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EHesseyLawns
03-23-2004, 08:04 PM
hey everyone,

how has everyone handled this situation; i had a guy come with me and help me on some yards today. he did terrible. i showed him how to edge, told him how to edge, several times. and i reiterated several times that the yards had to be edged. he would not edge. i had no time to teach him how to run the mower so i was stuck with him. he also told a customer he wasnt getting paid "jack" for doing what he was doing....i had to go back and edge everything after i finished cutting, i might as well have told him to just sit in the truck...

what should i do? after abou 2.5 hours i just took him home. should i even pay him? just venting cause i got put behind...thanks

MudslinginFX4
03-23-2004, 08:15 PM
pay him minimum wage so you can't get in trouble.

lawnagent
03-23-2004, 08:16 PM
I would probably pay him just for the simple fact that I would not want to hear him whine and moan about it. BUT, I would never ever use him again. Consider it a cheap lesson learned about him.

locutus
03-23-2004, 08:18 PM
Elizabeth, if you had promised him a little sugar if he did a good job, the results may have been different. Put those feminine charms to work girl.

xcopterdoc
03-23-2004, 08:19 PM
I'd pay him the 2.5 and call it good. Then legally there is nothing he can do. Time worked is time paid, even if he sucked at it. At least ya did the right thing and cut it off when ya saw it was going bad and getting worse!

LB Landscaping
03-23-2004, 08:19 PM
Yeah pay him and cut your losses. Did he claim to have experience????

troblandscape
03-23-2004, 08:20 PM
I have had those kind... I pay them, then call them that night and just tell them it wasnt working out.:cry:

JKOOPERS
03-23-2004, 08:32 PM
maybe next time you should take the time to train the person you hire jm .02

cantoo
03-23-2004, 08:36 PM
Pay him and chalk it up to a training lesson for you.

bobbygedd
03-23-2004, 08:46 PM
don't pay him nothing, and if he comes knockin at your door, get your husband to throw him down the stairs.

Ryan Lightning
03-23-2004, 09:02 PM
I think you should have trained him on the mower first so you could edge and get the jobs done fast. Then let him edge the crappy lawns til he gets good.

brucec32
03-23-2004, 09:07 PM
I'll only unload with one barrel since you're a woman.

What exactly did you expect? You pick up some guy, perhaps an illegal day laborer? And gasp, he doesn't know how to and doesn't want to edge? I'm sure your customers appreciate the intensive training the people on their lawns are receiving. And if he's already complaining about the pay, obviously you're not paying him enough to satisfy him. Then again, agreements made shouted out a truck window on a street corner might tend to lead to misunderstandings. Of course he may just be someone you knew, but again it's hardly a professional situation that lends credit to the industy.

The rest of this may or may not apply totally to you, but I'm gonna put it here anyway.

Just what do you people out there expect when you run around wanting to pay people as little as possible, employ them sporadically ("I had a guy come with me" hardly seems like a long term steady gig), give them little to no training, no prospects for advancement, no benefits, and basically make it as unappetizing a job as possible?

I'm really tired of hearing people whine "I can't find Americans who want to work" when the problem is that you dont' have a business plan worth the paper it's written on so that you're prepared to give a person a steady gig, offer wages well below what it takes a decent honorable adult to live on, yet are insulted when only bums who need beer money show up. You can't stand the idea of paying them and not having instant production out of them, so you toss them out there untrained where they feel like idiots, they often are not acclimated to the hard work and weather, and often get so demoralized they dont' show up again. I'm sure glad my car mechanic, doctor, and the guy who cuts my hair aren't "trained" in that fashion.

Some guy who works casually whenever you feel like hiring him isn't going to be any good. And you're not doing the industry reputation by showing up with these losers. So why act all ticked off at a situation you yourself set up to be a failure?

Learn the technical end of the business. Then go learn the business end before you start up. Have enough working capital that you can afford to invest in people as well as machines. If you dont' have enough saved to carry an employee while he learns and pay him what it takes to get a quality person, you are marginal in terms of surviability anyway and are probably better off with a paycheck, and you might as well steel yourself for the next decade plus of frustration you're going to have if you base your business on cheap casual labor. Even McDonalds, with a huge multi-national corporation behind it, has a terrible time with it. Why should you have it any easier?

E-man
03-23-2004, 09:08 PM
Pay him and forget about it . Its not worth the hassles.

Turf Technologies
03-23-2004, 09:14 PM
i think thats the best idea when training someone new, put them on the mower. Edging and trimming really make the lawn.When I fisrt started doing this I only edged trimmed and blew off. At that time I didnt see why edging all the beds made a diffrence. But when I started mowing I saw the whole yard and got the point.Maybe you could both mow next time. Then do the rest with the helper.

lawnman_scott
03-23-2004, 09:23 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by brucec32
[B]I'll only unload with one barrel since you're a woman.

