May 262015
 

My son is now 16 and has shown interest in getting a job. This makes me happy but also hesitant. When I was his age, actually younger, I was already a thriving member of the working force. Thriving off of the minimum wage I was earning to mop floors, stock shelves and clean bathrooms. Every experience is important and I include those early years as the beginning of building a work ethic. I also remember missing out on high school functions and during college struggling with finding enough time to study. I felt like I had to work then. I have never made either of my children feel like they have to work. I want them to have full immersion during high school and college. So how do I respond to him wanting a job. I ask how much he wants to earn and what for. He wants however much it will take to buy a corvette. I loved my corvette and cannot wait until the next one but if I had one at that age I would have gone down in a ball of flames. I was not any where near ready to handle a car like that as a teenager. I put that aside for another discussion and see if I can engage him in other money making ventures. I am willing to pay him for work around the house on top of his measly allowance. I am sure I can beat minimum wage. Then I remember something I was planning on trying out this summer. Building and selling wine bottle trees. These things are gaining popularity and I have successfully built a few already. This will help him understand business on a level that punching a clock will not. He will have to deal with material purchasing and costs, pricing for profit, time management, advertising, selling and most importantly his fear of the mig welder.

He agrees to give it a go and we jump right in. His last experience with the welder was several years ago and after one tack he could not get away from it fast enough. Now fully in his immortal teen years he is ready to give it a go again. This time he takes to it easily. I show him a few tips and warnings to keep him safe and after supervising for a while let him go on his own. I stay in the garage close by while I work on other projects. I am the clutz in the family so I am the only one that gets hurt on this day. More on that later. He manages to get four wine trees built in about two hours. At a possible profit of $40 to $60 this beats minimum wage, big time. We start a spreadsheet to track time and material and call it a night. Next phase is to get the word out that we can make these wine bottle trees and will even take custom orders. The wife has agreed to help him advertise and find buyers. I stress that this service along with using the welder has a cost and will cut into the profit. It is a good start.

Here is an image of the wine bottle tree I made for the wife for Christmas. We are using this as a guide for the new ones.

wine bottle tree

This is what happens when the Death Wheel (angle grinder) gets away from you. I just expect to draw blood every time I walk into the garage these days.

death wheel feeds

 Posted by at 5:30 pm