Stephan Contracting

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Tnalp
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Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:05 pm

This is one of those companies that gets few mentions in these pages.

Stephan has been around since at least the 90's. He is based out of Sandspit BC. There could be the possibility of work available this spring if he gets all the work that he hopes for,( BCTS-Island Timberland-TAAN )! This will provide an overview for prospective employees, plus general insights in a lesser known company.

It is a one owner show. Stephan Pesquerelle. who is from France has been involved in forestry for many years. He has been the main local contractor on Haida Gwaii, with Sechelt Peninsula Silviculture, for about the last 15 years. ( As an aside these two guys could of "locked up" the Charlottes by having a cooperative approach, instead egos on both sides got in the way and there has been a de-facto feud mentality since then, to the detriment of workers etc...)

Most of his work over the years has been Planting, Spacing, Brushing and related silviculture activities.
He has had fluctuating amount of "off island" work as well.

There has been different groups of "core" workers, locals and non-locals, who make up the brunt of his workforce. This number has fluctuated from about 6 to more than a dozen. There is always arrivals and departures here! As everywhere else. These workers are supplemented by any number of additional employee as the needs arise.

Pros of working for Stephan Contracting:

- He will almost always strive to pay as much as possible. His rates can be substantially better than industry averages.
Example: $1.30 to $1.45 for Cones - Compared to Osprey/Brinkman/Summit/ Natural Borders etc etc at $ 0.76 to $ 1.01

- He can normally offer a wide variety of silviculture work and is not afraid to hustle for it, thereby keeping his guys working.
Example: Bidding Islands Timberland Haida Gwaii 2009 planting job at a very low price just to give his crew a few extra weeks
of work. ( Good for workers! Tough for contractors! So be it! )

- He is flexible and adaptive and provides the right equipment and support for workers in terms of training and gear.
Example: Partnering up w/ Leader Silviculture etc to bid on major projects.
Offering opportunities for workers to become Certified Fallers etc.

- He has been better at trying to provide as long a season as possible to his core crew, (" locals"). He has over hired in the past.

Cons:

- He is NOTORIOUS for telling people he has work when he actually does not have it!
My personal take is that it is some fairly benign psychological condition where he just can't help himself!

- He has been known to leave people dangling in the wind for weeks and months on end before giving clear information.

- He has had issues with proper supervision which can result in quality problems due to miscommunication and incompetence!

- He prizes highballers the most until they cannot perform for whatever reason, then it's to the back of the bus!
( that's before your time Mike! Unless he still is like that!! )

- He will gossip about employees with the employees. He is not afraid of throwing fits. Can be a yeller!! ( unfortunate )

In summary working for Stephan Contracting can be an excellent experience or it can be not so good.
Your expectations and the type of individual you are plus the actual contract you are on will play a major role in the outcome.

Usually the money is there. Planters can average from $ 300 to $ 500 +. The amount of work can be sporadic but if you can use a brush saw and a chainsaw there is more work available.

The work "scene" can be all over the place with some solid Haida Gwaii individuals mixed in with the odd functioning alcoholic and all the other usual bush suspects.

I have worked for him once close to 20 years ago and have known over 20 of his workers and ex workers. I also have bid against him. In my opinion he is a dependable contractor who always pays and has some of the better rates out there. There can be some "soap opera" type moments working for Stephan Contracting but nothing to dissimilar to the rest of the industry. Mind you the islands are different by nature.

I hope this will be of benefit and interest!

oh yeah.. also he is f.....ng hard to understand

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Scooter » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:39 pm

Does Natural Borders still exist? I worked for them a few times in the mid-1990's, but I thought they faded away after they split with Coast Range/New Forest/Outland.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by whitepickup » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:57 pm

Scooter wrote:Does Natural Borders still exist? I worked for them a few times in the mid-1990's, but I thought they faded away after they split with Coast Range/New Forest/Outland.
NBR merged with Coastrange (circa 2000) before its owner (Steve Stein) got out.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:18 pm

Tnalp wrote: mixed in with the odd functioning alcoholic
here's where i have to take issue, dave allard. the guy youre talking about here is a close friend of mine. everyone's got their problems, and i know he REALLY wouldnt appreciate you commenting on his in such a public forum. thats poor form, in my opinion.

so when can we expect to see a profile of your company on here? for the "benefit and interest" of prospective employees, of course...
Last edited by mwainwright on Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Casper » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:09 pm

I'm pretty sure that naming the guy won't do good either...As an outsider, I had no damn clue who that guy could have been. You may want to edit your post to keep his name unknown to the hundreds people or so reading this forum...

