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DSLND
02-08-2012, 12:59 PM
As my company grows, I am becoming more reliable on hired help to really step up and do things right. I am very thorough in my training and jobsite explanations as well as equipment operations, expectations, etc.

Last year I had one full-time guy and one part-time. Mainly they did the labor work. Shoveling, digging, moving materials via wheelbarrow, etc. The work that rhymes with my name (Mitch). And it worked good. I did the planning, supervising, perfecting, detail work. Employees rarely touched any major equipment (besides the mowers, trimmers, etc., no tractors, skids, etc.)

The one good snow storm we have had this year, I had a guy with me in the plow truck and two guys blowing condos. After about 12hrs or so, my guy was just complaining!laimed when he started working for met that "he was one heck of a worker, could work all night and really was just a tough guy" Well he started slowing down to the point where I could scoop a lot, salt it and catch up to him on the sidewalks and blow past him. I started getting on him saying sarcastically that "id love to have ya around to keep me company, but I can't pay you to fall behind" He told me he'd pick up the pace and we moved on. Then it got bad. He was just complaining and I told him to "pick up the pace, we can't waste any time!" He then told me and I quote "if you would get out of the truck more often, we'd get this done quicker". I lost it. I told him that if i didnt keep my butt parked in that truck, we'd still be on the first lot and that he is hired help to shovel and de-ice sidewalks and that the fact that I even have to get out of the truck is ridiculous and that he will not be working for me during the summer" BTW, there was some profanity in there, I try to be professional, but after 20+ hours of plowing, my tolerance level is no longer

Next is another one of my guys, a good ole boy. He's really handy, good with a lot of things (cars, general handyman work, etc.) An all-around good helper! We are doing landscaping right now (well, what we can) due to the lack of snow and decent weather and he is experienced enough that I can leave him at a job and I can go do bids, errands, etc. with no babysitting. He has actually ran a few of my jobsites because he has proved that he can think for himself and really do what it takes to get things done. Or so I thought.

We were tilling a job we just had a large amount of stumps ground out at and I rented a tiller. I left him there and went on with my stuff. He calls me "belt came off tiller, I think when i knicked a root, it did it" Puzzled, i told him to put it back on and proceed. Then a minute later another call "it did it again". And with any other employee, I'd be there helping but this guy is smart enough to do this small job with no babysitting. He then proceeded to tell me that whenever he engages the tines, the tiller dies and isn't working right. I come all the way back across town, fire up the tiller and it works fine, no problems what so ever! I am fumed at this point, and tell him that if I ever have to come back across town for something stupid like this he will be looking for a new job. I really laid into him telling him how stupid he is making himself look with this and how I will not continue to pay him the above average wage for my employees if I'm going to have to hold his hand. He finished the job no problems besides the belt did keep coming off but i did notice the belt was really really worn and we were working on some really unlevel, ground that was jerking the tiller around a lot so thats expected.

I really hate babysitting especially the guy in scenario #2 because he knows better and he doesn't need me to hold his hand but still insisted I come all the way back across town to do so. Its hard to try to grow my business when I have to hold these guys's hands and they can't think for themselves.

Am I being unreasonable with either of these situations? I don't think I am, but I want to hear everyone's opinions.

-Mitch-

orangemower
02-08-2012, 01:18 PM
Yes you are. On #2 you said you had to go to the job site and when you did it worked no problem. Then you said the belt did in fact keep coming off. If I was him and you ran your mouth to me like that, I would have walked away and left everything sit.

As for #1, after 12hrs I would be slowing down too. You riding in the truck pushing and salting is not physical labor so you SHOULD be able to catch him and "blow by him" as you say. Same case as #2. Talk that way to me and I'm gone.

ralph02813
02-08-2012, 01:30 PM
Yes you are. On #2 you said you had to go to the job site and when you did it worked no problem. Then you said the belt did in fact keep coming off. If I was him and you ran your mouth to me like that, I would have walked away and left everything sit.

As for #1, after 12hrs I would be slowing down too. You riding in the truck pushing and salting is not physical labor so you SHOULD be able to catch him and "blow by him" as you say. Same case as #2. Talk that way to me and I'm gone.

I totally agree!

