Harbor Freight Tools

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Harbor Freight Tools Reviews

Updated Jul 20, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.7 288 reviews

37% Approve of the CEO

Harbor Freight Tools CEO Eric Smidt

Eric Smidt

(189 ratings)

38% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • I live how fast this company is growing and the opportunities that were recently presented to me(in 10 reviews)

  • Paid time off and sick time, health insurance for full timers(in 17 reviews)


Cons
  • Plenty of turnover in upper management/executive level at the corporate office(in 21 reviews)

  • Management often insinuates lying to customers to sell the Inside Track Club memberships and the warranty plans(in 10 reviews)

288 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    • Culture & Values
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    2 people found this helpful  

    A mildly irritating, and nearly adequate job.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Salem, NH

    ProsIts a pretty laid back atmosphere, with a relaxed dress code. Some friendly managers or supervisors makes the job better. The fellow employees can be great and you can view a few of them as family after a while. Most of the customers are pretty good, you can actually stand around and have a conversation with them once in a while if you're on a roll and joking with them. As a sales-floor associate you generate a little over a week of paid time off a year, and 2-3 days of paid sick time a year. Low-end promotions are possible, as in it's not too hard to move up to a supervisor position, moving up to management seems near impossible. Training is quick, but not that efficient and ends up being a running joke between employees.

    ConsScheduling is a nightmare. Every week you will have a completely different schedule, and so will everyone else except for whichever manager makes the schedule. Lots of favoritism. If one of your managers doesn't like you, and their closing with you, expect that you'll be cleaning the bathrooms. And it doesn't matter how long in advance you put in for time off, your not going to get it, and when you say you wont be in and you gave them plenty of notice, the managers treat you like the bad guy. But dont worry, your managers will change very few months. Very few last much longer than a year, or leave for somewhere else.

    Your pushed to sell warranties and coupon subscription plans. Whatever you sell, you get roughly 10% commission, but the only way to sell warranties is either getting lucky with a customer that wants one and will ask for it, throwing a lie at the customer and talk it up, or scan a coupon when their not looking and trick them into buying it. The supervisors and managers will tell you to use the coupon scanning method (cheating), but tell you to hide it. But if the district managers find evidence of the cheating, someones probably getting fired. You get yelled at if you don't meet the goals set for selling these things. I've heard the managers get some kind of bonus if the store sells a lot of these, so that's all they care about. The yearly coupon subscription (ITC's) are junk, and all the employees know it, but we still are required to sell these things, and most the customers who do buy it still don't even get the coupons that their paying for.

    Everyone always whines about the job, and there is a lot of people who will just stand around and do nothing.

    The companies name collection is a bit over the top. There a quota every week for how many new addresses and email address we have to collect as a store, and it's to the point, atleast at my store, that we pretty much bully them into giving us something or else their checkout process takes forever.

    The inventory system is a joke, and so is receiving shipments. Most of our freight guys are at court if they don't show up for work.

    I've been with my store since opening a little over a year ago, and sales on average has gone down, but people get about the same hours anyway.

    Base pay at my store is 9/hr. Asst Head Cashier 10/hr. Head Cashier about 11/hr. Assistant pricing coordinator 9.25/hr. Pricing Coordinator 9.50/hr.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet your show together. Make your store a better place, starting with you.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    Harbor Freight Tools HR Liason responded to this review

    Jul 23, 2014

    Thank you for your insightful feedback. We especially appreciate your pointing out the casual atmosphere and camraderie in the workplace. We hear that consistently and we're grateful that we can ... More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Very laid back work, flexible, some store manager can be overboard sometimes

    Cashier (Current Employee) Duncanville, TX

    ProsFlexible, pay for high school student, commission, parking lots sales

    Conssome customer with the ITC who think they purchased it but really didn't

    Advice to Senior ManagementMore money during raises

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Unreasonable expectations

    Assistant Manager Operations (Current Employee) Ewing, NJ

    ProsCasual atmosphere for the customer

    ConsSales quotas unreachable in this location

    Advice to Senior ManagementAllow the managers to manage. Micromanaging is not the way

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    Harbor Freight Tools HR Liason responded to this review

    Jul 3, 2014

    Thanks for your valuable input. We agree, Harbor Freight offers a comfortable, casual atmosphere for its customers, and we believe for our employees as well. We also appreciate your feedback about ... More
  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
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    1 person found this helpful  

