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View Full Version : Need some help from others in lawn care and landscaping


Gerg21
03-01-2010, 04:53 AM
I been in lawn care and lanscaping for 8 years full-time I have some questions need some help. I cut 150 lawns (100 weekly 50 Bi-week). I have one full-time guy with me for the past 2 years but he is not happy. we work avg of 50 hrs during peak season he is on the books gets paid 13 dollars a hour plus overtime (way to much but its keeping him with me cause he cant get that kind of money any where else starting out) hear is my problem. I have tried getting new workers but they do not last long and we can work faster with out them. The guy with me now will prob be leaving after this season. im wondering what do the rest of you guys do to keep guys coming back year after year? my helper likes his job but he has said that he can not make it thru the winter with just unemployment. He is a hard worker very hard worker and it seems like any good hard work he wants 40 hours a week year round and benifits. So how do you guys keep good workers? I have more then enough work for 2 crews but its hard enough to keep guys to work and im out running the crew now. I allways have had dreams of getting BIG!! but sometimes i think i was happier and made more money solo. Please HELP and or tell me how you operate solo, runing crews, or are you out with the crew working as well??

ALC-GregH
03-01-2010, 07:14 AM
we work avg of 50 hrs during peak season he is on the books gets paid 13 dollars a hour plus overtime (way to much but its keeping him with me cause he cant get that kind of money any where else starting out)

Pay the guy more money. Don't be a cheap skate.

Kickin Your Grass
03-01-2010, 07:47 AM
I cut 150 lawns (100 weekly 50 Bi-week).


So you + 1 more guy averages 125 yards per week + extra services like trimming hedges etc..???

If you have invested a lot of time into him and he does great work.... Why not bump him up to $15 per hour and tell him to budget his money better so he has some to go with the unemployment during the winter? It will cost you more to replace him if you lose him.

fatguy28
03-01-2010, 07:58 AM
ya pay $15 an hour good workers are hard to find

ProcsLC
03-01-2010, 08:03 AM
Either increase his pay so its not as hard on him or look into offering additional services for the winter months to keep him employed all year long... 1 good, hard working employee that is loyal to you is worth its weight in gold...

Littleriver1
03-01-2010, 08:26 AM
I would keep hiring. This guy may be the reason new people leave. I would ask any one that leaves directly if he has said or done anything to cause them to leave. Any way I would keep hiring. It is your business not his, but he seems to be running you. He has made himself so valuable you cant live with out him and that's not a good thing. Take control and manage your business. I'm not saying he must go, but you need the money more than him. If some one gets between me and my lunch money then we will go around and around in the mudd, the blood and the beer. You also need to watch that you are not expecting too much from new people. Doing away with the over time will pay for a new guy. Paying some one through the winter months when they are not working is not a good thing. If he cant live with the pay rate and you cant do better then it's time to cut the cord. May be he can help part time.

ALC-GregH
03-01-2010, 10:32 AM
I would keep hiring. This guy may be the reason new people leave. I would ask any one that leaves directly if he has said or done anything to cause them to leave. Any way I would keep hiring. It is your business not his, but he seems to be running you. He has made himself so valuable you cant live with out him and that's not a good thing. Take control and manage your business. I'm not saying he must go, but you need the money more than him. If some one gets between me and my lunch money then we will go around and around in the mudd, the blood and the beer. You also need to watch that you are not expecting too much from new people. Doing away with the over time will pay for a new guy. Paying some one through the winter months when they are not working is not a good thing. If he cant live with the pay rate and you cant do better then it's time to cut the cord. May be he can help part time.

Doing this will more then likely cost him even more money. If the employee does his job and does it well, why would you want anyone else? Wait, let me guess, you want to spend even more money then this guy is costing you? Hire someone new means you have to train them to do the job you want done. Have them screw up once and there went all your profit.

Lawnut101
03-01-2010, 11:18 AM
You can offer services during the winter. Snowplowing, roof raking, hang up Christmas lights, trim trees, clear brush, deliver firewood, haul junk..... There are a lot of jobs that you can do to keep your guy(s) working.

