How good teamwork gets more work done AND saves money
Our blue van trundles down a country lane by the coast in the springtime. We are on our way to have lunch. A warm breeze shakes the daffodils as we
make our way to the water's edge. The lake glistens in the afternoon sunshine. The four of us line an old wooden bench. Apart from the unwrapping of
sandwiches, and distant bird song across the lake, there is not a sound to be heard.
I used to be self-employed as a jobbing carpenter, specialising in old town and country houses. Being my own boss had always appealed to me ever
since I was an apprentice. Maybe it was the way everything was down to you, and answering to nobody apart from your customers. But after 10 years
of working on my own, and apart from the occasional job where I had to call in some extra help, I was offered the chance to work for a partnership of
carpenters. I took it, for a range of reasons, but mostly because it was essentially what I was doing more of by taking on extra help. But this way I
would be doing less of the business admin, and more of what I liked - working with wood, on some really rewarding projects.
So when I look around me at my colleagues having their lunch, I realise that it wouldn't have been just any partnership I would have entered into. I
knew these carpenters fairly well, as two had been apprentices with, and the other two I had called in from time to time to help with bigger jobs.
Being in a team also means buying assets for the business is less of an impact. We're currently upgrading some of our equipment and power tools. A
series of purchases like this can be a real issue for a self-employed carpenter, but when you're in a team the cost is spread out. Also, you need to take
into account the fact that when you're working on your own, you may need to buy a piece of equipment that may be only rarely used. Hiring is an
option of course, but this is a cost as well and it's a good idea to have as much of your gear owned as possible.
For example, we needed some new area light