‘We’re Willing to Work Around Your Trimming Schedule’…The Realities of a Small Business in Cannabis Country

A large amount of cash flows through the Emerald Counties and it feeds a vibrant assortment of small, interesting businesses. However, the cannabis industry also makes it difficult for those same businesses to find workers.

Owners often are willing to make unusual compromises in order to hire an employee or two.

Here’s one recent exchange between two hardworking Southern Humboldt business owners posted on the Humboldt/Mendocino County Peeps Facebook board yesterday:



Anyone want a job?



  • Trimmers are taking up 20% of gross profit, if every business payed their employees 20% there wouldn’t be as dramatic of a shortage of help and the business wouldn’t operate for long because you can’t pay employees 20% of Gross!
    Then again I drive thru town and see 30 people a day beging for work and money, they don’t want to work either because every business in town has a help wanted sign in the window.
    This is more of a entitlement issue than anything. Greedy Trimmers and Lazy Bums.
    Trimming wages should be set at 10% and fluctuate with market value. That will weed out the greedy ones who might consider working at a roach coach instead
    – maybe even give the Bums with signs a opportunity (lol).
    We all know the Bums are not going to work at the roach coach and if I wanted Bums that live under the bridges handling my food id go to Calicos (Yuck).

    • Trim your own weed or raise your price.

    • So are you saying all trimmers are greedy or just the bums with signs looking for people to pick them up and take them to a trim scene? Because I wouldn’t want no bum handling my food or weed! Also, if trimmers only made 10%, the bums would be the only people who would work for such shit wages. I’d work at that “roach coach” as you put it if I could could get a day off from being a lazy trimmer, mom and house wife. BTW their called food trucks now days

    • No this is wrong, they get a lil over 10% an that’s if u pay 200.

    • You’re wrong. The average labor cost for retail businesses in the U.S. is 15 to 20% of gross revenues. For the retail food industry it was 14.6% of the gross a few years ago. Trimming falls at the upper end by comparison, but it’s also seasonal work with no benefits, no labor law protections, no workmen’s compensation and trimmers risk some legal responsibility for getting arrested and charged with felonies (though it rarely happens).

      P.S. Those young people working at Calicos are hardly bums living under bridges. For some it’s their first job and I’m always happy to leave them a good tip for their help and a smile.

  • I would like to move out there and work for you and anyone else needing help. Are there any places to stay for a reasonable price.

    • That’s another part of the problem. Finding places to stay is very difficult.

      • If ur not being pay well to live in the trees and be called a bum then why would u take ur job to be put down i lived and worked in town as for long term unless ur family has land keep it moving so mabe ull have to work hard on the locals trust and pay better or do it ur self. Same shit that growers have to do if u want good works pay them and treat them good.

    • We’re at maximum capacity – all full.
      Please do not come out here unless you have a signed lease contract. These towns are all ready filled with people who will not work and are living in the bushes/creeks now. Trust me, it’s not as glamorous as the articles depict.
      Hopefully Kym will do a story on all the Bum camps that are full of people that have came out here to “Work” and are literally destroying the quality of life for the locals.
      We as a town are a sinking ship and everyone’s going down with it.

      • Couldn’t say it better myself…

      • If you travel north or south you will see a plethora of sign post bums with a single word written in sharpie . GARBERVILLE … The town needs to take it in their own hands .Our town has taken charge and the homeless last one day maybe . Then they usually trip on their way back home , that usually keeps them from spreading the word that it’s ok to stay in the woods and beg at the store

      • Real talk
        It is turn for Kym to expose this transient trimagrant issue. People need to know they have a better chance of working and getting ripped off then they do actually getting paid.

    • No there not places to life thats why the only people that they could get to work are bum there no housing.

  • It is a sign of insecure employers who want to be friends with those they employ, allowing their employees to base their schedule on the trimming season. They get the quality of employee they advertise for.

    I tell my employees that I am offering you a year round stable job above the table. It may pay 30% less than seasonal trimming but I will provide the job and perks that go with it all year long, not just a few months in the fall.

    If an employee cannot understand that is the better option, they don’t have the critical thinking skills and long term planning to be on my team.

    • When I moved to southern Humboldt County with a viable craft business two decades ago the first hard lesson I learned was how hard it was to get steady workers, even though we were starting with higher wages than any of the retail businesses in town. Our craft business had it’s highest production in spring and fall to fill orders from the trade shows we took our orders through, which unfortunately corresponded with the planting and harvesting seasons for pot. I knew there was a lot of pot grown here, even in those days, but didn’t know that trimming was a major source of income for so many local people right when I was trying to fill orders for the fall season. I thought we were paying above average wages for people who could learn the skills we taught them, but we couldn’t compete with trimming. The best people we got were simply people who didn’t want anything to do with pot.

    • I would imagine that would be good but if they dont have a place to live cause there not hoising how is it a better choice? Ur think is wrong on so many levels.

