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View Full Version : GPS Tracking- What Are Your Guys Really Doing?


PlantscapeSolutions
10-07-2010, 01:10 PM
Since my "GPS Installed" posting was deleted I though I'd start another because several people wanted to see what I would be able to catch going on. Guys order the damn thing now and you won't regret it. If you look at my other GPS older original posting you can see what happened the other day. Yesterdays GPS detective work caught my guys costing me around $57 I'm guessing. I haven't told my guys anything yet because I want to see if a pattern emerges. If I say something now I'll likely get the that was the only time speech.

Once I document this happening two weeks in a row it's going to be time to have a chat. As I write this my guys are at lunch at the same gas station they were at yesterday and they went a few minutes out of the way to get there. I'll be really interested to see what gets written on the time sheets today. Yesterday the sheets were off by 37 minutes plus they drove my truck for 30 minutes round trip to get to the gas station. My figure for this error is $57.

My Foreman and crew members all get a weeks paid vacation which is very generous for this line of work. Plus my crew members get $11 an hour plus OT. My Foreman gets $13 an hour plus a company phone. I've had my crew member gross over $675 in a week and a Foreman gross close to a $900 before many times. What I'm going to do is tell my guys to say goodbye to possibly two days of paid vacation. I'm guessing this padding of the lunch hour may have cost me a grand this season.

Wayne 55
10-07-2010, 05:20 PM
I hope you have new crews lined up for the week you break this to the guys. Sorry to say to you with no disrespect. Personaly the crews I had I took the time to have a coffee truck stop off so they had a coffee break in morning the men would call her and tell her where they were daily and then once in a while I treated them to lunch say a couple sheet Pizzas and a bucket of Chicken wings. On the good days even had some beers in a cooler waiting. Small price to pay when they put out and everything I wanted done that day was complete and timely. The guys that worked for me they didnt take advantage of me at all. Even if they had an appointment during the day and needed time away that was fine they all made it up to me ten fold. I also when not on the jobs made sure I dropped in once a while to see how things were going. Sure I had a few who tried to get away with crap but after a talking to they were pulling their weight like the rest. Yeah I have fired a few but tell you what the reputation of the company also got around that we were top notch towards the men. And I had the same seasoned men year in and year out. It wont take long to get a bad rap out there and the new guys coming in looking for work will be total slugs.

Just my $.02 on this matter.

MarcSmith
10-07-2010, 06:06 PM
gotta keep em honest....I would document for a couple weeks and then bring each person in separately and see who fesses up...

this way they know they are being monitored. I doubt I'd fire anyone over this, but once you sit em down... if it continues to happen....time to trim the fat...

No reason to stop at a gas station for lunch. bring lunch with ya...

yardguy28
10-07-2010, 07:12 PM
I hope you have new crews lined up for the week you break this to the guys. Sorry to say to you with no disrespect. Personaly the crews I had I took the time to have a coffee truck stop off so they had a coffee break in morning the men would call her and tell her where they were daily and then once in a while I treated them to lunch say a couple sheet Pizzas and a bucket of Chicken wings. On the good days even had some beers in a cooler waiting. Small price to pay when they put out and everything I wanted done that day was complete and timely. The guys that worked for me they didnt take advantage of me at all. Even if they had an appointment during the day and needed time away that was fine they all made it up to me ten fold. I also when not on the jobs made sure I dropped in once a while to see how things were going. Sure I had a few who tried to get away with crap but after a talking to they were pulling their weight like the rest. Yeah I have fired a few but tell you what the reputation of the company also got around that we were top notch towards the men. And I had the same seasoned men year in and year out. It wont take long to get a bad rap out there and the new guys coming in looking for work will be total slugs.

Just my $.02 on this matter.

very important and good point.......

word will get around that his company "babysits" his crews with gps and people won't want to work for him. the old camera in the work bathroom agruement.

i wouldn't want to work for someone i know is tracking my every move. even though i'm a very honest person and don't screw around at work.

ed2hess
10-07-2010, 09:33 PM
If that is the worst thing you find not so bad. I would simply let them know you have the tracking device on the truck and let them see how it
works. They will get the point.

topsites
10-07-2010, 09:36 PM
Yeah that's really a minor offense, honestly.