Lefet
02-08-2012, 01:47 PM
I would tend to agree with the majority. AS the owner, you have to be able to have a little more patience with the hired help, and you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes. Like maybe if you had thought about #1 from #1's point of view BEFORE you made your comment, it wouldn't have resulted in HIS rude remarks. I know it gets tough sometimes because we (owners) really want to see the job completed and we don't often enough take the time to see HOW and with WHOM it's getting done by. Sometimes, we just need to relax, take another breath, re-assess.

crazymike
02-08-2012, 01:49 PM
Sorry, but 12 hours shoveling is too much. Hire another guy and send them in a separate vehicle. It won't cost much and allow both of you to work quicker. If you can't afford to pay 2 guys to do 12+ man hours of shoveling -you need to adjust pricing

Unless you are paying $16 an hour+, nobody is going to work in the wet and cold for 12 hours doing physical labor. Let alone 15-20. That's insane.

side note: don't pay shovelers $16 an hour, for the most part they will be unreliable after a few pay cheques as they don't need the money. Higher pay doesn't fix everything

---

Unless you strongly believe the guy is lying, the tiller was probably acting up when hot. Belt stretch, something warped, who knows.

Part of being a good boss is realizing when things are not working. Sometimes you have to see, man, I rented a shitty tiller.

Nothing is more frustrating than working with equipment that isn't working properly - especially when your boss denies it.

--

yelling at employees, regardless of how long you have been plowing, how stressed you are is not good. They will instantly loose respect for you. Probably start listening and will act as you treat them - like children.

MDLawn
02-08-2012, 01:57 PM
I'll give my spin on this. I dont have employees but I can add some perspective on this from being one a long time ago. Working for a friend of mine he had all the hustle and go you do as the owner. I worked hard and he never said a word to me but he was on a different level. We had some other bums that would work with us from time to time and he would let them know they weren't doing good but not by screaming, yelling, or purposefully degrading someone. If they didn't work out he let them go and easily found others to work. He now has guys do most of the work without him. Took a while but he found them.

As an owner now and using some part time help I can say I'm now where my buddy was. Why? Well now its my business and my problems. I used to pray for rain days mowing with him, he would get so mad when it rained. Now I know why. Because my phone wont be ringing when there were problems, his would. Now mine does when I have problems or I have to push other projects back. I get it now, but I did work hard when I worked with him and he always had me back each year.

If someone doesn't fit with your needs you need to find someone who does. And if someone does really good work most of the time and has a bad day or two why would you "lay into them". Pulling someone aside and talking to them can do wonders than verbally abusing them. Would you work for someone like that? Like the guy with the tiller. You say he's good with a lot of stuff and it was weird him having this problem. Instead of calling him stupid you could have said "Hey man what's the deal today? Usually you're really good with this kind of stuff? What's going on?" Maybe you would've gotten an answer to that. It may not be something you want to hear but it could explain things. Plus you even said the tiller's belt was coming off. If you were using that tiller and the belt came off every 5 minutes it would be back at the rental place for a refund. He's stuck with crappy equipment that makes the job worse and you offered no help to make a garbage situation better. I'm not saying you need to be Mr. Nice but everyone wants to be treated with dignity even if someone is telling them their job is on the line. As far as the long day you in a truck and others doing physical labor. How about bringing them some hot coffee and something to eat for 5-10 minutes. Heck they are helping you complete your job allowing you to be in the truck. It almost sounds as if the job was to big for you to take on in the first place. Maybe you needed 1 or 2 more workers to reduce the workload?
Moral of the story...... if you treat your employees like garbage how do you think they'll portray your business?? Your employees ARE your business. I dont care how much shine you yourself put on for your potential customers, your employees will tarnish that shine if you don't have respect for them.

Look at some of the more successful companies on this site. They talk about respecting their employees so they can do good things and put forth a great image for their business. The also acknowledge the high turnover rate but it is what it is. You have to be the guy that your employees can get answers and help from, not a tyrant leading a dictatorship.

