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View Full Version : Does anyone pay their full time guys thru the winter?


Gerg21
02-07-2011, 06:52 PM
I been in the lawn care and landscaping bussiness 9 years this coming season. I have had many people work for me even my best friend bad move. its hard to find someone who is ok with a seasonal job that has no benifites DOES EVERYONE HAVE THIS PROBLEM? I have had the same guy with me for the past 3 seasons great worker and he has never missed a day I pay him good $16 per hour 40 hr a week even if it rains. He needs full time in the winter now that hes getting older 25 even if we do snow its ony work if it snows and even then most storms only give us 2 days work. I have even offered for him to buy a truck and i would partner up with him he does not seem interested tho I have a few ?
HOW MANY OTHERS HAVE THIS PROBLEM ?
HOW MANY YEARS DOES THE AVG WORKER LAST FOR U ?
WHO PAYS THRU THE WINTER ?
HOW MANY GUYS HAVE GONE SOLO FOR THESE REASONS ?
WHO WOULD RATHER BE SOLO?
IF U HAVE A BIG BUSSINESS HOW DID U DO IT? I NOTICE LOTS OF BIG BUSSINESS ARE FAMILY OWEND
ONE MORE WHO IS SOLO OUT THERE ? FULL TIME NO WEEKEND WARRIOR MAKIN BEER N BOAT GAS MONEY THEY DONT COUNT!

ed2hess
02-07-2011, 10:21 PM
Need to consider putting the guy on salary and smooth out his pay so he does get check all year long. Then you have to build the business so you have winter work. What does Brinkman do with their core guys up north. In our area they continue making visit to site all winter and we do the same. Got to have commerical like resturants and hotels and car lots etc. that must be maintanined all the time.

LibertyFarmLandscaping
02-07-2011, 10:42 PM
I been in the lawn care and landscaping bussiness 9 years this coming season. I have had many people work for me even my best friend bad move. its hard to find someone who is ok with a seasonal job that has no benifites DOES EVERYONE HAVE THIS PROBLEM? I have had the same guy with me for the past 3 seasons great worker and he has never missed a day I pay him good $16 per hour 40 hr a week even if it rains. He needs full time in the winter now that hes getting older 25 even if we do snow its ony work if it snows and even then most storms only give us 2 days work. I have even offered for him to buy a truck and i would partner up with him he does not seem interested tho I have a few ?
HOW MANY OTHERS HAVE THIS PROBLEM ?
HOW MANY YEARS DOES THE AVG WORKER LAST FOR U ?
WHO PAYS THRU THE WINTER ?
HOW MANY GUYS HAVE GONE SOLO FOR THESE REASONS ?
WHO WOULD RATHER BE SOLO?
IF U HAVE A BIG BUSSINESS HOW DID U DO IT? I NOTICE LOTS OF BIG BUSSINESS ARE FAMILY OWEND
ONE MORE WHO IS SOLO OUT THERE ? FULL TIME NO WEEKEND WARRIOR MAKIN BEER N BOAT GAS MONEY THEY DONT COUNT!

I have enough for 2 to 3 days per week for 2 guys. Then my brother who builds metal buildings uses them on the other days. He gets backed up alot in the winter with his regular crew due to bad weather.
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djagusch
02-07-2011, 10:46 PM
I am solo with a helper for the summer and been debating about adding a fulltime guy also. I have seen lcos pay guys through winter cutting fire wood and plowing. He didn't do that again. A salary for 12 months is what will get the best workers. Having the guy understand 45 to 50hrs during the summer is full time and makes up for the winter slow down. Most would understand I would think. Keep a tab of hrs and see how it works out.
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lyndont
02-07-2011, 10:52 PM
Anyone with a brain would just go out on there own with this type of job unless they can make a lot of money working for someone else. If you could keep an honest hard worker I would treat him right because otherwise he's turning into competition.
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oldclawn
02-07-2011, 10:59 PM
My feeling is (possibly shared by other) is that if you are charging properly for your goods and services, then you should have no problem paying your employees during the winter season. How can you ask someone to bust hump for you all season then cut them loose. What kind of real business is that. Employees have families, children, dreams just like you--it's not all about the almighty dollar--it's abouyt treating ther important people in your life with dignity and respect.

soloscaperman
02-07-2011, 11:36 PM
OLDCLAWN - Has a point. When I worked for my old boss he would cut me off in the winter unless it snowed. I told him I got bills to pay as well. He gave me a $300 bonus on Christmas and ended up leaving for good after 3 years of torture from one of the smartest and cold hearted person I ever worked for.

MOHUSTLER
02-08-2011, 09:48 AM
It is hard to keep people through the winter. Id work out a system with them to where your still paying them jsut not thier full $16 an hour. Mabey drop him back to 10-12$ and give him a steady paycheck. Then if your using them for snow or something along thoes lines when hes doing hard work pay him his 16 an hour again.

Or option #2 is put them on salary. Most dont like that when in the summer they are busting a$$ for you and getting the same they do in the winter to sit on thier butt.