Actually, from my perspective at least the review looks neutral and useful, if I ever want to work on the Hada Gwaii. Please guys don't make it a personal affair on the forum.
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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:01 am

ok, lets clarify that. dave allard is the author the original post above, not the guy being talked about. my mistake, i must not have punctuated correctly.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:14 am

Casper wrote: Actually, from my perspective at least the review looks neutral and useful, if I ever want to work on the Hada Gwaii.
this is true. dave's actually done a pretty good job of putting stephan contacting in a nutshell here. those who like the "scene" stick around, and those who dont go somewhere else. its worth noting here that quite often "somewhere else" is dave's company.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Casper » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:40 am

Yeah sorry I guess I just read too fast, my bad :)
And thanks guys for all the information on the Hada Gwaii, we don't hear much about it, at least not as much as ''the coast''. It's a place that I'd love to go someday and working there would be a good excuse for a longer stay.
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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:57 pm

I truthfully don't know who you are referring to Mike? All I know is when i was staying at the Jasper Crack shack over the years there was always a few workers every night getting sauced up and hogging the public phone... It seemed like a party scene! I have known many booze hounds over the years, I may have been one myself at a point in time... I do not take issue with anyones addiction be it alcohol or drugs if it does not impact safety etc! You jumped to a mighty big conclusion with your bad form statements!!

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:56 am

Tnalp wrote:I truthfully don't know who you are referring to Mike? All I know is when i was staying at the Jasper Crack shack over the years there was always a few workers every night getting sauced up and hogging the public phone... It seemed like a party scene! I have known many booze hounds over the years, I may have been one myself at a point in time... I do not take issue with anyones addiction be it alcohol or drugs if it does not impact safety etc! You jumped to a mighty big conclusion with your bad form statements!!
alright alright, ill just settle down here. the "core" group you spoke of at stephan contracting is a tight-knit group. we're all friends and we stick up for one another for the most part. the scene at the jasper lodge in port clements was always pretty crazy, but i think thats mostly because drinking is the only way to cope with living there. that place has serious mold issues these days, so i think its only fit for osprey at this point. as for the "functioning alcoholics" thing, we're down to just one these days. of course you know him, he's fucking famous in our neck of the woods. he's also going to punch me when he hears that we've been having this conversation on the internet. so ive got that to look forward to. yeah i tend to jump to big conclusions, its what i do for the most part. that being said i always own up to that when i get called on them. i like to think of it as being in tune with my intuition.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:00 am

Tnalp wrote:
- He has had issues with proper supervision which can result in quality problems due to miscommunication and incompetence!
i feel this is a bit harsh. shit goes sideways sometimes. find me a company that doesnt experience this from time to time.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mcD » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:21 am

find me a group of old planters that doesn't have a lot of functioning, or nonfunctioning, alchoholics. Also while Haida Gwaii is one of the most beutiful places I have been, spring is a really miserable time to be there and the work in that area is really for a special brand of sadist. Is it still Weyerhauser up ther in PC? Fuck those guys.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:35 pm

weyerhauser is long gone. they sold out to cascadia, who then sold out to WFP, who have recently sold out to Taan. Taan is essentially the haida nation's new logging outfit. the paint barely dries on the signs around here.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by b-dawg » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:01 pm

I have no qualms with people giving their opinion, in general, and I don't really agree with censorship of any kind---but kinda feel like reviews should come from planters.

Contractors writing reviews of other contractors (even if accurate or honest of one's perspective) seems a little tactless in some way, or could quite easily be construed as such....

The one shred of Pride that the Labour can cling to in the silviculture world (being that we are non-union, non-organized) is that we are free to say exactly how we feel about the way we've been treated at this place or that, and you bear the battle-scars that validate your honest opinion. Once you cross the line from planter to contractor, you kind of lose the privilege of being given the benefit-of-the-doubt as to both your honesty and your intentions with regards to anything said about those who are now your peers. In other words, we can't really know what motivates a Contractor to review a Contractor---whereas planters have a more honest innocence in motivation: simply reviewing what is experienced as a means of keeping each other aware. Once you enter into competition for contracts, 'planter' status is kind of forfeit.