94gt331
02-08-2012, 01:59 PM
You do sound kind of ignorant i think. Boss's can't do all the grunt work because you pay guys to help you but you need to get out there with them sometimes just to show them that your willing to be in the ditch with them , they will respect you alot more and appreciate working hard for you. And you shouldn't scream at a guy that's been shoveling all day for you. I know some local guys landscape boss's that are very lasy and think they should't be doing any of the pshyical labor anymore, you need to appreciate and work hard with your crew and they will respect you too. Remember there helping you make lot's of money, think about how they feel. Now sometimes employees are downright lazy so you will have to make that call.

weesa20
02-08-2012, 02:00 PM
yes- unreasonable- you could have switched out with the guy in #1 just to give him a break and then you also would have had a better sense of conditions.

In #2, he might have been afraid of you yelling at him b/c the job took longer to complete b/c he had to stop to fix the machine and he wanted you to see for yourself- you could have shown him trust by saying that you understand and just to do the best job he could wiht the quality of machine that he had. He was probably afraid of not doing the job you expected but due to no fault of his own.

Lugnut
02-08-2012, 04:45 PM
Don't piss off employee number 2, those guys are hard to come by

93Chevy
02-08-2012, 05:25 PM
Read the book "Theory R Management" and see for yourself what you did wrong. I'm not saying it's the veritable bible of management but it's a good read about respecting employees.

I'm also not saying I'm the best supervisor out there...far from it.

But I'll give you a list of why my crew respects me.

I know what I'm talking about but I don't brag about my knowledge.
I see what my guys are good at and what they like doing and I let them do that as much as possible.
I teach as much as I can.
I don't take breaks except for lunch, and unless it's super hot .
I'm clear about the expectations of the job.
I challenge my crew to expand their skills and do better work without breathing down their necks.
If there's a tough job that some of my guys need to do while I have to do the "easier" job, I either switch up the work as much as I can, or if they don't have the skills to do my work, then I put my work on hold and help them for a while.

I've been an employee (and still am) so I know what laborers want in terms of being treated with respect.

If you don't change you ways now, you're on the way to becoming the boss that everybody hates.

Just my opinion....

Valk
02-08-2012, 05:45 PM
Wow, lots of good info/input here. As stated, don't beat yourself up over this. You're a smart man just by posting this question...and I would think everyone that has read through this thread has come away a better person.

ralph02813
02-08-2012, 05:47 PM
Wow, lots of good info/input here. As stated, don't beat yourself up over this. You're a smart man just by posting this question...and I would think everyone that has read through this thread has come away a better person.

Absolutely the original post was great - it was only surpassed by some great response lessons for all of us!

saugeen
02-08-2012, 05:54 PM
Without being there to hear exactly what was said, I am going to give a different take on this.

Respect works both ways. #1 should have kept his mouth shut. 12 hours is a long time, but he was likely sitting in the seat 1/2 that time. We don't know the scale of how much work was being done, or the depth of snow etc. so its hard to say for sure, but that is the nature of snow business. If you don't work when it snows, then you are in the wrong business. There have been plenty of days this year to catch up on sleep etc. after a longer shift.

I think it was a bit heavy to go at #2 that way. Maybe should have investigated what was happening further, and observed him using the machine to see what it was doing. Sometimes a guy that is great in some areas just can't figure out how to use a tool/machine properly. I had a good guy a couple years ago that was great on everything, but couldn't figure out how to run a sod cutter to save his life. Just wasn't his calling I guess.

Lefet
02-08-2012, 05:55 PM
Wow, lots of good info/input here. As stated, don't beat yourself up over this. You're a smart man just by posting this question...and I would think everyone that has read through this thread has come away a better person.

Here! Here!! :drinkup::drinkup::drinkup:

Especially after MDLawn really broke it down. Great thread, great contribution.

orangemower
02-08-2012, 06:41 PM
You have to be the guy that your employees can get answers and help from, not a tyrant leading a dictatorship.

Not that the rest wasn't good info but the last sentence sums it up when it comes to being the employer and a leader.