It is a fine line between wasting your money on them and keeping them busy. Most of the time in the winter if you can break even and keep him employeed its a win.

MOturkey
02-08-2011, 11:23 AM
Interesting thread. I'm just wondering if any of you have considered, or have hired, guys that are retired? I don't necessarily mean someone 65 plus. There are lots of people out there retired from the military, civil service, etc, perhaps in their 50's who perhaps would enjoy working, but don't need 12 months of income, insurance, etc. If you run 2 man crews, you could even try to find 4 retirees, each of which would want to work 3 days a week. I know if I didn't have my own mowing business, I'd jump on something like that myself.

TMlawncare
02-08-2011, 01:03 PM
We battled this for years also. This is our solution to the problem. It only applies to full time employees. Our full time employees work from March 10 to Dec 10. Each month they get a paycheck for a set salary. In December besides their monthly check they go on unemployment till March 10. During this period they receive a weekly check from unemployment. They get a paycheck from us when the work doing snow removal.(they report any hrs worked each sunday to unemployment). What we also do is a year end bonus/incentive. Depending on how the entire company did reflect on how much the bonus is. Usually bonus is around $1200 per ft employee. This bonus is to help supplement there unemployment through the off season. We have had this program in place for three years now and seems to work well.

Texas Lawn
02-08-2011, 03:14 PM
First note: Please use commas and periods in your posts, they are a great tool.

Second: I think everyone has this problem. I dont think its worth it to go solo. If you can increase your winter services, you are able to decrease the amount of time they are not working. Also there is lots of seasonal work they can get in the winter and you should let them know early how long you will have work for. In this industry, year round work is a luxury for most.

TMlawncare
02-08-2011, 05:36 PM
First note: Please use commas and periods in your posts, they are a great tool.

Second: I think everyone has this problem. I dont think its worth it to go solo. If you can increase your winter services, you are able to decrease the amount of time they are not working. Also there is lots of seasonal work they can get in the winter and you should let them know early how long you will have work for. In this industry, year round work is a luxury for most.

Yes, there is seasonal work in the winter for your employees to pursue. That is exactly what you do not want them to do. After spending a lot of time and patients finding the right employee the one thing you don't want is for them to start working for someone else. Many times that little seasonal job turns into a career for them. When your season is just getting ready to kick off you find that you have no employees returning. Most companies worst nightmare.

oldclawn
02-08-2011, 06:32 PM
AMEN! That's why we structured our entire book of business, pricing and services to be a REAL business, so that ALL employees felt they were apart of it at all times with no fear that their job was "seasonal". You can't realistically build your business AND your workforce at the same time. With a seriously experienced crew you are free to pick and choose jobs not worrying about manpower, quality, etc!
On a slow winter, there's not much to do up here that produces income, but there's always schools, clinics, seminars, shop chores, painting, cleaning--only a real brain dead person could be bored! When it snows (which this winter has been good)--we are able to handle the highly structured run we have with a minimum of stress--whether I am personally here or not! That's mighty fine people working for you--and in a sense--working for themslevs!

exmark user
02-08-2011, 07:05 PM
1. When theres snow they can plow
2. Someone can do maintenance on equipment and clean stuff and organize
3. If you have a greenhouse they are working on plants and plating that sort of stufff
4. Tree trimming
5. Most hispanic employees will go to mexico for winter and they celebrate Christmas for 1 month or longer

- If you can mow from mid March to mid October then do leaves from mid October to mid November trim trees from mid November to mid Febuary and then Applations from mid Febuary to mid march.

Give or take a little on timing. Grow your business to stay busy all year and take time off at christmas!

Just my .02!











then do leaves from mid October to mid November

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
02-08-2011, 07:51 PM
Guys in this business are way, way too fickle. Don't get burned. Trust me...there's a good batch waiting for work each and every year. You pay people not to work during the winter at your own risk.

Exact Rototilling
02-08-2011, 09:36 PM
Interesting thread. I'm just wondering if any of you have considered, or have hired, guys that are retired? I don't necessarily mean someone 65 plus. There are lots of people out there retired from the military, civil service, etc, perhaps in their 50's who perhaps would enjoy working, but don't need 12 months of income, insurance, etc. If you run 2 man crews, you could even try to find 4 retirees, each of which would want to work 3 days a week. I know if I didn't have my own mowing business, I'd jump on something like that myself.

Ok....better than older tired - retired guys [no offense intended] but instead go for younger full time firefighters who really don't need the money as badly as most people working for someone else in this biz.

Pros:

Typically NOT drug users
Less inclined to be smokers due to non tobacco fire districts rules.
Not going to be a convicted felon so no need to run a background check on them.

Cons:
May show up to work beat tired and haggard from running EMS calls all night or fighting a structure fire making them more prone to mishaps accidents etc.

Texas Lawn
02-09-2011, 11:05 AM
Yes, there is seasonal work in the winter for your employees to pursue. That is exactly what you do not want them to do. After spending a lot of time and patients finding the right employee the one thing you don't want is for them to start working for someone else. Many times that little seasonal job turns into a career for them. When your season is just getting ready to kick off you find that you have no employees returning. Most companies worst nightmare.

Id have to disagree. Im not going to pay someone if there is not work. Im not going to prohibit them from finding other seasonal work if I have nothing for them. Notice I said seasonal work, meaning work that is only for the winter season. When that seasonal work is over, they come back and work for me. If you are that worried about losing someone to another company, what makes you think it couldnt happen any time? I make sure that I run my business so that they cant wait to come back and start working for me. These people have families so if im not going to have work and allow them to make money, I encourage them to go out and find something

TMlawncare
02-09-2011, 11:26 AM
Id have to disagree. Im not going to pay someone if there is not work. Im not going to prohibit them from finding other seasonal work if I have nothing for them. Notice I said seasonal work, meaning work that is only for the winter season. When that seasonal work is over, they come back and work for me. If you are that worried about losing someone to another company, what makes you think it couldnt happen any time? I make sure that I run my business so that they cant wait to come back and start working for me. These people have families so if im not going to have work and allow them to make money, I encourage them to go out and find something

First, you don't encourage your best full time employees to seek work elsewhere. Second re-read the last sentence and see if you can make sense out of it. Third if you don't understand yet go ask your mom.

MOturkey
02-09-2011, 11:47 AM
Ok....better than older tired - retired guys [no offense intended] but instead go for younger full time firefighters who really don't need the money as badly as most people working for someone else in this biz.

No offense taken. I realize I can't do what I did when I was 20 (I'm almost 60), and retired firefighters are one segment of the population I was thinking of (civil service employees). Someone 55 might not be able to keep up with a 20 year old kid in an out and out race, but they also tend to have a better work ethic, show up on time, be less apt to complain if they have to work a little late, because they don't have to pick the kids up at school, etc., and, unlike a motivated younger employee, won't be thinking about finding something better as soon as it comes along. Also, an older employee is much less likely to spend half the day texting or talking to his girlfriend on the cell phone. :)

mslawn
02-09-2011, 11:58 AM
Yes, there is seasonal work in the winter for your employees to pursue. That is exactly what you do not want them to do. After spending a lot of time and patients finding the right employee the one thing you don't want is for them to start working for someone else. Many times that little seasonal job turns into a career for them. When your season is just getting ready to kick off you find that you have no employees returning. Most companies worst nightmare.

AMEN! That's why we structured our entire book of business, pricing and services to be a REAL business, so that ALL employees felt they were apart of it at all times with no fear that their job was "seasonal". You can't realistically build your business AND your workforce at the same time. With a seriously experienced crew you are free to pick and choose jobs not worrying about manpower, quality, etc!
On a slow winter, there's not much to do up here that produces income, but there's always schools, clinics, seminars, shop chores, painting, cleaning--only a real brain dead person could be bored! When it snows (which this winter has been good)--we are able to handle the highly structured run we have with a minimum of stress--whether I am personally here or not! That's mighty fine people working for you--and in a sense--working for themslevs!

I agree. Great post. :waving:

TMlawncare
02-09-2011, 12:32 PM
I agree. Great post. :waving:


This is just what I have been trying to convey. We have lost a few really talented employees over the winter months. I am talking crew leads that were really able to step up. But three months of downtime always made them wonder what was around the corner especially when they couldn't make their payments. All I did was try to find a way that my best full time people could financially get through the winter, still be involved in the company and not seek employment elsewhere. Maybe my method I explained earlier in the post is not perfect but it really has helped myself and my employees make it throught the off season.

CLARK LAWN
02-09-2011, 03:39 PM
i couple years ago i had a guy that worked great, over the winter i kept him on to,plow, clean equipment, repair equipment, get everything ready for spring,etc... deal was 25-30 hours a week from mid dec till we got going again in the spring, around mi march. worked out good for a while then around mid feb he decided he didntwant to plow anymore and wanted me to find someone else to do it. i told him the deal was he did it all or nothing so he walked.

jphag
02-16-2011, 01:15 AM
I really like this idea. I use to work for a company that did just this. It worked well for me until I decided to presue my own busniness. I didn't feel I was being taken advantage of because I was still able collect unemployment through the winter months with a job waiting come spring. But like most things I needed more money and wanted to better myself and my family so I went out on my own. It seems like the good guys only last a few seasons and then they move on. Not to change the subject but what are you paying your lead guys?

Thanks,

jplawnmaint
02-16-2011, 06:23 PM
I found that after 13 yrs what has worked for us is. From April 1 trough around November 15 every one is hourly. With the exception of my right hand man. He is on salary all year. Then when fall cleanups are done we have 2 full time employees that go on salary. So now we have 3 full time people that is budgeted to be paid every week. These people do regular Maintenance on trucks, equipment, and they do daily property check for any ice/snow. But we still have some hourly employees that work in the winter. Then April 1 they go back to hourly for the summer.

IMO it is important to take care of people that are important to your business. These are the people that are there day to day making you money.
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