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Fast Track

FASTTRACK/26″/lk1st/mark2nd Temps On Time Year Founded: 1989 Core Business: Providing job placements in the office, retail and industrial fields for temporary and full-time positions Revenues in 1995: $2.9 million Revenues in 1998 (projected): $6 million Employees in 1995: 4 Employees in 1998: 6 to 8 Top Executive: Kathryn Kidd, president and owner Goal: To continue offering personalized service Driving Force: Demand for qualified, temporary employees to assist employers on short notice By JEANNETTE DeSANTIS Contributing Reporter It was an emergency. The manager of a large retail store needed 75 workers and he needed them to report to work in just 12 hours, early on Sunday morning. He called Temps On Time, a fledgling company new to the temporary employment industry. Kathryn Kidd, the firm’s owner and president, knew this job order could make or break her young company. Determined to succeed, she canceled plans for a Saturday evening dinner and spent the next few hours calling workers in her database. She finally rounding up 60 of them to show up to the store by 6 a.m. Sunday morning. “I was extremely impressed by (Kidd’s) promptness and ability to react to emergency situations,” said Jim Corley, who at the time was working as a manager at the Broadway. “I have dealt with other temp agencies and they could never get me that volume on such short notice.” That was nine years ago, when Kidd first launched her firm, Burbank-based Temps On Time. Since then, the company has been filling openings on clerical and legal staffs, and providing workers to the retail, entertainment and industrial fields for both temporary and permanent positions. Its revenue has grown from $2.9 million in 1995 to $5 million in 1997 placing it 13th on the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s list of fastest-growing private companies. With a workforce made up mostly of mothers and students, the company has a reputation for providing quality people who show up on time and work hard for their money. “In this business you judge people by their work,” said Corley. “Several of her people turned out to be team leaders on major projects.” Temps On Time’s employees range in age from 18 to 76. Some have graduated from high school while others hold college degrees. Some work for minimum wage while others pull down $40,000 a year. “Our main requirement is that people are motivated,” Kidd said. “They don’t have to be great typists or have a lot of experience, but they have to be self-starters.” Kidd started her business primarily because she was a single mom who needed flexible hours to raise three children. Now, she helps other young mothers find the type of employment that best suits their needs. “They are working in different environments and have tried several different things,” Kidd said. “So when they find a job they like, it’s a good match.” The company also goes to some length to accommodate its temps offering shuttles to job sites, providing professional clothes for workers unable to provide their own and even baby-sitting applicants’ children while they go on interviews. “We deal with a lot of mothers who are trying to get off of welfare,” Kidd said. “We will do whatever it takes to get them out there (in the workforce).” The most difficult part of the business is finding qualified applicants. “Right now the unemployment rates are so low that everyone is scrambling for good job applicants to fill job orders,” she said. That is the nature of the business: to compete with other temporary agencies to fill a job order. “Usually businesses will call a couple different agencies and whoever can fill their job orders quickly will be called first the next time,” Kidd said. “In many ways it is like a horse race.” Despite the pressure from employers to fill the job openings quickly, Kidd says, the key to her company’s success has been to carefully screen applicants before they ever meet the employer. All potential employees undergo a preliminary screening and, if acceptable, are invited in to be tested on typing, data entry and 10-key skills. Identification is verified, references are checked and applicants are interviewed by Kidd and her staff. Kidd sees a lot of job applicants who show up for interviews late, inappropriately dressed, or with bad attitudes, but she screens out all those who are unwilling to modify their behavior or dress. Also, her company tracks the performance of the workers it provides to employees. Those who are late to work, for example, don’t get called when new openings come up. Over the years, Kidd has compiled a database of nearly 3,000 workers, organizing them into such categories as secretarial, warehouse and administrative. “Overall the quality of her workers is what stands out the most,” said Missy Nocera, a group operation manager for Audience Unlimited in Universal City. “You know the people you get from her will be there on time and be on top of things.” Temps On Time offers three basic types of employees. There are those who fill short-term jobs, such as when a secretary is on maternity leave. Then there are those who are hired by a company in anticipation of filling a full-time position if they work out, and others who are placed immediately into permanent positions. Temps On Time operates like a real estate office, where sales people make their commissions on the number of placements they make. “It makes them more motivated because the sky is the limit,” Kidd said. Temps On Time also offers financial incentives to the temporary workers themselves, including a bonus to the “Temp of the Month” the person who performs well and is on time. “These types of things help us keep the quality workers,” Kidd said. “Overall we are just a more personalized agency with less of a corporate, stuffy environment.”

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