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View Full Version : Oregon Landscaper = No Vacation ???


mdvaden
04-25-2008, 01:52 AM
Today, I went to a meeting in Grants Pass, Oregon, where the Landscape Contractors Board Administrator and Board Chair, met with local Licensed landscape contractors to discuss the current license model and possible changes.

Right now, a person in Oregon takes exams to get a license on the individual, and a second license for the business is purchased too, requiring having an individual employed. The individual may be the owner, or an employed person.

I asked a question to review one aspect of our current license system in Oregon. It pertained to a REQUIREMENT for supervising all landscape contract projects, which included no less than being in phone contact at almost all times.

Using my own self as an example for a question, I introduced the scenerio of taking one, two or three weeks off for a vacation, which in my case is typically hiking where cell phones don't reach.

Currently, being the tested INDIVIDUAL for my company, my business would NOT be in compliance, if I left TRUSTED and TRAIINED employees for a period of a week or weeks, to perform DELEGATED specific tasks that they could easily do.

For example, I could not leave them to prepare several landscape projects, to get the sites ready - say, sod cutting old sod on site #1, then digging a few trenches on site #2, ordering and spreading mulch around plants we planted together at site #3, etc..

In fact, if I understand this right, we landscape contractors in Oregon, cannot be out of cell phone contact for maybe even a day.

So, if you are an Oregon Landscape contractor, are you aware of these particular details?

Personally, I support the board in much of what they do, and was on the board myself, for 6 years. But this is one aspect that I'd like to see modified. Even if I was on the board as a board member, this is one thing I would question.

This may be integral to potential changes in the landscape model. And if you did not read your letter recently, this is related - directly or indirectly. If you have an Oregon landscape license, you should have received a letter about the proposed license models, and the meetings. A survey was included too.

So, if I have my facts in order, an Oregon landscape contractor, who is the sole tested individual, can't have any business operations going on regarding landscaping, if not in immediate phone or radio range, at a moments beckon call.

And honestly, when I want to go on vacation, dragging any business connections with me is not part of what I consider vacation. As a hiker, this means that a 3 week vacation would mean 3 weeks unemployment for any workers, unless they want a 3 week un-paid vacation.

Comments?

Ideas?

Scagguy
04-25-2008, 01:49 PM
That's just another example of being over regulated. I would be tempted to go on vacation anyway. How well would this rule be enforced? What would be the fine? I guess you could have one of your guys get tested so he could keep you legal in your absense.

AGLA
04-25-2008, 02:10 PM
Oregon is amazing. I thought Massachusetts was bad until I spent some time in Oregon. They vote in politicians to save themselves from themselves. Everyone must have has a learning disability or they are thought of as stupid by the politicians.

Self serve gas? No, the people are too stupid, so we must protect them by having a crack head at the mini-mart pump it for them (actually Oregon is full of Meth-heads from what I observed).

Have a landscaper design a planting for you? Nope, they''ll screw it up and everyone will die unless they have a license. T-squares probably have warning labels on them.

larryinalabama
04-25-2008, 02:18 PM
Do they regulate all the wackey tabbaco ya'll grow and smoke?

mdvaden
04-25-2008, 08:15 PM
That's just another example of being over regulated. I would be tempted to go on vacation anyway. How well would this rule be enforced? What would be the fine? I guess you could have one of your guys get tested so he could keep you legal in your absense.

It's enforced. I heard of a local landscaper just recently being fined. Apparently he was driving out of cell tower range, and an investigator stopped by his job site after a sod delivery or something similar.

The landscaper asked me about this, knowing I had been on the license board. I told him that the board could make mistakes, or one of their enforcers, but not knowing the facts, I had no idea if the landscaper was at fault.

My suggestion was to involve a third party mediator who has no personal interest. Maybe even a local senator or representative who can understand laws and rules, in case the conflict did not get resolved easily.

When I heard of this, it really caught my attention. Because in Oregon, you need a pesticide license to buy restricted chemicals. And I could easily imagine some other landscaper needing to leave cell phone range to go and buy chemicals. Or go and sign contracts, offer estimates, etc..

Seems that requiring constant phone contact, could really pin-down a lot of landscape company owners, and possibly give an edge and advantage to larger companies.

Scagguy
04-25-2008, 08:33 PM
Here in Texas, you have to have a license to buy any kind of fertilizer or chemicals, restricted or not. But, I don't have to be in cell phone range for anything in this state.

mdvaden
04-25-2008, 11:07 PM
Here in Texas, you have to have a license to buy any kind of fertilizer or chemicals, restricted or not. But, I don't have to be in cell phone range for anything in this state.

What I meant, was that a landscape business owner (the tested guy) probably has a myriad of reasons to leave a site, not being able to supervise the work for a while, even if by phone. The pesticide thing was just one of thousands of reasons to go out of phone range. But the need to leave will exist.

And in Oregon, a apparently a fine could be issued if the person could not be contacted by phone, if an investigator showed up on the site and tested the phone line supervision potential of that company.

carcrz
04-26-2008, 12:01 AM
It's no different than any other regulated industry. There always has to be someone left to be in charge. If something goes wrong, they want to make sure there is someone there to keep things in order.

mdvaden
04-26-2008, 12:23 AM
It's no different than any other regulated industry. There always has to be someone left to be in charge. If something goes wrong, they want to make sure there is someone there to keep things in order.
Not really the same.