I mean, I do it :p
Take the truck for the long way around.
Sure do.

And I'm the owner LOL

White Gardens
10-07-2010, 10:30 PM
First off I want to say that there is always going to be good arguments either way for tracking your crew. Everyone could go on and on looking at both sides of the coin, and still there would be no real answer.

I have to agree though, when working for a good company, we would plan our route accordingly to be efficient with our stops and breaks, Even if that meant not taking breaks at the same time every day.

On the other hand, mowing sucks (or any set weekly service), and it's real easy to fall into the monotony of it and deviate from a good schedule. Grounds Hogs Day every day. Same route, same faces, same vehicles sitting in the same spots. Psychologically it's hard to overcome regardless how badly you need the job.

I think it's one of the hardest things as an LCO (from observance) is being able to motivate your employees everyday.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-07-2010, 11:04 PM
very important and good point.......

word will get around that his company "babysits" his crews with gps and people won't want to work for him. the old camera in the work bathroom agruement.

i wouldn't want to work for someone i know is tracking my every move. even though i'm a very honest person and don't screw around at work.

Nowadays GPS is being used by lots, and lots of companies that run multiple crews. When you start doing work in the million dollar a year range you have to be an idiot to just trust everyone to be good honest boys and girls. GPS is an incredible tool that lets you improve your efficiency. It's not just a spy tool. Why hire a person to check up on your crews when you can do it yourself practically for free. Who the hell has time to run around checking up on your crews. And once your crew see you they cover up any signs of misdeeds.

Running a business blind just doesn't make sense. If employee's know about GPS it will help them resist the urge to constantly cheat a little bit. I have the best workers I've ever had but even they apparently can't resist the urge to cheat a little when they think nobody is monitoring them. Once you cheat a little and get away with it it's awfully easy to cheat more and more. If the cheating I've seen in one week is multiplied by our 35 week season then I'm out over two grand.

If you can't work for a company that uses GPS then you probably can work most large companies that usually have the best pay and benefits for management type positions.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-07-2010, 11:12 PM
First off I want to say that there is always going to be good arguments either way for tracking your crew. Everyone could go on and on looking at both sides of the coin, and still there would be no real answer.

I have to agree though, when working for a good company, we would plan our route accordingly to be efficient with our stops and breaks, Even if that meant not taking breaks at the same time every day.

On the other hand, mowing sucks (or any set weekly service), and it's real easy to fall into the monotony of it and deviate from a good schedule. Grounds Hogs Day every day. Same route, same faces, same vehicles sitting in the same spots. Psychologically it's hard to overcome regardless how badly you need the job.

I think it's one of the hardest things as an LCO (from observance) is being able to motivate your employees everyday.

Very well put. If your guys are born north of the Rio Grande it can be a monumental effort to motivate them. My guys are all south of the river and they value their jobs with me way more than any gringo would. My guys all worked for much larger companies before that all took advantage of them and paid them crap. The last thing in the world my guys want to do is go back to another $300 a week job with no vacation, sick pay, paid holidays, and bonus's.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-07-2010, 11:28 PM
gotta keep em honest....I would document for a couple weeks and then bring each person in separately and see who fesses up...

this way they know they are being monitored. I doubt I'd fire anyone over this, but once you sit em down... if it continues to happen....time to trim the fat...

No reason to stop at a gas station for lunch. bring lunch with ya...

I have one really good employee who has called me a bunch of times to tell me the Foreman is talking on the phone and not always pulling his weight. My plan is to talk to him first and see if I can trick him into fessing up as to how many times this stuff has happened. If I'm able to verify a ball park figure of how much I've been bilked than it's a lot easier to know how much to justifiably try to recover. Letting your employee's get away with stealing possibly thousands of dollars sets a bad precedent.

My guys are still some of the best workers you could ask for so there no way I'm going to let anyone go over this.

whosedog
10-08-2010, 09:00 AM
If they really bust their butts and get everything done every day,what harm is there in taking a longer lunch? Makes you seem like a control freak,micro- managing them like that.It's not a bad idea to be watching them,but if everything gets done with no complaints,I wouldn't confront them about it.They might just take longer at the job sites if they know you're going to bust chops about lunch time.
What kind of GPS is it?How much $? Hard wired? Real time tracking or do you take it out and download it?I'm thinking about getting one to monitor one of my son's,he won't tell me where he's been going lately and I want to make sure he's not headed for trouble.