I can assure the OP that he lost respect from his workers for acting that way.

fastlane
02-08-2012, 06:41 PM
I drive truck over the winter. Yesterday I had a no start problem. After 3hrs a mechanic shows up and the truck starts right up. The lease company was not happy. Said they were charging us 2 hrs time. Today same truck different driver they had to put in new ignition switch. They called me and apologized.

martinlawn29
02-08-2012, 08:38 PM
as an owner my self i am in my mid 20s and i have worked for a few large companies before starting my own . I used to mouth off to my workers and blow up getting mad and making guys feel dumb due to the fact that they could not keep up with me and do it how i do it not my company no big deal. then i started my own company and changed the way i was to my workers i found that when i would slow my roll talk to them in a calm manner and level headed but let them know i was disappointed or i thought that they could do a way better job and i demanded they work harder and do the job i know they can i got a lot farther and i have kept some great guys for years ...guys you have to talk to every week even every day well then its time to be a bit harder on them and or even get rid of them just my toughts good luck with it its a learning curve:cool2:

weeze
02-08-2012, 09:52 PM
i'll tell it from my experience. i've always worked for someone else until last year. so roughly 20 years of my life i've had bosses. i don't think i ever had a boss i respected. maybe a few. i always had a hard time being i was the one doing all the work while the boss just did the paperwork or whatever. i mean it's just how the world works i guess. the boss doesn't understand or care to know what the worker is going through and the worker doesn't understand what the boss has to deal with in running the business. i always found it annoying when a boss would try to work along side you for about 15min. like that even compares to working 8-12hrs. anyone can do it for 15min. that doesn't show your employees anything. the more important thing is for the boss to understand and see what the employee is going through. realizing they are tired or whatever and taking that into account and also doing anything you can to make the job easier for the worker. i mean how many bosses do that???

i worked for a lawn company in college and since i was the new guy the boss made me trim all day long every single day all summer long. i never got to ride the mowers like the other guys. how could i respect someone like that? at least he could've let us swap out on a few yards each day or something to spread the work load around. i'm solo now but if i did hire someone i would still work. i wouldn't just make them trim all day while i sat on the mower. that's just wrong. even if you are the boss. i would at least let him use the mower on the smaller yards while i trimmed just to give him a break. it's the boss's job to respect the employee and understand things from their point of view. if you do that then the employee will respect you as a boss. i think employees understand that they will be doing more work than the boss does but if it gets to where the employee does all the work and the boss just supervises all the time then that is rediculous. if you aren't gonna do any work then you shouldn't even be there. have a crew leader or whatever and they can work as well. if a need arises you should be willing to go to the site to fix the problem or help in any way you can.

PTP
02-08-2012, 09:59 PM
I currently have 4 employees and will likely hire 2 more this week.

I have realized that all of the problems in my business are my fault. The strengths are because of me as well but we are talking about problems here.

If I hire someone who is lazy, it is my fault. I shouldn't have hired them.

If I don't train my employees properly, it's my fault.

If I don't set clear expectations for my employees, it's my fault.

If I don't set a good example for my employees, it's my fault.

Etc, etc.

This might sound wrong or even silly but once you realize this, your business will greatly improve. You see, since it is your fault, you have the power to change. You are not going to fundamentally change someone else but you can change yourself.

My employees really like their jobs. They like me too (or maybe it is an elaborate but-kiss).

I give them paid days off.

I pay them well.

I sometimes do their jobs.

I expect excellence from them.

I train them until they meet my qualifications or I let them go.

I give them good equipment to work with.

I give them lots of work to keep them busy.

We grill out once in a while at the shop.

I give them a sense of pride when they can do a better job in less time than most lawn companies.


I am not perfect and I am continually trying to improve but these are significant steps that I have made that have made a huge difference.

Pietro
02-08-2012, 10:07 PM
Praise in public, criticize in private.


I have had my share of lazy workers. College kids who want 20$ an hr, and 3 hrs of break time. Now I have 3 Mexican men working for me. They will do any kind of work. I pay them well, and they are loyal. Respect GETS respect. Every so often I have to hammer down on them, but I keep it reasonable, and I dont yell, swear or insult. I simply remind them that they have steady, well paid work. They know that there are hundreds of men looking for their jobs.

Jimslawncareservice
02-08-2012, 10:17 PM
I suprised you didn't knocked the f out.
Posted via Mobile Device

205mx
02-08-2012, 10:43 PM
As my company grows, I am becoming more reliable on hired help to really step up and do things right. I am very thorough in my training and jobsite explanations as well as equipment operations, expectations, etc.

Last year I had one full-time guy and one part-time. Mainly they did the labor work. Shoveling, digging, moving materials via wheelbarrow, etc. The work that rhymes with my name (Mitch). And it worked good. I did the planning, supervising, perfecting, detail work. Employees rarely touched any major equipment (besides the mowers, trimmers, etc., no tractors, skids, etc.)

