Today Tesla Will Fire All Contractors Not Vouched For By A Tesla Employee



It’s no surprise that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not happy with the current contractor situation and he’s decided to go to great lengths to weed out the bad seeds.

Musk recently informed employees that a contractor review was coming up. He’s frustrated by the lack of progress by some and feels that much of it may stem from the fact that the company has hired several contractors, subcontractors, and even others affiliated with said help.

Read Also: Tesla Fires Hundreds Of Underperforming Employees

The CEO sent an email to employees a few weeks back. Electrek was fortunate to get ahold of a copy. The publication shared the following excerpt:

I have been disappointed to discover how many contractor companies are interwoven throughout Tesla. Often, it is like a Russian nesting doll of contractor, subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, etc. before you finally find someone doing actual work. This means a lot of middle-managers adding cost but not doing anything obviously useful. Also, many contracts are essentially open time & materials, not fixed price and duration, which creates an incentive to turn molehills into mountains, as they never want to end the money train.

There is a very wide range of contractor performance, from excellent to worse than a drunken sloth. All contracting companies should consider the coming week to be a final opportunity to demonstrate excellence. Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday.

This all goes along with recent reports we’ve shared in which Musk has spoken to much higher Model 3 production numbers coming soon. It’s clear that he feels a need to streamline and eliminate contractors that are either inefficient or potentially detracting from the progress.

It’s gone so far now, that Tesla will be initiating a firing round beginning this week. According to the report, Musk offered these contractors an opportunity to prove themselves by a set deadline. Then, that deadline was extended, but with even more clarification. The employees can’t simply prove “themselves,” but instead, another official employee has to go to bat for them.

Simply put, if you’re a contracted worker at Tesla, and no official employee is willing to vouch for you in writing to Human Resources, you will lose all access to the plant this week. Musk’s more recent email to employees regarding the current situation was also shared by Electrek. It reads:

Please note my comment below about contractor companies and consultants. I extended the performance evaluation deadline to provide more opportunity to demonstrate excellence, but now time is up.

Please send a note to HR before Monday justifying the excellence, necessity and trustworthiness by individual (not just the contractor company as a whole) of every non-Tesla person who has badge access to our buildings or network access to our systems.

By default, anyone who does not have a Tesla employee putting their reputation on the line for them will be denied access to our facilities and networks on Monday morning. This applies worldwide.

Time to scrub off the barnacles.

Thanks, Elon

We shall see what comes of this as the week unfolds. Hopefully, no matter how it plays out, Tesla will be able to increase productivity as a result. The automaker is not in a position to be up against another setback.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla


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90 Comments on "Today Tesla Will Fire All Contractors Not Vouched For By A Tesla Employee"

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Look who’s talking! The biggest slouch is Tesla itself. Elon played tough guy with his suppliers, if they didn’t deliver parts for 5000 cars/week by 1st of july 2017 they would get dropped like a hot potato. Who is it again that is not delivering 5000 cars/week?

So there are definitely contractors doing nothing. All the more reason to let some go. All of these jobs weather permanent or contract only exist because of Tesla in the first place.

What executive at Tesla let the situation devolve so much that these armies of “drunken sloth” workers are crawling all over the Fremont plant? Section manager Billy Bob in HR, right? Surely not the CEO?

Maybe, but no need to exaggerate

“drunken sloth” is being kind… Elon said, and I quote, “worse than a drunken sloth” 😉 But seriously, how does it get that bad in a company that you rely on your employees to vouch for individuals?

Come on Tesla, get your act together and revolutionize automotive transportation!

100% agree, but better late than never…

But Tesla is fine employing the people that hired contractors that do nothing.

Please think before typing. Do you suppose Tesla have access to crystal balls and knew in advance when they hired these people that they’d eventually hire worthless contractors? “Oh sorry I can’t employ you because 2 months from now you’ll hire garbage electricians who sit around all day costing us money.”

