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Working at Harbor Freight Tools — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about Harbor Freight Tools pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at Harbor Freight Tools

3.5Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers4
Work Environment3

From Take this job and shove it — 10/15/2010

At our store truck day is murder. I work like crazy all day and then go home so tired I can't move. I have muscle cramps and my back is aching. Before you start thinking I am a wuss. I am a strong healthy man, I have had many strenuous jobs, but nothing compares to this crap. I would like to know how other stores do truck day.At our store two or three do all the unloading and heavy lifting,the rest work on totes that have been stacked out for them. I am not saying the people who work totes aren't working hard also, but a couple of people have to physically unstack and restack every box on that truck while a the rest of the people only have to take much lighter stuff out of totes, and they always seem to make the totes last all day so they won't have to help us. I bet if we switched one week our crew could have all the totes done in half the time. I know one thing, I for one am tired of killing myself and I will not go home another day this tired. I don't care how many hours the truck takes anymore!!!
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4.5Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth5
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From all stores — 10/03/2010

I can understand the average employee complaining on here. What I don't understand is the managers and assistant managers complaining. They get paid well and most of them do less work than the poor folks making minimum wage. The few assistant managers who do work hard will never get their own store, think about it a store manager is not going to push someone on to their own store if they work hard, the manager will however recommend the sorry ones because that is the only way to get rid of them. Think about it. We all know it is almost impossible for an assistant manager to get fired, the manager would have to write him up repeatedly, but in the meantime the assistant manager would be calling corp and bringing a shitstorm down on the manager. How many of you have an assistant manager or manager who stays hid in the office all day? It is very frustrating when the place is full,all registers going wide open and the managers won't even try to help. They could answer the phone or call in for ra numbers so the poor cashiers could keep ringing, but no, they would rather read emails and chitchat while the store is in total meltdown. I think anytime all registers are being used it should be all hands on deck and whatever they think is so important in that office will just have to wait.
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits4
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers3
Work Environment4

From Camarillo, CA — 09/15/2010

Challenges and concerns:

I read with interest the message sent out concerning the "balancing" of payroll hours and while some of the factors mentioned are valid, there is still an apparent lack of insight and understanding of what it takes to run a HFT store.

Yes, there needs to be consistency in terms of payroll budgets and staffing based upon sales, but you cannot use productivity "standards" as a basis if those standards have not been defined. Most retailers do use a percentage of sales as a starting point for allocating payroll, but you also have to take into account the non-selling facets of operating a store and it doesn't matter whether it is HFT, a grocery store, or clothing.

There was inequity in how hours were allocated previously and aspects of this are attributable to bias by those in the position to allocate hours. This is a reflection of a lack of maturity in allowing petty emotions to guide what should be rational business decisions. Just because someone doesn't like a particular manager is no reason to allocate fewer hours and more hours to the "favorites".

Achieving high productivity is a goal of any organization, but given the archaic and inefficient systems and processes in place at HFT, there is a need for a higher level of payroll for all stores. It is mentioned that task needs to be emphasized less and service emphasized more, but until those inefficiencies and overly redundant processes are remedied, reducing payroll to an arbitrary percent of sales is merely cutting off one's nose to spite their face. It is apparent that the author of the message and their supporting cast and crew really don't understand the challenges of operating an HFT store. They haven't had to navigate and run a register based upon flawed software that increases transaction times. They haven't had to receive and process a shipment (a topic for another post). They haven't had to do the myriad tasks that have to be accomplished in a day and during the week that take time away from selling but are required to be accomplished. In essence, they don't know what they are talking about when it comes to HFT at this point in time with their tenure in the organization.

The reality is there is going to be a lot of pain involved in the changes that HFT needs to experience to change successfully, but you cannot simply listen only to the new members of the senior management and how they view things should be based upon previous organizations. A mistake many new managers and executives make in companies is trying to make their mark on the organization without understanding the organization and its culture. I grant that many senior managers (including store managers, DMs, RMs, and corporate staff) needed to be replaced or placed in different positions, but the current approach in terms of decision-making is an attempt to yield high short-term returns and results, but are quite likely to generate marginal or sub-par longer-term results.