What exactly did you expect? You pick up some guy, perhaps an illegal day laborer? And gasp, he doesn't know how to and doesn't want to edge? I'm sure your customers appreciate the intensive training the people on their lawns are receiving. And if he's already complaining about the pay, obviously you're not paying him enough to satisfy him. Then again, agreements made shouted out a truck window on a street corner might tend to lead to misunderstandings. Of course he may just be someone you knew, but again it's hardly a professional situation that lends credit to the industy.

Where do you train employees? And about how many years does it take the average idiot to edge. Let me see, start the edger, and walk. Thats it in a nutshell. What employee is satisfied with his pay? Were you before working for yourself? Do you have employees bruce? Because good luck finding "professional lawnguys" in FL.

NickN
03-23-2004, 09:30 PM
I bet one of my helpers was worse than yours.He broke one of my trailers,wanted me to provide lunch and dinner,leaned on the shovel most of the day,and complained the entire time.I won't even tell you guys what I paid him,but let's just say he made as much in that one day as he does in 3 at his regular job. There's a 2 in the hourly number and it isn't the second number.My other two guys did a great job and really gave it all they had and one had walking pneumonia and didn't know it.(I let him go get lunch just for the break.He was coughing like crazy)My other helper is a member of Lawn Site.I just wish I had enough business to hire both of them full time.
BTW,the trailer he broke has 13 inch tires and a plywood floor.He drove the backhoe up on it:mad:

bobbygedd
03-23-2004, 09:44 PM
boy that brucie sure is a breath of fresh air

tiedeman
03-23-2004, 09:52 PM
just pay him and chalk it up as a lesson learned.

ducky1
03-23-2004, 10:08 PM
Be sure to pay with a check or get a receipt so you wont wind up in small claimes court with him claiming you did not pay him.

Turfcutters Plus
03-23-2004, 10:13 PM
Pay him and say adios!

bastalker
03-23-2004, 10:30 PM
Damn Bruce, where did all that come from? Ya have a bad day?

Hey Liz, I have been there an done that. I would just pay him for the time he worked, an explain to him that he is not exactly what you were looking for.

Flipperneck
03-23-2004, 10:37 PM
I agree with bruce alot. I have worked for a few of lawn and landscape companies, and interviewed at most of them in the area over the years. All the companies with equipment made up primarily of duct tape always had these 35 year + men that live in their parents basement. These were the companies I stayed away from. Then there's the companies with people that have been there for years and all there equipment runs and looks great. Guess which ones payed more.... And guess which ones I went with.... I have a decent amount of monthly expenses as do most people over 25, that are responsible and trying to get ahead and not behind. I don't know why you would put a unexperienced guy on trimmer...To me that is the most important and skilled part of lawns. You could definitly make or break a lawn with the trimmer. As far as training goes of course you are going to be behind schedule, and yeah you are gonna have to do things over. How smart you think you'd be now if you walked into kindergarten and they handed you a book and said here you go learn how to read and check in with me in an hour or two. Why is it a wonder that there are more people with lawn and landscape experience that don't work in this field then there is people that do.

lawnwizards
03-23-2004, 10:42 PM
its not like trimming is rocket science. would you rather have a new guy running a $5000 dollar mower or a $600 dollar trimmer? around here its all trimming when you start. its kinda like the initiation situation. prove youre willing to work by doing the crappy work, then get the better work... just my 2cents.

Flipperneck
03-23-2004, 10:59 PM
My first job landscaping, I didnt touch a trimmer till halfway through the season. And then it was only the crappy lawns that people didn't care what it looked like they just didn't want to do it themselves or have the town fine them for an overgrown lawn. Most people will throw a fit if they have yellow or bald patches from someone scalping their lawn, or their flowers getting mutilated, or young trees being killed. And if a person can't whip a lawn do you really think they are going to be able to flip the thing over and edge also. I have been working for guys that basically only do high end residential since I started in this field. I'm guessing the reason they charge so much is because the quality they and their employees put into their service. Which works out good because they in turn pay well.

sildoc
03-23-2004, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
don't pay him nothing, and if he comes knockin at your door, get your husband to throw him down the stairs.
Now thats the Bobby Ged that I am used to hearing. Jersey must have got to you already.