MarcSmith
10-08-2010, 09:10 AM
What kind of GPS is it?How much $? Hard wired? Real time tracking or do you take it out and download it?I'm thinking about getting one to monitor one of my son's,he won't tell me where he's been going lately and I want to make sure he's not headed for trouble.if he has a cell phone...just enable the gps tracking. most cell phone plans have that option now...

We could beat a the thread to death about monitoring your employees... When the boss is away, the mice will play...Its a fact of life...the key is how much play time is too much... lets say they get all the work done in 7 hours, and write on the time cards it took them 8 hours... Work is getting done by your standards, so you are OK paying extra hours for down time... if they are having extra time, that mean you could potentially add more job to the route, thus making more money...thus able to hire more people, buy more goods, ect...

As a business owner you have the right to monitor what gets done, how it gets done, when it gets done...

georgiagrass
10-08-2010, 04:36 PM
if he has a cell phone...just enable the gps tracking. most cell phone plans have that option now...

We could beat a the thread to death about monitoring your employees... When the boss is away, the mice will play...Its a fact of life...the key is how much play time is too much... lets say they get all the work done in 7 hours, and write on the time cards it took them 8 hours... Work is getting done by your standards, so you are OK paying extra hours for down time... if they are having extra time, that mean you could potentially add more job to the route, thus making more money...thus able to hire more people, buy more goods, ect...

As a business owner you have the right to monitor what gets done, how it gets done, when it gets done...


I agree with Marc. It is up to you to decide how much deviation you will tolerate. If the only infraction you have found so far is deviating for lunch, you are fortunate. Doesn't sound like a terminable offense to me. Next step is to sit down with the crew and tell them specifically what your expectations are with respect to taking breaks and adhering to your routes. You should also tell them what the reaction would be to their failure to meet your expectations. Employees will respect you if you inform them about your reasonable demands and let them know where the line is for getting disciplined.

yardguy28
10-08-2010, 08:23 PM
First off I want to say that there is always going to be good arguments either way for tracking your crew. Everyone could go on and on looking at both sides of the coin, and still there would be no real answer.

I have to agree though, when working for a good company, we would plan our route accordingly to be efficient with our stops and breaks, Even if that meant not taking breaks at the same time every day.

On the other hand, mowing sucks (or any set weekly service), and it's real easy to fall into the monotony of it and deviate from a good schedule. Grounds Hogs Day every day. Same route, same faces, same vehicles sitting in the same spots. Psychologically it's hard to overcome regardless how badly you need the job.

I think it's one of the hardest things as an LCO (from observance) is being able to motivate your employees everyday.

disagree there. thats why i started own business in the first place. so i could mow all day, everyday. been doing it for 4 years now and i love it. sure i offer some other services but 90% of my business is mowing. the other 10% is mulching, shrub pruning, spring and fall clean ups and snow removal. i don't do the landscape thing.

Nowadays GPS is being used by lots, and lots of companies that run multiple crews. When you start doing work in the million dollar a year range you have to be an idiot to just trust everyone to be good honest boys and girls. GPS is an incredible tool that lets you improve your efficiency. It's not just a spy tool. Why hire a person to check up on your crews when you can do it yourself practically for free. Who the hell has time to run around checking up on your crews. And once your crew see you they cover up any signs of misdeeds.

Running a business blind just doesn't make sense. If employee's know about GPS it will help them resist the urge to constantly cheat a little bit. I have the best workers I've ever had but even they apparently can't resist the urge to cheat a little when they think nobody is monitoring them. Once you cheat a little and get away with it it's awfully easy to cheat more and more. If the cheating I've seen in one week is multiplied by our 35 week season then I'm out over two grand.

If you can't work for a company that uses GPS then you probably can work most large companies that usually have the best pay and benefits for management type positions.