    I've been here for a year and a half and I loved it…Good Company and great growth. Top performers excel

    Data Operations Manager (Current Employee) Calabasas, CA

    Pros• High growth, high opportunity environment.
    • New management that understand the business and are committed to providing a top-tier working environment with work-life-balance.
    • State-of-the-art Technology platform…
            - Multiple recently implemented applications with road maps to support growth.
            - Great opportunity to grow with the company and the technology.
    • Solid and proven business model.
    • Ability to drive change and all levels within the organization.
            - Very flat organization.
    • Continuous improvement is valued and rewarded.

    Cons• It takes a highly motivated, passionate and talented individual to thrive in this environment.
    • If you’re not motivated, passionate and talented you won’t be as successful as you could be.

    Advice to Senior Management• Keep doing what you’re doing and continue the rapid and controlled growth of the company

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Good for entry-level positions

    Retail Clerk (Former Employee)

    ProsThe company is mid-sized but growing, so it is more personal than larger hardware companies. On the first day, I met the District Manager for the region and he actually helped us set up the new store. I got a great sense of community from this company.

    ConsThe management of a new store was a bit unorganized. I wasn't aware of scheduling until a day or two before, which proved to be inconvenient.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Unrealistic Expectations in a Great Environment.

    Assistant Manager (Current Employee)

    ProsIt feels like family in the store. The dress code is awesome. The benefits are competitive with other companies. Fast paced, never a dull moment. Great Customer Base.

    ConsThere is always so many tasks to complete and never enough hours to get the tasks done. The Truck process is unrealistic, and never gets completed on time which puts all other tasks behind. Lots and Lots of Heavy Lifting. Their HR and LP department are a joke. You never get a response from them and it seems that they ignore most problems. DO NOT call the integrity hotline as you are labeled then as a troublemaker and the person always finds out that you reported them. The POS system that they recently upgraded to is worse than the old one. It constantly crashes and customers get frustrated because of having to wait so long to get checked out. There is never enough payroll hours to get all the tasks completed plus keep basic store standards up to par. You are told to cheat to sale ESP's and ITC's but if the Corp finds out that you cheat they terminate you for it. Not a female friendly work environment due to all the heavy lifting in the store. Plus customers often ask to speak with a man instead of a female. Customers expect us to be able to tell them how to use the product when we are never trained on any of the products. You can never use your PTO because the store is always short handed. The hiring process is a joke. It can take upwards of a month or more to get one person hired in the store.

    Advice to Senior ManagementProvide better store support and equipment to your employees. Do not set unrealistic goals and then not give the support needed to meet the goals. Please increase payroll hours. Only having 2 people in store is not safe. One person on the register and one person having to lift items alone that weigh upwards of 200 lbs is a common and unsafe practice. Better training on product knowledge. Stop growing until you get all the issues worked out that you currently have. Give employees better work/life balance. Understand that we and our families are important. Recognize our victories not just our failures.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    Harbor Freight Tools HR Liason responded to this review

    Jul 15, 2014

    We're so glad to hear you enjoy your work environment, co-workers, dress code and benefits at Harbor Freight Tools. We also thank you for your feedback on how we can improve. As the company continues ... More
    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Never ending battle

    Head Cashier (Current Employee)

    ProsBe cautious of reviews from "Calabasas, CA" that is corporate headquarters and senior executives are trying to make a good impression upon the company. This company does not hire smart and educated people, contrary to a previous reviewer's comment.

    Pros;
    1. Easy to get into the company, even felons are hired
    2. Benefits for full time employees are good

    Cons1. Pay - other retailers will pay you more, even Menards compensates for weekend shifts. Harbor Freight rationalizes this by pushing replacement guarantees and memberships. If you do not meet your numbers, you will be fired.

    2. Scheduling - scheduling is chaotic at best. Forget about having a set schedule.

    3. Work load - frequent call offs, labor shortages, and reduction of hours puts a strain on regular, working employees. Prepare to work your butt off for 7.95 an hour, before taxes. You are also expected to sell Inside Track Memberships. They are extremely hard to sell; you get berated when you don't sell them; even customers know they are a rip off. You will frequently have angry customers do to coupon exclusions. Return policy is antiquated and draconian. Customers will be angry; you, regardless if you are an associate or stores manager, will vent this at you while senior management will kiss the customer and give them 100 bucks for their 10 mile trip.

