View Full Version : Best Worker had Blank Magnetic Signs in Truck

04-14-2001, 11:08 AM
What would you do in this case? Great guy who has taken on alot of our load, leader, smart, etc. Well in his truck, they drive them home @ night, looking for a label book I found blank magnetic signs that cover the co. name on door.His fuel bill is lower this year than last with more stops, but I guess he is getting some on the side. How do you handle this?

04-14-2001, 01:22 PM
Leave a boot print on his behind.

John Allin
04-14-2001, 01:53 PM
Tough one.
Tougher to let him go.
But, it might be necessary.
You may have to watch him abit.
I hate when this type of thing happens.
Whatever you do will not feel good.

Mike Nelson
04-14-2001, 05:52 PM
That is a bummer.Kinda puts a pit in your stomach.

Good Luck

04-14-2001, 07:18 PM
Happened to me last year. Check the route sheets religiously and make them record times for the stops. You know how long it takes, follow him if necessary but find out. Confront and decide from there. First time shame on you and there won't be a second!

04-14-2001, 08:50 PM
Might be an excuse for you to get one of those GPS for tracking vehicles. You can put it on your truck and they would never know. Then you wouldn't have to feel bad when you do the right thing and can him.

Or do like getmow and check logs with hour meters on the mowers.

Fantasy Lawns
04-14-2001, 11:07 PM
this might be off wall ....but when I was running my P%$zza Hut Delivery unit in DC ....I had a killer Driver ...he did it all & did it well ....during X-mas he would also work at Do$#@ino's ....I found out by seeing a sign in his truck ...we had a "talk" and I listened ....he needed more $$ ....I understood but he either worked for me or go ...it's a tough one but have a good talk ...outside of work time ....

04-15-2001, 04:31 AM
I think I would show up at different times and check up on him. I would be my own private eye. Do your homework, and if he is up to something make an educated decision based on FACTS and deal with it. Remember, punishment isn't just for the wrong doer, its for the example to others as well. You will need to handle this swiftly and with authority or your other employees will not respect you.

04-15-2001, 04:03 PM
I'm with 65hoss on this one, deal only with facts. You know what happens when you assume something. There are two sides to every coin. So until you get some facts as to WHY the blank signs are in the truck, you really can't do much.

Yes he may be doing side jobs, or his wife might not want a company truck marking her driveway, or worse case he might stop by the gin mill on the way home and try to cover his tracks.

Once again this is only an assumption, it's also a few of the things that I've run into over the years. But you really don't or can't handle it until you get some facts as to what is what. You've got a good worker so don't go off half-cocked. You know in this day and age how difficult it is to get and retain good workers.

I dislike firing people, but if it needs to happen then it's for the best. Somtimes it is the only way to cover your own business.

My two cents

04-15-2001, 04:11 PM
I agree find out why, i doubt he does, but if he lives in a deed restricted community he may have to cover the name on the truck, and may not have told you because hes afraid of losing the priviledge of taking it home

04-15-2001, 06:42 PM
Have hime right the time and millage of each stop and tell him it's something new for taxes.This way you can keep track of him since you know the routs he will use to go to each job and how much time it take to do each.

04-16-2001, 11:26 AM
Upon new hire, make the employees sign an agreement acknowledging the use of GPS trackers to monitor their movement; however, they don't have to know you don't have one in the vehicle. Just tell them you're protecting your investment AND protecting them in case there's a problem. It's all accountability!

04-16-2001, 08:29 PM
I had a guy who I suspected was diong some side stuff last year using my stuff. I found reasons toneed his truck and all the equipment every night for about 2 weeks. If he was using my stuff to do his jobs he probably lost them then because he didn't have a way to get them done. Since then I have made it very clear that anyone caught using my stuff on the side without my knowledge is fired. No questions asked.

04-17-2001, 10:49 AM
Check out ATTI. I bought one of their cheap gps trackers and it works great.

It's smaller than a cigarette pack and the antenna is about a one square inch magnet. If you have a laptop you could download the info right in the truck or mount it with velcro so you could take it to your office to download.

If you want to know more about it e-mail me, I could show you the report it prints out.

Acute Cut
04-17-2001, 11:02 AM
Here is an idea that might just blow you away. Perhaps you could just ask him about it. Instead of being sneaky and aquiring your employees distrust, explain how you found it and that you would like an explanation. Not too hard.

Of course, i could be wrong.

dan deutekom
04-17-2001, 04:55 PM
Acute cut


04-17-2001, 06:35 PM
So.... powerreel.
Don't keep it from us any longer!!!!
What happened or what did you find
out was he or wasn't he.

04-18-2001, 09:56 AM
He is doing stuff on the side. We tailed him and watched with binoculars as he loaded a mower from a storage shed, mowed a few houses, and gassed up the truck. He used his on $$$ for gas, explains lower fuel bill. Funny thing, when I started in the field I did lots of work on the side. Still don't know.