GPS may be great for planning routes and what not but i disagree 100% on using it to spy on your crews.

i will do neither GPS or hire someone to check up on a crew should i ever get one. as long as all work is done each day by the specified hours i don't care if they stop at the same gas station they stopped at yesterday. if they want to take an extra long break, fine by me. as long as when quitting time rolls around all work is complete and at a quality level.

your a little more money hungry than i am. my main goal for being in business is doing something i love, money comes in second. i'm looking to pay for the necessities in life with my business, not being able to buy lake cottages, boats, rv's, bikes, designer cloths, fancy vehicles, tv's, dvd players, etc.

shooterm
10-08-2010, 08:38 PM
At what point does all the effiency devices stop ramping up production. At what point does your overhead cost so much you priced yourself out of mowing lawns.

domain311
10-08-2010, 08:49 PM
Well, I agree with using the gps systems...although have yet to do it myself. I just haven't actually done it yet but believe we may, possibly starting next season.

If you have anything over 2 or 3 crews and don't have someone managing every step of the way, you will be taken advantage of...and the more crews you have the bigger problem it will turn into.

Yes, I've been there myself and know what its like to slack off at work when I was a teenager...and I also remember busting my arse in my early 20s working for other companies...right before I started my own thing. At that time I only thought of doing the best job I possibly could in the shortest amount of time possible-being productive and efficient-I wanted to do a good job and be noticed for doing so. So long story short, if you are going to continually slack off and/or waste time all the time...it will not work being an employee of mine. Don't get me wrong though, I am pretty easy to work for and the guys/girls would tell you the same...but one thing I am big on is being efficient, while also keeping the final result excellent.

For me, there are enough business expenses that add up more and more every day...it can be tough just trying to keep this business profitable enough to be worth it to me to be doing this business...so one thing I will not tolerate is being inefficient ...time is money.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-08-2010, 09:06 PM
If they really bust their butts and get everything done every day,what harm is there in taking a longer lunch? Makes you seem like a control freak,micro- managing them like that.It's not a bad idea to be watching them,but if everything gets done with no complaints,I wouldn't confront them about it.They might just take longer at the job sites if they know you're going to bust chops about lunch time.
What kind of GPS is it?How much $? Hard wired? Real time tracking or do you take it out and download it?I'm thinking about getting one to monitor one of my son's,he won't tell me where he's been going lately and I want to make sure he's not headed for trouble.

RealtrackGPS is what I have $180 for the unit and only $18 a month. Hard wired to an always hot power source and a source that's only hot when the ignition is keyed. If your savvy with a multimeter and a little cutting and splicing it's easy to install.

domain311
10-08-2010, 09:45 PM
RealtrackGPS is what I have $180 for the unit and only $18 a month. Hard wired to an always hot power source and a source that's only hot when the ignition is keyed. If your savvy with a multimeter and a little cutting and splicing it's easy to install.

That seems pretty cheap.

You are happy with it?

How long have you been using?

Any disadvantage you are aware of as opposed to using a more expensive gps company?

PlantscapeSolutions
10-08-2010, 10:40 PM
Well, I agree with using the gps systems...although have yet to do it myself. I just haven't actually done it yet but believe we may, possibly starting next season.

If you have anything over 2 or 3 crews and don't have someone managing every step of the way, you will be taken advantage of...and the more crews you have the bigger problem it will turn into.

Yes, I've been there myself and know what its like to slack off at work when I was a teenager...and I also remember busting my arse in my early 20s working for other companies...right before I started my own thing. At that time I only thought of doing the best job I possibly could in the shortest amount of time possible-being productive and efficient-I wanted to do a good job and be noticed for doing so. So long story short, if you are going to continually slack off and/or waste time all the time...it will not work being an employee of mine. Don't get me wrong though, I am pretty easy to work for and the guys/girls would tell you the same...but one thing I am big on is being efficient, while also keeping the final result excellent.

For me, there are enough business expenses that add up more and more every day...it can be tough just trying to keep this business profitable enough to be worth it to me to be doing this business...so one thing I will not tolerate is being inefficient ...time is money.

The RealtrackGPS is easy to install with a few fuse adapters. You can cut into some wires under the dash as well but I liked the idea of running it from the fuse box. For 59 cents a day you will always know these things:

1. Speed of vehicle which is good if you think you have a speed demon or a slow poke going ten under the speed limit all day costing you money. I've had both before.

2. Exact time spent at each job site. You can compare what you thought your cost would be to do properties against your true cost.

3. Exact time your crewmembers left the last property and should have been clocked out. You will also know the time your guys fired up the truck in the morning.