Soooo probably the WSCA conference is more the sort of arena where contractor-to-contractor mud-slinging belongs......

just my 2 cents.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:15 pm

Hi. Back at it.

I am a "contractor" insofar as I get the odd job and hire some old time friends and a few newer guys every now and then. I still plant trees! I still brush. I still swing a chainsaw! I believe I qualify as a worker as much as anyone else!

I can clarify my views a bit if it helps. The core crew I mentioned is and example based on company work history over the last 15 plus years when most of the core crew of friends that are there now were probably not around. Just a statement representing company workforce realities. Realities exist before you show up and after you leave.

The odd functioning alcoholic statement was meant to represent one example of intermittent crew composition over time.. NOT A SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL! Don't read to far into this Mike... There have been many incident over the years that you have absolutely no clue about in regards to contract conditions etc.. Sure things may not be the same now as they have been at certain times in the past but I believe that a review of a company should encompass some history to give an idea of what has happened and can happen!

Also if my statement about supervision seemed harsh, I apologize! ( see i'm not a meanie! ). Keep in mind that iv'e read some comments on your part that "seemed harsh" as well.( Nordelie review, something about little man complex etc etc!! ).

Sure hearing some of the things I said may not have made you want to hug me, They are however my opinions and I do stand by them. I also hope you can see that the pros i listed were quite important and positive items. I stand by those statements as well.

If you don't believe me about the alcoholic statement and think I had a specific individual in mind then go ahead and call me a liar ( in public ) and that will be the end of it! And what is this nonsense about punching anyway??

To everyone else I stand by my review of Stephan Contracting as being one of the better companies to work for especially when it comes to prices. The cons mentioned would not be major drawbacks if they should present themselves.

Happy 2012

P.S. Also as you know Mike I stayed at the "crack shack" many times and agree with you that place is fucking horrendous. I showed up one spring and spent half the day cleaning up my apartment; There was a bag of spuds underneath the counter that had been left there since the previous spring. The amount of pestilence that emanated from it was biblical!!

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:00 am

Tnalp wrote:( Nordelie review, something about little man complex etc etc!! ).
that was honestly the nicest thing i could have said about that guy. i stand by it 1000%.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by MiddleAgeMayhem » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:08 pm

"- He can normally offer a wide variety of silviculture work and is not afraid to hustle for it, thereby keeping his guys working.
Example: Bidding Islands Timberland Haida Gwaii 2009 planting job at a very low price just to give his crew a few extra weeks
of work. ( Good for workers! Tough for contractors! So be it! )"

I'm confused. How is a very low price good for planters?

I have to say that your little write-up didn't paint a very good picture at all.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:59 pm

extra work at regular prices to keep crew going at a close to break even proposition for contractor......

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by b-dawg » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:09 pm

dude-nalp, I hate to beat a dead horse here, but even though you're a worker, you're a worker who get contracts----which makes you a 'contractor' in competition for 'contracts'.

and by the sounds of your biggest complaints, for example:
"Bidding Islands Timberland Haida Gwaii 2009 planting job at a very low price just to give his crew a few extra weeks of work. ( Good for workers! Tough for contractors! So be it! )"
it's clear you sound more concerned here as a contractor who is in direct competition for contracts over the areas where Stephan also works.

Do you think a worker would ever complain over getting an extra few weeks of planting at a premium price?? Do you think a worker would ever review that as something negative??
So then, you are not really giving a review as a 'worker' who is working for a contractor, but as a contractor who works for himself-----and who also puts job ads up on this site, correct?

either way, the reality is this:

BUSH WORKERS WILL ALWAYS GRAVITATE TO THE COMPANIES THAT PAY THE MOST OF THE BID TO THE WORKER.

if you want to retain a highly-skilled, highly-experienced crew, increase the amount of the bid-price that goes to the Labour. simple.

