Harbor Freight Tools

www.harborfreight.com

Harbor Freight Tools Reviews

Updated January 27, 2015
Updated January 27, 2015
382 Reviews
3.0
382 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company is growing at the rate of 50 stores per year (in 12 reviews)

  • Paid time off accrues quickly, spiff program pays well (ESP part atleast) (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Mistreatment of employees by upper management and irregular working hours (in 27 reviews)

  • Should improve inside track club and add a rewards program (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    So far so good!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Warehouse Manager in Chico, CA
    Current Employee - Warehouse Manager in Chico, CA

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools

    Pros

    Room for advancement and opportunity to excell.

    Cons

    We need more full time employees at all times.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Excellent opportunities

    • 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

    Pros

    Good pay, challenging work, great new HQ building, good benefits

    Cons

    Young leadership team that doesn't understand or have never worked in their current areas of focus. Work-life balance is sometimes difficult.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ensure your employees know their hard work is appreciated

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    great place to be company is opening store every 4 days

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

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

    Pros

    they pay well for performance

    Cons

    very structured not alot of outside the box thinking

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    store manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Store Manager in South Portland, ME
    Current Employee - Store Manager in South Portland, ME

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools

    Pros

    Privately owned, so not much red tape... however this seems to becoming an issue with micro-management by corporate and managers not allowed to merchandise to their store's needs.

    Cons

    Growing too fast and corporate not putting any assets in improvements in current stores. Corporate Store operations over-worked with minimal staffing increase or improvements. MIS issues all the time with registers freezing up. Lot of pressure put on associates to sell replacement plans that are over-priced.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    VERY rare for current store managers to be promoted to DM, especially in the East Region.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    terrible

    • 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

    Pros

    no pros/nothimg positive to add

    Cons

    hostile work environment,lack of training,too many folks telling me what to do

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    fire the manager is whaat they di i heardd from fellow employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7.  

    The Worst Job I Have Ever Had

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Warehouse Supervisor in Billings, MT
    Former Employee - Warehouse Supervisor in Billings, MT

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools

    Pros

    The only pros are for cashiers who can earn spiffs and practically double their paychecks while warehouse workers get paid the same base wage to work overnights unloading trucks and filling shelves with no differential or extra pay whatsoever.

    Cons

    Management was terrible, never enforced policies and hires lazy teens just to fill the positions and expects someone else to train them. Full time employees are expected to pick up all the slack.
    The pay is terrible, the hours are terrible if you are warehouse, You can't use PTO during tent sales, truck nights or monthly ad set and endcap changes. The pallets from unloading truck are very disorganized with the same merchandise scattered across many pallets. The monthly budget will cut hours big time in the bad seasons and they will still expect everything to be done as if hours were never cut.
     If you have a good attitude before you start working there you can kiss your moral goodbye.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take some responsibility and be accountable for your own failures. Also, stop hiring thieves who spend more time trying to figure out how they can sneak merchandise out of the building other than doing what they were hired to do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 9 people found this helpful  

    The beatings will continue until morale improves

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

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

    Pros

    PTO, medical, dental

    Offset by the toxic environment in the stores perpetuated by feckless field management

    Cons

    Regional managers that rule by fear and intimidation (PMRs if name capture, ESP, ITC numbers aren't achieved)
    Lack of leadership from the DM level and up
    Development programs that are non-existent
    Disengaged HR department (especially in the field)
    Management myopia when it comes to programs that aren't supported by necessary resources (staffing)
    AMs are glorified cashiers (so much for trying to develop them)
    Field management that doesn't interact with AMs (to include HR regional managers)
    Staffing model focused on failure (spartan budgets, but myriad tasks)
    IT infrastructure that is suspect in terms of stability

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's hard to know where to start, but a step in the right direction would be to start over by replacing the current crop of DMs, Senior DMs, RMs, Field HR, and any executive in California that hasn't spent any time in the stores. If you don't understand the environment and culture, you darn sure don't need to be dictating what needs to be done.

    Stop paying lip service to talent management and start demonstrating a commitment to promoting from within. Currently, the focus is on hiring talentless individuals with suck-up mentalities that can be bullied, pushed around, and attempt to manage from the office.

    Get existing programs right before piling on more programs. Additionally, provide the staffing and resources to accomplish said programs.

    Increase payroll budgets. The current staffing levels in the stores demonstrate that the company cares little for the customer coming into the stores other than getting their names, addresses, email addresses, and photocopying personal checks (ethically suspect at best), potentially criminal at worst.

    Get back to the basics of retail, which is developing positive and long-lasting relationships with both internal and external customers. Current philosophy is more akin to Gordon Gecko (Wall Street) and the "Greed is good" approach to business.

    There are a lot of good people in the stores, but the current regime is focused on abusive management techniques rather than creating a company that attracts talent and keeps talent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Cashier/warehouse

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Part Time Cashier in Schererville, IN
    Former Employee - Part Time Cashier in Schererville, IN

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools

    Pros

    Pto and the managers were really good about working with my school schedule. I also made a ton of money on commission

    Cons

    Some coworkers and the short shifts

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more professional. There was an inappropriate workplace romance between a manager and employee

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 11 people found this helpful  

    The Grinch that stole Christmas

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

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

    Pros

    As a previous reviews have stated, there are some pros, but these are far outweighed by the negatives. This is a shame given the potential the organization has in its niche. There is growth, but not from within.