The one good snow storm we have had this year, I had a guy with me in the plow truck and two guys blowing condos. After about 12hrs or so, my guy was just complaining!laimed when he started working for met that "he was one heck of a worker, could work all night and really was just a tough guy" Well he started slowing down to the point where I could scoop a lot, salt it and catch up to him on the sidewalks and blow past him. I started getting on him saying sarcastically that "id love to have ya around to keep me company, but I can't pay you to fall behind" He told me he'd pick up the pace and we moved on. Then it got bad. He was just complaining and I told him to "pick up the pace, we can't waste any time!" He then told me and I quote "if you would get out of the truck more often, we'd get this done quicker". I lost it. I told him that if i didnt keep my butt parked in that truck, we'd still be on the first lot and that he is hired help to shovel and de-ice sidewalks and that the fact that I even have to get out of the truck is ridiculous and that he will not be working for me during the summer" BTW, there was some profanity in there, I try to be professional, but after 20+ hours of plowing, my tolerance level is no longer

Next is another one of my guys, a good ole boy. He's really handy, good with a lot of things (cars, general handyman work, etc.) An all-around good helper! We are doing landscaping right now (well, what we can) due to the lack of snow and decent weather and he is experienced enough that I can leave him at a job and I can go do bids, errands, etc. with no babysitting. He has actually ran a few of my jobsites because he has proved that he can think for himself and really do what it takes to get things done. Or so I thought.

We were tilling a job we just had a large amount of stumps ground out at and I rented a tiller. I left him there and went on with my stuff. He calls me "belt came off tiller, I think when i knicked a root, it did it" Puzzled, i told him to put it back on and proceed. Then a minute later another call "it did it again". And with any other employee, I'd be there helping but this guy is smart enough to do this small job with no babysitting. He then proceeded to tell me that whenever he engages the tines, the tiller dies and isn't working right. I come all the way back across town, fire up the tiller and it works fine, no problems what so ever! I am fumed at this point, and tell him that if I ever have to come back across town for something stupid like this he will be looking for a new job. I really laid into him telling him how stupid he is making himself look with this and how I will not continue to pay him the above average wage for my employees if I'm going to have to hold his hand. He finished the job no problems besides the belt did keep coming off but i did notice the belt was really really worn and we were working on some really unlevel, ground that was jerking the tiller around a lot so thats expected.

I really hate babysitting especially the guy in scenario #2 because he knows better and he doesn't need me to hold his hand but still insisted I come all the way back across town to do so. Its hard to try to grow my business when I have to hold these guys's hands and they can't think for themselves.

Am I being unreasonable with either of these situations? I don't think I am, but I want to hear everyone's opinions.

-Mitch-

If you can, check out the book EntreLeadership

It really hits home about being a leader of your crew.

DSLND
02-09-2012, 01:14 AM
I've just been watching this thread throughout the day and I will honestly say that I have done a lot of thinking and there really is a lot that I need to improve on. I knew this before but once you guys really threw it down, really opened my eyes.

Few things I want to touch on right now and the rest I will do tomorrow.

Regarding situation1, I think I did have a good talk with him after the storm, and after a good night of sleep and tried to explain to him that he is hired help for the shoveling and I need to be in the truck most of the time so we can stay on top of things. I told him that he starts as a shovel boy, then next year he's in the truck and training a shovel guy. His eyes lit up! He thought he was going to be a shovel boy forever with me. I also told him that the faster he works, the more ill pay him. He did apologize about bitching (and he slammed a $75 shovel which really fumed me).

Situation2, that was my fault. I should have just stayed with him and helped out and I did apologize to him today and told him how I'm hoping he works full time for me this summer and he had asked a few days ago to utilitze my heated garage to work on his truck and I gave him a copy of key to the shop to show my trust and respect for him. He's 1 of 3 people including myself who have a key. He was happy and we are going to work better next time to work effeciently.


