PDA

View Full Version : Why did I think I would be diferent?!?!?


CC Lawncare
04-29-2006, 11:47 PM
Ok, I have been full-time for a few years and manage to make a decent living with this business that I TOTALLY enjoy. I have used a few subs here and there in the past but primarily it is just me and my elder children. This year I decided to hire a few people full-time to help me free up some family time.
I have read many threads in lawnsite about how virtually impossible it is to find good work ethic in todays laborforce. I figured I could certainly be able to overcome any situations that might come along. :dizzy: WRONG !!
I hired 3 guys. 1 lasted 2 days, the 2nd lasted 4 days, and the 3rd has almost a month in but is ready to go back to watching TV as well. These guys were all in their mid 20's and couldn't stand working all day at a decent work pace. I am almost 50 and they can't keep up! That is pathetic!! The most discouraging part is that I received about 50 applications and these guys appeared to be the best bet.
I have decided to go back to handling it with my family and occasional sub. It will mean that I have to let a few accounts go away but I will be better off in the long run.
I just wish that I had trusted the advice of you other guys that have already gone down this road before.:) :)

Kickin Your Grass
04-29-2006, 11:49 PM
I had the same problems the last 2 seasons and I have decided to go solo this season.

HOOLIE
04-29-2006, 11:57 PM
Sorry about the bad luck there with the employees...

Truth is most people you hire for this work will not last long. Sad but true :cry: You sometimes have to go thru a lot of employees to find that diamond in the rough. Just keep sifting thru the dirt :laugh:

NCSERVICE
04-30-2006, 12:03 AM
yeah yeah, you need to find somebody out busting ass somewhere and offer them a job, ask em if they like hard work if they say hell yeah your all set, till they start their own business!

CC Lawncare
04-30-2006, 12:09 AM
Just keep sifting thru the dirt :laugh:
Hoolie, I can't afford it. I wish that I could because I hate to give up any accounts. The problem is that it takes me 50% more time to do the work with the employee than it does to just do it myself. I keep having to stop to show him again and again how to properly do the work. It is has been an absolute nightmare!

CC Lawncare
04-30-2006, 12:12 AM
yeah yeah, you need to find somebody out busting ass somewhere and offer them a job, ask em if they like hard work if they say hell yeah your all set, till they start their own business!
NC,
I don't want to try to take anyone elses lawncare employee so that rules out the experienced guys. Any suggestions on where else I could find a go-getter type person ?:confused:

Envy Lawn Service
04-30-2006, 12:23 AM
Of all the different types of contracting I have done over the years, good mowing crew employees are by far the hardest to find... and when you do find a good one it won't be long until he ventures out for himself.

NCSERVICE
04-30-2006, 12:24 AM
NC,
I don't want to try to take anyone elses lawncare employee so that rules out the experienced guys. Any suggestions on where else I could find a go-getter type person ?:confused:


not necessarily a lawn care dude although that would be a plus, you can train a go getter quickly

stuffdeer
04-30-2006, 12:29 AM
Me, Me, Me,

I'm one of the hardest working 15 year olds you will find.

Here's my day,

Not cutting day

6:30 wake up for school
3:30 Get home from School
4:00 Party Store Job
11:00 P.M Come home from Party Store Job

Cutting day

6:30 School
3:30 home
4:00 Start cutting
8:00 End cutting

topsites
04-30-2006, 12:34 AM
NC,
I don't want to try to take anyone elses lawncare employee so that rules out the experienced guys. Any suggestions on where else I could find a go-getter type person ?:confused:

This has been my experience...
I am told (and I agree) that there are two kinds of Lco's in this world (and it works for any business owner) but:
- The first kind enjoys hands-on do it myself and I am done, can do the supervisory aspect but finds it difficult.
- The second kind enjoys the supervisory aspect, can do the work but would rather not.

I am the first kind, and thus my list of why I will NEVER hire anyone else ever again is literally endless... I mean, I could over time write out a thousand good reasons and then a thousand more, so as you can see employees are not for me, but that's just me.

But I spoke with an elderly gentleman once who used to pwn a very large outfit, and we respected each other and I trusted his advice as far as employees because everything else matched my version and then some, the guy knew a few things, and here they are:
- Employees are somewhat like customers in that where we give estimate after estimate until we're blue in the face and finally one says yes, he said it takes 10 interviews and 10 guys to be told to show up on Monday at 8am for you to have your 1 hire (10 to 1 rule, I apply this to customers: Out of 10 estimates, I get one sale - evidently this is true of employees thou it appears you have to go as far as telling every one that you interview that they are hired and to show up, I was told it might take until Tuesday but no later than Wednesday you will have your 1).
- Run a classified ad week after week after week and be ready to do it technically indefinitely, but if you don't want to deal with this, you may end up dealing with 20 or 50 folks before you find your one, maybe even 100... Not to discourage you, just saying. It is a process, much like when I'm estimating if I even think I see trouble, I am gone - same with employees.

