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SLCINC
06-21-2008, 04:09 PM
I have a loyal employee that has been with me for over 5 years. However he has made some goof-ups in the past few months costing me around $1400. First off, he accidentally cut a customers shrubs on a slope backyard costing about $175. Then ran over a water pipe and shattered a window with a broken piece of metal shattered a window costing $200 to repair. Also in the winter hit a flood light with the plow costing $200 to replace. The main reason I am angry about these is that he didn't inform me on any of these occasions the customers did.

Also, recently he got in an accident, not his fault at all, however he is not suppose to be driving but he does sometimes. Sometimes I do allow him to drive if there is no one available with a license but this time someone with him had one and he drove anyway. Deductible cost is $500.

I am just sick of all these costs that I am being charged for his mistakes. I dont want to fire him because he is very loyal and hard working. I want to charge him for some of the damage, but how much should I charge. Please let me know thanks

KGR landscapeing
06-21-2008, 04:22 PM
I have a loyal employee that has been with me for over 5 years. However he has made some goof-ups in the past few months costing me around $1400. First off, he accidentally cut a customers shrubs on a slope backyard costing about $175. Then ran over a water pipe and shattered a window with a broken piece of metal shattered a window costing $200 to repair. Also in the winter hit a flood light with the plow costing $200 to replace. The main reason I am angry about these is that he didn't inform me on any of these occasions the customers did.

Also, recently he got in an accident, not his fault at all, however he is not suppose to be driving but he does sometimes. Sometimes I do allow him to drive if there is no one available with a license but this time someone with him had one and he drove anyway. Deductible cost is $500.

I am just sick of all these costs that I am being charged for his mistakes. I dont want to fire him because he is very loyal and hard working. I want to charge him for some of the damage, but how much should I charge. Please let me know thanks


Either fire him or tell him no more chances. your the employer its you job to have your Butt on the line. If hes good you do what it takes but there is aline that if it gets crossd you gotta just cut them loose

Az Gardener
06-21-2008, 04:51 PM
Your problem like most of us is you have waited until you have reached your breaking point before you have decided to take action. How much better position would you be if if you had a talk after the first incident? No way can you reasonably expect to get anything close to compensation for past mistakes.

Have a meeting, explain your concerns remind him of the damage he has already inflicted on the business. Establish a policy, it needs to be the same for everyone. Let him and everyone else know what it is and then you must stick to it. Its probably not legal but what is these days. You have to run your business and if employees don't want to play by your rules they can move along. I would say all you can do is prepare for the future.

delphied
06-21-2008, 04:55 PM
So you think he did these things on purpose? If so, you need to fire him. As KGR said, you are the business owner, its your butt on the line. You let him drive when its convenient for you. Sends a mixed signal. The other occurences seem easy enough to have happen to anyone.

Ramairfreak98ss
06-21-2008, 05:03 PM
So you think he did these things on purpose? If so, you need to fire him. As KGR said, you are the business owner, its your butt on the line. You let him drive when its convenient for you. Sends a mixed signal. The other occurences seem easy enough to have happen to anyone.

I agree, it sucks but you still have options :/ Ever think that maybe he had no involvement in some of these incidents but then the customer just calls up to "blame" him for it?

Ive had clients call up to complain and "blame" us for work that "my guys" must have done, only to tell them, mam, "I WAS THE ONE" on your property and thats just a load of bullshit, it was fine when we left and thats that.

Ive had clients who defaulted on contracts say "i didnt think your guys came bi-weekly for all of september and october" HAHA, lady, get real, because of your dumbarse bitching from the start, I WAS THE ONE there every week to make sure shiat went smoothly. Her rant ends very fast. As soon as a "bad" client knows your not on site, they'll always try to blame things.

SLCINC
06-21-2008, 07:05 PM
thanks for the posts everyone. I am sure that nothing was done on purpose, however I do think that they could have been avoided with a little more care. He fessed up to all of the incidents claiming that he just didnt know that they happened. I didn't buy that. And I still think that there should be some kind of punishment for these actions. Especially because the customers had to tell me about each incident.

rodfather
06-21-2008, 07:25 PM
I am just sick of all these costs that I am being charged for his mistakes. I dont want to fire him because he is very loyal and hard working. I want to charge him for some of the damage, but how much should I charge. Please let me know thanks

is is painfully simple. you CANNOT backcharge him anything or with hold wages as well, it is against the law.

you try and do anything like that and if he files a grievance, the department of labor in your state will be all over you like white on rice, period

Horsepower Lawns
06-21-2008, 07:30 PM
Also, recently he got in an accident, not his fault at all, however he is not suppose to be driving but he does sometimes. Sometimes I do allow him to drive if there is no one available with a license but this time someone with him had one and he drove anyway. Deductible cost is $500.