As far as respect for my employees, I treat my guys very well. Buy them lunch on occasion, especially on holidays and sundays. Something decent too, not just mcd's or tb (although I love both! Lol). My main guy last summer was trying to save for exhaust on his stang and his steel toed boots were really going to heck. One night when I cut him his check, I threw in an extra 50 cash for new boots and another 30 for him and his lady to go eat at the new golden corrall. He really appreciated that and texted me a big long text about it later that night. Made me feel good to, because I really do work him hard and last summer we worked like mules, and rarely had an entire day off per week including sundays.

Another thing I try to do is replicate the saying my gf's gma says about husbands and wives"should never go to bed upset". Especially because I'm 18, and most of my guys are my age or older, I definetly have to make my dominance apparent to them. But anyways, I have developed a policy at the end of the day, after all tools are put away and discussion for next day is over, we shake hands. Small gesture, but it really does go a long way with respect.

This year I do need to let up a bit and give in with guys using bigger machinery on jobs to get them running them and give them an opportunity. I need to really step in their shoes and think that way.

That's all I got for now, another day of landscaping tomorrow with employee from situation2, I think I'm gonna buy him lunch and tell him some new plans to keep us on same track.

I appreciate all of these responses. Also appreciate you guys keeping this informal and educational to all, especially myself and not taking this to an arguement.

Thanks all, have a good night!

Mitch
Posted via Mobile Device

weeze
02-09-2012, 01:23 AM
it's cool man. a learning experience for sure. there's no such thing as a perfect business. there's always hiccups along the way from time to time. when working long hours everyone is tired and it's easy to blow a gasket. when it gets to that point you just have to step back and take a deep breath and realize it's just not worth it. if you have to take a break or whatever to regroup then do that. if everyone is uptight and such it makes work a drag. it's always best to keep things light and try to find the humor in it. just makes the day go by alot smoother. we all lose it from time to time but as long as you make things right and work it out then everything is good. just try to learn from it so it doesn't happen again down the road. the more you guys work together and get along the better your business will be. :D

zspeed130
02-09-2012, 10:21 PM
Late but in :)

Learning has occured! Great way to man up! I was gonna throw in my .02

First, Great on the extra you throw in. I know from both sides that is easy to overlook. That means a lot. And although this is for another discussion, it is really hard to make it right now on workers wages. Used to be a guy could pull down 12-15 an hr and at least not fall behind, not anymore. I think this is where a lot of frustration comes from.

I have worked for a buddy for a couple years that is very independent in every way and VERY hard to work for. It is hard for him to realize the difference in motivation when 3/4 of his day is spent on the mower and he is easily making 5x what the worker bees are. I am not saying it's right, it's just reality. He can go home and take his truck to the dealer and paid to have the brakes done. A worker bee may get home after 9hrs of trimming and have to crawl under his old lady's car and do it himself!

My buddy has earned everything he has, but again reality is what it is! If your making 80-$150 a day instead of a lot more life is different. If they are hard workers try to put yourself in their shoes. I am going into my second year of lawn service (though I have done lots of work for myself in other fields). I hope I never forget what it's like to have it hard financially and physically. Most people will spend their whole lives their and maybe thats o.k.
Just don't expect them to have the same zeal towards making you money as you do:)

I have a few deal breakers, pussing out, calling in or leaving early if you're not dead, or doing a crappy job. other than that I try to be very understanding.

Z

93Chevy
02-09-2012, 10:34 PM
Read the book "Theory R Management" and see for yourself what you did wrong. I'm not saying it's the veritable bible of management but it's a good read about respecting employees.

I'm also not saying I'm the best supervisor out there...far from it.

But I'll give you a list of why my crew respects me.

I know what I'm talking about but I don't brag about my knowledge.
I see what my guys are good at and what they like doing and I let them do that as much as possible.
I teach as much as I can.
I don't take breaks except for lunch, and unless it's super hot .
I'm clear about the expectations of the job.
I challenge my crew to expand their skills and do better work without breathing down their necks.
If there's a tough job that some of my guys need to do while I have to do the "easier" job, I either switch up the work as much as I can, or if they don't have the skills to do my work, then I put my work on hold and help them for a while.

I've been an employee (and still am) so I know what laborers want in terms of being treated with respect.

If you don't change you ways now, you're on the way to becoming the boss that everybody hates.

Just my opinion....

