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View Full Version : I need help with a crew


outrunjason
01-08-2006, 01:51 PM
Ok first off I did do a search but they did quite answer all my questions.

In a run down here is what I have. I have been in business for about 5 years (the right way) and just on and off for about 4 years before that. I usually drive and have 2 guys that work with me. But really I need to run a second crew. It would be so much more efficient. So, how are you suppose to find a guy that can drive just about as good as he mowes. I use all mexicans. Some of them are really good hard working guys. I am worried about using somone from day labor, and I don't want someone taking off with my truck and stuff either.

So, I figure 2 guys on a truck. Driver at $12 an hour and the other guy at about 8 like always. Then I would start on a second crew that wouldn't be full quite yet and that would be my crew. So, I guess the question is where do you find the good guys? If I have read right money talks and if you pay them good they will stick around. Also do you send a map with your crew on what lawns to do next? I have a route sheet but no map on it as I know where they are. I guess they would just have to get used to the route and look it up in the mapsco.

Thanks, Jason

(if this is in the wrong section please move)

rodfather
01-08-2006, 02:27 PM
Paying well does help as I do much above average. Think after about the 3rd week your crew could toss the map.

GraZZmaZter
01-08-2006, 02:38 PM
Use a folder with addys, phone numbers, AND maps .... you need to get your crew to these jobs ASAP! Stealing your clients away with such information, you say.....

Draw up a non-compete clause for them to sign with the paperwork you give new hires .... ive never had a problem with employees signing this sheet and no problems with them trying to steal away my list's. I did have problems prior to the sheets though.

Finding good help is hard, and i personally dont use Mexicans. I run an add in the paper and use a questionaire over the phone to narrow down applicants. Next, i met the qualifying prospects at a place like borders, or a resturant to further examine their qualifications. I narrow them down from there and pick the best applicant. Always keep potential prospects information filed, as you dont know when you may need some extra help out of the blue.

outrunjason
01-08-2006, 03:04 PM
So, you think that I should have a folder with all the info on it? Also what about insurance. As it is I just have the truck and a car on there and me and my wife as a driver. Can I just add the guy as a driver? I am also looking at putting a gps on my truck. Just something cheap so I can make sure they are doing there job. I don't care about certain things but some I do. Also what do you do about equipment being stolen. I am going to place this on the driver. I thought about withholding so much from his check till a certain point so that if anything gets stolen it will be covered. I know that sounds harsh but if one day something comes up stolen he could just bail and I would be stuck with the bill.

Lawnmasters
01-08-2006, 03:48 PM
As the saying goes, "good help is hard to find". And I don't care what anyone says, it makes NO difference how much you pay. A good employee has it inside of them or they don't, period. I have hired and fired employees for 17 years in this business and 8 years prior in another business. I have paid $15.00 an hour to some people who I thought based on their qualifications, would be good help, crew leader quality, they lasted about 2 weeks. I have paid $5.00 an hour to others to start, one of which is now my forman, who I pay salary, and he has been with me for ten years, has keys to my shop and everything I own. You just have to hire someone, work with them for a while and build up to putting more responsiblity in their hands. It's hard, very hard to find someone off the street and decide wether they can, or will, handle the responsiblity and treat the equipment and customers like you will. They won't. I could use two more people as crew leaders, can't find them. I tell everyone I hire, how much you make is up to you, the more you can do for me, the more you are worth to me. They have to show what they can, or will do, then they get more pay after at least 30 days. I put adds in local paper when I need help, usually get 30 or 40 replies, I talk to them on phone just to set up an appointment at my office, I want to see what they look like, as well as see if they can carry on a conversation, then I decide on someone after talking to everyone. Everyone fills out an employment app to start, I keep these on file because you never know if you will have a crew tomorrow or not. Typical employees will bolt on a whim, or not show up because they are supposedly sick, I keep plenty of replacements on call.
Good luck with it though, just know that when you send your new crew out to do jobs on their own, they WILL NOT do as much as you and your crew do. Human nature.

J Hisch
01-08-2006, 03:50 PM
First remember your current employee's are one of the best thing s in your company. Try to develop them, maybe thats not practical now, but you need to develop your employee's to help lead your company. You want to have business as usual even if you cant be there. Good luck with finding help. I have found that the best way fro me to fine help is to develop from within, and get etry level employee flowing thorugh all the time util you hit on some good ones.

kc2006
01-08-2006, 04:22 PM
So, you think that I should have a folder with all the info on it? Also what about insurance. As it is I just have the truck and a car on there and me and my wife as a driver. Can I just add the guy as a driver? I am also looking at putting a gps on my truck. Just something cheap so I can make sure they are doing there job. I don't care about certain things but some I do. Also what do you do about equipment being stolen. I am going to place this on the driver. I thought about withholding so much from his check till a certain point so that if anything gets stolen it will be covered. I know that sounds harsh but if one day something comes up stolen he could just bail and I would be stuck with the bill.