You should think first, quit insulting others.

I bet part of the “doing nothing” problem is because the Fremont plant is not producing nearly as many cars as the CEO claimed it would be. Hire a bunch of contractors to work on a line producing 5k cars a week…only to find out that the line can only produce ~2k cars a week instead, or 60% less than expected. And you wonder why there are lots of workers with nothing to do?

Musk has to blame someone.

What? He’s talking about dropping worthless contractors. Not dropping ones that do actual work. Please read the article next time.

contractors usually do all the work – Tesla employees vouching for contractors will be graft babies- Musk sounds like an amateur who doesn’t know anything about his own company.

Sadly agree, Elon seems to be blindsided by the amount of contractors. Interesting to see how this shakes out today.

contractors are usually the ones who do all the work. TESLA employees vouching for contractors are likely to contain a number of graft babies. Musk sounds like an amateur who has no idea about his own business.

There contractors not employee’s so your supposed to hire and lay off as necessary. Anyone who goes on about unions or employee rights is barking up the wrong tree.

Contractors actually work for themselves, it’s good for flexibility and a way for young people to prove themselves if they can’t just walk into a job.

Infantile approach. Where’s the objectivity? What matters is quality and quantity of work performed, measured against predefined objectives. The games that can be played with this ‘my friend is OK’ policy is endless. Musk, you’re losing it man!

Where did you read ‘my friend is ok’? LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP

That was my reaction, too. Getting a Tesla employee to “vouch” for a contractor just means that becomes a popularity contest. If Tesla really does fire all the contractors who haven’t made friends with Tesla employees, then they’re gonna be throwing a few babies out with the bathwater, as well as keeping some do-nothing sycophants around.

I’ll bet money that some of those fired contractors will be hastily re-hired once Tesla figures out that their services really are needed for production. Perhaps not a lot, but at least a few.

Rather than turn it into a popularity contest, Tesla should get a team to go through and evaluate what each contractor is doing, to determine which ones actually are worth what Tesla is paying them, and which ones should be terminated. But then, that would require time and effort, and unfortunately Elon is always looking for ways to cut corners. 🙁

It’s time to bring in the Bobs. “What would you say, ya do here?”

I rate the contractors, so the emplyees don’t have to.

Another Euro point of view

After the questions that can’t be asked we are now having a little crystal night moment ? Sorry I could not resist.

No wonder he punted on the legitimate investor questions about Model 3 production/CAPEX last week. How can you answer those questions when you don’t even know what the hell is going on inside your own company? Amazing someone that is sleeping on the production floor doesn’t have a clue as to what the contractor company employees his company has hired are doing in the factory. That’s some great leadership there.


“All contracting companies should consider the coming week to be a final opportunity to demonstrate excellence. Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday.”

Sounds like a decree a dictator in a country like Syria/North Korea would issue than a statement a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company in America would be making. “PROVE YOUR WORTH TO ME…OR ELSE!”

Heaven forbid the 1 Tesla employee that can vouch for a contractor pulling his weight isn’t on leave/sick or something and can’t send the email out in time.

“All contracting companies should consider the coming week to be a final opportunity to demonstrate excellence. Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday.”

This is how dear leader Mr. Kim Jong Un is making North Korea great again.
If the people don’t demonstrate excellence, they be fired. Win-Win situation.

Except in North Korea, when people get “fired”, they are actually set on fire.

Wait a second, Elon has all those Boring flamethrowers at his disposal….

Bob Lutz that was funny but you must CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP


Instead of firing the people that hired the unnecessary contractors in the first place. I work in a normal company. I already vouch for anything I do with my name just like anyone else.

This just seems like the wrong approach to handle this. Vetting contractors’ work and efficiency makes sense. Requiring each individual person to ask an “official employee” friend to write them a recommendation in order to continue working makes Tesla seem more like a club than a company. And think of all the needless extra burden on human resources to collect and coordinate all those recommendations. It’s good for making headlines, but seems bad for business.

