View Full Version : Employees buy their own equipment?

07-14-2003, 08:43 PM
I was thinking a couple days ago while i was mowing some yards of my own that i do. I was thinking about if it would save any money to have employees buy their own equipment. Not on their own but through you. You lay out what models are available and what attachments or what not and they gradually pay for them over time. They are more then welcome to take the trimmers home or they can keep them at the shop. If they need maintenance the company's maintenance personel would do what needs to be done and if the breakage was due to negligence they would pay for the parts.

By laying out what models you want them to lose you can limit them to equipment that is good quality and wont break all the time. You could have say three different size of Redmax trimmers. All good trimmers in my book but this way the employee can decide how much he wants to spend. If he can only afford the smaller model he can purchase that one and when he's ready to step up he gives the trimmer back to the company and the company sells it or buys it from him then uses its worth to lower the cost of the new trimmer.

Just a thought I had. I know there's some kinks in it though. thoughts?

07-14-2003, 09:08 PM
Let's see if I have this right. Your going to pay employees wages which will keep them FIRMLY below the proverty line and you want them to provide their own tools too? While your at it, why don't you tell them that they have to bring their own customers too. Yeah - that would be good.

Rustic Goat
07-15-2003, 03:15 AM
What is your employee turnover like?
I follow your concept, but think you'd be buying more trouble than it's worth.
Mechanics have to furnish their own tools, hairdressers have to furnish all but the chair and sink, but both get a pretty hefty paycheck.
After a year's worth of turnover and bought back equipment, what happens next season with new workers and their desire for new equipment?
Mottster's used lawn equipment store?
Your service personnel working on their tools! "They didn't fix this right!" Would become the song of the day.
Equipment left on premises, guarantee it'd grow legs during the night.

Don't think this bird will ever fly.

07-15-2003, 08:52 AM
We did something similar to this when I was a pulpwood producer, we would Hire (subcontract) someone to produce (fell/skid ) wood for us, we would pay the so much to produce a cord of wood. They owned the equipment, maybe they were self producers but lost their contracts, so they would be looking for work, we did'nt supply the equipment for them.

07-15-2003, 11:00 PM
This is a funny one. Actually helping employees be able to leave your employ and become your competitors. Then again, in the building trades, employees are supposed to bring their own tools a lot of the time. But buying expensive gear is one of the few "barriers to entry" of this business. Helping them towards that goal would be pretty suicidal for your business I'd think.

07-15-2003, 11:34 PM
This has been done by at least one large redi-mix concrete producer. When Pioneer Concrete moved into the Dallas-Ft. Worth market big time, they made their mixer truck drivers buy their own trucks. The deal worked almost exactly like the deal mottster described. I never heard how that deal worked out long term.:confused:

07-15-2003, 11:58 PM
Furniture delivery is often done by middlemen companies who do it for the retailers. They require their drivers to own their own trucks and paint them as if they are company owned trucks and even hire their own helper. But in this case, the market is a controlled one, and the driver is effectively captive to the company. It's not like he can sit outside Rooms to Go and solicit delivery customers.

But in this business, a good mower, trimmer, blower, and a pickup and you're darn close to being in business for yourself.

07-16-2003, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by brucec32
But in this business, a good mower, trimmer, blower, and a pickup and you're darn close to being in business for yourself.

That was the point of my rather flip post at the beginning of this thread. Take a guy, train him, make him buy his own tools - now all he needs is customers to be in business for himself.

07-16-2003, 01:16 PM
Basically you're talking about using subcontractors instead of employees. So a new hire would start out at about what, $30.00 per hour?

Blue Ribbon Turf
07-16-2003, 03:30 PM
Hey guys lets keep an open mind about this. Why not set them up like a franchise. Let them do a lease purchase on equipment. Have them sign non-compete agreements for a 2-3 year period. Let them be thier own bosses and if they don't perform to the standard set by the agreement cut them loose and set someone in thier place.

07-16-2003, 05:27 PM
But in my humble thought, according to I.R.S. definitions they no longer would be your employees but independent contractor. Which, my understanding would make you liable for many tax problems.

I think I know where this thought is coming from, Hey if they own the equipment, it might be better taken care of, won't sprout legs etc....

It's one thing to keep employee morale up by letting them decide equipment to use, however, who takes all the responsibility? Them or you.

Um, non compete clause don't mean diddle squat unless your willing to put up the money for litigation to enforce it. Last time I checked, Lawyers don't work for minute steak, but the fillet mignon.


07-23-2003, 03:19 AM
that is funny we are talking about this...

A guy that I recently hired on to do some landscaping maintenance on the side complained about all the tools that he had to buy for the job. The funny thing is that I never told him to buy any tools. We have more than enough tools in the shop. I also remember that when I hired him on and I gave him a key to the shop for the tools, but his exact words were, "thats ok, I will use my own tools, because I don't want to have to drive over here everyday." So I said fine. I never wanted him to BUY tools. :confused:

07-23-2003, 03:00 PM

"No comment"