Do you have business insurance? You haven't mentioned that, just vehicle insurance. Insurance should cover you on equipment being stolen. But thats also why you get information like their SS number, so in the event they bail you should be able to do somethng about it. I've never dealt with the paperwork side of having employee's, just managed them.

As for the route part, give them maps and they should have it covered after a couple weeks. Then they should just need the list with names/address. I like rodfathers pay method(i've debating selling and going to work for him :D ). If you pay your employee's well, they'll stick with you and you have a better chance of getting someone worth having. If you pay them bad wages your just going to get slackies. Around here, the average pay for the industry is 7 dollars, a crewleader is lucky to get 10-11. When the time comes for me to expand, I will be hiring in at 9-10 an hour and crew leaders will get 15 an hour.

Az Gardener
01-09-2006, 06:01 PM
A great #2 guy can make or break a business. If you can find one your company will grow and prosper, until you do you will flounder with inconsistency. Lets face it what we do is not rocket science so anyone with desire /ambition can fill the bill. Look everywhere talk to other people you know. Finding them in the want ads is not likely. Married with kids is good, they need to work. You may even have to pay him more than he is worth to begin, but once it gets rolling its very good. As far as the how to find the job site issues, send your current #2 / lead guy with your new foreman. The leadman will know the route and the routine and make things easier on the new guy. As far as non competes are concerned they are a big stick but if it really comes down to enforcing it's expensive and timely, and lets face it if a customer wants to leave they are gone . I have thought about having the clients sign a non-compete to keep them from stealing the guys, but the guys are smart enough to know better. Anytime you have to get lawyers involved your loosing, just a matter of how much.

rodfather
01-09-2006, 06:16 PM
I like rodfathers pay method(i've debating selling and going to work for him :D ). If you pay your employee's well, they'll stick with you and you have a better chance of getting someone worth having.

Just spoke with my last 2 guys this afternoon.

As of today, everyone is coming back next season including my college guys. Pay for mowing/landscaping and crew foremen is $17.50 and $22.50 respectively with 5 paid personal days and 1/2 major medical paid should they choose.

Don't worry Kurt, I have a opening for ya :)

Coreyb
01-10-2006, 02:41 PM
you need commercial or business insurance. go to an insurance broker (one who can offer many carriers). i use pekin and they have been good. there are too many guys on here without insurance. you want to carry $1million gen liability plus coverage for all your equipment. as far as drivers, my guys can not have any suspensions in the past 5 years or they can not be insured. fiind out what your insurance requires and go from there.

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 04:07 PM
you need to first show the guys the properties for the first 2 to 4 weeks. Tell them the ends and out. And try something that worked for me; work them 4 days at 10-12 hours each day. That way they have a 3 day weekend. Most will love it.

The last 2 years I have been working that. Sure once in a while I work on Friday for maybe half a day, but the 4 day schedule really works. Also if it rains Monday-Thursday, you have Friday to fall back on. That is another thing, I always try to schedule 90% of my lawn maintenance on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

dcondon
01-10-2006, 04:31 PM
I would say make plenty of drop-bys and check on how they are doing. You should be able to find someone that can learn the route quick. I know in this area 4 day weeks are hard to come by because you only have about 7-8 months to make your money. Plus working with mother nature always dosen't help. We stay way to busy to take much time off in the spring,summer and fall.:waving:

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 04:41 PM
Don't worry Kurt, I have a opening for ya :)


Rod--You didn't give Kurt my spot did you?:)

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 04:46 PM
My guys know where all of our house's are.Once you have been there a couple of time's its not that difficult to figure out.If you need to in the beginning print them a route off of Mapquest or something,buy a map book for each truck just in case you throw a new house on the route.

Also I would give them a book with the customers name/address everything else you need so they can mark down the work they did so you know what to bill them for.

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 05:11 PM
Another thing that I do to help me work the 4 days schedules is get my money during the entire 12 months..it's smarter. That way when you don't have snow during the winter months, you are still getting money in compared to working 7 days a week during those 7 to 8 months.

dcondon
01-10-2006, 05:15 PM
Another thing that I do to help me work the 4 days schedules is get my money during the entire 12 months..it's smarter. That way when you don't have snow during the winter months, you are still getting money in compared to working 7 days a week during those 7 to 8 months.

I would drive the wife crazy if I only worked 4 days a week during the most busy time of the year. Each is to there own!!!!

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 05:46 PM
Another thing that I do to help me work the 4 days schedules is get my money during the entire 12 months..it's smarter. That way when you don't have snow during the winter months, you are still getting money in compared to working 7 days a week during those 7 to 8 months.