4. You will know exactly how much time your guys spend at pit stops. This is where I'm noticing my guys fudge the time cards by 30% - 100%.

5. You will be able to print out the path your guys took. Any stops will be shown. Any side jobs or undesignated stops will be shown clear as day.

6. If you let your Foreman take the truck home after work you'd be crazy not to spend 59 cents a day for GPS. Is your truck at a titty bar, beer joint, or other place where there is a likelihood of drinking and driving? Now you will know for sure. I've had this happen in the past.

7. You will never need to call your guys to see where they are. You will be able to track your crew’s location all day.

8. Once you tell your guys about GPS it will help them resist the urge to cheat you. Most Spanish crewmembers will not be able to comprehend the full scope of what GPS can do. You could probably show them a Google earth satellite and street view picture of some of your properties and tell them the GPs records everything!

9. The GPS records the position of the ignition switch. If your Foreman is kicking back watching the crewmembers do all the work with the AC on you will know about it. I've had this happen in the past as well.

10. If your vehicle gets stolen you will know where it went.

11. Are your guys sticking to the correct streets or are they taking the long way and racking up more OT.

I'm probably skipping a few reasons but I think by know everyone can see what a great tool GPS is. Sticking you head in the sand and expecting your employee's to behave like good little boys is not the way to run a business. GPS is too cheap not to use it.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-08-2010, 10:47 PM
That seems pretty cheap.

You are happy with it?

How long have you been using?

Any disadvantage you are aware of as opposed to using a more expensive gps company?

This is my first full week using it. So far I'm very happy. With today's technology I think all GPS systems are cheap. The big difference is some companies only want to do work for bigger companies that run a fleet of vehicles.

Years ago GPS cost a bunch on money and you had to mount equipment on the roof of your vehicle. Today GPS is cheap and stealthy and even fits in the little guys budget.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-08-2010, 11:01 PM
At what point does all the effiency devices stop ramping up production. At what point does your overhead cost so much you priced yourself out of mowing lawns.

I don't know. What's an effiency device?

bansheefreak
10-08-2010, 11:13 PM
hate to say it but gps is not always right .. we had a guy get docked bunch of time cus of gps and the person he was working for by the hr stood up for him and the guy got paid but according to labor and relations you cant use gps as a timeclock so better check with that before you piss off a bunch of good employees

MR-G
10-08-2010, 11:55 PM
hate to say it but gps is not always right .. we had a guy get docked bunch of time cus of gps and the person he was working for by the hr stood up for him and the guy got paid but according to labor and relations you cant use gps as a timeclock so better check with that before you piss off a bunch of good employeesthe cellphone tracking can and does show wrong positions at random sometimes...real gps is much better and extremely accurate and dependable....nothing man made is perfect...:usflag:

bansheefreak
10-09-2010, 12:53 AM
yeah this was cell phone gps.. and everything i said was what i was told by guy that was getting screwed out of pay... so who knows what laws and truth... just stating you might check around before they piss off employees...

MR-G
10-09-2010, 01:08 AM
yeah this was cell phone gps.. and everything i said was what i was told by guy that was getting screwed out of pay... so who knows what laws and truth... just stating you might check around before they piss off employees...Like everything else, it has to be used responsibly...employees are people, not robots...yes they should be supervised but at the same time they need to work at a place that is people friendly..:usflag:

shooterm
10-09-2010, 09:08 AM
I don't know. What's an effiency device?

I dont know those color ads you read in them fancy magazines.

Wayne 55
10-09-2010, 09:31 AM
Maybe you should think about this. Before you repremand your entire crew you had better have a sit down with the forman. He is the leader the others follow him and his actions. If all the time cards are the same then it is through him that there is a problem. If he is the leader and controlling when and where they should be then he is leading by bad example. Not the men they just do as they are being told.
I would only have GPS for two reasons one to find easy route ( which you are not useing it this way)and the second to be sure the trucks aren't parked in a bar. The men I put in as leaders must handle the rest of the load making sure the jobs get done to my liking and timely. This is all new to your company, in a year tell us how it all works out and if all the men you have this season are still with you next year and so on. To me you might just be running a training program. You get these guys doing things right and spring all this GPS stuff on them and down the road they go to the next company all trained and ready for work. Like I said before these men will talk and nothing good comes out of disgruntled employee. 1 P.O. employee can bring down the entire crew.
Again just my .02

Will P.C.
10-09-2010, 01:40 PM
GPS isn't very expensive and I would get it in a heartbeat if I owned a biz and had a bunch of trucks going out every day.

