Florida company offers 2 free homes as an incentive to workers

SOURCES OF ALTAMONTE, Florida – While many companies offer bonuses or higher wages to attract and keep workers, one central Florida company offers a design for two new, mortgage-free homes.

Mechanical One, which provides air conditioning and plumbing for the new developments, plans to hold the draw next December, President and CEO Jason James told the Orlando Sentinel.

“My passion is really trying to reinvent employee appreciation,” James said. “Our business model is really this: If we take care of our people, they will do more for us than any marketing budget. “

The company purchased two lots for the three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes and set aside a budget of $ 500,000 for the project.

James told the newspaper that he had thought of other incentives, like giving away a car or a vacation. But then he decided he wanted his employees to be able to enjoy their own home.

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“Many of our employees already own a house, but many are renting,” he said.

To qualify for the draw, employees must be with the company for a full year and take a financial literacy course, paid for by the company. They must also complete 20 hours of community service at a non-profit organization chosen by the employee.

“They get financial education, which helps them achieve the goal of owning their own home anyway, and that has an impact on the community,” James said.

The private company of nearly 100 people began operations in July, so no employees are yet eligible, the newspaper reported. James announced the design at an employee meeting on December 4.

The Gift to the House is another in a series of steps companies have taken this year to tackle what some are calling the Great Resignation. Many workers who quit their jobs during the pandemic have not returned, and a survey by business consultants PwC found that 65% of employees are looking for new jobs.

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Many fast food chains have offered signing bonuses, and companies like Costco, Amazon, and Chipotle have raised their minimum wages to $ 15 an hour or more.

James, 40, told the Sentinel he was inspired to start an employee-centric business after a stint at Chik-fil-A, which runs biannual outings for employees and their families and offers a care plan health care at low cost.

He had worked in the HVAC and plumbing industry for about six years before starting his own business.

James said he and other new CEOs were part of a changing of the guard in the industry, incorporating smarter technology into buildings and with a closer eye on the labor pool.

“There is a labor shortage in these trades because they are skilled,” he said. “You have to have a lot of exposure and training to understand these systems. “

Anthony Mitchell, central Florida plumbing operations manager for Mechanical One, said enthusiasm was already high across the company.

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“There’s nothing quite like coming home to your wife and saying, ‘Honey, I’m bringing home a new house,’ he said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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