Troy,
Thats not a bad idea but I do not know of one company in this area that does that.I thought about that when I first started out,giving someone a FLAT 12 month fee that would include everything...maintenace,fertilizer,trimming bushes aeration etc... anything they wanted done through out the year divided by 12 plus tax.

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 05:56 PM
I have been using the flat monthly rate plan for the last 3 years. It is a great idea, because during the winter months when it is dead slow, and there is no snow on the ground, you are constantly getting a check in the mail.

Now the psychological downside: when you work during the summer months you are thrown off because you might work on a customers property more than what the flat monthly rate is, but you have to remember that it is all spread out. So it really does even out.

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 06:44 PM
Troy,
I understand your thinking and agree with it,I'm just saying that for some reason nobody that I know of is doing it here.

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 06:49 PM
Larry,
I know that very few people do it. In fact, I think that I may be the only one that does it here as well.

It was very hard at first to get people to do. Probably around 40% of my customers sign up for the flat monthly rate. Like I tell them, it's a gamble. We might get a wet year in which I have to mow more, so you would have saved money, or we might get a dry year which I don't mow as much so you want have spent more money compared to paying regular.

The main reason for starting it was because I was sick of the inconsistant winter months and lack of money. So I said, "Never Again." That is when I came up with this idea. So far, nobody has screwed me over on not paying either. They like knowing exactly what their bill will be each month. If you want to know more about it, just PM me.

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 06:59 PM
[QUOTE=tiedeman
They like knowing exactly what their bill will be each month. If you want to know more about it, just PM me.[/QUOTE]

The thing that I like about it is your income is pretty steady that way.Its not terrible for me because all of my snow plow customers on are season contracts so snow or no snow I make the same money.Where if you do the snow by the push and it doesn't snow you can really be hurting right about now.We have not plowed since 12/19 and there is nothing coming:) .So less snow means more money for me.

But your plan is perfect because it puts people on a budget like with the gas company,and they know what the bill is every month.I will let you know for sure if I decide to do it.Thanks.

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 07:04 PM
I know what you mean, the last snow here was on the 31st of December and that was about 3 inches. Since then we have only received about a 1/2 inch here and there, and rain. My snow removal customers are setup on a flat monthly rate plan as well, but differently. Now about 60% of my snow removal customers are setup compared to only about 40% of my lawn care customers.

Now with snow removal and flat rates, you can lose your @ss a lot more compared to lawn maintenance. With snow removal, not only are customers making a gamble, but I am probably making the bigger gamble.

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 07:12 PM
Now with snow removal and flat rates, you can lose your @ss a lot more compared to lawn maintenance. With snow removal, not only are customers making a gamble, but I am probably making the bigger gamble.

Man you got that right,we plowed like 14 times so far this year.But I can honestly say there was twice we should not have been out at all.If its a bad winter we get screwed.I kind of wish that I had about 20 by the push just to give me some incentive to go out,but everone wants seasonal contracts here.I pray for no snow everydayand when it does let it snow at night.I would much rather work after midnight.

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 07:18 PM
The first year I was saving and making an extra $80 on average for residential customes because of lack of snow.

Last year I had one regular residential customer save approx $280. Ouch to me!!! I think last year I lost money compared to if I was I just charging normally.

This year I raised up my rates big time though, so we will see how I come out on top. December was a little scary at first, but so far January is turning out great for me

Lux Lawn
01-10-2006, 07:26 PM
Troy,
You guys have a decent amount of snow so far this year right?

We get the Lake Effect from good old Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.
From now on keep your own damn snow!!!!!!!!!:)

dcondon
01-10-2006, 07:43 PM
That is all well and good if you just have a handful of accounts like you do Troy. If your dealing with 100's that makes a difference. ALL the people we deal with like having a bill every 2 weeks or every month. makes it a lot less hastle in the office. Like I said everyone does it there own way.:waving:

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 07:50 PM
ALL the people we deal with like having a bill every 2 weeks or every month. makes it a lot less hastle in the office.

that doesn't make sense.:dizzy:

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 07:51 PM
Troy,
You guys have a decent amount of snow so far this year right?

We get the Lake Effect from good old Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.
From now on keep your own damn snow!!!!!!!!!:)

Actually, in December we had an ok amount, but since then it really has been doing nothing but raining or freezing rain.

In the last month, I think we have only received two descent size snow events; one on the 17th of December and one on the 31st.