    4. Unclean/unsafe environment - these are Chinese tools, manufactured with unmentionable chemicals; you will smell this in the store immediately. Since payroll is stringently controlled, you will be loading 500 lb items yourself with maybe one other associate to help, no motorized equipment to aid.

    5. Micromanaging - retail failures liquidated by REAL retailers circa 2008 have made it into the company since the recession - HFT has soaked up talent (warm bodies) from failing companies. These people like to ice pointless tasks. The other day, the district manager wanted us to report to him, for the whole store, each reason for each discounted item for the entire weekend. Wow.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRealize that you are micromanaging and let people work. Give stores more hours, you have a 50% profit margin every year, Eric Schmidt can afford it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    Harbor Freight Tools HR Liason responded to this review

    Jul 9, 2014

    Thank you for your input. We know that, even though Harbor Freight is growing exponentially with great success, we're always striving to improve, for our customers and for our team. And while we ... More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    half decent ok for learning experience.

    Warehouse Associate (Current Employee) Palm Springs, FL

    Prosrelaxed dress code PTO for all employees.

    ConsThe companies pay is nowhere close to the standard pay.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAcknowledge all of your employees sfforts on a equal scale.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    They Talk a Good Game

    Sales Associate/Customer Service (Former Employee) Palm Harbor, FL

    ProsIf you have a good store manager it can be a good place to work. Most of the people I worked with were dedicated people and I never had a cross word with anyone, and I was fortunate to have a great store manager. The customers were friendly and I enjoyed helping them. It's a decent part time job for a single person with few outside obligations.

    ConsShort sighted corporate has oversaturated this area with new stores so everyone's sales have dropped off. Because of that, new stores have not met sales forecasts resulting in everyone's hours being cut. The store managers are pressured to sell the Extended Service Plans and Inside Track Club memberships and they have no choice but to pass down that pressure to the employees. Hours are not consistent so you may get 18 hours one week, and 12 hours the next week, and the starting and ending times might vary which makes it very difficult to plan your life. Many employees are married and have children and it is impossible to make sure family obligations are met when you never know from one week to the next what time you will be starting and ending work, or what days you will be scheduled.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou talk a good game and maybe you were able to keep your promises a few years ago but you have dropped the ball. You might as well be honest and change the name to "Harbor Freight Tools and Extended Service Plans" because you have made that a priority instead of customer satisfaction and employee well being. You've oversaturated this area with new stores and old stores that were once thriving are now starving along with the new guys who can't possibly meet sales expectations. Because of that, everyone's hours have been severely cut over what was promised and a person can't pay their bills on 5 to 15 hours a week. The days scheduled for work and the starting and ending times can vary from week to week which makes it is impossible to run a family. For example, I might work 6:00 am to 12 noon on one day and then 2:00 to 8:00 pm the next day, but that's only for this week. Who knows when I'll be working next week? But as long as we sell the ESP plan and the Inside Track Clubs the district manager smiles and gets off our backs for a while. Upper management needs to learn that the tools are the inanimate objects of the shelves, not the human beings who work in the store. You expect loyalty from employees but loyalty is a two way street. Some of you upper management guys should try running a store for six months. I think there would be some major changes if you had to eat your own cooking.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Approves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Love the company and growth- needs balance

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsCompany is growing and forward focused. Dedicated to processes and improving execution and needs to balance this by not outgrowing its people. Store team works hard and successful managers are active in everyday operations.

    ConsCompany is too operationally focused. Pay needs to be evaluated for experience, off hour shifts. Workload is too much at one time for stores. Company holds stores to standards without providing proper support ( trucks are never right and don't get better, no consideration for conditions, schedules change too often). HQ does not listen and there is not a true open communication culture...very disappointing.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCompany needs to invest in assistant manger and store manager development...actually invest in time and allow them to practice skills. Training, although improved through computer training , stores need more training in the field . District Managers don't spend time training....only finding fault. Can be a fun place to work but need more positive information/ feedback from senior management. Also, take action when stores present obstacles to success...it is not complaining. Seems HQ people continue saying, "get it done" without really listening to facts from stores.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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