Harbor Freight Tools

  www.harborfreight.com
  www.harborfreight.com

Harbor Freight Tools Reviews

Updated October 23, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014
334 Reviews
3.1
334 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Harbor Freight Tools CEO Eric Smidt
Eric Smidt
212 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Paid time off accrues quickly, spiff program pays well (ESP part atleast) (in 21 reviews)

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


Cons
  • Mistreatment of employees by upper management and irregular working hours (in 25 reviews)

  • Management often insinuates lying to customers to sell the Inside Track Club memberships and the warranty plans (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Eye opening.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Head Cashier in Colorado Springs, CO
    Current Employee - Head Cashier in Colorado Springs, CO

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Ability to develop self sufficient skills
    -Fast paced
    -Transparrent enviornment
    -Ability to earn extra money
    -opportunity to strive (as long as you're a self motivated, passionate employee)

    Cons

    -Should operate on 6% payroll instead of "5.0" and have a set amount of new employee training hours on top of that, both to improve quality of service to customers and to give new employees more time to complete online training courses
    -Should improve inside track club and add a rewards program

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Focus more on sales programs
    -Focus more on development of employees who have talent
    -Scheduling fairly, and to peak hours

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Fun place to work, but can be hectic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Head Cashier in Mesa, AZ
    Former Employee - Assistant Head Cashier in Mesa, AZ

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Fun work environment, very laid back as long as you get your job done properly, great chances to make more money by selling replacement plans and memberships. Easy to move up in the company if you want to.

    Cons

    Higher-ups don't understand the store environment and will put outrageous requirements, like giving more work with less time to do it in. One of the worst problems is that managers can't schedule more people if sales are low, but sales are low because there aren't enough cashiers or people working the floor to help customers. It's a never-ending cycle. Also, can be very busy and customers get annoying because it's usually middle-aged men in a tool store, so they already think they know everything and that you should be bowing down to them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow for more emphasis on customer service rather than just stocking the shelves.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    District Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Growth is outstanding ...

    Cons

    No major Issues what so ever...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you've been doing

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Some good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Cashier in Englewood, CO
    Current Employee - Cashier in Englewood, CO

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Fun job good crew fun customers store management is great. Todd and John are the best. What can you say about Jen?

    Cons

    Upper level management is clueless they obviously have NEVER worked in a harbor freight store before and they panic at the drop of a hat

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Plesse learn how to make schedules. Do not panic!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    At the end of the day, they sell cheap tools for cheap prices.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Calabasas, CA
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Calabasas, CA

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Exposure to diverse technologies. Great place to learn retail. Office is close to food and grocery store.

    Cons

    Lack of direction from leadership. Training could use some improvement. Workplace has no frills.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Walk around and talk to people about who they are and what they do.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    Squandered Opportunities, Lack of Leadership, and a Disengaged HR Division

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Oklahoma City, OK
    Current Employee - Manager in Oklahoma City, OK

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    There are some, but the HR mouthpiece responding to the reviews ignores the opportunities and real issues so I'm not going to list them.

    Cons

    As mentioned in many previous reviews, there is no real opportunity for advancement despite the company opening new stores at rapid clip which is reflective of a lack of involvement by the HR department both from the corporate level down to the regional HR level. Don't bother contacting the regional HR manager, as the only way they will respond is if issues are presented in a way that could result in their being placed in the cross hairs of being exposed for negative attention. Even then, what action and effort they put forth is merely a reflection of what is demonstrated by the myriad outside hires that are only focused on "me" rather than "we."

    The annual store manager vacation has just taken place and though there were platitudes of a need to promote from within, the reality is it will be another "program/initiative" that won't be followed, supported, or acted upon by the DM's, RM's, and yes....regional HR representatives. As long as they can do little, ignore the realities in the stores, and sit on their collective backsides in their offices, and send out hyper-critical emails to the stores, nothing is going to change. The past few years have been one of bringing in talentless outsiders more concerned with sucking up and self-serving attention grabbing.

    When you have DMs, RMs, and corporate executives (regional HR managers as well) that don't talk to the management and staff in the stores (in the south, this is SOP), this "justifies" the constant stream of outside hires that tend to fail in relatively spectacular fashion and frankly fail (quit or termed) just as fast as HFT opens a new store. Dig deep and you will likely see a turnover rate of 100-150% in AM and SM positions. Is this how one achieves growth and potential? No, this is how and why there are so many mediocre stores. Mediocrity begets mediocrity. We can only presume that the fantasy that was the IDP from the previous year is going to die a quiet death this year, since it was for the most part dead on arrival last year. Again, this reflects a disengaged HR division, field management more concerned with bringing in those they feel they can manipulate, and a lack of managerial courage to face what needs to be faced.

    The saddest part of the current toxic environment, is there is potential for this organization and there is a lot of talent in the organization, but both are being squandered. You cannot simply open stores for the sake of opening and hope that outsiders are going to understand and navigate what HFT is and who their customers are if you don't promote those managers in the stores that have and typically do outlast the outsiders that fail. One metric that should be a part of the DM, RM, and regional HR evaluation is "How many AMs have I promoted?" If the number is low or zero, which is probably true of most areas in the company, then the issue isn't "lack of talent in the stores," it's a "lack of commitment" on the part of the DM, RM, and yes, regional HR management. The reality is that most of these individuals are projecting that they KNOW they couldn't manage a Harbor Freight store given the current draconian staffing standards and marginally supported programs/initiatives that continue to be rolled out and forced upon the stores. Perhaps one of the core values should be "We hire those that can't do to manage those that can do."

