The Spotlight

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04 Mar, 18
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You would not believe what I see in the av staffing business and I can't even tell you the truth, I mean the whole truth and nothing but the truth because that would be giving away my headaches and heartaches. I really care about my business and I absolutely love the av staging industry. It is fascinating when an empty ballroom becomes a Broadway show! Every job, every call I get is different! It's exciting and it's live. Of course, it's all the people I get to meet whether they work for me or I work for them.

Speaking of people which is all I do... finding the good ones is not easy. There are no magic buttons, or tests, or interviews that will tell you how they are going to perform out there on a production staging or at a convention center or hotel until you pull that trigger and put them out. You know, the ones you don't know if they are going to work out until you put them to work. You have to rely on your best instincts, you have to rely on your greatest guys to tell you how they do (pair them up if they are new or have a year of experience). We also depend highly on our quality control forms we send to our clients so they can tell us what they think of our picks we send to work for them. You also have to see them work for yourself.

Personalities play a huge part in it as well. You can have a great technician bump heads with a producer and boom they’re off the show! You can have a new guy that is working out perfectly and looks like he's been around for years. It's all about people stuff! What you look like, how you carry yourself, how and when you speak, how you dress, your work habits, etc. on the freelancer end.

On the client end, you need to treat local technicians with respect, like they are part of your overall team. I will warn you that you will get, what you give. You will get a great happy crew if you treat them with respect, give them breaks, direct them and give detailed directions on what they should be doing, or how you want it done. You will get great results by treating all other human beings well too. It stands in any situation in life. Once I got bumped up to first class on Delta because I said to the flight attendant re-booking folks because of weather that she could book me anytime that was good for her and promised not to give her a hard time. She looked up and said "thank you and I just bumped you up to first class... That was the first and last time I flew first class. It was nice! So, if you are nice, flexible, give good directions and planned the show well, then you should have no av labor issues.

There is a lot you can see during interviews and from technical exams but it doesn't measure the "soft" skills as they are called. The ones that mean so much more that some people just don't get. Like personal hygiene, ironing a shirt, wearing sneakers other than your favorite green ones, being just "a little" late, leaving when 5pm comes like we are in a 9-5 job. What??? Get that overtime guys or at least let the clients know you have to leave to pick up your kid at the day care would be a great reason to inform them you need to leave at a certain time early in the morning. Even better, take care of that so you can in fact stay beyond the scheduled call time. I know during the busy times you book back to back, but you cannot leave a client high and dry. If a client still has work to do, you must stay for the entire time they need you. Period! Don't book back to back calls... Just don't do it. Time and a half should take care of that. Of course, some of you won't get overtime but working for IC on an 8 hour call you will!

Also clients make mistakes on call times that mess up freelancer's schedules as well. So that needs to be taken into consideration as to whether they get paid or not. It depends upon how long the notice is whether you should pay them for the error. If I can put them to work elsewhere that is not an issue but if I can't and I already did my work I would expect to get paid too... But there are many opinions and it is something that needs to be talked about more, for sure. We have written policies but we all know we have to work together again so a mutual fair & satisfactory outcome is met for everyone... During the busy times, just suck it up and pay the guys... If you can bill for it, then pay them for it and if you can't, suck it up, and pay them, they will love you for it!

Employers are now having to pay sick leave to all employees, part-time or full-time it does not matter. It can add as much as 80 hours of pay a year per person depending upon the state so, you will see rates going up to adjust for this perk for part-time employees. It can't be free... nothing is free, someone has to pay for it. I think it is a good thing but, in my case, not only will I have to pay someone to stay home sick but then I have to replace them too. I am in double jeopardy... which is a big issue for staffing companies. It accrues by state and usually by the number of hours a part-timer might work. For instance; if a freelancer in MA works 30 hours they get an hour of sick pay up to 40 hours in a year. I won't get into how this works and the time off it covers but I have already had a call from an av technician to see if they could "cash in" this time... And the answer is NO!

So that's my thoughts for the today... Do you have any input on these subjects? Or freelance technicians getting sick pay? Opinions on cancellations of jobs during the busy season? Or cancellations in general? What do you think is fair? What about the dress codes these days?

Thanks for reading...

Patty McGoldrick

Owner Immediate Connections, Inc./

Audio Visual Technicians AudioVisual Industry

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Patty McGoldrick

Patty McGoldrick

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