Elon needs to fire the useless Tesla workers that hire them useless contractors to do the work.

He may very well need to fire himself then. Strap a Falcon 9 to his back and liftoff!


Elon: “Time to scrub off the barnacles.”

Contract employees aren’t barnacles.

While I have a full time job, part of my income is doing project based contract or freelance work. I love my full time job but I tend to find my freelance work more interesting due to the variety of things I work on. My wife worked as a contractor for a while as well. She busted her butt at those jobs because she was hungry to get a new career after college.

The idea that someone wouldn’t work as hard for a company they’re not traditionally employed by is simply wrong.

If Tesla feels they need to let some people go, I understand. But treat them like human beings, not ‘barnacles’.

This also seems like a bad way to handle it. Keep them on based on performance not how many employees/buddies they have made that will vouch for them. An employee that keeps their head down and is focused on work is less likely to have someone come forward as an employee that chit chats and has negative impacts on productivity.

While the people that hired the contractors get to stay…and probably repeat the same mistakes they made and hire NEW “drunken sloth” contractors. It’s a vicious cycle.


Is this the American Way to manage a company? I have no idea how it would be to work in a place like this. Thankfully, interesting work and innovation doesn’t need this kind of environment.

No, it isn’t, including not in Silicon Valley tech companies, whether large public companies or small startups. If that email is accurate, Musk is losing control of himself. I hope he hires or promotes a CEO to run Tesla day-to-day, remains chairman and/or advisor, and concentrates on SpaceX.

Thank you for restoring my faith in workplace ethics! 🙂

It seems that the management (hence also the production) is out of control

Yes as stated above any manager who hires a contractor needs to be responsible for his choice. Workers on the floor know who is productive and who is not around them. I think Musk is trying to use this knowledge to determine who the bad contractors are. However all managers who hired contractors are likely to support their choice because they don’t want to make themselves look bad. Few contractors will actually be fired.

This looks very bad. It is not the way to run a company at this level. Arguing about the relative merit of contractors and “genuine” employees misses the point. This is a sloppy, disrespectful and irresponsible way to do a contractor review.

It’s reminiscent of the round of “performance-related” firings they did late summer or fall, in order to accelerate the ramp. We’ve seen how well that worked – which is what I’d predicted at the time.

These missteps have nothing to do with whatever Tesla does, but in how one runs a large manufacturing company, or any company for that matter. They may have something to do with Musk’s ideology, though. When you believe even partially the Randian crap about some people being “Atlases” and others being useless waste, this stuff may follow.

Wow, I really hope Tesla survives. We cannot afford to lose them.

Firing a bunch of contractors doesn’t really seem to mesh with goals of increasing production nearly 300% by the end of Q2 to 6k cars/week, now does it? Perhaps this “drunken sloth” contractor outburst is just planting the seed for an explanation of why Tesla will inevitably miss Q2 Model 3 production goals of 6k/week.
“Hey, we WOULD have hit 6k/week, but those barnacle drunk sloth contractors not pulling their weight are the reason we missed targets! Again. Shame on them!”

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

6K a week is a pipe dream man.
If anyone thinks it will be a sustaine 6K/week then they smokin da g00d $h1t!

You may be right but if Tesla tries that line again, the market will be merciless. Tesla is increasingly sounding like a mis-behaving-but-resourceful teenager who has burned up all their credible excuses for their self-created problems. Recycling old ones probably won’t fly. Elon used the “it’s the outside contractor’s fault” schtick to buy time to cover for the battery module assembly fiasco. Try that line again and any institutional investors/financial advisor who have parented teenagers will see through the BS and ground them – possibly permanently.

I’m sure Elon still has plenty of excuses/distracting shiny objects up his sleeve. If production of the Model Y is really only 2 years away (HA!), he can unveil a shiny one at anytime and start collecting deposits as a fund raiser. Then there’s the Tesla pickup that can be used as another shiny red object.
Thing is the cultists take the bait every time! We’ll see if Wall St continues to take the bait as well. It’s looking more and more likely they are tiring of the constant bait and switch.