04-18-2001, 07:00 PM
Powerreel now that you know for sure just confront him and tell him your terms if you don't mind him doing side work.Let him pay to use your truck and other equipment on a monthy base as if you are a rental store you make out in the long run still have your best employee untill he gets the nerve to leave you.Plus the money from letting him use it or you could deduct pay from him for the usesage. just a thought.

04-18-2001, 10:59 PM
Sorry to hear that.
Had it happen to me but
he was using my equipment
my gas and my time (on the clock)
He just picked up a nieghbors yard
of my customers and they paid cash,
thought it was kind of funny that the same
mowing pattern was in two yards side by side
and he was only suppose to be doing one.
problem fixed.. he is no longer with me

04-22-2001, 09:05 PM
It's time to lay down the law! Tell him that he is privledged to even be able to drive your truck home every day so cut the act!

Worst Case- Don't let him drive the truck home--->problem solved (since he'll know that you know when you confront him)

04-23-2001, 12:49 AM
I can't say that I'm angry @ him because he is burning his own gas and equipt.The extra miles on the vechicle I really could care less,he's doing middle class America houses and I don't touch anything under $225 in residential- he's not zapping any of my market share. I am going to watch this and when review comes up I will tell him what I know,(after he asks for a raise!hehehe) Then his raise will be my blessing on this as long as it stays between us and NO other people know about it. Should regular workers learn of this I will be forced to take a form of action.That's where I'm at, anyone want to shoot the sh*t on this?

John Allin
04-23-2001, 08:03 AM
The other workers already know.... don't kid yourself.

You were probably the last to know.

John from OH
04-23-2001, 10:01 AM
I'm with John on this one, the other workers already know. If you let him get away with it, you have set a precedent. If you catch the another employee doing the same thing, and want to terminate the second employee, you would have a hard time justifying the termination in a wrongful discharge suit. The longer you let it go on, the bigger fool you appear to be to your other employees. It also lets your other employees think they can bend the rules at your expense.

04-23-2001, 08:04 PM
How do they know?

04-23-2001, 08:18 PM
The employees talk to eachother, and tell eachother things they don't tell the boss.

DO NOT ROLL OVER on this! You need to make a strong stance on this, or everyone else will start doing the same thing. Then, when one of them gets in an accident while doing his side job, and the bill is paid out of your insurance, jacking your premiums, you'll wish you'd canned him.

Many times it's a relief to the other employees when you make an example out of one doing wrong. It helps define working parameters for the others, so they what's acceptable and what's not. If you do nothing, then this becomes acceptable. I bet if you can him, within a week others will come to you and tell you they knew it was going on but didn't know what to do.

What's worse, if you agree to make this 'your little secret', everyone else will find out about this and take advantage.

Frankly, I'm amazed this guy lasted 2 minutes beyond the time you caught him doing side work. I don't get mad often, but this is the kind of thing that gets my hands shaking, my face red and my mouth shouting so loud with such obscenities that spit flies out of my mouth. Thankfully, like I said, it doesn't happen too often.

Acute Cut
04-23-2001, 08:52 PM
You must be a riot to watch football with. LOL>

Good point though. It is important for the employees to know the parameters and to know that you are an honest business. What happens when frank (another employee of lessser grandure) decides to mow a lawn on the side? You fire him and then he sues you for biasism. Or somthing like that. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Do you want all of your employees doing this? Tell him to STOP or lose his job. Stonehenge was right, be firm but fair with him.

dan deutekom
04-23-2001, 08:57 PM
Workers talk to each other. Other workers know everything. I wouldn't set any precidents. Lay down the law now or you will regret it later.

John Allin
04-23-2001, 11:58 PM
Agreed.... even if you don't fire the dude, I believe that you should let him know that YOU know the score.

04-24-2001, 09:36 PM
John, you are one real true person.You've made alot of sense,I'm gonna revoke his truck use tommorow. No more, tommorow in his email he'll see the photos we took and I will have a meeting with him in the afternoon. He'll have all day to stew on the whole issue. Thanks for your advice.

John Allin
04-24-2001, 10:32 PM
Powereel... Letting him stew is a good idea... peoples own minds will do more damage to themselves than you can do as boss..... good luck.

04-24-2001, 10:37 PM
Take it from a person who had this done to him for a whole season and got played all season long becaues the worker took it as far as possible(a real slimeball)! From my personal experience i can say that its not too bad if hes using only the truck but if he was using your time and truck and equip. Then it will only get worse and a thief is a thief. Always stay ontop of your business. Good for you for taking the pictures but they dont mean **** when hes got enough work that he can fire you. Dont ever think you have the upper hand even if you have pictures. Once they have enough work they will start really abusing the rules. Trust me ive been through it. It only gets worse and one day he might just leave you in the middle of your season when he has too much of his own work. Never let it get to that point. Get a replacement as SOON AS POSSIBLE AND THEN CONFRONT HIM and do it nicely where he will not come back to steal any customers.


Holloway Lawns
04-28-2001, 11:54 AM
What I would do is confront him about it. Before he gets more biz on his own then just dumps you and if the other employees know he may take them with him and then you would be in a bind without your help.

