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GroundKprs
01-08-2002, 11:39 AM
As a regular visitor to many homes and small businesses, the lawn guy gets to know more about a property than anyone else. The piles of sawdust in the lawn tell us when the carpenter was there. The bits of wire and insulation tell us when the electrician was there. The pieces and bits of shingle tell us the roofer was there (for the next 3 years!). The lint in the drive or gutter tell us when the carpet cleaner was there. Even the mailman who is there every day doesn't notice all these, because he doesn't see the whole property.

We also get to know the comings and goings of our clients, over the years. The crew doing a home every week will know when the house is empty, especially if both homeowners work. And they will know which angles of the house are hidden from neighbors view. This goes for not just the client property, but all nearby homes or businesses.

This past summer I heard of a situation of a two block area of houses suffering theft. The police interviewed the lawn maintenance contractor who serviced about half the homes here, and may have also checked others working there. Has anyone considered this aspect of our business, and planned for the problem of a dishonest employee setting up clients for burglary or other theft, by themselves or by selling info to others to do on their own?

Is there a simple, legal procedure in your area to check criminal history of prospective employees? Have you worked with local law enforcement to recognize a pattern of problems in your working area that could indicate a bad apple on one of your crews?

Turfdude
01-08-2002, 05:47 PM
This is a topic none of us hope to have problems with. The local police have asked me at times if myself/crew have seen anything suspicious around the area, whether it be a person or group of persons. I was once asked what time we serviced a neighbor's property and if anyone saw broken front door as police were trrying to estimate time of theft.

Only advice I can offer is to make sure your employees who leave return all company uniforms prior to receiving their last paycheck. If they do something stupid later down the line, at least they shouldn't be giving you the bad advertisement.

I know of a local lco who had fired an employee. The guy knew what day and time a large complex was serviced, so he decided to steal some radios from the homeowner's cars. Thought he could kinda blend in if he acted like he was cleaning up in the parking area. Mighta goten away w/ it had the one resident not called the police.

Bob

ohiolawnguy
01-08-2002, 07:03 PM
well, you can check into a prospective employees possible criminal past as part of a pre-hire screening. criminal records are public information provided the persons record has not been sealed, or expunged. where i live the cost to do this is minimal. 6-8 dollars i believe. if you intend to do so, i would tell the prospective emloyee in advance so that the person may be more willing to admit his/her past. this is an area i know quite a bit about because my mother was a parole officer with the state of ohio for almost 20 years. i do not know of anyone in the landscaping industrywho follows this practice. although, i have heard of landlords who do this very thing. also, there are places online where for an annual fee, you can check the backgrounds of anyone who you do interview. after a perso is hired, the laws can vary from state to state regarding this type of thing.

GroundKprs
01-08-2002, 07:20 PM
Just trying to point out a problem we might encounter more frequently as the wealth of the country becomes more centralized, and especially when we have any economic slowdown. As the poorer segment of the population grows, there will be more crime, especially theft.

I used to know a guy who took jobs just to case the jobsite from inside. Never worked anywhere for more than two weeks, and most places he worked were burgularized a day or two before he quit. What would you do if a brand new employee damaged the overhead door right before closing so you could not set alarm? Door still latches, so just bypass that zone and get alarm co. out first thing tomorrow? But tomorrow you go in and everything that can be carried or pushed is gone!!

Awareness! Eyes open wide! Gonna need them more and more as time goes by, unfortunately.