I invite the author of the message (subject: Payroll Updates) and the others involved in the decisions to include the VP of HR to spend a week in a middle to high volume store (leave your phones at the door) to walk in the shoes of those you are asking to do more with less and really find out what it takes to unload, receive, and process a shipment that isn't based upon sales (you can't convince me at this point in time the models really are based upon sales). I challenge you to spend a week running the register and the myriad keyboard combinations that are necessary to process the varied transactions. Help with setting the numerous ads that are many times just as confusing to the customers as for the employees in terms of the sheer volume of ads that have to be set and torn down during a month. Help with the daily outs (twice daily) along with the 25/100 weekly counts, the weekly POG counts, processing the daily paperwork to include shrink adjustments, damage/defects, and ensuring daily standards. A lot is asked of the store staff and I doubt you fully understand what it is like to run an HFT store. Sure you may have been successful in previous organizations, but it is important to note that past success is no guarantee of current and future success. Success is situational and a one-size fits all approach to enacting change yields limited results that are beneficial to an organization

Camaraderie, team, and dialog are also mentioned at the beginning of the message, but is there really a commitment to these concepts? The decisions that have been made and put into action seemingly don't reflect an inclusive nature of these decisions. I certainly hope that HR and the executive team are monitoring this site to gain insult on the pulse of the organization. There is a major morale problem in this organization and a definite perception of us vs. them which is not healthy for an organization to grow and change. Many of the comments posted here are valid (no, I'm not a corporate tool), just as many are simply counterproductive flames intended to make one feel better about themselves, yielding little in substantive solutions.

My challenge to everyone that is a current employee or manager is not to foment rebellion, because winning a battle to only lose the war does no one any good, but rather be the best you can in what you do and are doing. In addition to not accepting sub-standard efforts as being acceptable, speak up loudly with conviction and passion based upon sound arguments to support your concerns. There are many things that need to be fixed at HFT and many of these things have needed to be fixed prior to the change in regime. If you have given your best, no one can take that away from you. If you have tried to change things for the better and not at the expense of others, you have not sacrificed integrity and character.
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3.6Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits3
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth4
Location4
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Camarillo, CA — 08/10/2010

HFT has been very good to me. I have been here many years and actually like my job and highly respect my boss. I think the changes we have been experiencing will enable the company to operate like a real company. Sometimes this means finding external talent to help the company grow. At the end of the day, it is still a job. If you do not like who you work for, go somewhere else. That is life. I have left previous employers with much worse work environment. I am a strong believer that we each own our employability. It is not up to my employer to make us grow....that is my responsibility. For now I like what I am doing and the changes I'm seeing so I want to stay around and be a part of it. I'm disappointed to see so much negativity on this site. I never expect to stay in one job forever...I have even learned from negative work experiences...every experience is a learning opportunity for me. So, I am going to be the exception on here and actually say I like working for Harbor Freight.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect3
Benefits5
Job Security2
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From USA — 07/22/2010

Seriously. This is a simple fix. Appoint a qualified individual to increase morale throughout the entire chain. It is not going to happen on its own. It sounds like the company is throwing 2 names around pretty often on this site. Not because they are good either. Sounds like they are cancer. Appoint someone better qualified to heads up the training dept so the managers get the PROPER training. Continue the expansion and don't look back.
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3.6Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits5
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth3
Location4
Co-Workers5
Work Environment4

