I am the owner of a reputable high end cabinet shop. We are looking to get into closets. I have already spent major time and major money on customized software for this venture. We have the equipment in place, which includes CNC router and zero glue line bander, and we have a years worth of test projects under our belt. I am ready to take this to the next level by aggressively marketing this product.
Our reputation as a cabinet manufacturer is very important to me. We are known for very high quality products and service. I need the closet thing to follow in that vein. I am looking for someone to spearhead this entire venture, from sales to design to project management. I want someone with experience in the closet industry who would consider themselves to be exceptional at what they do, and I would expect to be able to pay this person handsomely.
If you have experience in this industry in the type of roles that I outlined above, what can I expect to pay for this kind of person?
If you were this candidate how would you want to be paid?
How much risk would you want to assume? How much guarantee would you require? What combination of these types of remuneration would ensure your participation?
What happens if this fellow produces beautiful work that the public admires but is unprofitable? Is this person in charge of creating systems that can endure involve others? Are there any non-compete clauses involved?
You boil this down to "what can I expect to pay for this kind of person?" Are you located in the hinterlands of Nebraska or are your customers in downtown Manhattan?
You've obviously given the rest of your business model a lot of consideration. Maybe you can add your thoughts about motivation and reward to this thread.
All of the things you mentioned are relevant and have been carefully considered and will be part of further careful consideration between myself and my candidate. At this time however I'm interested more in the already established compensation levels of similar positions in the market place.
No, I'm asking for the employees of my competitors, both those who are satisfied and unsatisfied with their level of compensation, and whom based on my anonymity are not being poached, to please share their insight on this topic.
This is probably a commission based position, and not without some risk for both parties as you correctly pointed out. It probably involves relocation, but it also brings compensation in the 6 figures. There are multiple hats involved; sales, design, project management....Perhaps they've worn these hats, perhaps they havent. Each hat involves additional levels of compensation, and each hat carries a separate requirement of competancy. Where else other than places like this forum can I have this conversation? I have searched for these kinds of individuals for my cabinet business for decades and have never found one. So I'm curious, just what level of compensation would it take to attract the kind of candidate I'm looking for? Is it OK with you if I ask that question here?
As you are no doubt aware, what you are looking for is a unicorn. You want someone with all the drive, ambition and risk tolerance of a business owner yet who someone who really wants to be a cog in someone else's organization.
You will never turn a cat into a dog. You can call the cat Fido and the cat may even say it's name is Fido but it's still just a cat.
In the same vein finding people who are good at project management and also good at sales is fairly optimistic. Add to this mix your mandate for growth. Imagine how much work it is for one person to successfully perform all of these functions in a small organization. What do you expect would happen if this magical guy now had to deliver similar results for 4 times as much work (count backwards for what your break even point would be with just six figure income in the mix).
Growth takes systems to sustain. Systems by their very nature leverage labor by eliminating the need for a hero.
This is a perfectly legitimate forum to ask what someone would expect to earn for (successful application of) these attributes. My question would be what do you think you could earn if you could get your cat to says "Friskies".
It really seems like what it boils down to is that you are looking for a buisness partner, not an employee. If I were this person you are trying to hire to essentially build and run this company for you , I would want more than a pay check. I would want legal documentation that welcomed me into the buisness. I would want to know that as long as I do a good job , you are not going to fire me after this is up and running and be replaced with lower paid managers. You would obviously have to set a bench mark of what would be successful.
I have a small shop, small number of employees. All good guys and work hard. I gave an opportunity to a 22 year old that had been with us for 2 1/2 years to learn the CNC. I gave him initial run through of the machine and software, and then sent him for formal training. We bought him a laptop and requested he practice at home to get his programming accurate and correct. He did this for about a week, I looked at his laptop and he had already forgotten about the chance he was given and was using it for online gaming.
Point is, an amazing opportunity and a paycheck just isn't enough for people, we should of made him have skin in the game by making him pay for some of the costs involved in him learning the software. You will encounter a similar situation with this endeavor.
I agree with Cabmaker that there a minimum of two separate functions that have to be achieved in this organization, that is not going to effectively done by one person.
I'm not sure that the person you need would be a technician, but an executive who knows how to build an organization. IOW his product is not a wood product, but an organization that creates wood products.
According the BLS an industrial manager gets between 45 and 94k with no experience.
There must hundreds of closet company designer/project managers in this country, and hundreds of retail cabinet showroom designer/project managers. I doubt very many of these people are business partners with ownership stakes in the company they work for. It is likely that for the sales volume that I want that it will require a separate individual to handle marketing. This person will make a commission based on total percentage of sales. This is a proven model that I have used in my cabinet business for over 20 years. The skill set that has eluded me and for which I am willing to pay handsomely for is the individual who can meet with customers and design projects competantly. My definition of "competantly" is the challenging aspect of this. But like every industry, there must be the low end and the high end of this skill set. What does the compensation level look like at the high end of this scale? I don't need this to move forward, no doubt my candidate and I will negotiate a fair amount. But you can never have too much information.
An important detail you left out is what your marketing channel is. Is it primarily online? Is it a retail showroom?
Yes, there are hundreds of closet designers out there, but how many also are responsible for marketing? My guess is none.
If I were in your position, I would either use my existing marketing people to also market the closet division (or subcontract it out if you don't have someone), and then hire a designer to do the design and project management. The designer I would pay a base salary of $40k with commission for average performance at another $30k.
Like others have said, I'm not sure why you would want to find the needle in the haystack guy for $100k when you can get a designer for $50k anywhere and spend another $50k to a marketing consultant.
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