Why did you need to pay the $500 if its not his fault?
Does he have a DL?

Did you talk to him to see if he realy did other the stuff?

capnsac
06-21-2008, 07:33 PM
You have to pick the lesser of two evils on this one. Your gut is telling you to give him one more chance, so do it. Don't fire him because in 5 years he has had 3 or 4 mistakes. That's minimal. Just let him know that it won't be the end of the world if a mistake does happen, and that it is better for him to come to you with it so that you can be proactive in getting it fixed instead of the alternative.

We all have to learn the hard way sometimes, it takes patience and understanding for those mistakes to turn into a learning experience. We all had to start somewhere.

Daily Lawn/Landscape
06-21-2008, 08:12 PM
I tell my guys, If you damage something let me know. If I find out from another employee or customer after they have left the property, they will be terminated.
Accidents happen, thats just a fact of life. 2yrs ago I replaced the same glass out of an entry door 2 times in 3 weeks at a cost of 167.00. We talked about it and found that when edging along a landscape bed rocks were being launched at the glass so we made some changes to make sure it does'nt happen again.

J.A.G LAWNCARE
06-21-2008, 09:12 PM
**** happens dude thats why you need insurance for the big ****.............

cgll1135
06-21-2008, 09:19 PM
You can legally deduct from an employees pay as long as the rate of pay does not fall below minimum wage. Take current rate of pay minus minimum wage multiply by numbers of hours work and that the amount you can deduct.

Breezmister
06-21-2008, 09:53 PM
I have a loyal employee that has been with me for over 5 years.

You should be thankful that you have some one that has stuck around that long, this is a very hard business to keep good employees.

However he has made some goof-ups in the past few months costing me around $1400. First off, he accidentally cut a customers shrubs on a slope backyard costing about $175. Then ran over a water pipe and shattered a window with a broken piece of metal shattered a window costing $200 to repair. Also in the winter hit a flood light with the plow costing $200 to replace.

After working for the same guy for 23 years, I have a few "goof ups"
Lets see, totaled a truck, hit a guy broad side after he ran a stop sign.
Wiped out 5 brass sprinkler heads in a row, they didn't drop down like they should have after running the night before, besides I could not see them in the high grass.
Was sent to pull weeds at a home owners, pulled the weeds along with the ornamental grasses that I thought were weeds.
While cutting the back lot of a commerical office, I hit a piece of rebar that was used to hold RR ties in place and broke a blade, I have no idea where the tip went, thank God it didn't hit anyone or thing.
The things I've seen on the job, plenty of windows, a sliding glass door, they really pop when they get hit. The clutch on a F 250, the back cab window, a rider in a creek, a plow truck buried up to the axles in snow, 2 trailer tires on the same side because the guy hit a corner, Part of a chain link fence raped around a spindle, because the guys that put the fence up did not clean up after themselves. All these and more if I sat here and thought about it where accidents.

The main reason I am angry about these is that he didn't inform me on any of these occasions the customers did.

Here is the way I look at it, one, he was afraid to tell you, for what ever the reason, or two, he did not really know he fraked up. Or alittle of both....I know that if I did something, I told the boss...but there have been times I have hit sprinkler heads and never knew it. Either way, let him know he can come to you to let you know if something happens

I want to charge him for some of the damage, but how much should I charge. Please let me know thanks

As Rodfather said, you can not. I know of one LCO here in South Jersey who tried that, and by the time the state was finished with him, he really wasn't legal, he was looking at fines and he was even threatened with jail time for cheating unemployment. Do you want the state to look at you ?

Just something else to think about in the same lines as Ramairfreak said. I was accused of driving up a driveway that was just seal coated, there where tracks in the driveway. Me and my boss went out to the lawn to see what was what and we prove it was not from the company truck, too narrow. OH then it must have been from the mower ! so we got the 48 inch bobcat off the truck and the tracks where too wide and the wrong tread patten.....
Turned out to be from one of those little Mail jeeps....

