Question 9: If you have to cut staff, how will you decide whom to cut first?

Dennis D. Gehman, Gehman Custom Remodeling

Craig Durosko, Sun Design Remodeling Specialists
We have a worst-case and best-case budget for 2009. We have trigger points both on the upside and downside for both overhead expenses and staffing. If we have to cut staff, it will be based on their performance, impact on the client experience, and impact on the company.

Peter Feinmann, 
Feinmann Inc.
I want to keep my "A" players. Those who have less skills and less value are the first to be terminated.

Dennis D. Gehman, Gehman Custom Remodeling
We base it on what positions we can do without, then look at who brings the most to the plate that we really want to be around for the long term, in combination with pay scale. Some younger workers are less expensive to keep on and show great promise for the future.

Alex Iosa, Iosa Construction Corp.
Fortunately, we are a very small company (two owners) with no staff to cut. Even when we were extremely busy, we never took on new employees and leveraged our subcontractors to do the majority of the work. This allowed us to save money by not having to pay workers' compensation. When we were slower, we never had to worry about keeping employees busy. Keeping our overhead low and knowing how to do all facets of the business including working in the field has definitely been a key ingredient to our success.

Chris Landis, Landis Construction

Paul Irwin, Pattern Builders
Assuming the staff are good and efficient, cutting staff means there's not enough work or not enough profitable work that’s basically a sales and marketing problem. But if cutting staff is a must, I’ll cut my own salary first before letting any good people go.

Chris Landis, Landis Construction Corp.

LIFO = last in, first out, assuming everyone is an "A" player.

John Murphy,Murphy Bros. Designers & Remodelers
Whoever is spending the most time surfing the Web and standing by the coffee pot.

Jane Regan,HB Building and Design
We cut our laborers first. We keep our top performers working steadily, and also keep our office staff, assistant designer, and marketing manager (fairly new position) going because they will help generate new business.

We also send our top performers to night school. They are Hispanic, and we send two of them now to ESL class. They are in their second semester and really enjoying it. Next semester I have two other guys lined up for class.

Jane Regan, HB Building and Design

It is important for us to develop our employees’ personal dignity and self-esteem through training and team-building. We have quarterly meetings to keep them all up on the state of the job market, our prospects, and the importance of working with clients. We offer health insurance, 401(k) matching, and five paid holidays to all.

Alex Shekhtman,
Elite Remodeling
No more staff for me.