From USA — 07/22/2010

Let me just say I got to see it all with HFT. Over the years I truly can say that one of the reasons I was with HFT for so long was because of how the company treated its employees from the hard working cashier all the way up the ladder to the Store Manager, and beyond. It was awesome watching this company grow into what it is today. It was fun, and rewarding. HFT has definitely taken a turn recently under the new appointed leadership. I am sure this is not how it was supposed to turn out, but it did. I chose to leave HFT due to the morale being so low and the fear that everyone had about losing their jobs, including myself as I am human and no different. It kind of sucks because I really was one of the few that can say I enjoyed my job at HFT and I really did not want to leave. I enjoyed the challenges that we faced, I enjoyed taking over a store and making it operate better. I simply could not see myself being handed a pink slip. I have a family to support, I could not chance it. I saw all the employees who built this company get fired in what was obvious to everyone just because of how long they were with the company, and the new leadership wanting to bring in their own guys. Don't get me wrong, we brought in some good talent to warrant some of those firings. But many of them did not deserve what they got. Any business leader should be great full that they have employees give you 20 years plus. It makes a statement about how good of a company you are running. Morale is simply at an all time low throughout HFT. There are more problems out in the field than Corporate might think and obviously can control. This company is a mess right now and only 1 person can fix it. (ONE PERSON) and hopefully he reads this post and it starts to sink in a little. I don't want to say that the new administration has not done any good for the company, but they have definitely caused a lot of damage that will take quite some time to correct. What a shame, it was such a pleasure at one point to work here. We were making money hand over fist this past year, all of you SM's, DM's and RM's know what I am talking about. Look at the bottom line. The company has never done better from a financial standpoint. In my opinion the old regime had it together and they knew how to make money at a steady pace, they knew how to support steady growth and assured that the training was in place to support the growth so that the company did not suffer. Training is the key to success. In my opinion the training program is not at its best right now. Ask the managers throughout the company. It has been an inside joke to the Store Managers for a few years now. It was so much better before, simple, right to the point and the material was based on items that we actually dealt with day to day. We did not need the training to be all fancy, and an excessive amount of reading material. The person running it before was personally involved, on top of things and ORGANIZED. Now, one minute we are going to have a pre test, then a post test, then we are putting it on hold, then the mgr's are too busy so we are going to eliminate the requirements for this year...For the past few years it seemed as if our company was paying someone to always be working on next years material but not getting anywhere this year. Sound familiar to any of you. It was simply very unproductive and very unorganized. Can't even stick to the material that is put out. This new training is not going to prepare mgr's for the next level of responsibility and when HFT goes on a huge expansion there will be a lot of Assistant Manager's not ready for the next level of responsibility. If HFT is going to expand as many stores as it claims, this training program needs to be revisited. It is just not effective. Also, make the necessary changes up at the higher levels to correct the morale throughout the company. A great company isn't all about the bottom line. It is about morale, building a team of associates that want to work for you, not just for HFT... Funny, HFT taught me that! This truly could be a great company again.
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4.4Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers2
Work Environment4

From Midwest — 06/16/2010

I read these posts, and its pathetic that alot of people are griping about things they have 100% control over. I have only been with the company a very short time, but already I have te respect of my SM,DM,and Rm. What company can you work for that will pay you well hourly (above minimum) plus a comission rate? Stop crying and whining and get to work. If you dont like your job...quit. Keep slacking off and being insubordinant, and i guarantee they will pick someone out of the 10% of the unemployed population that is well qualified and more than happy to do your job. This is a great company to work for. Its the laziness and negative attitudes towards customers and fellow employees that make working their tough. Hold yourself responsible for your actions that cause the reactions of others. Their is no one to blame but yourself.
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4.6Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Pensacola, Florida — 06/03/2010

I am a long time retailer and most people commenting on their experience here at Harbor Freight do not have a clue to how easy they have it! All you have to do is do your job correctly and you have it easy. Rules are made to be followed not complained about. If any of these people commenting still work for the company; get out and find something else, then come back and tell me how hard it was here for you!!!
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits4
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Mesa — 05/23/2010

wow, what a trip
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect3
Benefits5
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers2
Work Environment3

From Texas — 05/22/2010

Harbor Freight is a good company to work for. Those of us who are willing to adapt to the changes that are taking place will make more money. I have no problem if the owners make a ton of money....It is his money. Harbor Freight is an "at will" employment company. You are not forced to work for them. I think that they realized that too many managers were making good bonuses for doing nothing but showing up to work. If you go to work and do a decent job, you will be rewarded. If you are lazy and expect to get things handed to you as in the past, you will get fired. I also know that things are far from perfect, but I can see hope for the future.
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