I and my crew have been accused of stealing ornamental lights from around a pool, 5 English boxwoods, driving up on a lawn and leaving deep ruts, stealing flower pots, the big kind that stand about 3 foot high, killing fish in a pond and that list goes on. Landscapers are all ways blamed for stuff that happens, even when they are not there.

Loyal employees are hard to fine, unless you want to learn to speak Spanish.

Sorry for the rant, I've been on the shitty end of the stick and I hate to see some one else get a beating......:nono:

Ramairfreak98ss
06-21-2008, 11:56 PM
Sorry for the rant, I've been on the shitty end of the stick and I hate to see some one else get a beating......:nono:

lol, yeah i've been blamed a month later for "stealing" a gas can when gas was still cheap after a homeowner finally paid her bill :/

Another tried to say we poisoned her dog severly because of toxic chemicals and fertilizers we applied to her lawn... she had a basic lawn package, cut/mow/trim blow off thats it. For $50 bi-weekly cuts for over an acre in NJ she thought we were fertlizing and spraying for weeds wtf?

Breezmister
06-22-2008, 09:33 AM
Another tried to say we poisoned her dog severly because of toxic chemicals and fertilizers we applied to her lawn... she had a basic lawn package, cut/mow/trim blow off thats it.

And after you are "cleared of the charges" there is no " I'm sorry, I made a mistake " Home owners are the worst, even now when I turn a wrench, I get the " it wasn't broken when I borough it in " :dizzy:

I just hope no one has to deal with the EPA, state of federal, a dead animal will get there attention like a fish kill :confused:

jaybird24
06-22-2008, 10:36 AM
Do not charge him. You should start filling out incident reports in employee files, just for reference. We have a safety meeting 3 times a year, just to address all the different things we can attempt to control, in these we also make sure employees understand how these affect the business, which in turn affects their paycheck. Guys get burnout, tired, sometimes have a bad day, but a good loyal employee is worth a lot more than those few miss haps. I would not allow him to drive under any circumstances though, anything can happen and you could lose everything. Is there anything you can do to help him get a license? I've found helping an employee out goes along way, it's good for everybody.

Gruneich Lawn Care, Inc.
06-22-2008, 11:54 AM
I know in SD, you cant charge an employee for causing damage...

Sammy
06-22-2008, 12:56 PM
Why are you breaking the law by allowing him to drive without a driver lic. ? :nono:

topsites
06-22-2008, 01:08 PM
Why he didn't tell you is because I wouldn't tell you everything either and it's not for trying to hide it but it's because a lot of times after so many years I don't want to hear it and it's just no big deal anymore. Sure the first however many times it's like "OhmyG!" but after it's done happened 50 100 times I just got used to it lol

For example I ditched my Z a day or two ago, and wasn't like I was already down there mowing and got stuck, I mean I put that joker front wheels first down a deep cement culvert,... But if it took all of 10 or 15 minutes to pull it out with the truck and a chain, and I thought I had bent the frame and I never disconnected the hydros either because I don't got time for that... Now I wasn't happy about it but I think the machine is all right, after I looked it over and I seen the paint is all scratched but I don't think anything got REALLY messed up on it, and if I was working for someone else after 6+ years experience I would hope this helps make up for that because there was nothing I could have done any different, just how it was and no it should not have happened, but it did.
We all make mistakes, yes, some times back to back,
yes some are expensive, sucks, I've bent four blades this season, then
I wore through a set of spindle bearings due to abuse, you don't have to tell me.

Lucky me some are not that expensive and I'm not that horrible either.
So I would probably just try and chill out some, and then it will be all right.