In high school, I worked for a LCO and we got a call one day from Newark Nj police that they had just taken one of our employees to the hospital for a heroin overdose. We were 1.5 hour round trip from Newark in Pa. The cop told us to get down their and get our truck. Of course, all of the equip was stolen and the truck was found in some ghetto I would not want to drive through during the day. He confessed to going down there a few times a week to cop bricks of heroin

Guys that stop at every gas station and conv store and park for 20 minutes.

Guys that take the truck offroad

Guys that stop at the g/f house for an hour

I have witnessed some really horrible things that guys have done.

GPS is a inexpensive way to keep track. Just the threat of knowing the trucks have GPS and you check it occasionally should be enough to stop most of the ****.

I hate micro mangers. If you are spending hours each day checking this GPS, than you have a serious problem and should think about selling your biz.

yardguy28
10-09-2010, 03:57 PM
Maybe you should think about this. Before you repremand your entire crew you had better have a sit down with the forman. He is the leader the others follow him and his actions. If all the time cards are the same then it is through him that there is a problem. If he is the leader and controlling when and where they should be then he is leading by bad example. Not the men they just do as they are being told.
I would only have GPS for two reasons one to find easy route ( which you are not useing it this way)and the second to be sure the trucks aren't parked in a bar. The men I put in as leaders must handle the rest of the load making sure the jobs get done to my liking and timely. This is all new to your company, in a year tell us how it all works out and if all the men you have this season are still with you next year and so on. To me you might just be running a training program. You get these guys doing things right and spring all this GPS stuff on them and down the road they go to the next company all trained and ready for work. Like I said before these men will talk and nothing good comes out of disgruntled employee. 1 P.O. employee can bring down the entire crew.
Again just my .02

excellent point. i think i would do the same if i ever get to a multi crew time.

if you have formen it's there job to make sure the men are doing there job. if you can't trust the formen it's time to get new one's.

i know i wouldn't work for someone who doesn't have a bit of trust in me that they have to GPS the truck and track my every move and location. so you'd definitly have a disgruntled employee, springing GPS on me and i'd take what training i had and go work for someone else.

Tony Clifton
10-11-2010, 07:43 PM
How about telling your crew you are going to implement a program that uses GPS with the goal of having the ability to prove to customers that a crew was at their property during said time period, as well as understanding routing better and to assist in billing practices. Tell them you will implement on ?? date. See if there are any changes in their pattern after you tell them (based on what you have already seen). This will let you know how honest your guys are. Do they really know and understand why it is unacceptable for them to drive 30 minutes round trip for lunch?

yardguy28
10-11-2010, 09:05 PM
How about telling your crew you are going to implement a program that uses GPS with the goal of having the ability to prove to customers that a crew was at their property during said time period, as well as understanding routing better and to assist in billing practices. Tell them you will implement on ?? date. See if there are any changes in their pattern after you tell them (based on what you have already seen). This will let you know how honest your guys are. Do they really know and understand why it is unacceptable for them to drive 30 minutes round trip for lunch?

first off why lie to your employees about why you are using a GPS system.

secondly i wouldn't expect my employee's to understand why it is unacceptable to drive 30 min. round trip for lunch when i myself would drive 30 min. round trip for lunch.

N.TX
10-12-2010, 12:13 AM
Ya I would just make them aware that you are tracking their time and leave it at that. Its one thing if they are doing that multiple times per day but if its just once per day its not soo bad. I would focus on the daily numbers and push them to meet the numbers and maybe even offer a small incentive if they go over and above ...that will keep them on track without having to jump their butts about it.

zak406
10-12-2010, 01:45 AM
While i agree your employees need to know whos in charge and what the rules are. I also feel that if thats the worst your employees do, you have some pretty decent employees in this day and age. So be careful how you tell them and or handle the situation. Best of luck...