When I worked at service stations, and some restaurants, the owners and managers would delegate the operation and closing to some of us employees at times, when they needed time off, or when needing to go on vacation.

Likewise with country clubs I've been too, and other places.

The point is, I have at least two workers in my own family, trained to a level that I can leave them there in charge if I want to leave. That would fit the scenerio you introduced.

But since they have not passed Oregon tests and bought a license on themselves, they are negated from being left in charge.

It's not a matter of leaving someone in charge who is competent - it's a matter of the landscape board preventing leaving someone in charge who is deemed competent by the landscape company owner.

See the difference?

And to cover the point you made about if things "go wrong", the Oregon landscape board prevents us from being out of supervision range for even the smallest stuff.

Suppose I want to go on vacation for 2 weeks, and all that's left if applying barkdust to 2 near-finished projects, and moving paver blocks from Point A by the driveway to Point B by the back yard with a wheelbarrow for upcoming workdays when I get back. What really is going to become a real emergency with those?

Especially since spreading barkdust is not regulated in Oregon among landscape maintenance companies who need no license. But if the barkdusting is part of my install contract, the fact I have a license stops me from leaving a trusted worker to finish that component, while a maintenance company could do it all day or go on a vacation and leave an employee since they would need no license.

I see no parallel with other industries when supervision requirements are regulated to this degree.

mdvaden
04-26-2008, 12:07 PM
Just to add:

If this supervision thing were dealing with something like applying pesticides where significant environmental damage was a routine potential hazard, I'd view this a bit differently.

JNyz
04-26-2008, 07:36 PM
That's just another example of being over regulated. I would be tempted to go on vacation anyway. How well would this rule be enforced? What would be the fine? I guess you could have one of your guys get tested so he could keep you legal in your absense.

I agree. If you are worried about being fined you really need a vacation.

Az Gardener
04-26-2008, 07:54 PM
So who do they call if Brickmans, Vally Crest or Ground Control open branches in the state? That is just about a backwards of a thing as I have heard. I'll bet Jim Lewis goes on vacation.

JNyz
04-26-2008, 07:56 PM
So who do they call if Brickmans, Vally Crest or Ground Control open branches in the state? That is just about a backwards of a thing as I have heard. I'll bet Jim Lewis goes on vacation.


It seems something is being mistaken.

mdvaden
04-26-2008, 08:50 PM
So who do they call if Brickmans, Vally Crest or Ground Control open branches in the state? That is just about a backwards of a thing as I have heard. I'll bet Jim Lewis goes on vacation.

I'll bet so too.

I'm not sure if Jim has a second person in the company with the additional license gained from passing exams. If so, it would not matter.

JimLewis
04-27-2008, 03:45 AM
There are two of us with a license here. But I agree the rule is stupid. My workers are perfectly capable of doing pretty much anything related to landscaping, hardscaping, irrigation, etc. without me breathing down their neck or being available to the phone.

But you can add this rule to the myriad of others that the LCB has come up with that I disagree with. It's like living in Nazi Germany here. You may not like the dictator in charge but you certainly don't try to make any waves for fear of retribution. The LCB has a stronghold over things here and there seem to be a select powerful few who want to keep it that way.

If I had my way, the LCB would be totally disbanded tonight at midnight. IMO, they've caused way more headaches than they ever saved.

Caveat Emptor, I say.

JimLewis
04-27-2008, 03:58 AM
As for vacations, I don't take too many during the busy season. Gotta make the money when I can.

Typically I don't take vacations until October or later. By that time, we're not doing much of any install or irrigation work that would require supervision. We're mostly just doing maintenance from Oct./Nov. to Feb.

The only good thing about this rule is it would really only ever come up if your workers were really screwing something up. We had the LCB stop by one of our jobs the other day. I wasn't there. Our other licensed contractor wasn't there. The inspector was only there because someone had called in another contractor across the street who wasn't licensed. So since he was already across the street inspecting that guy, he came over to check us out as well. He took a look around, checked to see what company we were and that we were licensed, looked over the work we were doing, and wrote out a report that everything was groovy. He never checked with my workers to see if we were "directly supervising" the job. He never called one of us. He just gave us a green light and went on with his day.

So this kind of situation would only occur if;

A) Someone called the LCB on you
B) An inspector showed up and found something that caused him concern
and
C) You weren't available to the phone to answer his questions

Very rare all these things would happen. So although I disagree with this rule, the good news is it doesn't seem to be that big of a problem.

On the other hand, Teufel Landscape got nailed last month for this very violation. Which is funny because they're one of the top 30 landscaping companies in the nation. They did like $30 Mil. in business last year. The very thought that they need some agency checking on their work - as if they don't know how to landscape properly - is just ludicrous to me.

carcrz
04-27-2008, 10:35 AM
Do they have a fee for their inspections? KC Air Quality, for example, has a $100 fee per inspection, but are limited to 3 inspections that they can charge for. So basically, they show up 3 times at random during a demolition job. Since they can't charge for anything over 3, they usually don't show up again unless there's a complaint.

JimLewis
04-28-2008, 01:45 AM
Not so much. That is to say they don't charge you when they show up to inspect your company or your work.

The expense is paid for by via yearly licensing fees. Licensed contractors pay hundreds of dollars each year (about $400 per year for our company) which goes to pay for all of the LCB's expenses; including inspectors. They also get money by levying fines against those who are in violation or doing work without a license.