Why are you breaking the law by allowing him to drive without a driver lic. ? :nono:

Hahaha see nobody is perfect lol

txgrassguy
06-22-2008, 02:18 PM
Publish an employment handbook specifically detailing what steps as the employer you will take for accidents/negligence/damage, etc.
Ensure that the employee reads the policy, signs it thereby agreeing to it then place the policy in effect.
My policy specifically explains that purposeful acts of negligence which results in damage to equipment by an employee means I can among other things with hold pay amounting to the damage.
So far my employees have had to pay for one "lost" Stihl BR600 blower, several broken shafts on trimmers, intentional damage to a mower that went over a cliff and expendable items that "disappeared" from my shop.
And yes this policy has stood up to a workmans comp inspection.
Some of the crew members complained, a few quit but the rest have stayed. Has really gone along way to eliminate problem employees.

k911lowe
06-22-2008, 02:32 PM
talk to him and be firm.let him know you are behind him if he is right and to come to you when he is wrong.for a good 5 year employee,you have paid a small price.you cannot take these things out of his pay.sounds like the cost of doing business.

prizeprop
06-22-2008, 02:50 PM
Keep a record of all mishaps and when its time for Christmas bonuses thats when you hit their pocketbook. Or when someone asks for a raise, go over the reasons you cant give it. Don't get this wrong, stuff happens and always will, when it becomes excessive its a problem.Let them know there's consequences.

deereequipment
06-22-2008, 05:32 PM
Try building a bonus system into your pay. (Instead of paying top dollar, say some of their pay comes at the end of the year, and is based on their annual performance).

Damages, come right off the top.
This way, it doesn't hurt their paychecks, but it does cost them.
The rest of the bonus is based on performance.

Good luck.

RyKR
06-22-2008, 07:16 PM
even now when I turn a wrench, I get the " it wasn't broken when I borough it in " :dizzy:



I used to get blamed for all sorts of stupid things when turning wrenches. Changed a fuel pump and the engine locked up. My fault? According to the owners of the car. It's crazy. A car comes in knocking and smoking, you change a tire and somehow the engine problems are your fault:confused:.

I have learned to document every problem I find before working. I recently picked up a lawn job where someone else had hit the shed with a trimmer and messed up the paint all around the bottom of it. I told the customer about it and I got blamed for it! The best part was I hadn't trimmed there yet. I just got to the shed and saw the problem, stopped, and then told her about it. I showed her that I hadn't started and she apologized. My point is that if I hadn't pointed it out I would have probably been painting a shed for free.

Maybe you can have your employees walk the lawn before they start? Document any problems. I know that this is time consuming but... I decided that I need to walk throught the yard with the customer after getting a job just to make sure that we know what kind of previous damage there might be.

N.TX
06-22-2008, 07:31 PM
Accidents happen some of them seem to come one after another. The window in my truck got shot out twice in one month... once by some punks with bb guns and once with me shooting a rock. I would have a meeting with him and tell him your concerns and tell him when there is an accident you need to be notified asap. If you have any further problems sit him down and tell him hes getting a pay cut or a new job somewhere else.

KGR landscapeing
06-22-2008, 07:38 PM
I used to get blamed for all sorts of stupid things when turning wrenches. Changed a fuel pump and the engine locked up. My fault? According to the owners of the car. It's crazy. A car comes in knocking and smoking, you change a tire and somehow the engine problems are your fault:confused:.

I have learned to document every problem I find before working. I recently picked up a lawn job where someone else had hit the shed with a trimmer and messed up the paint all around the bottom of it. I told the customer about it and I got blamed for it! The best part was I hadn't trimmed there yet. I just got to the shed and saw the problem, stopped, and then told her about it. I showed her that I hadn't started and she apologized. My point is that if I hadn't pointed it out I would have probably been painting a shed for free.

Maybe you can have your employees walk the lawn before they start? Document any problems. I know that this is time consuming but... I decided that I need to walk throught the yard with the customer after getting a job just to make sure that we know what kind of previous damage there might be.

I dont know many employees that get paid well enough to look at a pice of sideing and say hey that was broken befor i trimmd it. You have to have trust between you and your employees. you gotta trust your guys long befor the customer. Your employees are more important then family for you bigger guys they put that food on your plate

RyKR
06-23-2008, 07:24 PM
I dont know many employees that get paid well enough to look at a pice of sideing and say hey that was broken befor i trimmd it. You have to have trust between you and your employees. you gotta trust your guys long befor the customer. Your employees are more important then family for you bigger guys they put that food on your plate

For now, it is only me and my brother in law working. I am being extra careful because I have been blamed for far to many things that were not my fault in the past. I do feel that problems should be noted, maybe a checklist would be going too far, but something. Have you ever seen something and not mentioned it only to get blamed for it later? I hate that!