PDA

View Full Version : Finding A Good Crew Leader


Georgiehopper
05-11-2003, 10:09 PM
For the past several years my company has gotten by with a few guys and ourselves, plus subcontractors doing our work. But now, we'd like to hire someone to take over running the jobs ..he would have to be able to drive, and be able to delegate work...I would also like him/her to have experience and familiarity with plant material.

What should his job title be? And what is a good starting wage for a person working in this capacity. We are going to offer some benefits like health insurance too, but what else would be good to offer a good employee? We are located in northern Virginia.

AGLA
05-11-2003, 10:41 PM
I think that we are about ready to hand out gold bars if the right person came along. We have had a boom for several years now, so anyone with the talent to be a foreman has had an easy time of doing it for themselves. That means that there are few foremen for anyone and a zillion little landscapers.

It is a tough go for landscapers that need lots of personnel or lots of quality control. You just can not manage a lot of help without good foremen. It also sucks for the consumer that has a big or involved project because things take a whole lot longer.

We interview people that talk the talk, hire them on a trial basis, but for someone to walk the walk - I think we are still looking.

mdb landscaping
05-11-2003, 10:56 PM
im not sure how this well help....but i am graduating next week with a two year associates degree in turfgrass science. ive decided that i would rather work for another company for awhile before i go into landscaping full time with my business. through various interviews and recruiting sessions, offers seem to be in the $30-40 thousand a year for a supervisor/foremans position with benefits.

fblandscape
05-11-2003, 11:19 PM
From my understanding of things, right out of college should be getting $50,000 - $60,000 a year, if not more. I would suggest going to a local vocational school with a good horticulture program. Or a good college with a horticulture department... ask around and let it be known that you are looking for people.

Lanelle
05-12-2003, 01:21 AM
If I understand you correctly, you are looking for a person to supervise the foremen and their crews. This sounds like possibly an operations manager. Since many foremen in this NVA area make more than $30K, this manager is probably going to look for $40-$50K to start with bennies and some opportunity to advance that salary with time, growth and positive performance.

AGLA
05-12-2003, 06:53 AM
No one is getting $50-60k right out of school with a hort degree. The degree is not valued without experience. Go to the big nurseries in your area and talk to the workers. They don't make a lot of money untill they can impact the bottom line either through developed people management skills or sales skills.

An uneducated experienced landscape construction foreman is going to impact the bottom line of a company that needs one in a very big way. That person will be paid well if they produce. No piece of paper is going to replace that type of experience.

A degree is good because it helps the person with it accelerate processing their experience. By that I mean that you it is easier to understand what happened, why it happened, and what to do about it. In other words, a person with an education is going to be much farther ahead with experience than he would be with no education.

mdb landscaping
05-12-2003, 08:07 AM
i think the figures of 50-60k are out of whack, or at least in this area for kids coming right out of college. like i said....ive been job hunting, and i havent seen anyone offering numbers like that. i even talk with other kids looking for jobs in the golf industry, and paid assistant superintendents are starting at $30-40 thousand too. if somebody wants to pay me $50k a year to be a supervisor.....email me an offer:D

Georgiehopper
05-12-2003, 08:19 AM
It would be nice to make even $30,000 straight out of school...

Personally, I have 20 years experience in landscaping, horticulture and possess a horticulture degree... before I started my company, I tried getting a job around here. No one offered me $30,000 a year, and in fact they told me I was over-qualified. The most anyone offered me was $15.00 an hour...and these were from companies grossing 1.5 to 3 million a year.

This is why I am confused about what to pay a supervisor/foreman etc. I understand what you guys are saying, but if a person is straight out of school, with only a 2 year degree and no experience, I can't justify 40 or 50 grand a year.

Green in Idaho
05-12-2003, 10:42 PM
the most anyone offered me was $15/hr. THAT is a good start.

But I would say you have to FIRST find someone that fits your need. That is going to be hardest part!