Just re-read this and realized I was kinda putting myself on a pedastool. Didn't mean to do that at all...I was just trying to give some pointers. I'm always looking for way to improve myself...and one of those ways is to stop talking about myself.

Ticolawnllc
02-10-2012, 12:06 AM
I currently have 4 employees and will likely hire 2 more this week.

I have realized that all of the problems in my business are my fault. The strengths are because of me as well but we are talking about problems here.

If I hire someone who is lazy, it is my fault. I shouldn't have hired them.

If I don't train my employees properly, it's my fault.

If I don't set clear expectations for my employees, it's my fault.

If I don't set a good example for my employees, it's my fault.

Etc, etc.

This might sound wrong or even silly but once you realize this, your business will greatly improve. You see, since it is your fault, you have the power to change. You are not going to fundamentally change someone else but you can change yourself.

My employees really like their jobs. They like me too (or maybe it is an elaborate but-kiss).

I give them paid days off.

I pay them well.

I sometimes do their jobs.

I expect excellence from them.

I train them until they meet my qualifications or I let them go.

I give them good equipment to work with.

I give them lots of work to keep them busy.

We grill out once in a while at the shop.

I give them a sense of pride when they can do a better job in less time than most lawn companies.


I am not perfect and I am continually trying to improve but these are significant steps that I have made that have made a huge difference.

It's not that you grill. It's that you care enough to grill.

I'm new. I started running the fams biz like 6 year ago. The had a crew of 3 including me. This year I hope to have a crew of 3 landscaping, and two 2guy crews of cutting. I too started as a drill Sargent. I have changed. I lost a lot of good guys. Like girl friends you need to loose a good one to know a good one when you have one.

They were not the problem. I was the problem. The job of a good manager it to find the right job for the person. I had great grass cutters, but I made them do tree work. I had great install guys but I had them cut grass.

There was no way they could deliver what I wanted. I set them up to fail.:hammerhead:

I don't like to do clean ups. Normally I have the guys do them. From time to time I'll make my self do a clean up and what do I see? The guys being less productive because a blower isn't working right. So I Yell at him, no just kidding. So I fix it. I tell my guy "dude tell me if something is broke so I can fix it." Then I asked What else is broken?

That night I took an extra 1 1/2 at the end of the day and inspected the equipment. Retooled the trailer and the next day they were back on track. I think of them as race car drivers and the equipment as the car. I'm the crew chief. Make sure every thing runs and all 4 tires are on before they leave the pit.

zak406
02-10-2012, 02:33 AM
Any time you start yelling profanities is not a good situation and it automatically puts you in the wrong. Its hard to say what the right move was because none of us were there. The one thing I can assure you is if you yell, embarras or start using profanities with employees is, someday your going to find yourself knocked out on the ground...

BrunoT
02-10-2012, 04:02 AM
I'm self employed because of a boss like you. 20 years ago I'd had it. I am concientious, smart, and hard working, and this idiot couldn't seem to figure out that not everything that doesn't go right is someone's fault, and that there are limits to what can be done in a day w/o paying overtime.

Within months of me leaving they had to shut down the dept, as nobody could run it right. It ran like a well oiled machine while I was there.

The point? Anyone with anything on the ball and any self-respect won't put up with disrespect or any other BS for chump change. The worst thing you can do is attack someone when they're tired for not working hard enough. And by the way, anything under $20-$25/hour is chump change for such hard manual labor.

$15/hour employees are not world-beaters. If they are they are either dumb as logs and don't know how much better they could be doing or are about to become former employees working for themselves or more money elsewhere.

greens llc
02-21-2012, 10:23 AM
well this is a good one. to be honest i have felt the same way in the past. first thing first no one is going to work like u or have the drive like u its not their company. every body thinks they can do it and landscaping is a joke.its not its hard and the conditions are never the same. in this case sounds like these guys over sold them selves to get the job. its very difficult to find good guys.everybody needs a pay check most unfortunately most don't want to work for it. react,adapt and over come. if it was easy everyone would do it, keep your head up and move on.

edensgate7
02-21-2012, 11:48 AM
I currently have 4 employees and will likely hire 2 more this week.

I have realized that all of the problems in my business are my fault. The strengths are because of me as well but we are talking about problems here.

If I hire someone who is lazy, it is my fault. I shouldn't have hired them.