If you can't (as a worker/contractor) provide the same amount of money to the worker, maybe you should take some notes from Stephan---I think that all contractors could stand to do that.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Rainman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:46 pm

Sorry to tell you dog, you sound like an illiterate ass.

Re-read the original post to see where you went wrong.

And, to further expose your flawed thinking, it's not the percentage of the bid that workers care about, it's what they make that matters. I don't care if I get paid 90% of the bid, if I'm not making what I think I deserve, I won't be happy. I could get 25% of the bid and be happy, if I'm making 5 bills a day.

Screw your thinking cap on right.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by b-dawg » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:26 pm

I realize that the Example I gave was listed as a 'Pro'. But, from the connotation of the sentence it can easily be construed that Tnalp was not so thrilled to see this "bidding....at a very low price just to keep guys working". And add to it his last post "extra work at regular prices to keep crew going at a close to break even proposition for contractor......" which is just my illiterate ass trying to illustrate the illustrious illustration that: contractors reviewing contractors is a completely different ball-game than workers reviewing contractors.


and in this race-to-the-bottom, lowballer bidding environment---please point out in what realm you could find a company paying out 25% of the Bid while workers are making 5 bills, cuz that I would like to see. in my experience, companies paying more of the bid to the Labour ALWAYS has translated to higher wages for the workers---as CRAZY as that logic sounds....
I guess, though, that my years of experience COULD just be a complete anomaly.


cap yer screwing think on right, fer f#@* sake's.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Rainman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:53 pm

Look, I thought the initial review in this thread was quite insightful, and seemed quite fair as it appeared to come from a fair amount of experience. I did not see the "contractor" bias you accuse.

As for the business end of things, perhaps you need to look at some examples of companies that paid out very high percentages of bid prices and failed entirely, leaving planters in the lurch. Brian Adams is one that comes to mind. A successful and stable company will be able to secure better bid prices and not be at the mercy of the "race to the bottom" as another company who is less stable or secure.

As for percentage of the bid. Perhaps my example was far fetched, but I still stand by the fact that it is earnings not percentage that matters. A company like Zanzibar that has good direct award contracts pays a lesser percentage than other companies in the same type of ground, yet their prices are going to be far better. This also leaves the company money to hire better supervision to keep things rolling more smoothly, thus increasing productivity and earnings. Meanwhile company X down the road pays a higher percentage, has a lower tree price and the management sucks. There is undue downtime due to lack of proper supervision. Earnings by the planters at X don't even compare to those at Z. In the end, "company Z" turns a healthy profit and "company X" doesn't. Now you have fun at X, I'll go work for Z.

Just a simple example. In fact there are so many more factors at play.

I know this thread is about Stephan Contracting and has blossomed into something more. From my outside point of view though it seems you are the one who is offering a "slanted opinion" due to your experience, not Tnalp.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by The_Bearslayer » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:41 pm

I know a lot of people who work/have worked him and make great money. The break-even bid thing is a red herring, every contractor on the coast does it here and there.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:15 pm

im one of them. so is b-dawg. stephan kept me working until the 19th of dec. this season, at prices well above the industry average. how many people on this board can say that about their employers? not too many, that's for sure. i think that fact alone speaks volumes about the sort of outfit stephane runs.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by aaron » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:23 pm

mwainwright wrote:im one of them. so is b-dawg. stephan kept me working until the 19th of dec. this season, at prices well above the industry average. how many people on this board can say that about their employers? not too many, that's for sure. i think that fact alone speaks volumes about the sort of outfit stephane runs.

Planting til the 19th? or was this saw work ?

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Scooter » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:26 pm

stephan kept me working until the 19th of dec. this season,
Most people would consider this to be cruel and inhumane. Not saying that I do, since I'm out running a saw almost every day right now too on my own woodlots. But most people would.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:47 pm

Sure Bdawg I posted here for workers... As for identifying myself as a "contractor/worker" it was meant to show some background. What's your background maybe you are a contarctor? Maybe you are Stephan? Either way don't take this shit to seriously.. you're making good money, you have a lot of work. So what if a stranger gives a review that you have certain issues with.
Stephan has bid against me once or twice. I won one job he got the rest. I can put on my big boy panties and man up. Forget about it. Geez.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Rainman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:12 pm

It sounds to me like you guys have a good gig and that's the main thing. I wish you all a safe and prosperous 2012 season.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by b-dawg » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:09 pm

I'll stick to my initial guns here.... Although perhaps 'insightful', I think that any review from anyone who competes for contracts is automatically opened up to all kinds of different suspicions of motive and timing. Most planters/workers give reviews of contractors/contracts that they have recently worked, and usually it's motive is to help other workers become aware.