MarcSmith
10-12-2010, 06:48 AM
While i agree your employees need to know whos in charge and what the rules are. I also feel that if thats the worst your employees do, you have some pretty decent employees in this day and age. So be careful how you tell them and or handle the situation. Best of luck...so yoau re OK with them driving 30 minutes out of their way in your truck, your fuel, your liability, to buy lunch....maybe next week, they do just one cash job....or take 45 minutes for lunch instead of 30....

Chew on this...
I agree that its great that they are getting the jobs done on time. They did not figure out a way to be more efficient to save YOU money, they did not figure out a way to be more efficient so they can add another job or two to the route to increase the amount of work they can do in a given day. They have figured out a way to take a longer break with out affecting their bottom line or increasing the amount of work they have to do...

At what point do you draw your line in the sand that they can't cross? They did not ask you if they could go out of their way for lunch... you did not tell them, "take lunch wherever you want". They just did it...


30 minutes each way. is one hour drive time....lets say its 30 miles city driving...or 3 gallons of gas... or 9 bucks.... 5 days per week... that's 45 bucks each week. 20 week growing season thats 900 bucks. but if they are full time employees, at 52 weeks...$2340 in fuel for lunch breaks...

an extra 1/2 hour of increased productivity would give you 5 extra small lawns each week...@ 40 bucks a visit 200 bucks per week, or $4000 bucks per 20 week growing season... not counting any extras that may go along with those new clients...

cut level
10-12-2010, 08:54 PM
Does it make a difference if in the grand scheme of things it cost you 3,000 for those minutes spent out of the way if you still profited 100,000? I wouldn't worry about it. Kit 3 grand is putting you that close to the edge then you don't need to be operating.
This is a thought out loud open for discussion
Posted via Mobile Device

MarcSmith
10-13-2010, 06:43 AM
Cut---

are you willing to add 3% to your Car payment every month, Electric bill every month, Mortgage every month and not get any gain from it? IE they just tack it on for no good reason... ..or better yet, what if each of your customers decided to short pay you 3% each month, not asking, and still expecting full service. are you going to just eat it?

3% may not seem like much... but a bunch of small gains or losses they begin to add up...And folks who run a business notice it and work on the small numbers just as much as the big ones...

PlantscapeSolutions
10-13-2010, 08:52 AM
Maybe you should think about this. Before you repremand your entire crew you had better have a sit down with the forman. He is the leader the others follow him and his actions. If all the time cards are the same then it is through him that there is a problem. If he is the leader and controlling when and where they should be then he is leading by bad example. Not the men they just do as they are being told.
I would only have GPS for two reasons one to find easy route ( which you are not useing it this way)and the second to be sure the trucks aren't parked in a bar. The men I put in as leaders must handle the rest of the load making sure the jobs get done to my liking and timely. This is all new to your company, in a year tell us how it all works out and if all the men you have this season are still with you next year and so on. To me you might just be running a training program. You get these guys doing things right and spring all this GPS stuff on them and down the road they go to the next company all trained and ready for work. Like I said before these men will talk and nothing good comes out of disgruntled employee. 1 P.O. employee can bring down the entire crew.
Again just my .02

I've done the revolving door thing back when we made an effort to use born here folks. Having the same guys who are competent year in and year out is a godsend. I'm going to have a well thought out talk with my guys. It's that issue where you can't let your guys think they got away with pretty much stealing from you but you don't want to go off the deep end with them either.

if the time sheet issues were minor I wouldn't mind. The problem is that these were well thought out manipulations of the time sheets. This is not a one time thing. This problem had been happening and continues to happen. The Foreman is the most guilty but my crew members are very well paid and really act as a team. I know a lot of companies have a crew with a chief and a bunch of headless Indians running around oblivious to what's going on but that's not the case here.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-13-2010, 08:58 AM
How about telling your crew you are going to implement a program that uses GPS with the goal of having the ability to prove to customers that a crew was at their property during said time period, as well as understanding routing better and to assist in billing practices. Tell them you will implement on ?? date. See if there are any changes in their pattern after you tell them (based on what you have already seen). This will let you know how honest your guys are. Do they really know and understand why it is unacceptable for them to drive 30 minutes round trip for lunch?

Once I tell my guys about the GPS I'm going to tell them only about the benefits other than time card verification. My Foreman is an extremely sharp guy who actually going to a convention in Atlanta for Herbalife this week. He is in the process of trying to get his own business running.

PlantscapeSolutions
10-13-2010, 09:17 AM
so yoau re OK with them driving 30 minutes out of their way in your truck, your fuel, your liability, to buy lunch....maybe next week, they do just one cash job....or take 45 minutes for lunch instead of 30....

Chew on this...
I agree that its great that they are getting the jobs done on time. They did not figure out a way to be more efficient to save YOU money, they did not figure out a way to be more efficient so they can add another job or two to the route to increase the amount of work they can do in a given day. They have figured out a way to take a longer break with out affecting their bottom line or increasing the amount of work they have to do...

At what point do you draw your line in the sand that they can't cross? They did not ask you if they could go out of their way for lunch... you did not tell them, "take lunch wherever you want". They just did it...


30 minutes each way. is one hour drive time....lets say its 30 miles city driving...or 3 gallons of gas... or 9 bucks.... 5 days per week... that's 45 bucks each week. 20 week growing season thats 900 bucks. but if they are full time employees, at 52 weeks...$2340 in fuel for lunch breaks...

an extra 1/2 hour of increased productivity would give you 5 extra small lawns each week...@ 40 bucks a visit 200 bucks per week, or $4000 bucks per 20 week growing season... not counting any extras that may go along with those new clients...

This is my thought process exactly. You can't not think about the big picture. Especially when the economy is still down you must look at ways you can get away with doing less work but still be just as profitable. The economy has forced a lot of wasteful businesses to evaluate and eliminate waste. At a larger company the waste I'm dealing with could easily add up to be $50K a year.

I don't think you will find many people running crews like mine that cost $65,000 to outfit that will think wasting thousands of dollars a year is OK. I don't think a lot of people realize that waste tends to snowball. Employee's that get away with stealing with continue to fudge that time card more and more as time goes on. If people don't think their employee's realize their lining their pockets at your expense than they are probably vastly underestimating what any employee is capable of.

Will P.C.
10-13-2010, 12:16 PM
Owning a business, it is imperative that you sit down and crunch the numbers. I would go as far as showing the numbers to my employees to show them how much it is costing. They may not understand as many business owners here do not seem to understand.

jherety
10-13-2010, 11:08 PM
It sounds like the lunchtime breaks are somewhat of a "grey" area. Have you told your employees the max distance that they can take your truck to eat? I agree, a 30min round trip, on the clock, drive is excessive to a business owner but to the employees they likely feel that it is perfectly acceptable.

Maybe you should set a max distance that they can take a company truck for lunch? Or possibly work out a schedule where they are close to some type of restaurant everyday around noon?

Employees can be great but they are also the source of most headaches in any business. I hope the GPS works in your situation.

Wes
Posted via Mobile Device

cut level
10-14-2010, 02:05 PM
Cut---

are you willing to add 3% to your Car payment every month, Electric bill every month, Mortgage every month and not get any gain from it? IE they just tack it on for no good reason... ..or better yet, what if each of your customers decided to short pay you 3% each month, not asking, and still expecting full service. are you going to just eat it?

3% may not seem like much... but a bunch of small gains or losses they begin to add up...And folks who run a business notice it and work on the small numbers just as much as the big ones...

I do see your point.

Ketron'sLawnService
11-16-2010, 10:20 PM
GPS, absolutely!! How else do you know what happens when your not there to watch your people? For those of you who say you will never run GPS on your trucks, you either dont have employees who work without the boss, or you like being took! lol YES, you will be took. No mowing company has 100% honest help 100% of the year. 10 min here, 20 min there, etc.... adds up to $1,000 dollars here, and a $500 dollars there, at the end of your year. I have ran a gym and a 15-18 person mowing crew(large cemetary), so I know when i say this that supervision is the only way to keep honest people honest! I had security cameras in my gym and have seen a LOT of things from people you would never suspect of a thing. I have captured Lt. with the local police department "borrowing" a weight belt. I have captured a guy "helping" out another gym member by taking his jacket from the locker room so nobody would get it, lol(he just didnt give it to the guy who owned it). I have caught people who didnt pay(24hr gym) sneaking in when they thought nobody was there. so is GPS a definate for 2011 when i take on smaller jobs and split my people into small crews, you bet!!! If they dont like it, McDonalds is hiring for nights with great benefits and competitive wages! lol