Quality tradespeople aren’t always available locally right when you need them. Hayden Wright, Director at Comag, a New Zealand-based plumbing company that services the wider Waikato & Wairarapa areas with bases in Matamata & Masterton, was fortunate enough to hear about Journeyman from one of Comag’s partner companies, at a time when they were in need. This is his story of working with the Berlin-based start-up.
Tell us a bit about Comag and what types of projects your company specializes in.
Hayden: We’re a Matamata-based plumbing business in New Zealand, that provides services in plumbing, roofing, gas-fitting and drain-laying. Our projects are typically split into 40% residential and 60% commercial/industrial, and we work on anything from motel blocks to high-rise buildings, hotels and supermarkets.
We currently have around 50 staff members and are looking to expand. However, as you know, it’s difficult here in New Zealand to find highly skilled and qualified tradesmen, hence why we partnered with Journeyman.
Why did you choose to go against the grain and try something new and unknown like Journeyman?
Hayden: Well to be frank, it’s exciting to have new people from different parts of the world as part of the team. They teach us as much as we teach them – each culture has their own way of doing things.
How would you describe the initial communication with Journeyman? Were there any concerns from your side?
Hayden: At the beginning we were honestly a little unsure. Fortunately, we work alongside another Matamata-based company that recommended your services. Once we decided to commit, we figured we would stick it out to see how it goes, but I have to say, we were utterly shocked and surprised by the amazing tradespeople that we received. I must say, we were very happy – Journeyman really exceeded our expectations in terms of quality.
How did you find the process from originally hearing about us, to getting a tradesperson on the ground & ready to work?
Hayden: It was really easy! I had an initial Skype meeting with the Journeyman team, which was very helpful. And along the way, they explained each step of the process and made things very straightforward. They then narrowed it down to a few CV’s of candidates that suited us and ticked all the boxes to match the type of person we were looking for. We met with each candidate via video chat, and from then on, it was pretty much just a month with a few back-and-forth emails before the candidates turned up here in New Zealand. So overall it was a very simplistic and speedy process.
What projects do you have our Journeymen currently working on? Knowing that things are slightly different in Europe, do you think they’re adapting to those tasks well?
Hayden: I think they adapted very well! We had our first two Journeymen on separate job sites, both of which were 3-story building developments; one was an apartment block and the other was a retirement village. They were both quite commercialized projects, and the candidates’ previous experience in commercial work really helped them. I would say the hardest part was the fact that English is their second language, rather than native tongue, however, it wasn’t that big of an issue – all I had to do was ensure that I paired them with others that were interested in taking the time to explain themselves properly, so it wasn’t a big deal!
And how are they adapting outside of work?
Hayden: We’re a very social team, so outside of work we hold a lot of events and frequently do things together on the weekends. That could be anything from going fishing together to having a beer and watching a Rugby game. The Journeymen have embraced these activities and fit right in [see photos below]!
Overall, how have you found it working alongisde Journeyman? Do you intend to bring over any additonal Journeymen in the future?
Hayden: Overall, I’d say I’ve had a very positive experience working alongside Journeyman. We will absolutely bring over additional Journeymen, as it is a very easy approach for us to get our ‘labour’ fixed. The first company I look to call is Journeyman!
Anything further you’d like to add?
Hayden: I’d recommend Journeyman to any company! It’s a super easy process and the quality of the workers is extremely high.
What is Journeyman all about?
Journeyman is a German based start-up with a mission to build a global online-platform for the trades. Starting out, we’re helping construction companies from around the world find highly skilled and qualified tradespeople from Germany, Austria and Switzerland through our global trade-exchange program. Furthermore, we love sharing our insights with the industry and helping construction companies develop better and more sustainable Human Resource strategies.