We can't ever know the motive for the timing or content of a review when it comes from someone who is in competition for contracts. Why would a review be offered from the context of having "worked for him once almost 20 years ago".....?

Either way, Tnalp: my background is not that of contractor, or 'contarctor', and I'm not Stephan. Actually, it's been a couple seasons since I've worked for him, though I could give a much more up-to-date review from a worker's perspective if I so chose.
But I only give that kind of good info out to my good buddies, eh.....?

Rainman: I understand your X and Z scenario, and how there is the possibility for a company to pay higher planter-wages while paying out less of a percentage of the bid. BUT, I will say that in my experience, a higher percentage of the Bid-price allocated to the workers has translated into higher prices for the planter 100% of the time.
That is merely my personal experience, but having worked for well more than a dozen companies I think it's probably a decent collection of info.
I could, for example, tell you the exact difference (in dollars and cents) between working on a publicly bid job (more competitive bid) with company X as compared to working a privately bid job with company Z-bar ----jobs that weren't so far from each other in regional proximity. I could tell you what I made per tree, the difference in daily earnings, hours worked, and the percentage of days that company Z-bar Owner was on the block with the workers (0% of days) as opposed to Company X Owner (100% of days worked).
Perhaps the things I say appear as a 'slanted opinion' like you say. But, I speak merely from the knowledge of the experiences I have with this, that, or the other Outfit.
I could get into all the exact details, but like I said: I only give that kind of good info out to the good buddies I know.....eh...?

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:19 pm

While it is the easy route to continually play the role of the devil's advocate by trying to poke holes in every post, and/or reframe the discussion(s) into your own polarized 'this versus that' scenario; it becomes a tired-out act whose credibility wanes with every post.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:22 pm

that was a quote from a past posting, it echoes my thoughts at this stage.. see ya all later!

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by b-dawg » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:28 am

if you can't come up with your own words that 'echo' your thoughts, at least you could credit the author...?!?!?!

and yeah, I don't try to poke holes in 'every' post---just in posts written by contractors. This guarantees a higher form of comedy...

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Tnalp » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:42 pm

As you suspected bdog that quote was from you.. I am starting to enjoy this. Maybe i should not post to much as i'm sure there will be somthing in there for you to grab on... maybe a typo or a construed inference. Oh Oh What's your name bdog i'm sure you have no problem identifying yourself come on dont'be shy. Let's ask scooter for our own forum so we can have some comedy ad infinitum.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:23 pm

No personal info or forums, sorry. Last time I was in a situation where I was curious about that, I ran into the person on the block a few weeks later (to our mutual amusement).

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:32 pm

sometimes its just got to be chalked up to the fact that we're all passionate about our jobs. we live this shit... its why we all lurk on this message board for the most part. maybe this is one of those times we should just leave it at that.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:47 pm

Indeed. I've often thought about organizing a Pub night somewhere in BC, either post-season or pre-season. Or around the WSCA conference. I don't think there is any easy answer. I almost prefer the idea of running into a lot of the Replant users in the field, here and there.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:50 am

aaron wrote:
mwainwright wrote:im one of them. so is b-dawg. stephan kept me working until the 19th of dec. this season, at prices well above the industry average. how many people on this board can say that about their employers? not too many, that's for sure. i think that fact alone speaks volumes about the sort of outfit stephane runs.

Planting til the 19th? or was this saw work ?
definitely not planting, and it wasnt saw work either. this time of year we're usually into tube removal and maintenance, although other things pop up from time to time.

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Re: Stephan Contracting

Post by krahn » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:01 pm

I greatly appreciate reviews from different people in the industry, this guy was insightful and told us he also bid on contracts as a disclaimer, so he's being honest. From there we're free to read into it what we wish. I thought he said mostly positive things, if I didn't already know Stephen ran a good show, I'd know it now. I expect owners to be a bit eccentric most of the time anyway.

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