  • How do trimmers get paid? By the hour? By production? I’ve always been curious. If by the hour, how much typically? Do I sound like I’m looking for temporary work? LOL

    • Depends. Typical pay can range from $15 to $20 per hour to $150 to $250 per pound. Depends on quality of the work and the grower’s ability and desire to pay.

    • By the pound. Usually $200 per for well manicured bud. The time it takes to trim a pound varies with the size and quality of the dried flower, whether the branches have been broken down and groomed of excess leaves already, and the grower’s quality preferences. I’d say trimming for an average worker works out to about $20 per hour. If you’re working for a good grower you might be getting meals and a place to stay or camp. I’ve seen one very focused friend consistently do 2 pounds in long days. I’ve also seen starry-eyed newbies with visions of lots of cash and long winter traveling vacations struggle to get a half pound finished in a day and wind up quitting.

      Calling trimmers “greedy” is pure nonsense. Anyone who says that, like one commentator above, has never sat there for days with scissors hunched over a trim bin, doing good conscientious work.

  • Most ‘Good’ trimmers can do at least 2 lbs a day some can even do more. But let’s just say 2 lbs to make the math easy. Even if the people low balling hard an only paying 150 per lb, 2 lbs per day is still 300 dollars. It’s no surprise nobody wants to work around here, because basically anyone that hiring ain’t paying you 300 per day.

  • Trimming is a dull mind numbing tedious job. On the other hand a real job can be stimulating and fun. I think employers should be paying at least $15 an hour to start for a quality employee. If I weren’t retired I would choose good job over trimming any day and I’ve done both.

  • Is Gabrverville shut down right now?? No, plenty of people have jobs that they would not leave nor want to lose for a very temporary trim job, they could trim after hours and still have a job….not this nonsense, Just pay to make it worth working for you. That food cart and the woman that runs it had to leave Willow Creek cause she had trouble with the locals and nobody would work for her.
    She is no doubt having the same trouble here. She fired up a pity party for herself with “Meagans Story” in the Emerald Triangle magazine a little while back and now she’s throwing another one it seems and Redhead bought it.

    • So….you haven’t seen any sign that employers are having trouble hiring people in Southern Humboldt? The help wanted signs plastered on many of the businesses in town are just there to keep the windows decorated?

      • Yes I know they want help Kym but it’s hardly a climate of crisis, if you need help business is good and your trying to grow. If people want to live in the woods here waiting for trimming but not work a normal job in the meantime that’s probably why they live in the woods…and winter is coming. Maybe there are too many small businesses right in this area because there was a lot more money flowing through these counties 10 even 5 years ago.

        In the gold rush it was the bars, outfitters, butchers, blacksmiths, prostitutes and hotels that made most of the money I have read.

      • The help wanted signs are a indication of few things. –
        1. Commerce in town being up.
        2. People who are willing to work are taking higher paying employment out side of town.

        3. The entitled lazy bums who sit outside businesses begging for money under a Help Wanted sign.

        This is what Liberal Drug Culture looks like. Everybody loses.

  • So it seems some people are missing a bit of the math here.

    Yes, 10% of 2000 is 200.
    But is that 2000 profit, and therefore saying that paying a trimmer 10% is in line with other business models?
    Or is that ignoring all of the costs associated with growing that pound?
    Trimmers are taking 10% directly from the margin.
    You folks tell me what the margin is on the same pound, and then how much of the profit a trimmer is really taking.
    Eventually in the end trimming will be like any other seasonal work with normal wages.

    What we have here is an artifact of what trimmers are really paid $20 an hour for:
    Keeping their mouths shut!

    With no more need to hide, there will be no more need to pay that premium.

    • Prices ain't what they used to be

      Ummm….who still gets $2000 per pound???? I’ve heard that full-term outdoor goes for more like $1000-$1800. And that ain’t all profit either.

    • And then u wont have trimers. The resons people do this job is that it that last free market that as i see will be taken over taxed and then we can be slaves some more in life.

  • How About one Of these business paying a living wage .Starting salary should be 15 dollars an hr to start with pay increase .If your not paying that you are ripping people off or you should be out of business if you can’t pay that . I know of 2 business that pay 16 to start and a couple more pay 20 to start . So if you are a greedy business owner you deserve what you get . I have loyal employees in so hum .Not a big deal when you pay a real living wage . Great people born and raised here .

  • The people that own the Food Cart are from out-of-state. They’re part of the whole problem with what’s happened here. Let em go under.

  • Very interesting discussion and I learned something. Thanks!

  • We need less city people and more homesteaders. Problem solved. Save this beautiful place for the people that live here. Not just grow dope and leave

  • good job everyone.prices have gone up a lot.dont settle for low prices.you work hard.every cent counts.it only hurts mom and pops to have low prices.thanks to all that put their foot down.keep it up.

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