Harbor Freight Tools Reviews | Glassdoor

Harbor Freight Tools Reviews

Updated December 9, 2018
1,269 reviews

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3.2
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Harbor Freight Tools CEO Eric Smidt
Eric Smidt
679 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "The company is growing fairly quickly so there are lots of new position" (in 33 reviews)

  • "Full time employees earns 188 hours of paid time off in their first year" (in 73 reviews)

Cons
  • "Not always a good work/life balance" (in 41 reviews)

  • "Strict upper management, hires externally for management positions" (in 57 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Store manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Green Bay, WI
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Green Bay, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    20% discount
    Full time employees earns 188 hours of paid time off in their first year.
    Huge growth opportunities to advance your career.

    Cons

    We don’t have enough great people working for us. Being the company is opening a new store every two days.

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Nov 14, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thank you for providing your feedback, and we agree that Harbor Freight Tools is growing very fast these days, but we can't be successful without great Associates like yourself. We appreciate your... More


  2. "Competitive but stable income source"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Jacksonville, FL
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Jacksonville, FL
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Has competitive work environment but still relaxed and enjoyable. Has potential for increased income due to sales commission. Progression in management depends on skill and determination.

    Cons

    Competitive work environment amongst associates.

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Nov 28, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for being a part of the Harbor Freight Tools team. We love hearing from our hardworking Associates and are always listening to feedback. Looking... More

  3. "Logistics"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Logistics Associate
    Current Employee - Logistics Associate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good store manager, interesting product line, the customers are why I still work for the company.

    Cons

    Not enough hours, not school friendly, few opportunities unless you’re willing to throw out everything else in your life except work. Bad assistant managers and supervisors who have it in their heads that an “I’m the boss” mentality will get them anywhere in life and will produce results with entitled high school dropouts.

    Advice to Management

    Relax the availability requirements for your associates. You have people who are more qualified than your supervisors, but they can’t get an opportunity to advance because they are going to college or have commitments in their lives that make their availability less than 100%. The opportunity for growth is hindered by a desire to improve yourself, and it might even jeopardize your employment to the point of being released? Seriously?!? What happened to the company that wanted good people and was flexible with hours in order to have the best staff possible? Did that leave the company when Eric pushed his dad out?


  4. "Poor onboarding and management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Logistics Associate
    Former Employee - Logistics Associate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Mostly part time employees with about 8 full time positions. Good if you are a student and if you know a lot about tools. Pay was $10 starting which is decent. Couple dollars above minimum wage. $14 for supervisor(anyone can become one). Also, you could make more by selling people extended warranties and getting them to sign up for the members coupon book. You also get some paid sick time even if you're part time. 20% employee discount.

    Cons

    There were more cons than pros which led me to quit after three months. The on boarding process for new employees sucks more than any other job I've had. I had no trainer. Walked in on the first day to no idea what I was doing. They didn't even tell me to enter in through the back of the store because it was truck day, so i looked dumb from the start. Simple details and information they didn't even have the decency explain. Absolutely no communication, no time to write anything down on processes, no one-on-one training with supervisors. Other co-workers would just try and help me along as we went. There were never any clear instructions. The only "training" is 4 hours of watching videos which seemed to be helpful until you actually start and it's nothing like the videos at all. Don't be surprised if they start you on truck day which sometimes ends up being 14 hours long of heavy lifting and stocking.

    If you're on the logistics team you might as well not even have the title of logistics because you have to do sales team responsibilities too. Not to mention you're given all these responsibilities the first week while on a part time schedule and they expect you to know how to do everything by the end of the month!?? You're also paid the same amount as the sales team, but end up doing more work. They think being able to earn commission while being on logistics makes up for it, but it doesn't. You still do more hard work. AND for example you could be stocking, start helping a customer, sell them on getting the extended warranties, but when they go to the cash register the cashier will often steal your commission on it by not putting in your numbers despite telling them you sold it to them.

    To go more in depth about your responsibilities, you're pretty much thrown to the wolves. Logistics team you'll be expected to do it all. If you don't want to break your back and want a less load of work just apply for sales (still sucks, but slightly better). Sales only answers phone, cashier, greet, and try to sell. Logistics you do all that and then you do replenishment, pricing, planograms, truck, and recalibration. HFT tries to promote safety and safe lifting, but you usually can't get any assistance if you need help with heavy stuff. If you're not going fast enough they'll yell at you no matter how heavy of items you're moving. They don't want to pay for extra hours certain tasks take (such as truck unloading), so they pressure you to the point of dehydration to get everything done in the allocated time. The warehouse is a mess of products piled high always falling over and spilling. You'll also have to locate stuff in that mess quickly to deliver up front into customers cars. In stock and inventory reports are so off because of this mess and disorganization. So another store could tell a customer on the phone we have an item in stock based on report, but when they get there we actually don't have it.

    Managers will be on you 24/7 to talk customers into buying certain products so that the cashiers can then talk them into joining the HFT coupon club for more money. Managers goes as far as lying to customers and telling them they're HFT club members themselves and that they've bought certain items. Telling them all of it is so great so they'll purchase it. Then laugh about their schemes when the customer leaves. It's disgusting. It's no surprise they pressure you to sell all the extra warranties and club catalogs. The tools are so cheap and low quality there needs to be other sources of profit for this company. The amount of returns is insane because it all breaks so easily. Speaking of which, doing returns on the system is so complicated and their cashiering system is just bad. I've worked as a cashier at other places and HFT has probably the worst system to work with. Regular transactions is okay, but returns is too long and overcomplicated. You'd think for as often stuff is returned it would be much more simplified.