This one isn't relevant to your thread, but I find Lco's on Lawnsite consistently paying a LOT more than any large outfit around here, so:
- Paying an employee more money does not make them a better employee in any way, manner, shape, or form: Try 7.50 an hour.
If the first thing out their mouth when they walk in to be interviewed is 'how much am I getting paid,' you can let them go.
If later on you tell them the wage and they come back with 'well I can get 10 / hour anytime,' you can let them go.
If they're 5 minutes late, if they're cocky, if they just look at you funny or you don't like the cologne, you can let them go.
and so on.
translation: you are the boss.

topsites
04-30-2006, 12:43 AM
Here's some more:

First, make sure you got an older Wb (well not your most expensive prized possession anyway) loaded up on a trailer, gate latched and all that, just about the way the machine would be upon arrival to a yard, maybe set the brake if that's the way you do things, whatever.

Then some guy walks in talks about he knows all this stuff (you know, sounds like someone you'd want to hire, right?). So, tell him to unload and start the machine that's on the trailer (and watch). If he can't move the mower because the brake is set or if he starts the machine before it's off (well in my case you don't want it running before it's on the ground because the T-bar will mess you up if you push it while unloading) or if he catches the blade bolt on the grate, it might even be a blast watching them PULL and PULL because it's not choked, well you should soon have yourself a blast firing folks before they're even hired.

If that works alright, make them weedeat something (have some WEEDS someplace), stuff like that - test them, at least halfway.
Maybe before you send them out in the field, get a couple of yards of topsoil dumped at your place and have a barrow and a shovel ready and waiting. Ask the guy to move that pile from where it is to wherever you want it (not too far, 20 or 30 feet is good but the whole pile) - A real go-getter can get it done in an hour and be ready for more even if it takes a couple hours (at least I can)... Far as the noob, we're talking 4 thousand pounds of dirt here, what do you think will happen? :)

You gotta do it man, weed them out.
The drawback is, by the time you find the experienced guy, he also knows how to get over on you.
It never ends, it's why I can't do it.

Envy Lawn Service
04-30-2006, 12:47 AM
Well no.... I've said it before and I'll say it again....

As the business owner... as the BOSS... LCO's need to get a grip when it comes to employees.

Being a lawn care laboror is about the highest labor intensive and lowest paying looser job a person can have.

NCSERVICE
04-30-2006, 12:51 AM
Well no.... I've said it before and I'll say it again....

As the business owner... as the BOSS... LCO's need to get a grip when it comes to employees.

Being a lawn care laboror is about the highest labor intensive and lowest paying looser job a person can have.

Loosers dont make it in landscaping on any level... one in ten estimates?? tough crowd

topsites
04-30-2006, 01:02 AM
Loosers dont make it in landscaping on any level... one in ten estimates?? tough crowd

Tough crowd maybe, I call it standard Industry rates and they all want something for nothing... Dime a dozen they come, all but one get to call another Lco who, if they convert this caller, hasn't figured something out yet or maybe they know something I don't, but then why did I have them at first ...

It is sad, but the pita / low-ball factor is actually a main part of the reason why over half of all new businesses never make it. It is sad that the hardest part of running a business is the start and the first 3-4 years, as much due to inexperience as to customers who play such an active role in it, I would tolerate this easier were it not that I feel it was so blatantly on purpose at times. Even now someone tries it from time to time, but for the most part word has gotten around that I'm no fool, not to mention I'm quick to run and I am sure the word has it that my prices are just OH so outrageous while the attitude surely can't be missed, either... In the meantime, those who can afford it are now better off as well because I really do have some spare time to fool with it.

At the same rate, were things not like this we would be overrun with businesses and thus the good news is there never will be more chiefs than indians for the simple reason that natural selection is so real it can not be ignored, especially when you got folks who know all about how this works and help it along some, and today I am so not entirely innocent either lol.

Guess it really all evens out in the end, at least the frustration and the severe anger I used to feel about this has gone its way for a bit.

Envy Lawn Service
04-30-2006, 01:46 AM
Loosers dont make it in landscaping on any level... one in ten estimates?? tough crowd

Ha!
Do you think if I were not an owner that I would work for someone doing this?
You gotta be friggin joking right?
Not even as a foreman or something.

I could click my heels right on down to Wal-Mart/Lowes/Home Depot/Grocery Store and be WAY BETTER OFF. Clean air conditioned work environment, dependable year-round full time work, benefits and better annual earnings for a lot less intensive labor.

The payscale just ain't there for L&L laborors and it's a bad job to boot.
The reason being is because most LCO's don't charge enough to be able to afford it.
So it's no wonder good qualified applicants don't come running.

CC Lawncare
04-30-2006, 03:31 AM
This has been my experience...
I am told (and I agree) that there are two kinds of Lco's in this world (and it works for any business owner) but:
- The first kind enjoys hands-on do it myself and I am done, can do the supervisory aspect but finds it difficult.
- The second kind enjoys the supervisory aspect, can do the work but would rather not.

This one isn't relevant to your thread, but I find Lco's on Lawnsite consistently paying a LOT more than any large outfit around here, so:
-
Thanks Envy, Topsites, NCService! I really appreciate your inputs. I am listening and learning:) .