As AGLA said, anyone with the skills you are looking for is usually taking a stap at it themsefl. AND anyone you hire is going to leave as soon as they think they can make it on their own, so you are only training future competition (like mdb) unless you have something to keep them.

Once you find them, ask them, "What salary is going to make it worth it for you to stay 3-5 years?" If it works within your numbers throw him (or her) a W-4.

I would suggest once you find someone to offer them a unique compensation that keeps them onboard for years to come. Something like profit-sharing after 5 years and gradually increasing thereafter so they can be become a benefactor in the company.

MDB what would it take for you to consider staying with a company 10 years rather than striking out on your own???

mdb landscaping
05-12-2003, 10:55 PM
im not quite sure.....thats what im setting out to determine. i think there are a lot of hidden agrivations with running a business, and after running one part time ive decided maybe its not worth all the hassle to go full time at 20 years old. if somebody is gonna pay me a good salary, give me benefits and a company truck.....im gonna stick with it. i think staying for 10 years is all a matter of being happy. my plan right now is to get hired as a supervisor and see how i like it. i want to learn a lot more about the business...and apply it to mine some day when i go full time. who knows when that day will come......like you say...what will it take to stay a long time? who knows, im gonna give it a shot.

JimLewis
05-13-2003, 12:59 PM
From your original post it sounds like you're looking for just a foreman; someone to handle jobs from start to finish, be able to know where suppliers and nurseries are, oversee the job and the workers, deal with the client, etc. That's all pretty much what my foreman does.

There are weeks where I take our foreman to a jobsite on Monday and say, "Ok. We need a 4 zone irrigation system installed here, here and here. This lawn will be removed and the soil amended and new sod installed here. Here is the design for the new plants going in this area. Here's the plant list. Then, put new mulch down when it's all done. I have calculated this to be about a 4-5 day job for you and your crew."

Then I show up again on Friday and everything's done the way it was supposed to be done and I just get a check from a happy client.

He makes $14.50 per hour.

JimLewis
05-13-2003, 01:07 PM
We are going to offer some benefits like health insurance too, but what else would be good to offer a good employee? I was going to offer Health Insurance at one point. I think this is probably the most saught after "bene". But then I found out that it costs me more to buy group health insurance that it would for each person to buy their own health insurance on their own. I thought that was just rediculous so I decided that if I wanted to offer health insurance it would be less expensive just to pay the workers more money and let them get their own.

Other benefits we offer employees (especially crew leads or foreman);
* Our maintenance crew will maintain the landscape at their home
* Use of company cell phones on off times (free nights and weekends ;-) )
* Use of company truck. They take the trucks home each night. And if they want to use them occasionally on off time, I let them, as long as it's within a few miles.
* Costco Cards
* Cash Bonuses
* Paid Vacation (1 week per year after first year.)
* Company paid all-employee dinners and trips occasionally

But really, I still think the biggest and most important factor is just the hourly wage or salary. I've found regardless of whether I offered health ins. or not, I was still able to find great workers if I offered a good wage. Many people have health ins. via their spouse's company already anyway.

DaddyRabbit
05-13-2003, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by Georgiehopper
For the past several years my company has gotten by with a few guys and ourselves, plus subcontractors doing our work. But now, we'd like to hire someone to take over running the jobs ..he would have to be able to drive, and be able to delegate work...I would also like him/her to have experience and familiarity with plant material.

What should his job title be? And what is a good starting wage for a person working in this capacity. We are going to offer some benefits like health insurance too, but what else would be good to offer a good employee? We are located in northern Virginia.

This is your lucky day!! I'll be glad to let you hire the best crew leader you'll ever have. She will work your crew to freakin death w/no breaks and the crew will be too tired to frequent any bar establishments thereby ensuring they're return visit the next morning. How do I know this, I have been working for her for the past 4 yrs :cry: you figure out the rest. Second thought, I'll pay you!!