Musk never said they were going to sustained 6K/week. They are doing a burst at a RATE equivalent to 6K, with the intention of sustained 5K/week. How is it that you get these things wrong so consistently over and over?

No, but the plan of record for 2018 (which has NOT been explicitly changed in the past 1.5 years, either in official company docs or by public statements) was _500K_ cars produced overall (that is, over all models for all markets globally). At best, Model S/X sales could have been 150K (120K more likely, but we’ll ignore that), so that means 350K Model 3s are supposed to be produced this year.
Assuming ~2 weeks of downtime on production lines (pretty standard in industry for maintenance, that means _7K_ PER WEEK, SUSTAINED.

What you are talking about is a completely different goal than the Q2 6K number that bro8008 was talking about. I guess when you can’t argue against what I say, it is easier to change the subject, eh?

But you are wrong even when you change the subject. The ORIGINAL projection of record for 500K M/S/3 cars produced was for 2020, not 2018. They revised that projection UP to 2018, and they have revised the details of that timeline from end of 2017 UP to July of 2017, then revised it back down now 3 times, all officially announced through official channels. Now they are likely to hit somewhere in the middle between both the 2020 and 2018 500K projections. This is why they are called “Projections”. They change. They are based upon the information available at the time.

The funny think is the massive double standard. Tell me, which of the ICE car makers have hit THEIR projections. Please list the date they made the projections on the number of EV’s they would build, and the date they delivered.

++ I have a hard time believing those email excerpts are 100% accurate. However, if they are, Musk has lost it . 1) I really doubt all subcontractors can be terminated as a day’s notice; maybe individual contractor employees, but (sub)contractor companies? No way. They would have various mid- and/or long-range contracts that can’t be stopped on a dime, certainly not without penalties and/or lawsuits or arbitration proceedings. 2) Even if a contract can be stopped within days, and that contracting company isn’t as efficient as one would like, cutting off its work before there’s a replacement (in-house or outsourced) is beyond stupid. It will likely worsen the situation in the mid-term. Just like you don’t fire a critical employee (unless he’s conduct is criminal) before you interview and sign on a replacement. 3) When evaluating the work of an employee or contracting company, it shouldn’t matter whether/how they employ subcontractors, and the specific performance of their indivudual workers. There should be clear deliverables (incl. quality, reliability, deadlines, cost, teamwork, communication with Tesla), and if a contractor fulfills those, that’s fine. If it’s easy to find a much better resource to do the job, in-house or not, whoever _at Tesla_… Read more »

1) Unless you have access to the performance clause in each contract, you whatever you claim is “No way” could be “Yes way” under the contract. If you think you know Tesla’s contracts better than Tesla, post them.

2) The point is they are getting rid of contractors and subs that add nothing. The replacement cost of replacing workers who contribute nothing is nothing.

3) If the contractor is performing, the manager at Tesla overseeing them will vouch for their performance.

4) If the contractor is performing, the manager at Tesla overseeing them will vouch for their performance.

5) Time and materials is common for emergency situations in all companies. If you own a restaurant and your toilet backs up, you pay time and materials to get a contractor to fix it. Elon is saying that contractors brought in to fix emergencies have been milking these “emergencies” long past the point where they should be done and gone and have milked the situation for additional work. So now they will go, now that they are no longer contributing.

That’s way too much common sense for a discussion regarding Tesla. 🙂

“Barnacles on top of barnacles”? The auto industry relies heavily on TARGETED use of suppliers’ labor, outside consultants, and outside service expertise for their high tech automation to maintain and control costs and improve productivity and profits. But, at least from my 40+ years of business experience, Tesla’s problems and the proposed resolution technique sound insane.

This email, paired with Elon’s email to employees a few weeks ago rambling and venting about everything from cash expenditures to acronym-usage reflect a company management that has been out-of-control in all sorts of ways for years and now in its cash-flow desperation, is out-of-control in addressing the problems.

The auto industry is brutal and heartless on the inefficient and as-reflected in the most-recent conference call, investors’ representatives are growing weary of Tesla’s ongoing problems and Elon appears immune to good advice, I fear 2018 will not end well for Tesla.

Most sane people reacted to that letter you complain about by wishing their company was more like Tesla. In fact many stated so right in the comments. Sorry you are some crazy TLA loving DfD who GDH’s acronym’s over CHL. Because nobody likes that dude.

This is a very foolish move. He’s essentially blacklisted Tesla for future contract workers. It is also doubtful the majority of contractors were actually doing nothing, so this move will further hurt efforts to get to the goal of 5k cars a week. If, however it is true, that the majority of contractors were doing nothing but receive paychecks, Tesla’s management is the problem, and letting go all these contractors will only alleviate one symptom of a serious internal cancer.

LOL!! Actually contractors are lining up to BEG for Elon to let them be a supplier. Suppliers are even buying Tesla Model S’s to show their commitment to Tesla to be a supplier:

“Tesla supplier buys 23 Model S sedans in an attempt to ‘get more work’ from Tesla”

“Chlebowski also wants to become involved in installing Tesla Superchargers through his U.S. Utility company. “I’ve gotta support them,” he said”

Companies are even MOVING TO BE CLOSER TO TESLA so they can be a supplier. Stories are right here on insideev’s archives. Why are you nutters so out of touch with reality?

Honestly have you ever tried not to be a complete Tesla apologist for 5 minutes? Do you think you could do it?

You’re starting to remind me of the Iraqi Information Minister circa 2003.

This kind of hamfisted/broadbrushed approach to management virtually never works. Musk is acting like he’s running a very small Silicon Valley startup, not a major manufacturing company. It increasingly sounds like the best thing that could happen for Tesla, its employees and customers, and EVs in general, would be some company to merge with Tesla and Musk move into a purely tech-oriented role and get out of daily business-side management.

And yet they are by far the leading company selling pure EV’s in the United States, with none of those other companies you mumble about coming anywhere near Tesla’s sales numbers in 2018 pure EV sales. The closest pure EV competitor has sold just 5,600 pure EV’s in the US so far in 2018 vs. Tesla’s 24,000+ pure EV’s, despite their competitor having a HUGE price advantage.

So who’s management is more effective at selling pure EV’s? The one who has sold 24K so far and is just going up massively from there? Or the one who sold 5,600 pure EV’s and is stuck in a downward cycle? Or any of the other companies who are trailing even further behind? Many by another full order of magnitude?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Have anyone that has posted ever hired a large group of contractors?

When we hired a large group, we contacted the agency told them we need 70 heads with a list of qualifications in a narrow focus on technology and they sent the candidates and we trained them.

We fired the ones that did not work out who obviously lied about their knowledge and fired the slow workers.
It even got to a point where we switched temp agencies.
All done behind closed doors.
Did that a few times a year depending on sales. Some contractors that worked out fine stayed on for years. They said they wouldn’t come on full time because their pay would decrease.

All this dude is doing is openly stating what will be done.

Good managers motivate their workers to deliver their best. Bad managers just fire people.

A welcoming focused fair work environment is the base of good performance. Elon is creating the worst possible environment. It might be the time, that Elon concentrates on what he does good and makes someone else do the rest.

Clueless people post about things they have no clue about. Elon is doing the right thing by getting rid of the dead weight.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“welcoming focused fair work environment”

You can do that all you want but when it’s obvious some fool padded his/her resume (or recomended by a ‘friend’) and can’t do the job, they’re fired.
If they can’t work in a “fast paced dynamic environment”, there’s no reason to keep them employed.

Its not, that they cant work in that environment, its just that their teamleader did not show them a way, how do bring in their personal skills. Every person has skills and they are different. You want a company be based on just one type of personalities. This is not going to work. Have you heard of DISC-personality types?
You should get informed. You think, your way of doing things is the only way to everything. But you are so wrong. There are things the people, which in your opinion are unable, can do much better than you can and they will find different innovative solutions.
And like an organism needs many types of resources to live healthy, a company needs many types of people. Motiviation and profiting from peoples skills is the key and not to fire all people, who are not like you want people to be.

You’re totally misunderstanding what a temp/contract worker is for.
It sounds more like you’re a union rep trying to keep your membership headcount up.

So then you just keep the slackard slow employee just for the sake of keeping them employed?
That would just be poor management and a dumb move for a company that relies on manufacturing. Might work for government and unions though.

You’re misunderstanding the statement. Musk is _not_ referring to individual contractors, which US companies like to hire for limited periods to save on the muss and fuss of hiring/firing fulltime workers. Reread the excerpts: He’s referring to (sub)contractor _companies_, and is basically interfering with each contractor’s internal operations.

This memo indicates significant management issues at Tesla. It’s a really bad way to do business.

You do have to wonder how far up the chain the problem is.

It’s pretty common that the person who should have clearly defined the expectation of work preformed by the contractor , didn’t
Then the problems grow like cancer.

Turn in your coworkers, how Orwellian.


(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

lol, you’re killin me G…….LMAO

Wow, the Shorters are out in force today!

Yes, but for once, at least some of them are making sense. 🙁

St. Elon has just handed down his new and improved, updated CEO mandate.

All Drunken Sloths need to start looking for the nearest exit, at the Freemont plant!
If any of you D.S. Contractors, cannot secure a required Tesla Employee “Voucher of Excellence”, then please just turn in your access codes and badges to HR, when leaving the plant, by the end of this week.

Tesla would welcome all D.S. Contractors, to politely thank the Tesla diligent management team, before you depart. Please be so kind to wish them the best of luck, during the remainder, of what will now be the extended version, of Model 3 Production Hell.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


Man, I feel for those Tesla employees. If they’re as overloaded with work as people claim, now they’re faced with this added task to craft justifying emails for contractors, or risk having to pick up more work from said contractors no longer working there.

I see Insideev’s has been turned into an annex of Seeking Alpha for yet another story.

The beacon of neutrality and objectiveness finally graces us with his presence.

You can join the rest of the Desperately Seeking A**** folks in knowing you are full of hot air. TSLA is up 3% on this news. Nobody cares what you losers think.

The TSLA longs have their panties in a wad I see. Lol

I’m late to the comments and do not have time to read them all; this could be redundant…You vouch for your “brah” and not for the one you feel threatened by if they’re a rockstar employee…Also I’ve seen it reported that Fremont has limited parking and often two employments between shifts will work an agreement and fear that folks with parking arrangement who don’t even work together may vouch for each other if one is a contractor…

I think Musk is losing it. He’s acting more and more bizarre and erratically, like he’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

When you’re running the world’s largest pyramid scheme in the world and the probing questions keep mounting, you’d probably be nervous too!

Pyramid scheme? The Fremont factory is real, the gigafactory is real, the Buffalo solar panel factory is real, the tesla service centers are real, the tesla stores are real, supercharging stations are real etc… A pyramid scheme would be crypto currencies CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR STINKHOLE LOL

I do understand the mindset of Bro1999…Madoff, who was responsible for the largest Ponzi scheme in history, had a legit investment firm…Tesla is real, the question is, will the $35K Model 3 ever be real?

It doesn’t matter if there is a 35k model 3 because tesla is selling 60k model 3 at a fast pace. CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

In the grand scheme of things I agree “clean air” is coming…However it absolutely matters to Tesla if they find a way to “cop out” of offering a $35K TM3…