It's early morning in the South Bronx, and representatives from construction, manufacturing, meat-packing, cleaning and moving companies are cruising the streets, plucking would-be employees, many of them undocumented immigrants, from the sidewalks. They are gathered there, hoping for at least one day's work to put money in their pockets.
This common scenario is dangerous for both parties: Businesses can be fined or shut down; the workers may not be paid the promised amount, or they may be cheated altogether. Yet companies nationwide resort to these easy-to-hire workers in order to fill their need for day laborers and temporary or seasonal workers.
Enter 32-year-old Warren Zinn, a former staffing agency manager turned entrepreneur. His New York City business, Hire Point, matches legal, documented, insured workers with short-term jobs in and around the Bronx. "There's a market demand for temporary workers that's not being satisfied," he says, explaining why he launched Hire Point. "A lot of companies don't know there are places to go to for these kinds of workers. At the same time, despite the good economy, there are pockets of poverty where people can't find jobs."
Zinn shares that insuring the workers and withholding taxes, while creating a hands-on service for both the business clients and the temporary employees, distinguishes Hire Point from the others. Zinn travels to work sites to promote Hire Point and make sure both parties are satisfied. If they're hired for full-time positions, that's just fine with Zinn.
Marketing Hire Point is a no-brainer, as Zinn learned early on: "I got into my car and drove around with a bag of business cards and fliers looking for businesses with trucks parked outside," says the street-savvy entrepreneur. "If they have trucks, that means they need people to run those trucks." Workers aren't hard to come by, either: The day he opened for business, they showed up at his door. Now he places 40 to 60 people in jobs each day.
Zinn expects to earn more than $1.5 million in his second year of business, up from last year's $700,000. "The key to my success is building relationships," says Zinn, who zealously plans to open five more locations in the next four years. "No manager of an employment chain will care as much about the business as I do about mine."
Pamela Rohland, a Bernville, Pennsylvania, writer who finds mysterious spots on her clothes, believes a good dry cleaner is more valuable than a sack of pearls.
- Hire Point, c/o Warren Zinn, 669 Elton Ave., Bronx, NY 10455, (800) 401-5021