NCSERVICE
04-30-2006, 12:00 PM
Ha!
Do you think if I were not an owner that I would work for someone doing this?
You gotta be friggin joking right?
Not even as a foreman or something.

I could click my heels right on down to Wal-Mart/Lowes/Home Depot/Grocery Store and be WAY BETTER OFF. Clean air conditioned work environment, dependable year-round full time work, benefits and better annual earnings for a lot less intensive labor.

The payscale just ain't there for L&L laborors and it's a bad job to boot.
The reason being is because most LCO's don't charge enough to be able to afford it.
So it's no wonder good qualified applicants don't come running.

your right the loosers arent out working for a living, there sitting on their ass in air conditioning at wal mart, i believe you got it criss crossed. you wouldnt catch met at wal mart shopping or working but i do enjoy working outdoors and get personal pride out of a long hard work day.

Evergreenpros
04-30-2006, 07:04 PM
A person just can't expect workers to function without supervision and some need more than others. Earnings, job description, working conditions, etc have NOTHING to do with anything when it comes to being able to function by themselves. Boeing, GM, Ford, Microsoft, etc all share the same problems. People who are employees generally don't have a great sense of motivation and self reliance, no matter what they do.

It even goes as far as doctors. I used to work in a clinic and there were doctors that would skate out of everything if not told to do something then there were those that did well without supervision. Trust me, it has nothing to do with what a person does for a living, it's all about the person's choices.

chriscraft
04-30-2006, 08:18 PM
What do you pay them? And if its a cash thing instead of legit that could be why. Our employyes make between $9 and $17.00 per hour plus $1.00 bonus per hour for every hour they work for x-mas bonus if they last the season. But we still have problems every spring. I do sympathise

mexiking
04-30-2006, 09:10 PM
hire Mexicans, they love to bust 4$$ and won't let you down...

lawnworker
05-01-2006, 12:55 AM
Wal-Mart? I could not work there. to much multiculturalism for me to handle. I would rather dig ditches all day, but I see your point. Most people who are whiz bang with all the equipment and can speak English well, will start their own show.

Az Gardener
05-01-2006, 02:32 AM
I didn't read every post word for word but I did glance at all of them. I did not see any that offered much help just sympathy, ahh misery loves company and the heard is happy to pull you back in.

Did you do anything differently that would make your results any different? Obviously it can be done because others have done it and continue to do so.

Lawn cutting is no where near the most physical/low opaying jobs around. See Hoddie, not the girls the cement guys, see the hot tar roofer, those are some seriously sucky jobs.

Don't expect someone that has been at it for a week or even a year to be as proficient at a task as you are. Have a little patience. They don't have to be world beaters they just have to show up every day make fewer mistakes or at least different ones day by day. You should not expect to get fast guys just some you can make a buck off of.

Maybe they would be better if you were more organized or had spent some more time training. I don't mean see how I do it now go. You not only have to explain how to do something but why its important and you have to do it over and over and over.

The military turns the same losers you all complain about into the finest fighting force in the world. So its not that they are all lazy losers its just that you have not given them a good enough motive to work hard for you. Cash wont do it. Would you go to work for you and bust your ass for you if you were in their shoes?

My business coach told me early on, "The business is a reflection of you". These laborers you complain about are your reflection, scary thought huh.

Brianslawn
05-01-2006, 02:57 AM
Ha!

The payscale just ain't there for L&L laborors and it's a bad job to boot.
The reason being is because most LCO's don't charge enough to be able to afford it.
So it's no wonder good qualified applicants don't come running.


they cant charge enough! everyone wants to be a lawnboy... or at least they want to make big bucks while someone else does the work. then they end up making small bucks doing all the work themselves. too much competition. they got to keep lowering their prices to keep pace with the 50 new $9.95 week lawnboys that pop up every spring. if the lawnbnoys would quit being so stubborn and selfish and consolidate, then maybe they could cut overhead and become more efficient so they could afford better pay and some benifits. also, less competition may lead to higher prices that you are able to charge.

then again... maybe some of you like spending more on advertising for employees than you spend advertising your biz.:hammerhead:

causalitist
05-01-2006, 04:21 AM
Ha!
Do you think if I were not an owner that I would work for someone doing this?
You gotta be friggin joking right?
Not even as a foreman or something.

I could click my heels right on down to Wal-Mart/Lowes/Home Depot/Grocery Store and be WAY BETTER OFF. Clean air conditioned work environment, dependable year-round full time work, benefits and better annual earnings for a lot less intensive labor.

The payscale just ain't there for L&L laborors and it's a bad job to boot.
The reason being is because most LCO's don't charge enough to be able to afford it.
So it's no wonder good qualified applicants don't come running.

i made bout 25grand/year (11.50/hour) as an employee of a LCO. just a laborer working april- oct. not that great, but not that bad either... plus they matched my contibutions to a winter layoff program AND still let me get full unemployment. my weekly income was more in the winter!! ahha there are a ton of jobs that pay less. but you guys are right... the good ones leave. i stuck around for 3 years and now im goin on my own...