04-28-2001, 12:04 PM
Well, I never did email the photos. I did set up a meeting and asked him if he knew anything about it.I told him that I was getting calls from "certain areas" about inquirys on estimates, I asked him if he knew anything about these calls on this good work are doing in this area? He lied. I DO NOT enjoy being lied to so I showed him the photos, I printed them and had him go get them from the printer and bring them to me.I had to nail him up on a cross and tell the employees what happened and how he will not be @ work anymore. Now I have to hire, I do think some of the guys respect this decision- I do think some knew. I may get the PARKWEST GPS TRACKER, any links? I will also be rewriting the company handbook and now know I need to play tail the employees from time to time.If I went GPS I could drive and mark the sites and from logs I could know whether or not the troops are on their objectives or out for what they can get. This is very hard to deal with and not get emotional over.

04-28-2001, 11:13 PM
I just saw an ad for it in one of the freebie mags. I'll have to look for you and then post the link.

John DiMartino
04-29-2001, 12:19 AM
Good decision,although it was a tough one.If he lied to you,you did the right thing.He had his chance to come clean at that point,and if he did I think you may have worked it out,but an outright lie-is reason alone for termination.This firing shows your other employees that you are serious,and the limit is clearly defined for them now.

Eric ELM
04-29-2001, 12:10 PM
I don't know how much the trackers are or exactly what information they provide. I do have a Garmin eMap that will will show exactly where the vehicle has been. It leaves a dot trail on the eMap and records how long the vehicle was moving and how long it was stopped. This might be another option for you and it costs $249 at Best Buy. It comes with an eight Meg programable card or up to 256 Meg card that you can purchase. What is also nice about this is, you can put in the address for a new lawn and press go to and it will take you to the door step.

John Allin
04-29-2001, 02:13 PM
We have the GPS system. When I go into the office tomorrow, I'll get you their web site address. Once the intital shock is over (from the employees), they accept it well. Alot goes with how it's presented to them. We don't use it to track their movements (although that is one benefit if the system) but to track speed on roads. We had a guy have an accident last year and the cops cited the other guy... Ins. Company fought it saying we couldn't have been doing the speed limit to cause that much damage. We won, but it cost some money to get there.

SO... the GPS tracking system logs speed of vehicles along with stops, time at stops, etc.

05-02-2001, 09:48 PM
I would follow him again and try to find all the customers that he does. Take pictures for proof, that is definitely needed for proof. I would be cautious, but maybe ask the people how long he has been doing their lawn. Find out what the law is for this and then take him to court for the use of your truck and possibly your equipmnet. If they ask what the pics were taken for, just say "positive reinforcement". You may get alot from this do to training him the tecniques of mowing, use of comapny vehicle, and possibly equipment. What if he does another property and needs a different size mower. He takes yours. You would need to terminate this relationship because he will get friendly with your clientele and then cut your throat once he feels he has built enough capital. I have seen this done. If you really need this guy then take the truck and that's that. He would have to scramble to find another truck and will lose customers in the meantime.

05-04-2001, 08:59 PM
So does anyone have links for GPS?

05-05-2001, 01:12 AM
Here's a decent site to get you going


fat tom
04-19-2004, 05:30 PM
There is just somthing wrong with this. It dosen't sit well with me. I only have a question. If he is doing this would it be a bad loss to get rid of him

04-19-2004, 08:44 PM
The thread is 3 years old, im sure hes long gone.

04-19-2004, 09:19 PM
If he has a Nextel cell phone through you...put the mobile locator feature on him for a while....you'd know EXACTLY where he's at at ALL times.

04-20-2004, 09:57 AM
What's a GPS??? how does it works? what can you do with it? sorry, I have no idea!:o

D Felix
04-20-2004, 03:31 PM
Indy took the words right out of my mouth!:)

A GPS is a Global Positioning Satellite or System, depending on what you are talking about. They do essentially the same thing.

Imagine holding a device in your hands that is not much bigger than your cell phone. Now imagine standing on a big X in your front yard with that in your hands. You push a button on the device, put on blinders so all you can see is the device in your hands. Now walk around for an hour, hit another button, and it will tell you how to get back to exactly where you started.

That's the basic premise of it. How does it work? There are satellites orbiting the earth, in geosyncranous (thats NOT spelled right!) orbit. Something like 27(?) of them, I think. The GPS unit uses these satellites as "fixed" points of referance. It will tell you longitude and lattitude of where you are at, most have an accuracy of less than 3 feet or so.

What most of the GPS referances on this thread were for, was a tracking system. A transmitter is placed in the vehicle that transmits the location of the vehicle to the office.

What can be done with GPS? Just about anything..... Hunting, fishing, backpacking, farmers are using it, even some lawn applicators are beginning to use it. The possiblities are virtually endless. We would have invested in it had we been awarded the contract for a new nature park that is currently under construction....


04-20-2004, 05:46 PM
Dan, thank you so much! great info!

Team Gopher
04-21-2004, 02:52 PM
If you would like to read more about how gps works, visit this site.