If I don't train my employees properly, it's my fault.

If I don't set clear expectations for my employees, it's my fault.

If I don't set a good example for my employees, it's my fault.

Etc, etc.

This might sound wrong or even silly but once you realize this, your business will greatly improve. You see, since it is your fault, you have the power to change. You are not going to fundamentally change someone else but you can change yourself.

My employees really like their jobs. They like me too (or maybe it is an elaborate but-kiss).

I give them paid days off.

I pay them well.

I sometimes do their jobs.

I expect excellence from them.

I train them until they meet my qualifications or I let them go.

I give them good equipment to work with.

I give them lots of work to keep them busy.

We grill out once in a while at the shop.

I give them a sense of pride when they can do a better job in less time than most lawn companies.


I am not perfect and I am continually trying to improve but these are significant steps that I have made that have made a huge difference.

The above mentioned post pretty much sums up the ideal we can all shoot for. It takes sacrifice,selflessness, and humility to do all those thngs on an owner's part.....all of which are lacking in our industry. Yes there are truly lazy employees out there and it is hard to deal with someone like that or see it coming. But, overall there are alot of good workers out there who just need some time, respect, and training and they will grow to care about your business as much as you do.

Boss doesn't mean "I don't have to do the hard work anymore". It means that I work beside the employee doing everything they do and treating them like I want to be treated. At the end of the day I just own the company.

ecurbthims
02-21-2012, 12:04 PM
quick question ,with guy #2 ,if the guy reinstalled the belt ,and the gearbox took a crap ,would you of been mad at the guy or what ?I am wondering if he was scared that something more was wrong and didnt want to be the cause of bigger repairs and expenses .Also,who didnt check the belt before going to work that day ?

Wright48
02-21-2012, 12:59 PM
First of all your suposed to be the boss not the disgruntaled foreman. You get more out of your workers with just being calm cool and collective, rather then screaming and telling them that there babys,stupid,lazy ect. If either of those guys had back bone they would have left you SOL on the job. You cant expect a guy to shovel 12 hrs with out complaining and slowing down. I usually give them breaks every couple hours buy them coffee snacks ect let em come in the truck to warm up.You really needed another guy for shoveling if you have that many plowing accounts. For the second situation would you have rather have had the guy fix it wrong break the tiller and have to pay for it to get fixed. Id much rather take the time to go over and see what happend and just know the situation before getting all pissy.The only way that you can have a good company and moral is having happy employees that want to stay and good team work. Now if an employee breaks a piece of equipment do to carelessness yes i will be pissed but im not going to yell that them like there a two year old. I have a system they get written up a automatic drug test and after it happens 2 times there gone and they understand that. Plus good help is hard to find once you loose your good workers and have a hard time finding new ones youll realize how hard they are to come by. In my opinion I think you where way out of line and have be more calm, have to set a better example for you workers. Just my opinion I have 6 people working for me I pay better then the compitition and have resumes stacked on my desk because of it. The wokers know that and work to keep there jobs at good company where they are respected, taught and paid on time every week.

S-205
02-21-2012, 02:59 PM
I just think its great that you're willing to learn to get along better with your employees. That you care enough to be a nicer, and better boss. Being a boss is a lot harder than some think I'm sure.

CozyHollow
02-21-2012, 03:13 PM
Yes you are. On #2 you said you had to go to the job site and when you did it worked no problem. Then you said the belt did in fact keep coming off. If I was him and you ran your mouth to me like that, I would have walked away and left everything sit.

As for #1, after 12hrs I would be slowing down too. You riding in the truck pushing and salting is not physical labor so you SHOULD be able to catch him and "blow by him" as you say. Same case as #2. Talk that way to me and I'm gone.

I'm with you. Starting my own company and going Solo from the gate...but eventually I'll probably hire. I know what it FEELS like to work or be worked into the ground. Maybe Mitch either forgot where he came from or was really never "there" to know and understand that laborers are PEOPLE TOO. Like someone here once said, "pay peanuts and get monkeys".

I suggest an apology to BOTH men ALONG WITH $100.00 CASH in 20 dollar bills handed to them individually AFTER the apology. Don't let them disrespect you in any way but since YOU OWN the company...you may have to take some "bull" in order to GAIN respect and loyalty.