I Just Need One Good Worker   By Myron Ferguson aka “That Drywall Guy™”

Maybe we all don’t notice the same things. But most people I know joke about road construction crews particularly a crew working on a city street. To most people it looks like there are way too many workers because usually there are at least 5 people standing around watching 1 or 2 working. As a small business owner I just don’t understand this. Every person on my crew has to be productive, and I don’t mean part of the day I mean for as close to all of the day as possible.

If I visit construction site to measure for materials or meet with the contractor and notice most of the crew standing around watching someone work, of course I would wonder what is wrong. It could be that the GC is not good at their job, maybe materials have not arrived yet, or maybe they are poorly supervised and are just goofing off.

I got the idea for this blog because of what happened at one of my drywall jobs recently. I had hired a crew to hang the drywall in a 2000 sq ft ranch house. All the drywall was delivered but the crew I hired had to cancel. I talked to the carpenter hoping that his framers could help hang the drywall. All he could spare was his 17 year old son. So I said OK I’ll hang the house. I have hung a lot of drywall over the years but recently I have been mostly just taping. So now I have this house to hang and all the help I have is a completely green kid. But he did seem to be real anxious to help, which is all I needed!!

The main reason hanging drywall is typically not a one person job is because the sheets are heavy and kind of awkward to carry and lift for one person. I am going to admit that I do use a hydraulic drywall lift and I even have an attachment that allows me to crank the sheet of drywall up to the actual lift. I told my new helper that I was going to do all the fastening and most of the cutting and I would help with the measuring of each sheet. We measured the first few sheets and I showed him how to cut to length and from then on he cut all the sheets to length. Soon I told him that anything under 12 feet long he should be able to carry at least close to where we need it.

Within two hours I was giving him measurements and he would cut and carry while I fastened and cut out electrical boxes and door and window openings. At first I was also applying he drywall adhesive, but before long I was falling a little behind so I asked him to start applying the adhesive as well. We hung 5600 sq ft of drywall in less than 20 hours. We were organized and efficient, and nobody had time to stand around. I have been a part of some real good three man crews over the years and when I think about it I think we worked well together because we each knew our role and actually enjoyed the fast pace and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day. I don’t think a forth of fifth person would have increased production much. I think it would have led to some standing around.

Depending on the size of the job a bigger crew is not necessary more productive, it is about actually moving and working efficiently and about the desire to get things done.

Hey that’s why I got into the drywall business. I like to get things done and I really enjoy working with people who work the same way.


  1. Another great article, Myron.

    I too, notice guys leaning on shovels at road construction. I also get twitchy when I visit jobsites to photograph or shoot video and see carpenters standing around wondering what to do while someone else is working. Sometimes, like when hanging siding, the guys on the scaffold have to wait for the next piece, but even there, they can stay ahead of the cut man.

    A favorite angle on construction stories for me is to tell readers about the workflow.
    “Carpenter #1 does this while carpenter #2 and #3 do this. When 2 and 3 start doing this, 1 does this. When they get near the end of the wall, carpenter 3 jumps off the scaffold and preps this for that, so that 1 can move over when the time is right.”

    Useful info that also hints towards efficiency. and profitability.

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