OUTLANDER
03-01-2010, 11:36 AM
i say..... down time comes in the winter months with this profession. You know that, we all know that, and he should know that, and accept it (and get what he can out of it in the winter)just to get back to the on season when the gettin is good.I totally agree with what was said earlier. This guy might need to learn to manage his money, and life alittle better...if not, then let him go he's truly in it for money(i think this work takes a special person anyway, regardless of what you're making you have to love this work...i do:cool2:

Littleriver1
03-01-2010, 02:43 PM
Doing this will more then likely cost him even more money. If the employee does his job and does it well, why would you want anyone else? Wait, let me guess, you want to spend even more money then this guy is costing you? Hire someone new means you have to train them to do the job you want done. Have them screw up once and there went all your profit.

I'll respond, only because I have nothing to do till the school bus gets here. What ever it was that you said is not answering the question. He wants to hire more people but no one stays with him very long. The guy he has wants to leave for more money and income in the winter. He doesn't have enough business to keep the guy working in the winter. I'm sure there is a replacement for this guy out there some where. All I said was keep trying to find him, Keep hireing. Also getting rid of the over time will help.

Grass Shark
03-01-2010, 03:31 PM
How many weeks are in your season?

Gunnels Grounds & More
03-01-2010, 04:46 PM
Have A talk with your employee. Be very open and honest ask him if this is what he wants to do in five years from now. Is it possible he could be A crew leader? offer incentives, bonus's, work in winter. Do everything in your power to clean the air and keep him/her aboard. But remember bottom line yo do have A business to run. GOOD LUCK.....

Gerg21
03-01-2010, 05:41 PM
Pay the guy more money. Don't be a cheap skate.

I think he is getting paid great for what he does. He was making 9 dollars a hour and i gave him a 4 dollars raise to 13 in 2009. i can only pay him what he is worth to the business he has said many times he does not want to run a crew train new guys or even work in a uniform. i offered him to partner with me he has no want or need cause he does not see this as his line of work for the rest of his life he says. do you lay your guys off so they can get unemployment ? What is the turn over rate due to lay off going into the next season ? I know how i make it thru the winter its easy but i dont see how any employee with a house payment rent wife kids and bills can just take the winter off even with unemployment not in this day and age. They cant get unemployment and still work!! even if it snows like it has this year its only a few days work for employees. I have made friends with many solo guys here and they say thats why im still solo. on the other hand i know many people with 15 or 20 guys but they are all mexicans and i have no problem with that but they are not legal and i will not run my business that way just like im not going to lay off my guys so they can get unemployment then pay them in cash during the winter. I loved working solo but im worried about getting hurt or a medical condition as im getting older. ANY ONE IN MARYLAND LOOKING TO PARTNER UP??

Gerg21
03-01-2010, 05:44 PM
About 26 to 30 weeks our season

Daily Lawn/Landscape
03-01-2010, 05:56 PM
I pay the ones that are not foreman $10 hr with guaranteed 30hrs wk during winter mo. with or without work. I do provide snow removal, but in my area we are lucky to get 3 events a year. We have a 30-35 wk season. If you know your numbers and work with a budget, there is no reason to let your good employees go during the winter mo.My foreman get 40hrs week all year.


James

Ps I have been doing this for 3 yrs now and only been in business for 9.

grassman177
03-01-2010, 07:12 PM
from your words, he is not the guy for you so dont give him more now, he stated it was not the business for him, respect that and HEAR it too. i dont mean that badly, but sometimes we dont hear the words directly spoken to us.

find and hire more guy(s), and let him know the reasons as you want to grow, dont let him in any way tell you anything other than if he is gong to keep working or quit. that is it, other wise you have nothing.

we have had many guys now that worked for us and have ran into his type, make it work for this year but on your term alone

Gerg21
03-01-2010, 07:45 PM
Grassman i agree!! How many guys do you have working for you full time?how many years have you retained your full time employees year after year? seems to me that its really hard to find good legal help americans dont like to sweat or even get their hands dirty. I love this business after a nice hot sweaty day of cutting i enjoy washing off all the dirt/dust thats dried on me. i have even had guys that try to stay clean while cutting guess what they left before they learned to mix oil/gas. I have even givin guys from AA and NA a chance but they as well did not work out. I know a lot of you probably think im not training or paying them well but believe me thats not the problem. I have many friends that are very lage in this business and they tell me ill never make it with white guys in my trucks.

