If you’ve ever watched online videos about construction, you may have come across contractors Jaime and Erik Perkins.
The sibling owners of Perkins Builder Brothers are known for their friendly and well-edited videos about construction work — from a mesmerizing time-lapse of them building a home with soaring mountain views to a viral clip showing how to drive a nail in an impossibly tight space.
The duo has earned a loyal following of over 500,000 subscribers to their Youtube channel, which they manage along with their day jobs.
But you don’t just become the internet’s favorite general contractors without a great crew behind you.
Before the brothers started posting content in 2018, they already had two decades of experience running the North Carolina construction business their father started.
Their channel’s recurring cast members, Jason, Ray, Jono and Arlo, aren’t just builders with great on-screen chemistry — they’re also Perkins construction employees as well.
We caught up with the Perkins brothers to learn about their construction company’s success — starting with how they hire, train and retain their talented construction crew.
How to hire construction employees
Like many small businesses, the Perkins Builder Brothers like to hire employees through personal connections.
“We're in a small town, so word of mouth is the best way, because everybody knows everybody here,” Jaime says.
Checking a job applicant’s references is a crucial step when hiring a construction employee. Hiring someone through word of mouth makes that simple.
“If they’re in construction, we probably already know their ex-employer,” Erik says.
The Perkins brothers will ask the previous employer: “Hey, did they do a good job? Do you like working with them?”
These questions usually turn up useful information about whether an applicant would be a good fit for your small business — and helps confirm that they’re being honest in their interviews.
A candidate can have great qualifications, but the real test of whether they’re right for your construction crew is how well you work with them. That’s why it’s a smart idea to try out a prospective employee before you extend a formal offer.
Erik explains: “We generally put people on a two-week trial period because we want to see, ‘Can they work? Will they show up? Do our personalities fit together with everyone else on the crew?’” That last point is key, he says, because “having a crew that gets along and has fun together is just as important as the production.”
At the end of the trial period, it’s time to make the big decision, which means being honest with yourself and the potential hire.
Jaime recommends asking yourself: “Hey, is this really working out or not? Can I really see a long-term future here?” If not, then “you just got to end it right there,” he says.
Tips for training new construction employees
Training a new construction employee isn't just about building their skills — it's about ensuring they integrate with the crew.
Because they're a small contracting team tackling specialized tasks — from tiling to cabinets to floors to framing — Perkins Builder Brothers spends significant time training new hires to make sure they can work according to the company's "very particular" standards.
This means getting hands-on.
“We are on the job every day with our employees, and we have one-on-one time to make sure that each task is being handled the way that we would like it to be handled,” Jaime says.
Building shared knowledge creates a professionalism that’s obvious in the company’s work.
But there can be challenges with training, too.
“Sometimes people have been trained to do the task that we're doing by someone else, and it's not quite the way we like it done,” Erik says. Retraining people “can be even harder than starting from scratch.”
The effort it takes to train someone makes it “a big loss” if a fully-trained employee leaves the company.
“That’s why we want to make sure from the start it’s someone who’s going to really enjoy and be a good fit with the company,” Erik says.
The secret to keeping great employees
When you watch any Perkins Builder Brothers’ video, it’s clear that the crew enjoys working together.
But that’s not just about personalities — it’s also because the owners treat their construction employees fairly and respectfully.
“We treat people the way that we would like to be treated,” Jaime says. That starts with compensating them well: “We try to pay as much as we can possibly pay while still making a profit for the company.”
The Perkins brothers also offer their employees flexibility to take time off.
“Everybody’s got a life,” Erik says. “In the town we live in, most stuff is only open nine to five. So if your guys are working eight to five every day, how are they going to get their oil changed? How are they going to go to the bank? How are they going to get anything done?”
The brothers have a simple policy: “If you need to do something do it. And we’re not going to be upset, you’re not going to get fired.”
It’s also important to carry good workers’ compensation coverage — which keeps you and your employees financially protected in case something goes wrong on the job.
As experienced general contractors, the Perkins brothers know that having their employees’ backs helps their business thrive: “That goes a long way in an employee sticking around for a long time,” Erik says.
Become a pro at hiring
Want to read more about how to hire a great crew for your construction business? We’ve got you covered with these guides:
- 7 signs you’re ready to hire help and what to consider
- How to hire your first employee
- Hiring seasonal help vs. regular employee: What you need to know
- How to make new hire training as efficient as possible
- How to keep potential hires from ghosting you
How NEXT helps construction companies
NEXT is dedicated to helping construction businesses thrive at every step of their journey.
When you hire a crew, we can help you easily find workers’ compensation coverage and other business insurance to protect you and your employees.
It only takes about 10 minutes to customize your coverage, purchase a policy and print your certificate of insurance.