    Cons

    One hates to be extreme, but the current cons driven by the executive team and sycophant management in the field further exacerbated by desk jockey store manager hires is akin to opening the gates of hell and releasing pain and pestilence on the world.

    I'll try to be succinct and state these in bullet format:

    1. Given the margins this company realizes on its products, a 4-5% payroll budget with a monumental daily and weekly task list will only yield mediocrity in results and exponentially increase customer dissatisfaction along with an unsafe work environment for employees, this company can afford 7-8% payroll budgets and make money and likely would make even more money.

    2. DMs, Senior DMs, and RMs that are more concerned with looking good rather than doing good. I doubt that any of the RMs and DMs know who the AMs are in their stores. They don't talk to them when and if they do show up at a store despite trying to introduce them to those individuals. No wonder there isn't any promotion from within, these individuals don't know who works for them, much less "coaching" them.

    3. The Individual Development Program (IDP) is another program that for a few weeks each year becomes a priority only to be buried, ignored, and discounted until someone says, "Hey, we need to do this." So much for "developing" talent. Why are we wasting time on a program that the DMs, Senior DMs, and RMs don't believe in since they only hire from the outside.

    4. Store manager bonus structure is complex, confusing, and intended to encourage bad and oftentimes unethical decision making if you want to earn the bonus. As any research on bonus programs will tell you, there needs to be a challenge, but not a quixotic quest. Simplicity rather than complexity tends to be more effective. Additionally, no DM or RM should receive bonuses on programs they themselves do not sell (ITC and ESP). The fact they encourage a "by any means necessary" to achieve percentages reinforces they don't need to be rewarded, they aren't the ones paying the price with their jobs.

    5. If you want to keep good people, you have to provide enough hours to keep good people. The current payroll budgets only create a revolving door of employees. This is not how a company becomes great and only encourages those with potential to seek an employer that values their employees. Additionally, it increases shrink, both internal and external along with negatively affecting morale and engagement.

    6. Where is HR? The Regional HRMs are absent at best and are more concerned with burying what should be concerns of HR. Morale, engagement, advancement, training, development, safe working environments....not a concern and it should be. This reflects the lack of stability at the top of HR and impotence of HR for the past few years. HR should be a partner in the strategic planning, not an afterthought.

    7. Core values are talked about, but not reflected in the words and deeds of those individuals that are supposed to be "leaders" in the company. Keep in mind, if you want to affect change and culture in a positive manner, it has to start from the top. The fact that there is only one executive that actually talks to management in the stores and solicits input (the one that actually worked their way up in HFT) is a damning indictment of the quality and commitment of the rest of the management team. Most of these outside hire executives would be hard-pressed to complete what that management team in the stores do every day.

    8. The lack of payroll commitment to myriad programs doesn't result in the desired outcomes. When you strip the store of customer contact personnel to try and force fit and make inefficient and pet project programs work, these programs are going to be mediocre at best. There is a tremendous amount of management myopia in the decision making positions when it comes to programs and program support. Rolling out more programs to show you are doing something, doesn't necessarily mean you are "doing something" good for the company.

    I apologize for being more verbose than intended, but unfortunately things are becoming increasing unsafe and unhealthy in the stores both for employees and customers. It's hard to recommend a company to others when the company doesn't care about the employees that are the face of HFT. If you don't take care of those that interact with the customer, they aren't going to care about the customer. When the customer stops caring about the company, it becomes increasingly challenging to right a sinking ship (K-mart, Sears, Montgomery Wards, Woolworth)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Platitudes and promises without action only reinforce the rank and file perception that management is only concerned with lining their pockets and stroking their egos.

    Take a hard look at payroll budgets, you can afford more and you will positively influence performance and results.

    Listen to your employees in the stores, Toyota listens to their employees on the shop floor. If you are committed to Kaizen (Google it), you subordinate your ego for the good of the employee and the organization.

    Start walking the talk, currently if there are leaders in the company, it's in the stores, not at the field and executive management levels.

    Revisit programs and systems in place, when you overload the capability of the systems and the employees you negatively affect outcomes. Get it right before you add more to the task list.

    Conduct an employee engagement survey that is truly anonymous, handled by a third party, and can be conducted online or by mail away from the work environment. Take action and hold accountable at all levels those individuals that are negatively affecting employee engagement and then commit to those elements that Fortune 100 top companies to work for achieve.

    To the HR representative that occasionally comments on these postings, passing off responsibility to the HFT hotline is abdicating HR's responsibility for the "Human Resource" function in the organization. Get out of the office and into the stores and talk to the employees and management. Don't spend time with the DMs and above sharing stories about the bacchanal in Las Vegas.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Warehouse supervisor

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

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

    Pros

    Support from General manager
    GM worked with everyone's schedule
    Almost all employes all realy friendly towards each other

    Cons

    Low pay for all positions
    Managent varies from store to store
    Corporate only looks at store numbers
    Store in bad conditions

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This would be a very good company to work for if the pay was better

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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