    ALSO! Cant forget about the parking lot sales!!!!! Where they put a bunch of sale priced products that were literally that same price a couple weeks ago outside. As logistics you will get to stand outside as "security" in all sorts of weather. You're not aloud to have a water with you on 90+ degree days or even a chair to sit on while you're standing in the same spot for hours. It's so that bad customers have literally walked inside the store and told the manager how cruel it is to leave employees in that heat for hours with no water or chair just to watch over some cheap tools. Couldn't that time be spent on productivity??

    This place is crazy and goes through employees so fast. Within my first week they lost 2 employees for the same reasons. HFT was a joke. Ask a question to a lead or management? They yell at you and make you feel like you're worthless. Need help with a customer to get them more specific information about a particular product? You're on your own!
    I asked questions when needing help (which was encouraged), but when I did I received the most vague answers ever & was told to basically figure it out. They're very demanding in lecturing employees about good customer service, but when trying to get customers complete and accurate information for their needs no one wants to step up even though they have more experienced in the specific product departments. Obviously everyone has different knowledge and experience on different types of tools. So for example why would I not ask a supervisor 10x more familiar with trailer parts to give more information to an interested customer than just trying to wing it myself? MAKES NO SENSE.

    Anyway, I struggled trying to get the hang of this job for longer than I should. It was a waste of time. I was studying my bachelor of logistics at this time (graduated now). And it was still too crazy of a job despite knowing logistic processes coming in. Probably because I was tricked into it being told I would be doing logistic things, but instead spent half my time trying to sell people junk that I don't know much about.

    I wish this review was available when I was reading them on here. Unless you're really good with selling, know about EVERY single tool out there, and can pick up anything (physically or knowledge wise) very quickly I suggest not working here. I just wanted a part time logistics job while in school. I was being considered for full time supervisor as well, but left before pursuing that.

    Don't get me wrong there were a few really co-workers there that really did their best to help and would help answer my questions. The problem is they were regular part time employees. They did not have time to be assisting me. That is what supervisors and management is for and TRAINING. Not to mention being on a part time schedule you do not work with the same people all the time, so I didn't have these useful people around every time I worked. So probably 3/20 people were actually nice and helpful.

    This is all based on my location in Illinois by the way. I have done inventory at another HFT store in Wisconsin and the atmosphere and store overall was 100% different. So organized, clean communication, and knowledgable instructive leaders. If you're happen to get into a good store with better management it may go smoother than my experience.

    Advice to Management

    Develop a better training and onboaring process for new employees. One of the biggest reasons employees do not stay is because of poor onboarding. Be more organized and improve communication. As a college graduate in business, the store I was located at needs extreme improvement in all these aspects if they want top performing and long lasting workers. As a logistics major and previous worker in retail and tool industry, this job should not have been challenging. Due to all these flaws in my very long review you lost a valuable employee. Hopefully HFT actually sees this review and makes changes.


  5. "Hft"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Ok pay nice people sometimes

    Cons

    Constantly changing the name of the games and having to pistachio to get anything done way to close on the hours

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employer and hirebetter

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Dec 7, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thank you for being a part of the Harbor Freight Tools team for over 5 years. We appreciate all your hard work and wish you the best in your career journey.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "CASHIER"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Chico, CA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Chico, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    I was a fill-in cashier and worked the sales floor in some logistics and sales. Lines were pretty long most of the time

    Cons

    Not enough cashiers during busy days especially on week ends

    Advice to Management

    Too many turnovers of management due to ignorance and back round checks of manager capabilities when it comes to handling people.

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Dec 4, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    We are honored that you spent over 8 years with us and appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. We will use your feedback in our efforts to continuously improve our stores at all... More


  7. "Cashier"

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

    I worked at Harbor Freight Tools part-time

    Pros

    I was able to change my schedule due to having another job.

    Cons

    There were a few managers that had a bad attitude towards me.

    Advice to Management

    They need to treat all employees the same.

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Dec 4, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thanks for sharing your feedback with us. At Harbor Freight Tools, we pride ourselves on being able to offer flexible schedules to our Associates. We wish you the best of luck in your future career!

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Sales"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools full-time

    Pros

    I make a BUTTLOAD in commission. I LOVE my customers and everyone I work with are family

    Cons

    If you are hired in as sales or logistics? And want to move up into mgmt? SORRY! Not gonna happen unless your SM or DM likes you. But if your a drug addict off the street applying for a supervisor position? Your good! When your hired in, you CANNOT move up in the CO. because we "don't know the whole store " and that is 100% ridiculous. But apply for spvr OUTSIDE of the CO. And your IN. The senior sales must TRAIN supervisors? Senior Logistics must TRAIN supervisors? I'm pretty sure that the poster outside of work promises future employees the opportunity to move up in the company. Total LIES.

    Advice to Management

    When your supervisors are LATE on a weekly basis. Cannot count money. REFUSE to answer when we need an item from the back. STOP making excuses!!

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Nov 28, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and we agree that the Harbor Freight Tools team is what makes our company special. We take all Associate feedback into consideration and are committed... More


  9. "Logistics"

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

    I have been working at Harbor Freight Tools part-time

    Pros

    Easy friendly people pro from day 1

    Cons

    Not enough hours to live on

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Nov 30, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thank you for sharing your feedback with us and for all your hard work at Harbor Freight Tools. Please know we listen to all of our Associates' comments and suggestions. We look forward to watching... More


  10. "Product Support"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Time goes by fast, people are friendly, PTO request are approved

    Cons

    You have to deal with irate customers from the east of the USA. The pay can be better than 14.00 an hour, managers dont really promote you.

    Advice to Management

    Better pay and promotions

    Harbor Freight Tools Response

    Nov 29, 2018 – Employment Branding Specialist

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. Harbor Freight Tools is committed to training and promoting internally, and we appreciate your feedback on this. We wish you the best of... More