We have like no snow on the ground right now. The only snow is from snow piles

dcondon
01-10-2006, 07:56 PM
that doesn't make sense.:dizzy:

Tell me why it dosen't make sense???? If you make enough money during the busy months and carry it through the winter whats the problem???? Also you get interest from the bank on the money that you have saved:dizzy:

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 08:01 PM
Tell me why it dosen't make sense???? If you make enough money during the busy months and carry it through the winter whats the problem???? Also you get interest from the bank on the money that you have saved:dizzy:

think about what you said and read over it carefully. I was talking about flat monthly rates, and you chime in saying:

"That is all well and good if you just have a handful of accounts like you do Troy. If your dealing with 100's that makes a difference. ALL the people we deal with like having a bill every 2 weeks or every month. makes it a lot less hastle in the office. Like I said everyone does it there own way."

It doesn't make sense. Tell me how it makes sense.

dcondon
01-10-2006, 08:05 PM
OK Troy what every you think........ just because you only have about 10-15 accounts you think you know best. Trust me, I live in this town also and just wait and see what happens..... Wriken said it all before!!!!

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 08:21 PM
OK Troy what every you think........ just because you only have about 10-15 accounts you think you know best. Trust me, I live in this town also and just wait and see what happens..... Wriken said it all before!!!!

LMAO

Told you, I was right again. You couldn't make sense of it. Again, I don't hear an apology.

I am not saying I am the best and I am not saying that I have a large operation. But I do know that I am smart when it comes to getting paid, and having money. I don't have no $15,000 outstanding in account receiveables and I don't have to go to court to chase down money. I do know that I am smart with what I do. I am educated in what I do. Sure I have probably made a lot of customers mad or upset over the years with dropping them, and sometimes asking certain ones to come back. I can admit that.

That is great that you guys have those large number of accounts. I not taking that away from you. I am comfortable with the small account that I have. Sure I only have 20 to 30 lawn maintenane accounts, but why have I been cutting back my lawn maintenance accounts year after year? Maybe I have a plan, maybe not. Have you ever thought that I am moving into a different field or different service or different location all together?

Sure sometimes I cut my throat a little deep, but I learn and move on. I am willing to admit my mistakes and what I have done wrong. Sure I don't own a house, have nice new vehicles, or extra equipment setting around for back up.

Yes I am hot head, yes I do take things personally. Do I forgive people easily, nope. Why should I?

Like I said, I can lay it all out in the open. I don't care. I admit my mistakes when I am wrong and apologize when it is necessary. Can you?

Are you threating me Derrick?

You always try to start something, yet you can not finish it. We can go back and forth on this forum. You are the one that is following me around trying to start something. I just finish it.

Why do you always have to follow me around and start something?

dcondon
01-10-2006, 08:28 PM
Ok Troy, NO I'm not threatening you... Why should I have to! This needs to get back to what outrunjason was talking about!!! nothing else from me, happy mowing...

tiedeman
01-10-2006, 08:36 PM
Derrick you and I had a great friendship before, it's just too bad that our businesses mixed with our personal affairs and ruined our friendship. I not not saying any ONE person in particular is blame; all of us is to blame. Sorry that this couldn't work out.

I seriously wish you guys the best of luck this year, lets just stop the fighting. I don't care if we don't talk every again or wave to each other every again, but at least lets be pleasant to each other on the forum becasue this is getting ridiculous.

outrunjason
01-11-2006, 01:55 PM
LOL. :waving: I was away for a bit and get back on and I am like dang this many replies for just finding a crew leader driver or whatever.

Any way. We have state farm I called them and found out a few things. One since I have been in business I have not ever told them that the truck was used for business. So, if I had been in a wreck he said you might not be covered. So I fixed that.

Now, this truck was my wifes truck and is in her name. But my old truck went out and I am using hers now. State Farm said they want me to go to the tax office and get the title changed over to Jason's Lawn Service. What for? I didn't really ask but is that really needed. I mean either way we still own the truck.

As for a guy I have asked around a little. A guy is suppose to call me back. I was told that the good guys get take quick so I better find one.

I will let you know what else happens.

Jason

www.jasonslawnservice.com

dcondon
01-11-2006, 05:31 PM
LOL. :waving: I was away for a bit and get back on and I am like dang this many replies for just finding a crew leader driver or whatever.

Any way. We have state farm I called them and found out a few things. One since I have been in business I have not ever told them that the truck was used for business. So, if I had been in a wreck he said you might not be covered. So I fixed that.

Now, this truck was my wifes truck and is in her name. But my old truck went out and I am using hers now. State Farm said they want me to go to the tax office and get the title changed over to Jason's Lawn Service. What for? I didn't really ask but is that really needed. I mean either way we still own the truck.

As for a guy I have asked around a little. A guy is suppose to call me back. I was told that the good guys get take quick so I better find one.

I will let you know what else happens.

Jason

www.jasonslawnservice.com

Yes, Let us know how it goes and good luck!!!!:waving: