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View Full Version : Once again, let down by employee expectations


nobagger
04-26-2011, 08:38 AM
This is no surprise to many of us. I've been through 2 guys already this season, one guy who just never showed up and the other worked for 2 days then MIA for about a week and a half until payday (of course). Our other guy decided to have a seizure on a job site and I thought what next. A friend of mine gave me a name and number to a guy he had apply with him. This guy said he has a degree in commercial grounds maintenance and 6 years experience. I met with the guy and he's a nice kid and talked the talk but man, now that I see his work, good Lord! Either he slept through his classes or this "college" was N.Carlolina State college of give me 1500 bucks and take a few on line classes and your a landscaper. His work so far is sub par at best and I want to keep him around to see how he mows but lawns are so wet even if it stopped raining today it will be a week or so before we can mow.

MOHUSTLER
04-26-2011, 09:37 AM
Mabey he jsut needs some on the job traning. If he seem like a good kid and worker keep him around. But I feel your pain on finding good employees. I dont think they exist anymore. Im also extremly picky and I want stuff done exactly my way. So I probably cause more tension then normal.

txgrassguy
04-26-2011, 10:09 AM
Essentially all employee problems can be traced to hiring/supervision/communication issues which start with you the owner.

Do yourself a favor and research management techniques for small business which includes how to properly interview/hire and supervise employee(s). You'll see one of the biggest issues regarding labor management is communication between the employer/employee and problems that arise from gaps in this process.

Regarding employee(s), a one size fits all attitude does not work since not every employee is the same. The kicker is how to get the employee(s) to understand not only what needs to be done but the manner you intend the work to be completed. This neither happens over night nor is particularly easy to implement. However, it can be done but only you are able to determine at what cost in terms of time/effort you are willing to expend to achieve a stable employee base.

ashgrove landscaping
04-26-2011, 10:48 AM
I only expect an employee to be half as good or lower then myself. Anymore is a luxury. I figure I'm only paying them 1/6 of what I'm making off them so at least they 're here and helping out. It's not worth the stress to expect employees in this business to be top quality.

topsites
04-26-2011, 10:53 AM
Probably the most common mistake inexperienced employers make is pay top wages thinking employees will somehow work "better?"
Let me ask you...

If a man can not change a flat tire, either because they don't know how or for any other reason they just can't do it.
Do you think if someone pays that man well over, say triple the normal rate that somehow an employee will be able to suddenly
have a flash of genius that allows that person to change a flat tire that not 5 minutes ago they couldn't do?
So how about if we pay that employee ten times the normal rate, would that work?
Would 100x times regular pay suddenly make that employee be able to do something they could not do before pay was discussed?

This is the reason why I pay $5 an hour, I don't have no expectations but if someone's not here by the time
I am ready to leave then I work by myself that day and don't care, the pay is sub minimum wage but then
again it's a cash job and they get paid the same day they work and if they don't like it they can just keep looking.

All the qualifications on the face of the earth don't mean squat to me and talk is cheap, they didn't come to me looking
for a job because they can find better elsewhere and the only folks I get by paying more is bigger liars, at least by paying
dirt cheap wages they don't BS me much, matter of fact mostly it gets right down to the dirt.

ReddensLawnCare
04-26-2011, 10:57 AM
I will never pay an employee less than 9.50/hr and its normally ten. I know how hard the work is an I show my employees that by their pay scale. I dont have anyone that works full time with me like some of you guys, but I do always give them respect. And to the OP, if he graduated from NCSU Turf program, he probably doesnt have a ton of on the job training, but that is a very elite school in the green industry down south. So help him out for a while, he may not be that great right now at the planting and mowing, but when it comes to knowledge of how things work together to create a perfect landscape, he may blow your mind in the future. Just keep that in mind

Clark Griswold
04-26-2011, 10:59 AM
I would never want the aggravation of hiring & firing employees, no way no how!

Agape
04-26-2011, 11:47 AM
here is a reply to a CL ad I put out for worker paying 9-10;

> Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2011 3:42:40 PM
> Subject: That's a lot a qualifications for 9 to 10 dollars per hour. I meet the requirements but won't work for next to nothing. Its funny how 10 years ago it was 9 to 10 dollars and yet with cost of living jumping almost 50%, people like you still think they


it actually did stop abruptly at "they"

Agape
04-26-2011, 11:49 AM
ps- the "qualifications" were experience with checkable references( company, supervisor, phone #), clean driving record and own transportation

Dogbonz
04-26-2011, 01:55 PM
it's all because, our society keeps, pussafying this generation. It's ok Billy,, were sorry for your pain, you'll be alright. How many of your dad's told you,, quit cryin,, and suck it up boy. Don't be a wussy, or the like. How many of you had to mow the lawn, cause dad said so, all while he sat on the porch and drank a beer. then when you got done, you GOT to wash his car, so you could cool off in the water!

Instead, kid's these days, sit on their bum's and play Nintendo, or on the comp, or tv and don't know what work is.
So they grow up, and think they deserve a $40,000 year job right out of high school.

ZMAX
04-26-2011, 02:38 PM
so was the seizure fake or what? if it's real, can you really complain about that?

NPMinc
04-26-2011, 03:19 PM
it's all because, our society keeps, pussafying this generation. It's ok Billy,, were sorry for your pain, you'll be alright. How many of your dad's told you,, quit cryin,, and suck it up boy. Don't be a wussy, or the like. How many of you had to mow the lawn, cause dad said so, all while he sat on the porch and drank a beer. then when you got done, you GOT to wash his car, so you could cool off in the water!

Instead, kid's these days, sit on their bum's and play Nintendo, or on the comp, or tv and don't know what work is.
So they grow up, and think they deserve a $40,000 year job right out of high school.

Amen to that!!!!! Used to hate it when growing up that my parents didn't buy me things I wanted and made me work to earn my own money for them, but looking back now that really helped me get where I am today!!!

MDLawn
04-26-2011, 03:43 PM
Yea I worked for a friend for many years (during HS and College) and man he busted me up with hard work. But he paid way more than any other part time job elsewhere. I like the work anyway and just followed his lead and directions. Learned a lot from him and now have my own little business. We had many guys that just couldn't keep up for whatever reason. We always tried to recruit guys (HS and college) from the gym we went to. Nothing like having a bunch of strong bulls doing work rather than some timid, weak sheep. I dont have employees and can imagine its hard to keep anyone especially if you are a small operation. Around here its mainly seasonal work so you end up making is $12-15k before taxes at $10/hr. Hard to attract stellar employees or even someone long term. Perfect job for a college guy in the summer and even better if he commutes and can work late into the summer and early fall.

chesterlawn
04-26-2011, 06:49 PM
It seems that over the past 10 years, the price for cutting lawns has fallen. A lawn In could get for $50 is now a $40-45, and it's hard to pay current wages for help when you're not making as much. Unless you do landscaping, the moneys still there. So good luck trying to get good help for $9-10 an hour

williams lcm
04-26-2011, 07:34 PM
Dog Bonz is on the money about kids and people these days. If you have a kid or teen that can mow, then why am I mowing your lawn. Well I guess it gives me work. But when I was a teen I had to mow. Once the chores were done then I could have fun. Everyone (kids and adults) want to be inside on Facebook or gaming. They dont want to work physically hard but want the big $.

Kylec3
04-26-2011, 07:43 PM
hired a guy part time (25hrs a week or so) for the first time in a long time..its been just me and my dad for the longest time...i actually know the kid...hes a good friend. hes 19 and goes to college but is able to work 4 days a week...he has a bunch of night classes...he works mon, wed, fri, sat. its been just over a month..we have been paying him $10 an hr and he had no experience...he is willing to learn and is a hard worker. He has come a long way and is turning out to be a great employee.

dKoester
04-26-2011, 09:44 PM
so was the seizure fake or what? if it's real, can you really complain about that?

Thats what i'm saying. You got a problem with someone having a seizure?

topsites
04-26-2011, 09:48 PM
So they grow up, and think they deserve a $40,000 year job right out of high school.

You hit the nail on the head but the same guys give in so dang fast too and that's why they try and walk all over the boss,
you can't counterpoint 40 thousand with no offer of $9 an hour, are you kidding?
You gotta knock these overinflated baffoons off their high perch!
And the only way you gonna do that is with a LOW ball offer!

Read: Pay them $5!

Then, let them "talk" you into more.
But folks give in right away that ain't no fun.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
04-26-2011, 09:50 PM
this is no surprise to many of us. I've been through 2 guys already this season, one guy who just never showed up and the other worked for 2 days then mia for about a week and a half until payday (of course). Our other guy decided to have a seizure on a job site and i thought what next. A friend of mine gave me a name and number to a guy he had apply with him. This guy said he has a degree in commercial grounds maintenance and 6 years experience. I met with the guy and he's a nice kid and talked the talk but man, now that i see his work, good lord! Either he slept through his classes or this "college" was n.carlolina state college of give me 1500 bucks and take a few on line classes and your a landscaper. His work so far is sub par at best and i want to keep him around to see how he mows but lawns are so wet even if it stopped raining today it will be a week or so before we can mow.

i show no loyalty and expect none in return. You gotta understand that today's labor pool is chock full of deadbeats and freeloaders...yours is to find the best deadbeats and freeloaders and use their skills as far as they will take you. All the while generating as much revenue as fast as possible for yourself. Keep your eyes open for future workers, get personal references...that's the best you can do with america's labor these days. I got lucky. Got a halfway house crew that busts ass because they got to. Either that or they get booted to the curb...literally! I like employees that must produce as opposed to want to produce. I drive a hard bargain and except $125 per day production for what i pay...$75 per day. And i get it. You need to start being a hardass, run 'em like mules and see who is left standing at the end of the day. That's your keeper. And if he does well, i might buy him a hot dog and chips at quiktrip every now and then.

IRRITECH
04-26-2011, 09:53 PM
Wow, you guys need mexicans in the worst way. If they don't know how to do it they can be taught. they never lay out, they don't complain, and they flat work their butts off.

dKoester
04-26-2011, 10:00 PM
i show no loyalty and expect none in return. You gotta understand that today's labor pool is chock full of deadbeats and freeloaders...yours is to find the best deadbeats and freeloaders and use their skills as far as they will take you. All the while generating as much revenue as fast as possible for yourself. Keep your eyes open for future workers, get personal references...that's the best you can do with america's labor these days. I got lucky. Got a halfway house crew that busts ass because they got to. Either that or they get booted to the curb...literally! I like employees that must produce as opposed to want to produce. I drive a hard bargain and except $125 per day production for what i pay...$75 per day. And i get it. You need to start being a hardass, run 'em like mules and see who is left standing at the end of the day. That's your keeper. And if he does well, i might buy him a hot dog and chips at quiktrip every now and then.

Do your guys work overtime? If you don't pay overtime and one of those employees files that complaint, its all over for you. From what I heard those lawyers are vicious. Your guys must not be working long hours because we're working 13 each day now, and if you did that it would at your pay rate put their hourly wage at 5.77 an hour.

ZMAX
04-26-2011, 10:08 PM
You hit the nail on the head but the same guys give in so dang fast too and that's why they try and walk all over the boss,
you can't counterpoint 40 thousand with no offer of $9 an hour, are you kidding?
You gotta knock these overinflated baffoons off their high perch!
And the only way you gonna do that is with a LOW ball offer!

Read: Pay them $5!

Then, let them "talk" you into more.
But folks give in right away that ain't no fun.

lol pay them $5 an hour, how do you live with yourself?

ZMAX
04-26-2011, 10:11 PM
i show no loyalty and expect none in return. You gotta understand that today's labor pool is chock full of deadbeats and freeloaders...yours is to find the best deadbeats and freeloaders and use their skills as far as they will take you. All the while generating as much revenue as fast as possible for yourself. Keep your eyes open for future workers, get personal references...that's the best you can do with america's labor these days. I got lucky. Got a halfway house crew that busts ass because they got to. Either that or they get booted to the curb...literally! I like employees that must produce as opposed to want to produce. I drive a hard bargain and except $125 per day production for what i pay...$75 per day. And i get it. You need to start being a hardass, run 'em like mules and see who is left standing at the end of the day. That's your keeper. And if he does well, i might buy him a hot dog and chips at quiktrip every now and then.

wow you treat people great, take advantage, beat them down and collect the rewards for their hard work! while you probably sit in the office eating twinkies all day

where do i sign up!?

Scagmower48
04-26-2011, 10:17 PM
I don't have employees, but I think I know something on this topic. There isn't anybody good for under 12 an hour. You need to pay more

T.M. LAWNS
04-26-2011, 10:23 PM
i show no loyalty and expect none in return. You gotta understand that today's labor pool is chock full of deadbeats and freeloaders...yours is to find the best deadbeats and freeloaders and use their skills as far as they will take you. All the while generating as much revenue as fast as possible for yourself. Keep your eyes open for future workers, get personal references...that's the best you can do with america's labor these days. I got lucky. Got a halfway house crew that busts ass because they got to. Either that or they get booted to the curb...literally! I like employees that must produce as opposed to want to produce. I drive a hard bargain and except $125 per day production for what i pay...$75 per day. And i get it. You need to start being a hardass, run 'em like mules and see who is left standing at the end of the day. That's your keeper. And if he does well, i might buy him a hot dog and chips at quiktrip every now and then.

Be careful, those "dead beats & freeloaders" might get sick of your crap and kick your face in. :laugh::waving:

ed2hess
04-26-2011, 11:07 PM
Essentially all employee problems can be traced to hiring/supervision/communication issues which start with you the owner.

Do yourself a favor and research management techniques for small business which includes how to properly interview/hire and supervise employee(s). You'll see one of the biggest issues regarding labor management is communication between the employer/employee and problems that arise from gaps in this process.

Regarding employee(s), a one size fits all attitude does not work since not every employee is the same. The kicker is how to get the employee(s) to understand not only what needs to be done but the manner you intend the work to be completed. This neither happens over night nor is particularly easy to implement. However, it can be done but only you are able to determine at what cost in terms of time/effort you are willing to expend to achieve a stable employee base.

Aren't you the guy who has had success hiring white guys in your area? If so I'd like to hear a little HR type of stuff from you.

nobagger
04-26-2011, 11:21 PM
so was the seizure fake or what? if it's real, can you really complain about that?

Yeah, I'm complaining he had a seizure. How dare he have a seizure on my time. Are you serious!

nobagger
04-26-2011, 11:36 PM
Well after writing this thread this morning we headed out to finish edging some beds. I couldn't use the BedSahper so we used the ol' spade and away we went. I cut the edges and they follow scalping out the back. I might as well have given this kid a stick to use. I tried 3 times in a matter of 5 minutes to teach him how I do it because he made nothing but a friggen mess. I finally used Recession Proofs way, I told him if he didn't do it my way he can walk home. My way was cleaner, quicker and best of all easier on him. :dizzy: As we were cleaning up, rather than pick up the stick that was at his feet he thought it looked better kicked under a shrub....then I came unglued! It was a very quiet ride back to the shop. He's a good grunt at best because he has NO eye for detail, no idea between a plant/flower vs. a weed and no sense of going the extra mile to make a job look its best. I told him I want to actually see his "degree" tomorrow.

MDLawn
04-27-2011, 12:02 AM
I think the biggest let down is not all in the employees but the state of what landscaping, more maintenance and mowing and not high end installation, has become, or maybe it was this way all along. It doesn't allow somone to hire good help because too many people who havent a clue started a "business" and have created this low wage empire. There are a few on here who have figured it out and pay their employees well, probably because they are the most expensive in their area. Because of the dominant lower pricing today, every Tom, Dick, & Harry now gets their lawn mowed and landscape beds mulched so it has become less of a luxury service and more of something anyone can have. So the state of the industry has created these "employees" that everyone can't stand. Plus for some of us who can only supply seasonal work, what would you expect?? I guess if you have employees you need to figure out what you need and what someone can offer.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
04-27-2011, 12:13 AM
be careful, those "dead beats & freeloaders" might get sick of your crap and kick your face in. :laugh::waving:

haven't had anybody in 48 years do it so i doubt the next 48 i'll have to worry. When you're me, you can do and say just about what you want. But the difference between me and other pricks is that I spout the truth...the brutally honest truth. When it all is said and done in a business owner's life, employees come and go. You use them up and spit 'em out. Most don't last, few do. They're not my friends, not my family. I pay a wage, they either accept or decline.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
04-27-2011, 12:17 AM
i don't have employees, but i think i know something on this topic. There isn't anybody good for under 12 an hour. You need to pay more

you can pay more, that's your business. I pay as little as i can and in this obama recession, i can get all the labor i need at bottom-feeder wages.

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
04-27-2011, 12:20 AM
wow you treat people great, take advantage, beat them down and collect the rewards for their hard work! While you probably sit in the office eating twinkies all day

where do i sign up!?

there's no twinkie eating here. I stay in top shape by working the lawn every day. Up at 6am and work straight through. I could put college kids to shame with my work stamina. One of the top reasons i stay in the landscaping biz is that it's a workout that pays me money. I like that.

Greyst1
04-27-2011, 02:19 AM
there's no twinkie eating here. I stay in top shape by working the lawn every day. Up at 6am and work straight through. I could put college kids to shame with my work stamina. One of the top reasons i stay in the landscaping biz is that it's a workout that pays me money. I like that.

I think your post here is right on key. It's to work with the crew instead of micro manage from the phone or truck.

I don't have employees but i have tenants and they are one in the same. In 5 years of owning rental properties, years 1, 2, and 3 i actually cared about them along with my properties. Big mistake, now i only care about my properties. Use them for the skill set they bring and nothing more. for me it's about the rent check and the property. Nothing more.

For me for you, it should be about the level of quality your employee puts out. If it's not there, c-ya.... They are there to make money for you so it's on you if they are useless.

"Pay a little more and you might get better people".... I dunno, i thought if i buy higher end rentals i would get better tenants. Well truth be told i get the same government deadbeat freeloaders that the slumlords get.

So my advice, check your hiring qualifications and tighten them up. Pay competitive and screen the chit out of them.

nobagger
04-27-2011, 09:15 AM
Well around here 10/hr is a good wage, its the lower end of a Foreman wage and I'm getting anything but a Foreman. I'm with Recession Proof on a lot of things. We've tried starting guys out shoveling sidewalks at 20/hr and still got the same type of applicants and 5 dollars/hr worth of work. My other guy who has been with me works, he's not the fastest but he listens and keeps going and shows up every day. I'm living proof of what Recession Proof says. We've been through countless guys who I am/was depending on and they gave us ZERO respect by either not doing an even somewhat decent job to just not showing up, except on pay day. We've even thought of paying some type of percent extra kind of a bonus or something like that but then I think when I was a mechanic, I started at under 10/hr a few places and I had to buy all my own tools, tool box etc. the only thing provided to me was a uniform and knuckle busting, back breaking work. IDK, all I can say is the search will continue.

PerfectEarth
04-27-2011, 10:03 AM
In my short experience, I think the best way to go about "molding" someone is to stay on their butt from the second they start- and that doesn't mean be a jerk from day one. It means while on a job, doing work, let them know EXACTLY what you expect in terms of production and quality. If you just let them loose and expect them to read your mind or assume they've done it before, you're screwed.

I'm ruthless about quality. We will go do the same spot over again if it's not to my liking. But you can't let time lapse when doing that. Can't let a guy go for a week expecting him to pick up on what you're doing and THEN come down on him for crappy work.

My guy right now worked for one of the most respected residential companies in town for a year. A whole year!!!!!!.... day one, he looked like I threw him in a lab to build microchips or something. He had ZERO training and he told me that. He said they just said "do this, mulch this, plant that tree..." I was astonished. He cannot run power equipment and barely knows how to use a spade. But he's a good guy and gets a lot done for me. He has a role and I've learned not to expect certain things from him.

That will change when I continue to hire....

BaxtersEssentialLawnCare
04-27-2011, 11:30 AM
Wow guys this is something. I would like to take a minute and speak from exp. 1 The use them and loose them. I work for a company like that now. (i do my bus parttime) From the employee's view. There is no loyalty, I hate work. I hate everything to do with the company. If I see a tv ad/radio or someone talks about them I turn it off/leave u name it. This a fortune 500 company with better than average pay. Now I was a sup at another complany same type policy. I can do what I want when I want and if you don't like it bye. Keeps costs down makes it eaiser and simple, but I had to train alot of people. 2) Care about your people. I had a employer who was great I hated to leave, but I had different plans, but looking back sometimes I wish I stayed. My father in law works for another company that the owner is like a lot of lcos. He strated the business in his basement. He worked hard and was good at what he did. He now has a manufacturing business on 10 acres and ships product all over the world. I don't know all the sales #s but this is what I do. Atleast 5 trucks go over seas a month and the net profit on each is between 150-200k and at least 10-15 trucks go to domestic customers a month. There are about 30 employee's. The pay isnt good. I make more than my father in law. I have been where im at 3 yrs he has been there 11 and he's a manager. I will say his fringe benefits are good medical/dental arent great or cheap mine a better cheaper, but they get a week off for july 4 they get 2-3 weeks at christmas and a bonus and everyother year they pay for the employee+1 to go on a cruise. I have spent a good amount of time out there and talked with just about everyone there. In the 4 years I have known my father in law and have been going out there I haven't heard a single bad word about them. They are some of the nicest people you will ever meet they are very wealthy but they don't rub it in. This year the health insurance went up like $10 a week. The owner/founder who runs it with his son, decided that b/c things were hard now he was going to pay everyones insurance for the year. This isn't the first time he has done this either and by the way the cruise is still on this year. Now from the employer side you have to put more time into your people, and you are going to get taken advantage of. Simple but you have to know when to say enough. You will go through alot of people to find the good ones. When you do find a good one say 1 out of 10 then you have a person who is dedicated/hardworking and likes their job. They do it better quicker n will help u out. U need ot/stay late no problem. Then again you have to run your business maybe not just like you want it but with thought to the people that work for you, and that probly costs you some money. So if you don't mind training alot then go ahead an beat on ur people, if u want someone who is ther for the long haul then u better be nice. Now my own personal thoughts. Until my bus is where I can do it full time I have and will keep lookinhg for anything else that will pay close to what I'm making, and if out at my father in law's work if they hire I will do everything I can to get it. Btw I make 40k the pay there is 10 a hr. Also I started @ 30k a year out of hs and I bust my a** but then after being raked over the coals by this place I now do just what I have to, to get by. I gave them a chance it wasn't what I want but the pay was good n the was stable so y not. Now I have a pretty much set schd 40k a yr 401k/medical/dental/penison/120 hrs of paid time of a year and I'm missing 6.50 and running a whole retail store and hours btw 6am n 12midnite. So go figure that. That's y i got into landscaping good bosses are hard to find so I'd rather be my own.

BestImpressions99
04-27-2011, 01:01 PM
It's the adage that school doesn't necessarily mean smarts. Book smarts is different than street smarts (common sense). I agree that he needs on the job training.

When the guy I bought the business from was hiring me, he hired a couple other guys too. Trust me, I didn't know ANYTHING when I first started in this business. One of the guys got the rear wheel too close to a sapling and obliterated it. EVERYONE goes through a period of learning with lawn care. It's kind of an art. Yeah, it's not brain science or surgery but you can't expect him just because he learned how to manage specifically grounds management.

Just try to be patient... and teach him what you know. There's nothing wrong with teaching him everything he needs to know to please you and the customer. Now would I teach him the tricks? No... that way you're always better than him. :)

BestImpressions99
04-27-2011, 01:07 PM
Something else to think about is incentive. If you start them at 10/hr they're getting spood fed. I started at $7. I was pickeled tink. And my boss gave me a .50/hr raise. Then about a year later it was another .75/hr raise. Knowing that you're going to get merited for a good job it helps.

BestImpressions99
04-27-2011, 01:17 PM
Baxter, reading the first few lines of your post got me irritated to be honest. But later on in the post I saw what you were talking about... and I totally agree. I had "attention to detail" issues for a long time with Gold Medal (old business name) and he just kept with me. I was "lucky" that he didn't let me go but he told me that he had a feeling about me and wanted to stick with me.

To try to make a Readers Digest version, the season after his other employees didn't come back for one reason or another he had to leave me with 12 customers one day to go do something important. He came back as I was backing the truck in and asked if everything was ok. I told him all was good and he was looking at me wierd. I asked what's up and he wanted to know if I got all the lots done. Yeah, all done, weedeated and blown too. He was dumbfounded.

The thing is, he was following me for about 2 hours without me knowing about it to see how I was doing (he got done early with his appointment and caught up with me). He didn't know I had gotten the other customers done already. He then told me that this was the thing he had a feeling about and he's glad he kept me around because even with the other two man crew they never did 12 lawns in one day.

Point is... keep after them if you have a good feeling about them. You'll be happy you did.

txgrassguy
04-27-2011, 02:36 PM
Aren't you the guy who has had success hiring white guys in your area? If so I'd like to hear a little HR type of stuff from you.

Yes, but that dent in my forehead is from the learning curve I went through.

What I found that works the best as a vetting process is to schedule the hiring process much like the business is scheduled.
Aside from a few initial questions covering the basics like name, address, criminal history, d.l. number I explain:
1. The application has to be neatly filled out. No strike through, scribble over or erasure marks. If the applicant cannot figure out to make a copy before they start filling out the form = hand trimmer material at best.
2. Once the app is finished they have to return it at a day/time I have scheduled to review the application then speak with the applicant. If the applicant shows up in clean clothes and not smelling like a goat then I proceed. The one's that show up in stained smelly clothes that aren't from working = they are gone and I am on to the next applicant.
3. Unless I am hiring for a specific skill set I am not interested in specific employment experience rather I am interested in employment stability. I can teach the tasks specific to my business but the applicant has to be reliable enough for me to teach.

I have been in this business for over twenty years, and in Texas for almost twelve. These points as indicated above I have adopted after hiring/firing well over 250 people but with the three points observed the firing rate has become almost zero. Thankfully I do not have to put up with this as an owner much longer - once the buyout is done I am back to being a corporate hack.

DoetschOutdoor
04-27-2011, 03:34 PM
Its nice to read an interesting thread instead of the old "which mower?" threads....I am in the process of narrowing down 35 craigslist calls for one 20 hour a week position right now so this is a good read. Carry on.

Big Wes
04-27-2011, 04:05 PM
You hit the nail on the head but the same guys give in so dang fast too and that's why they try and walk all over the boss,
you can't counterpoint 40 thousand with no offer of $9 an hour, are you kidding?
You gotta knock these overinflated baffoons off their high perch!
And the only way you gonna do that is with a LOW ball offer!

Read: Pay them $5!

Then, let them "talk" you into more.
But folks give in right away that ain't no fun.

The minimum wage is like $7.50 not $5.00 how in the hell do you get away with that?

dKoester
04-27-2011, 06:12 PM
Ours is 7.25. Oh yeah I forgot, how's it going man. Dodging this rain today and yesterday was fun.

nobagger
04-27-2011, 08:59 PM
This gets even better... today, finishing up a condo complex with mulch ( I now have 7 blister's on my L hand,lol). I leave to go get another load of mulch. I come back about 30 minutes later and find only 1 1/2 buildings completed. One building uses about 2 yards of mulch AND I spread it out for them to spread it. I parked down a bit so I could walk up and see just what they're doing. One was working, the other one (new guy)...cell phone to his ear and smoking trying to spread with one hand and even doing that half arced. I didn't say anything, I just went down fired up the truck (a diesel) and drove up. The smoking, cell phone junky, new guy jumps up and acts like he's been hard at work, "yeah man it's looking good, we've been plugging away" or something like that. A new ad goes out Saturday. I told this guy during our interview I wanted someone who I can give the truck and trailer to and make sure everything gets done. One of his comments today was "man is was so wasted last night I don't know how I got home", this sits real well with me. He's just a young punk, He's 28 going on 19.

BaxtersEssentialLawnCare
04-28-2011, 10:50 AM
bestinpressions, I know that what i said is at the beginning is harsh, but Im glad that you understand the point you get what you give. As for the op talk to the guy make it clear tell him even if he dosen't know what hes doing if he works hard and listens ull teach him. If he dosnt show drive then out u go. You can't make someone into a hard worker they have to do that, you can only help make them a good at their job they have to have the want u teach the skills.

Prairie Lawn and Snow
04-28-2011, 02:23 PM
First time posting on here. I'm feeling the hireing frustrations. I've tried all I can think of, from happy nice ads promising advancement for the right guy to hireing family, VETS, illeagals it seems to not matter. I do run a tight ship and expect quality and take zero BS as far as attendance but I pay well and stick to my word as far as raises and moveing up go, but lately Ive been banging my head. SO heres my need AD. Maybe this will weed out a few.

PART TIME
HARD WORK
THINK SHOVEL AND WHEEL BARROW
LONG DAYS
WEATHER PERMITTING SCHEDULE
MUST LIVE IN AREA LISTED UNDER LOCATION
IF YOUR A SLACKER AND ALWAYS KNOW HOW TO DO **** BETTER GO TO THE NEXT AD
IF YOUR STILL READING MAYBE YOUR THE GUY
LOW PAY AND NO GUARANTEES TO START WITH
SOUNDS HARSE JUST SICK OF THE RESULTS FROM A NICE AD WITH HAPPY INCENTIVES AND BLAH BLAH
EMAIL WITH INFO ABOUT YOURSELF, AGE, EXP., WHY I SHOULD HIRE YOU, THIS AD WAS SUPPOSED TO WEED OUT THE POT SMOKING, LAZY, CHOCKY DINKS WHO GOT A STORY FOR EVERTHING AND DONT WANT TO WORK HARD, IF THATS YOU PLEASE DONT RESPOND.
THANKS GUYS!!!

clean_cut
04-28-2011, 02:35 PM
First time posting on here. I'm feeling the hireing frustrations. I've tried all I can think of, from happy nice ads promising advancement for the right guy to hireing family, VETS, illeagals it seems to not matter. I do run a tight ship and expect quality and take zero BS as far as attendance but I pay well and stick to my word as far as raises and moveing up go, but lately Ive been banging my head. SO heres my need AD. Maybe this will weed out a few.

PART TIME
HARD WORK
THINK SHOVEL AND WHEEL BARROW
LONG DAYS
WEATHER PERMITTING SCHEDULE
MUST LIVE IN AREA LISTED UNDER LOCATION
IF YOUR A SLACKER AND ALWAYS KNOW HOW TO DO **** BETTER GO TO THE NEXT AD
IF YOUR STILL READING MAYBE YOUR THE GUY
LOW PAY AND NO GUARANTEES TO START WITH
SOUNDS HARSE JUST SICK OF THE RESULTS FROM A NICE AD WITH HAPPY INCENTIVES AND BLAH BLAH
EMAIL WITH INFO ABOUT YOURSELF, AGE, EXP., WHY I SHOULD HIRE YOU, THIS AD WAS SUPPOSED TO WEED OUT THE POT SMOKING, LAZY, CHOCKY DINKS WHO GOT A STORY FOR EVERTHING AND DONT WANT TO WORK HARD, IF THATS YOU PLEASE DONT RESPOND.
THANKS GUYS!!!

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Tell us how that works out for you, ya never know, it may weed out all the bad ones and leave only the ones who work hard.

Darryl G
04-28-2011, 03:06 PM
Probably the most common mistake inexperienced employers make is pay top wages thinking employees will somehow work "better?"
Let me ask you...

If a man can not change a flat tire, either because they don't know how or for any other reason they just can't do it.
Do you think if someone pays that man well over, say triple the normal rate that somehow an employee will be able to suddenly
have a flash of genius that allows that person to change a flat tire that not 5 minutes ago they couldn't do?
So how about if we pay that employee ten times the normal rate, would that work?
Would 100x times regular pay suddenly make that employee be able to do something they could not do before pay was discussed?

This is the reason why I pay $5 an hour, I don't have no expectations but if someone's not here by the time
I am ready to leave then I work by myself that day and don't care, the pay is sub minimum wage but then
again it's a cash job and they get paid the same day they work and if they don't like it they can just keep looking.

All the qualifications on the face of the earth don't mean squat to me and talk is cheap, they didn't come to me looking
for a job because they can find better elsewhere and the only folks I get by paying more is bigger liars, at least by paying
dirt cheap wages they don't BS me much, matter of fact mostly it gets right down to the dirt.

$5/hour, lol. You couldn't get a 12 year old to work for that where I am.

Prairie Lawn and Snow
04-28-2011, 03:17 PM
$5/hour, lol. You couldn't get a 12 year old to work for that where I am.

Baby Sitter Wages!!! HAHA!!

Will P.C.
04-28-2011, 03:58 PM
Damn 5 bucks an hour. Mexicans that just jumped the fence would turn their noses up a that.

Golf course (mid level courses) work, which is harder than the standard mow and blow company, start you off around 8 here. Walk mowing greens, operating heavy machinery, wilt watching, spraying chems, weedeating giant creeks, knowledge of fixing irrigation etc. almost is a trade. Its gone mostly Mexican since they course can pay exactly minimum wage and never get a raise. Some guys have been at the course for 6 years and not received a raise. Here is how they get hired. They wake up at the break of down and ride around with another Mexican all day while he trains them on how to use the equipment and various things. He does this for 2-3weeks and gets hired. The mexicans will rarely, if at all, not show up. Hours are generally 5-30 or 6 Am until the Super tells you to go home. Not at 3 30, but when the Super says you are done. Spring and Summer is 7 days a week with weekends being 530-1030 and they have every other weekend off.

The guys that have trouble keeping employees first need to realize that THEY hire their problems and accidents. Learn about what micro managing is and how to avoid. Even guys with experience need to be trained on what to expect from you and how you run things.

I do realize it is hard to find good employees in this business. Even harder if you tell them, "Part time, be waiting on a call every morning at 530" and only call them twice a week. Without some type of 'structured' schedule, you are shooting at the hip. At least let him know you will only need him twice a week on Wed and Fri so he can find another job.

You also run into newer owners who are in limbo about adding help. For ex Business is only busy enough for one helper once a week.

Supervisor, Managers, Executives, etc. in the corporate world are constantly going to seminars, meetings, discussions on how to increase worker productivity. How can we get the most out of each employee?

Drug test. Pills have become pretty widespread in this business. This will immed help weed out bad workers as they will not bother replying to an ad that says drug testing since most LCOs do not require it.

nobagger
04-28-2011, 06:13 PM
First time posting on here. I'm feeling the hireing frustrations. I've tried all I can think of, from happy nice ads promising advancement for the right guy to hireing family, VETS, illeagals it seems to not matter. I do run a tight ship and expect quality and take zero BS as far as attendance but I pay well and stick to my word as far as raises and moveing up go, but lately Ive been banging my head. SO heres my need AD. Maybe this will weed out a few.

PART TIME
HARD WORK
THINK SHOVEL AND WHEEL BARROW
LONG DAYS
WEATHER PERMITTING SCHEDULE
MUST LIVE IN AREA LISTED UNDER LOCATION
IF YOUR A SLACKER AND ALWAYS KNOW HOW TO DO **** BETTER GO TO THE NEXT AD
IF YOUR STILL READING MAYBE YOUR THE GUY
LOW PAY AND NO GUARANTEES TO START WITH
SOUNDS HARSE JUST SICK OF THE RESULTS FROM A NICE AD WITH HAPPY INCENTIVES AND BLAH BLAH
EMAIL WITH INFO ABOUT YOURSELF, AGE, EXP., WHY I SHOULD HIRE YOU, THIS AD WAS SUPPOSED TO WEED OUT THE POT SMOKING, LAZY, CHOCKY DINKS WHO GOT A STORY FOR EVERTHING AND DONT WANT TO WORK HARD, IF THATS YOU PLEASE DONT RESPOND.
THANKS GUYS!!!

LOL, Our new ad had something similar but not as to the point. Ours reads looking for bla, bla, bla people who leave weeds in flower beds while mulching need not apply, and so on. We'll see how this one goes.

nobagger
04-30-2011, 08:44 AM
Last post from me on this thread. Well today, we started mowing a few customer's and before we headed out we had to load all the mower's. He told me during the interview he could run and has run Exmark's, Gravely's and something else (6+years experience) so I thought great thats what we run. So any ways, asked him again if he knew how to run them. Our shop is 30x98, so there's plenty of room to move around. I go over the controls all the while he's acting like he knows all about it. I let him take it to the front overhead door and yeah, it went side to side more than it went straight. I asked him again if he's run these before, he said yes it will just take him a little bit to get used to it again :confused: but I thought you ran these for like 6 years? We get to one place, old customer/new house and I put him on a string trimmer, seems to do ok and is pretty quick. I thought good maybe he just needs to shake the rust off. We get to the next house and same thing, quick with a trimmer, yeah too quick. He, while trimming, puts a huge hole in a down spout, takes off about an inch of foam insulation around the foundation of one side of the house, tried to bump the string trimmer on the grass to feed more line and left a half circle scalp. Needless to say today will be his last day.

topsites
04-30-2011, 09:00 AM
Does McDonald's expect you to know how to flip a burger?
I get it, some of you think it's easy, don't you?

Tell you what, have you ever applied (and subsequently gotten and worked) for a job at McDonald's?
Maybe you should!

They train you!
For DAYS!
Yes, DAYS!
And that's just on one piece of their equipment and then they still don't expect you to know everything right off the bat.
They train you one section at a time, then they let you work it for some time.
Then they move on to the next thing, maybe.
Just as likely you're stuck in that one section for weeks, maybe months, and maybe even longer.

That is, way things went when I worked there...
You'd probably know how to really operate every piece of equipment at a McD's in about 5 or 10 years.

Last post from me on this thread. Well today, we started mowing a few customer's and before we headed out we had to load all the mower's. He told me during the interview he could run and has run Exmark's, Gravely's and something else (6+years experience) so I thought great thats what we run. So any ways, asked him again if he knew how to run them. Our shop is 30x98, so there's plenty of room to move around. I go over the controls all the while he's acting like he knows all about it. I let him take it to the front overhead door and yeah, it went side to side more than it went straight. I asked him again if he's run these before, he said yes it will just take him a little bit to get used to it again :confused: but I thought you ran these for like 6 years? We get to one place, old customer/new house and I put him on a string trimmer, seems to do ok and is pretty quick. I thought good maybe he just needs to shake the rust off. We get to the next house and same thing, quick with a trimmer, yeah too quick. He, while trimming, puts a huge hole in a down spout, takes off about an inch of foam insulation around the foundation of one side of the house, tried to bump the string trimmer on the grass to feed more line and left a half circle scalp. Needless to say today will be his last day.

Maybe some people's expectations are a bit too high.

It's one thing that he lied to you, he shouldn't have done that but on the other hand
the man needs a job and probably felt that if he said he didn't know how to do it
that you would not have hired him.

The thing is, with those expectations I am starting to doubt you'll ever find someone.
Granted, it is bad that the man tore off things while trimming but it's just as bad that
you'd expect them to know how to run it without even 30 seconds worth of training.

You folks want an employee to perform a certain way, then you have to provide a full and comprehensive training program.

nobagger
04-30-2011, 09:24 AM
Does McDonald's expect you to know how to flip a burger?
I get it, some of you think it's easy, don't you?

Tell you what, have you ever applied (and subsequently gotten and worked) for a job at McDonald's?
Maybe you should!

They train you!
For DAYS!
Yes, DAYS!
And that's just on one piece of their equipment and then they still don't expect you to know everything right off the bat.
They train you one section at a time, then they let you work it for some time.
Then they move on to the next thing, maybe.

That is, way things went when I worked there...
You'd probably know how to really operate every piece of equipment at a McD's in about 5 or 10 years.



Maybe some people's expectations are a bit too high.

It's one thing that he lied to you, he shouldn't have done that but on the other hand
the man needs a job and probably felt that if he said he didn't know how to do it
that you would not have hired him.

The thing is, with those expectations I am starting to doubt you'll ever find someone.
Granted, it is bad that the man tore off things while trimming but it's just as bad that
you'd expect them to know how to run it without even 30 seconds worth of training.

You folks want an employee to perform a certain way, then you have to provide a full and comprehensive training program.

Well if I walked into McDonald's and said I can flip burger's I have 6 years experience in doing so I would assume they would expect I know how to flip a burger. Things like running these mowers, string trimming, even blowing out the sidewalk and driveway edges after edging are all common sense and muscle memory. I will admit, I was spoiled with the guy I had from the get go until a few years ago. He was one of those guys who did things the right way and didn't slack etc. Topsite, there's more to this than running a string trimmer, its everything he's done so far and my point is it's sadly becoming the norm. If this kid would have been honest and said he has experience but needs help on doing xzy I would have still hired him and expected less performance and wouldn't be writing this. But again, "college degree in ground's maintainence", "6 years experience" and this is what I get? I agree with you 10000000% about a training program and its something in the work's. Problem is I need and was looking for a guy who I can give the truck keys to and say go to it so I can break away to do these types of things. I also don't think my expectation's are too high at all....DO YOUR DAMN JOB AS BEST AS YOU CAN! Don't kick a 2ft stick under the damn shrub, pick it up! Edge beds the way I WANT YOU TO not the way you used to do it with the hack company you USED to work for, I'm paying you not them.

32vld
04-30-2011, 07:42 PM
Don't kick a 2ft stick under the damn shrub, pick it up! Edge beds the way I WANT YOU TO not the way you used to do it with the hack company you USED to work for, I'm paying you not them.


[SIZE="4"]All you did was complain about how this employee did what was acceptable at his old company.

It seems as if you spent the same amount of time complaining here teaching the new guy how to do things your way instead of watching to see if he fails he may have become an asset.

dgw
04-30-2011, 10:17 PM
i hiring energetic people with no experience(most of the time)

someone who i think is going to love what he does


start at ten plus usually 50 hour work weeks and time and half for OT

most make 12 their second year and some end up as high as 15

all, again getting those 10 hours a week of time and a half, which makes a huge difference

if we cant work because of weather (even though we work in most weather), i try to find something to keep them busy, or we watch safety videos or something, maintenance , whatever


also they get a free five step program for a lawn of their choice

Oakleaf landscape
04-30-2011, 11:35 PM
You got a problem with North Carolina State University? Come on down here and ill show you how country boys take care of business...

Prairie Lawn and Snow
05-01-2011, 01:46 AM
[/QUOTE]Does McDonald's expect you to know how to flip a burger?
I get it, some of you think it's easy, don't you?

Tell you what, have you ever applied (and subsequently gotten and worked) for a job at McDonald's?
Maybe you should!

They train you!
For DAYS!
Yes, DAYS![/QUOTE]


You got some balls telling nobagger he should go work at McDonads!!

Days and Days of training....What? Guy said 6 years of exp. Ok so thats probably 3 or 4 yrs. but man were not building space ships or delivering babies, it STRING TRIMMING. After "six years" come on. Everyone knows right and wrong, maybe at his last job he didnt get callled out for kicking sticks and chewing up stuff with the weed whip, but thats probably why he didnt work there anymore. Maybe he was rusty, maybe he'd bs'ed about exp., maybe he'd been sitting home for a while and didnt have his legs. But on his first day, second house, knowing the boss was watching and he's kicking sticks under a shrub. Thats fricking common sense. If you marched a ten year old kid outside and said Hey JR were should we put that stick before we cut that grass, I dont think the kid would say UNDER THAT SHRUB if he had 10 guesses. If a guy doesnt have common sense on his first day, have fun because you cant teach common sense. Guys lose accounts here for crap like that, its a small thing but from a homeowner's eyes it says, "I'm lazy and cut corners" and from an owner or field sup. perspective its a sign of whats to come. Cant pick up a stick? Problebly wont pull to many dip sticks then either. I might not **** can a guy for it on the first day, but there would be a lengthy sit down, and a short leash from then on.

Kelly's Landscaping
05-01-2011, 04:53 AM
Once you have had some one that can keep up with you its so hard to accept the limitations of new employees. I got a new one he's very green he tries so hard but it doesn't matter he sucks. In capable of thinking for him self if he gets to make a decision it will always be the worse one. He's in good shape needs the job and yet I can not get any speed out of him. Add in his transportation issues and I am pulling my hair out trying to help this kid. I need a guy that can run a ztr but has to be an expert on the trimmer and blowers first. And I am seeing this is going to be the longest year of my life but he's on probation and I am trying to work with him. His strengths are he can do tedious things for ever, like last year I restored 3 trailers and one dump truck and had hundreds of hours of sanding and grinding he would do 12 hours a day with a smile. But lawn care isn't so much repetition each lawn is different and he's lost.

So last week I gave him a shot on my list and we could barely break $500 a day. Never even came close to finishing the list before the rain and holiday ended the list. So this week I had no choice I brought in an old vet I trained years ago he never shuts up you learn to tune it out. I pay him 4 dollars an hour more at $16.00 an hour and told my newbie to take the mowing days off. So what did that 4 and hour extra buy me 200-300 dollars a day more production and the lawns were way taller this week since so many were skipped the week before. Obviously I would rather make over 800 a day per crew then 500 what I am hoping for is to increase my lawn numbers this year to justify making one of the crews a 3 man and hopefully train my newbie that way. But on a 2 man crew I just don't think I can afford the production hit his training would cost. A 1000 a week in lost revenue would add up way to quick to make it worth the effort.

Problem we have in this trade is there tend to be 2 major groups of employees we have the morons the guys so dumb you wonder how they made it this far. They are cheaper have no loyalty have said stuff like this gem to me "why do I need to work this week I still have 80 dollars in my pocket" Often you can never even have them drive a truck and follow you they are very limited in their abilities.

The other major group is smaller they tend to be smarter often make great employees but will never stay with you as their leadership skills demand bigger and better things. They want to be owners and so we end up training the next generation of landscape owners. Iv trained at least 5 that have gone on to become my competition and 2 more that will soon do that as well including the vet that came back in to help me this week. I have another that moved to North Carolina 18 months ago and he still calls and texts me regularly to talk shop and see how things are going.

The 3rd group is a minor group they are smart can think on their feet but want nothing to do with being in charge despite having some leadership skills enough to make them great foremen they lack what owners have. Often married and have kids so taking chances is no longer and option they want a steady job with a great company. They are only loyal to their pay but as long as its good they are happy as can be. And I have one of them as well took me nearly 100 employees to find him wish I could find more.

Iv always paid very well but I have tried lower wages and found my employee retention wasn't good enough to run it that way. So I do like to give my guys lots of OT and decent wage cause the cost of starting from scratch each year just wasn't worth it. Nothing worse then going in to my 4-6 week fall clean up season with a virgin crew I still have nightmares to this day.

nobagger
05-01-2011, 07:03 PM
[SIZE="4"]All you did was complain about how this employee did what was acceptable at his old company.

It seems as if you spent the same amount of time complaining here teaching the new guy how to do things your way instead of watching to see if he fails he may have become an asset.



Ok, and you think this is acceptable with any company? Even hacks have some standard. I bet this would be acceptable with your "company" right? You know whats even worse than these whinny, useless, slacker employee's are their whinny, its ok Johnny you'll do better next time, give them a break, younger Employer's who would rather give them a huge and pat on the back in fear they might offend them rather than sending them down the road. Well eventually you run out of excuses to keep giving customer's as to why your guy turfed the lawn, took out a huge chunk out of your new down spout etc. which I'm sure about 95% of the "companies" on here don't have to worry about because there is no real company and you only have to worry about 1 guy....you. So don't come back to me and say "if I trained him as much as I complained about him bla, bla, bla" until you actually have a company with real employee's to answer to and for.

nobagger
05-01-2011, 07:22 PM
Does McDonald's expect you to know how to flip a burger?
I get it, some of you think it's easy, don't you?

Tell you what, have you ever applied (and subsequently gotten and worked) for a job at McDonald's?
Maybe you should!

They train you!
For DAYS!
Yes, DAYS![/QUOTE]


You got some balls telling nobagger he should go work at McDonads!!

Days and Days of training....What? Guy said 6 years of exp. Ok so thats probably 3 or 4 yrs. but man were not building space ships or delivering babies, it STRING TRIMMING. After "six years" come on. Everyone knows right and wrong, maybe at his last job he didnt get callled out for kicking sticks and chewing up stuff with the weed whip, but thats probably why he didnt work there anymore. Maybe he was rusty, maybe he'd bs'ed about exp., maybe he'd been sitting home for a while and didnt have his legs. But on his first day, second house, knowing the boss was watching and he's kicking sticks under a shrub. Thats fricking common sense. If you marched a ten year old kid outside and said Hey JR were should we put that stick before we cut that grass, I dont think the kid would say UNDER THAT SHRUB if he had 10 guesses. If a guy doesnt have common sense on his first day, have fun because you cant teach common sense. Guys lose accounts here for crap like that, its a small thing but from a homeowner's eyes it says, "I'm lazy and cut corners" and from an owner or field sup. perspective its a sign of whats to come. Cant pick up a stick? Problebly wont pull to many dip sticks then either. I might not **** can a guy for it on the first day, but there would be a lengthy sit down, and a short leash from then on.[/QUOTE]

Thanks Prairle, wow somebody gets it! OUNCE AGAIN...if he were new or newer I would expect to tell him things but 6 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE! Thats the whole point of this post. It doesn't matter any more because even after asking him if he knows how to run one of our Gravely w/b and showing him for the 3rd time (of course he said oh yeah I've run this all the time at xyz company) he proceeded to take the controls and as I was standing next to the mower, slam it right into my ankles cuz he panicked as it got away from him. Saturday was his last day and I honestly feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest.