Canadian Contractor

Daniel Reale-Chin   

A systematized approach

Joseph Mizzi offers a practical solution to Jim’s dilemma: focus on running your business, the virtues of craft and have someone else manage the regulatory issues. 

Jim’s dilemma, on the surface, seems to be about the dynamics of navigating the apprenticeship system. However his struggle is both a personal matter and a business matter.

On the one hand Jim, by virtue of his own experience, holds the apprenticeship system in high regard as it provided him the skills and discipline that set him apart from others. Jim clearly takes pride in being recognized as a Red Seal Carpenter, and he should. It seems that he also takes pleasure in helping others achieve the same.

According to Jim, despite the difficulties and “heartburn”, he can see the benefits to his company in the form of “better quality, less wasted time, and a more professional approach.” and that such results “please his clients.”

On the other hand he is not operating only as a skilled tradesman. He is also operating as a business owner. These positions require very different skill sets and responsibilities, and are often ad odds with each other. Jim’s struggle is the common dichotomy of the craftsman/owner. We wear “many hats”, but some fit better than others. Jim’s “craftsman hat” fits great, but his “apprenticeship trainer hat” is too tight, and thus very uncomfortable.

Jim, as a craftsman respects the virtues of the apprenticeship system and the pride that comes from his Red Seal accomplishment, as well as the desire to see others do the same. He believes , despite the hassles, it results in higher quality with less wasted time (improved efficiency). Jim’s health and state of mind are the primary concern in making his decision.

Jim should continue with his attempt to run a profitable company that continues the tradition of the apprenticeship system he is personally attached too. However, the emotional cost is too much for him to carry alone. The time cost diverts him from his craft and job oversite. He must delegate the management of the apprenticeship system to someone else, and increase his prices to accommodate the added expense. By taking a systemized approach, and having someone else manage the regulatory issues, Jim can find fulfillment in his contribution to trade education, quality workmanship, and customer satisfaction – while running a profitable business.


Jim is a good example of the type of craftsman/owner that the industry needs – skilled and willing to teach his craft to others, while operating his company in a manner that “pleases his customers.”


by Joseph D. Mizzi


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