Gerg21
03-01-2010, 07:51 PM
DONT GET ME WRONG I will hire any race or color what they mean is i need mexicans to run my crews. reason bieng is they dont mind the winters off cause they go home rich and get to spend the winters with their familys. And they are glad to come back to america (h2b program) and work another season.

johnnybravo8802
03-01-2010, 09:10 PM
Tell him the unemployment line is really loooooooooooong!!!!!!Geez......people should be happy to have a job. That's what's wrong with this country. A person has no education, can't pay their bills, can't manage their money(Reason they're working for you), has very little to offer society, and then wants a raise. If he wants a raise, tell him to either go back to school or work harder-In other words, earn it like the rest of us did....You can't start at the top!!!!!:hammerhead::hammerhead:

sdk1959
03-01-2010, 09:41 PM
Grassman i agree!! How many guys do you have working for you full time?how many years have you retained your full time employees year after year? seems to me that its really hard to find good legal help Americans dont like to sweat or even get their hands dirty. I love this business after a nice hot sweaty day of cutting i enjoy washing off all the dirt/dust thats dried on me. i have even had guys that try to stay clean while cutting guess what they left before they learned to mix oil/gas. I have even giving guys from AA and NA a chance but they as well did not work out. I know a lot of you probably think I'm not training or paying them well but believe me that's not the problem. I have many friends that are very large in this business and they tell me ill never make it with white guys in my trucks.

The real reason Mexicans work hard is that with the exchange rate of dollars to pesos 1 dollar equals 12.75 pesos. If you pay them $12hr it will be like $50.00hr in Mexico. Pay Americans $50.00hr & see how hard they work or start paying Mexicans $2.00 an hr and see how hard they don't. It's all relative, that's why they send all their money back to Mexico and 8 guys share a 1 bedroom apartment when they live here, saving big $$ and all the more money to send back to Mexico.

If your near Baltimore you should be able to hire some college kids every spring and summer. From what this guy said to you this is just a temp gig for him and he may quit without notice.

Landscraper1
03-01-2010, 09:45 PM
I think he is getting paid great for what he does. He was making 9 dollars a hour and i gave him a 4 dollars raise to 13 in 2009. i can only pay him what he is worth to the business he has said many times he does not want to run a crew train new guys or even work in a uniform. i offered him to partner with me he has no want or need cause he does not see this as his line of work for the rest of his life he says. do you lay your guys off so they can get unemployment ? What is the turn over rate due to lay off going into the next season ? I know how i make it Thur the winter its easy but i don't see how any employee with a house payment rent wife kids and bills can just take the winter off even with unemployment not in this day and age. They cant get unemployment and still work!! even if it snows like it has this year its only a few days work for employees. I have made friends with many solo guys here and they say that's why I'm still solo. on the other hand i know many people with 15 or 20 guys but they are all mexicans and i have no problem with that but they are not legal and i will not run my business that way just like im not going to lay off my guys so they can get unemployment then pay them in cash during the winter. I loved working solo but im worried about getting hurt or a medical condition as im getting older. ANY ONE IN MARYLAND LOOKING TO PARTNER UP??

If he wants to leave then let him. You say, he doesn't want to be a foreman, train others, or even wear a uniform. I think he is trying to control you. $13 an hour for a grass cutter is good enough, especially with the attitude he has. One thing about a bad economy is that there are alot of people looking for work. Put an add in the paper and see how many responses.
As far as the men coming back in the Spring, I have no problem. Past three years, did not loose a single worker. I pay them a little over the going rates and have them come in for snow removal, that's it. They know it's a seasonal business and are ready for the winters. I also end the season with a nice Christmas party with their wives or girlfriends and a nice Christmas bonus.:)
And you shouldn't even think about a partner. You did it for this long, why add to your problems.:hammerhead:

grassman177
03-01-2010, 10:18 PM
we have 4 returners and one newbie lined up, one guy has been with us forgoing on 5 years straight, one has 5 years, but an interlude, one is returning for year 2 and the other is year 2, but with stipulations as he was an ill performer in the past, this is his last chance.

it has been hard to keep anyone and believe me, we have had soooooo many come and go, a few 2 times and never again. but, we try very hard to make working for us a very positive experience and try hard to take care of them in ways other than pay. there is a fine line though of caring and going too far. we stay to the correct side of that line, but it goes a long way. i can say here the pay is not as high as some of you, but we are in small city and labor is not a high end job face it. $11 is tops for a laborer, and us crew leaders get paid on commission quite well, but cost out our help(not actually pay them) so it is a find balance as you know to pay as good as you can , and keep very nice equipment and all the rest of the whole overhead thing. we do however easily use the nicest machines and keep very good care of them so working is a pleasure not a burden. countless guys have commented on our machines and care both newcomers and guys from other companies that worked for us for a while. that goes a very long way, but is expensive