    If the HR staffer that responds to these reviews was serious about affecting positive change, they would cease with the cut and paste responses. We get it, you really don't care, but this is your job to find some snippet of positivity. It is well-known and understood at the store level, that HR is impotent when it comes to addressing HR concerns, employee morale, and implementing HR initiatives (much less developing a strategic HR plan for the proposed growth of the company). It might be a better use of time to research what it takes to become a great company and a simple internet search will bring up many links to relevant information. Yes, there are retailers on the list, but it's no surprise that HFT isn't on any of them. I'd be more than willing to help you, but I work for individuals that engage in retaliatory actions and in a district and region that don't support stores.

    Let me offer some recommended strategies as a starting point:

    1) Bring back the employee engagement survey and hold grassroots meetings with the hourly employees without fear of reprisal (the last few quite often had SMs and DMs standing over the employees)
    2) Call out and hold to accountability those DMs, RMs, and regional HR managers that have a poor promotion from within record (if you aren't loyal to them, they won't be loyal to you)
    3) Include in the evaluation of DMs, RMs, and regional HR managers, turnover percentage for AM and SM positions (a high turnover is an indication of toxic environments and lack of commitment to development)
    4) Spend some time in the stores (leave your laptops and phones in the office) and walk a mile in their shoes (you might learn something)
    5) Develop a serious HR strategic plan (you don't have one now)
    6) Start researching what makes a company great from an employee perspective (happy employees take care of customers who in turn make companies profitable)
    7) Commit to the concept of leadership rather than talking about it and remove those DMs, RMs, and regional HR managers that don't support leadership (search for the 10 most important principles of leadership)
    8) Commit to training and development and provide the resources to accomplish this (payroll for training, not out of the store budget) rather than a reliance only on web-based attempts usually accomplished with threatening messages from the DM and RM
    9) Accept, know, and understand that the current work environment in the stores needs attention and develop strategies to change the current environment, again I suggest you do an internet search for Ken Blanchard on creating a positive work environment.
    10) Work to become a stronger HR division (the turnover in the past two years at the top of your department is disturbing and negatively affecting confidence in that department's ability. Search for the major HR organizations and the standards they state are critical to a strong HR department

    In closing, I realize there is likely going to be a perception of bitterness in my review, but this is born out of frustration in trying to do what is best for the organization, seeing the potential of the organization squandered, being retaliated against in evaluations and interactions, and seeing competent peers and myself being held back to babysit outside hires that are of marginal talent. When you fill critical positions with sycophants and narcissists, you create an environment of "me" and lose sight of the "we."

    I also know that despite the relative anonymity of Glassdoor, there is high likelihood that retaliation is going to occur as well as a directive from HR and the top executives to force individuals to post glowing reviews since it has happened many times in the past.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Accept you don't have all the answers and solutions
    2) Develop and promote from within rather than constantly going to the outside (to include DM, RM and especially SM)
    3) Be realistic in staffing and payroll levels in the stores (far too lean and frankly unsafe for employees)
    4) Fix the programs that are already in place before forcing more on the stores
    5) Commit to training initiatives that are meaningful
    6) Simplify bonus programs rather than one that is intended to deny bonuses
    7) Commit to developing a strong HR department (it's very weak now) and support it, rather than undermining it
    8) Commit to developing leaders rather than hiring and promoting sycophants
    9) Commit to reducing turnover and strengthening the workplace environment (store and corporate)
    10) Don't retaliate against input from those in the stores, they work with the customers and programs on a daily basis
    11) Commit to making HFT a preferred employer (benchmark against the top 100 companies to work for)
    12) Understand that metrics are tool, not the only measure of success, balance the qualitative against the quantitative

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Oct 23, 2014HR Liason

    Your candor and feedback is certainly appreciated. As you know, one of our core principles is continuous improvement which, simply put, means we constantly strive to improve. An important component ... More

  8.  

    Unorganized, unfriendly, corporate only mantality.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools

    Pros

    Hours, employees, discounts, dicount discount.

    Cons

    Horrible upper management and owner is incompetent

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work the stores before you become upper management

  9.  

    "If you don't mind a little hard work, you can get rid of your gym membership."

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work with schedule, not hard but can be physically demanding. Full time get good benefits.

    Cons

    Promoting is difficult. Position needs to be available and if you are good at your position you'll probably be there forever. Customers can be rude.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You get what you pay for, part timers are not career employees. They can find part time jobs anywhere. Increase hourly wage.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Ok

    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools

    Pros

    Flexible hours and OK pay.

    Cons

    Management work you to hard and set impossible goals. You also never get your break on time. They also gossip.

  11.  

    I handle the Register and restock work in the warehouse.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Cashier in York, PA
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Cashier in York, PA

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Job is simple and easy and friendly co-workers.

    Cons

    Benefits are for only full-time, Management is highly demanding. and at times places too much responsibility on one employee

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop changing policy to add more money and start adding policy to help out your employers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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