Your Only As Fast As Your Tools… Getting Sh*t Done Faster!

Story Time… 

When I was working as an Electrician for a small Modular Home Warehouse In Smokey Point, Washington, The first thing I was introduced to was the team and the… sorry for the language… shitty tools… trust me I would use worse words becuase shitty doesn’t describe the condition and effectiveness of these tools..

so let me show you what I’m talking about…

You know Dewalt right they have a contractor type of tool that is made to last and withstand some heavy use and then they have the average tool that just solid enough for the average home owner… getting an idea

Well we had the version.. you ready for this… the 14.4V version that was all plastic this is a drill you would give to your kids to play around and screw in a few holds here and there and you know the best part wasn’t the drill it was the batteries they would only last 20 minutes at most

kidding… we had the 18v versions they were good tools that could get the job just fine… but the batteries seriously compromised the functionality of the tools because they were so worn down they couldn’t properly function making the drill almost unbearable to use because it was so under powered… if you ever picked up a kids toy drill and  gave it a go…well this is what it felt like after a few minutes of use…

LESSON 1: YOUR CORDLESS TOOLS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THEIR BATTERIES

If I were you I would see if its time to replace your batteries on all your cordless tools you use becuase loosing a few seconds there is not much when you use the tool for smaller things but when you really need your tool to perform you start loosing minutes and energy… and after an 8-10 hour day that starts adding up and spending $100 tops for a new up to date battery that will rip through anything you ask it to do will pay itself off in the first few days of use…. if your doing bigger jobs with your drill I would advise getting a bigger capacity battery not because they last longer but when you really need the extra power they can throw a lot more juice at the drill when it starts to bog down and keep it at the proper running rate.

An example of this is when I bought a M18 Milwaukee hole hawg its a machine that all electricians are commonly use except this one is a cordless version that makes holes in the studs for running the wires through the studs. This one came with 5 amp hour battery…  it would rip through anything with a 7/8″auger drill bit and it would go through anything you ask it to… but when you load it up with a bigger bit like a 1 1/4″ it would have some trouble, it still made the hole but if you catch a knot you would have to back it out but and then get some speed and then plow right through that sucker with the bigger 9AH battery that Milwaukee released it wouldn’t have a problem so I stopped using the 5AH batteries all together and stated using the 9AH even for the 7/8″ because it wouldn’t bog down as much when your going through several studs or when you happen to catch a nail or two… I would recommend the super hole hawg and used it for the bigger holes 1″ and up for the pared that up with the 9AH battery it was like a dream that worked better than anything I have ever used… even the corded version of the hole hawg… it also helps to make sure your drill bits are sharp… but thats another story

This is just one example of cordless tools are only as good as the batteries you use.

Lesson 2…Invest in the Latest Tech = Happier Employees  

But not only did I do a better job but my Supervisor was so proud of me and my productivity that he showed off the tools to the general manager and other people that worked with me and I started lending it out becuase I knew that it makes more sense for them to use becuase my bits were new, sharp and the tools only weighed a fraction of the weight of the current tools we were using to complete the jobs plus it was cordless so no one was yelling at use to pick them up or get them out of the way of the scaffold, score!

I also noticed there was a lot less complaints in the rough in department that I was in.. becuase that was the majority of our job was the prep before we put in the wiring…and the people who I worked with has more energy throughout the day because they were not struggling with big bess and her dull drill bits.

Its funny to me that how a $500 and a few fresh auger bit can change a department from absolutely hating their job… this was me included… to loving it again. Not only that we had more energy throughout the day

So whats the secret…

“When your more productive you feel better about yourself”

I would advice to always be looking at ways you can improve the effectiveness of your team… unless you want to deal with the constant moaning and groaning of your employees

Lesson #3 80/20 Principle in Tools… 

My answer to you is you should buy both. Becuase you could never go wrong… in my case I have a Milwaukee M12 Fuel impact driver that I use 80% of the time and then I have a M18 Impact Driver that I use for the 20% when the job needs more power, don’t get me wrong the m12 still could do the job just slower so I used the M18 becuase I don’t like to push the M12 to its outer limits.

If your more limited with money buy the smaller tool first or the one that your going to use 80% of the time then when you save up the money I would advice you to purchase the bigger tool so the smaller one can rest every so often.

Lesson #4 Bigger isn’t always better

I worked with my Dad in the Maintenance department for a while and I saw that he was always dragging medium drain snake around when he could of used a simple 18V Drain snake and would of fit right in his bucket made work a lot simpler for smaller jobs like a bathroom drain clogs and bathtubs which we did most commonly

One day I eventually said what the heck I’m clearing drains almost daily so why not get a smaller drain snake, I went out and bought a cheap 18V by Ryobi that had a cool self feeding feature, anyways I used the 18V drain snake more then both snakes combined hence the 80/20 Rule, I remember one day I was clearing a shower drain, we were always having trouble with this drain each month becuase it would clog up for no reason and even after we had cleared it it would always drain slower then our other drains so, I remember one day I took my smaller 18V into the unit and began spooling the snake down into the clean out of the bathtub and you wouldn’t believe what I found…well it was a broken snake with a drop head that looked like one of our medium sized drain snakes we use, even my supervisor was caught clueless becuase we have never lost a drop head in any drain.. turns out that snake was lost becuase it couldn’t make a corner so it caught the corner and broke by another company that had come out few years back.

Using bigger and more bulky tools is not always a good thing in any business becuase what ends up happening is  your employees get over worked for even the smallest of jobs to be more effective in this end try to give them options in terms of tools have at least a small and larger option if you have the money invest in small, medium and large.

Another good story about this is when my Brother started a landscaping business and he went out to buy some tools for pruning back bushes and he was looking at a handheld pruner he wanted to buy the commercial heavy duty and I told him look bud your only going to need that only when you need to cut larger diameter shrubs and thats really not that often you will need to do that kind of cutting back and besides a smaller version would be better becuase most of the shrubs you will be cutting are mainly on the ground so the lightest option was better… so having argued about this for a while… little did he know I have already worked with  the lightest version of the Stihl  hedge trimmers a few weeks back becuase our neighbor let me borrow it for a few bushes I needed trimmed so I knew it was more then enough for the jobs that he was picking up… and a few weeks go buy and he comes back and says “David Its a good thing I got the smaller one becuase my hands would be dead.”

so bigger isn’t always better.