     
  16. sack9

    sack9 AllStar

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    Mar 13, 2007
    I Make great money, lots of work out here
     
  17. markheus

    markheus Mentor

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    May 26, 2007

    Haha - Shouldn't you be running out to Hermann or something :p Maybe a short trip to Doolittle!

    It sucks where I'm at - but he's moving me closer in. I was just covering till a tech got his truck fixed. Funny thing about that - it was a COV - and he needed tires

    Oh, I forgot to mention. We're out of equipment again. The truck didn't come today and may not come tomorrow. Deja vu. I've heard its like that everywhere.
     
  18. Teronzhul

    Teronzhul Godfather

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    Sep 20, 2006
    Yeah, it has been hell getting enough equipment in to do the jobs we're getting assigned. 3 weeks going I've been unsure as to whether I'd be able to finish my week starting jobs because of equipment issues.
     
  19. memory

    memory AllStar

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    Nov 11, 2006
    WHATS the deal with the equipement I mean this is totally rediculious!! Last year wasnt a prob and this year its totally insane we will be out by thurs and they said the truck wont be in till friday by noon WHAT THE HELL is it DTV or some one just not ordring enough
     
  20. Rathmir

    Rathmir Mentor

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    May 2, 2007
    I installed for two years in Wisconsin, worked for a friend of mine from church so maybe my experience was different, but I was salaried and used his equipment and gas card. Any work that I did over 40 hours in the week was translated to overtime.
     
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