PaulJ
03-23-2004, 11:31 PM
Don't pay him "Jack" since that's what he is expecting anyway.

sgrprincees
03-23-2004, 11:32 PM
If you don't pay him, don't complain when a trimmer goes missing. No honor among theives.

bobbygedd
03-24-2004, 06:44 AM
you guys crack me up. obviously, the lady took on a "temporary" employee. more commonly refered to as casual laborer. i'm sure she didn't drag him off his barstool to come to work. he obviously must have approached her, applied at her business, or somehow showed some interest in the job. she gave the guy a shot. now, any adult male that i know has used a weed wacker before, either at his own home, his parents, or his aunt sally's house. being that i'm sure he's seen one in the past, a 5-10 minute course is fine, and the rest comes with on the job experience(getting faster, more efficient, etc) but the key ingredient for this to happen is EFFORT. apparently, he didn't put forth any. so you kind of had a deal, he would do the job, and you would pay him. he didn't hold up his end of the deal, why should you? it's obvious you took him on as casual labor, off the books, and i'm sure after a trial period you would have put him on legimitely. it's a two way street , he took the job under this agreement too. now let him try to take legal action for his $50 paycheck, how can he even prove he worked for you? tell you what i did this one time: this guy worked for me for like a week. he had a tendency to show up in the morning stinking like booze, but at least he showed up. i told him that the next day we were servicing new clients, in a nice area, there were 3 in a row that were all full service, big money for me at that time. i told him make sure he's in good shape in the morning. well, he comes in hammered. i have to get the work done, we went, i instructed him to stay away from the homeowners. an hour into the job, he knocks on the door, and asks the lady for a pitcher of water. 20 min later he's peeing in the bushes, 20 min after that he's knocking on the door telling the lady to call him if she needs anything, that he can do it cheaper than me. that was the last straw. i said ok billy, break time, lets take a ride, i been meaning to go to this outlet, and get a new carhart coat. we get in the truck, i drive, and drive, and drive......about 35 miles later, i said billy boy, u thirsty? sure he says. so i stop at a convenience store, tell him to run in for 2 sodas, he goes in, i drive away. see ya billy. think i'll pay this fool? think he deserves it?

CamLand
03-24-2004, 07:18 AM
give him lunch and send him on his way...

lawnworker
03-24-2004, 07:51 AM
Liz, This guy was a loser. Anyone that would complain to a customer about their pay-on the first day- would be sent packing.
You can find someone who cares about working and do much better.

Pay him for his miserable time out of his miserable life and consider it a lesson learned.

mower_babe
03-24-2004, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
now let him try to take legal action for his $50 paycheck, how can he even prove he worked for you?

You have to pay him. Morally and Legally. If you have to ask us, than you are a moral person and could never not pay him. Your conscience would not allow it. And as far as him having to pay for legal action? I doubt it, probably all he has to do is file a claim, and report her to whatever labor division is in her state. A couple of phone calls on his part. And to prove that he was an employee...if she is legitimate, I am sure that she has 2 forms of ID and all of the signed forms required on file. So, all they have to do is subpoena her records, etc. Avoiding payment is not only a bad moral decision, but it sounds messy to me. Pay the boy and consider it a cheap lesson for you. Good luck.

BTW, sugar had a valid point, "no honor among theives." How do you guys that are telling her to not pay him, feel about that point?

proenterprises
03-24-2004, 10:57 AM
i would either give him min. wage or whatever you promised him at the start. i would let him go asap.

you really have to be careful with these day laborers that you pick up, we have had mixed experiences with them in the past, some are great and cant wait to work, others are looking for a free ride and pretend to be idiots.

especially with the language barrier, training gets tough, not sure if this guy spoke english or not. bottom line, make sure you take the time to give new employees a fair training, and explain things not only verbally, but physicaly as to get the point accross.

but do be careful of guys you pick up on the streets who claim to be "good"

bobbygedd
03-24-2004, 02:02 PM
i'd give him a shovel upside the head. the guy's a bum and should be treated as one.

CamLand
03-24-2004, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
i'd give him a shovel upside the head. the guy's a bum and should be treated as one.

thank you very much for the laugh good job as always my friend:drinkup: :laugh:

Remsen1
03-24-2004, 04:32 PM
I'm glad I don't work for some other lawn company. I'd hate to start out on a nice ZTR, work six months, do a great job and then one day have the boss say "well, since you're doing such a good job, today you get to edge/trim". Woo Hoo! I would make sure to do a crappy job so I could get back on the ZTR!

Flipperneck
03-24-2004, 06:17 PM
I got a decent raise, and when i got better on the trimmer with whipping, edging, and efficiant I got another raise and we traded off its not like i did it all day every day, until later when I was a Foreman and then I really could care less because I was salary and getting done quick and moving onto the mulching and what not for ot on top of salary. Not to mention making alot more then the lazy shmoes on the mower.


As far as paying the guy, I would just to be able to not worry about it. Say he's pissed one night and steals equipment, I would rather not worry about it. A friend of mine had a boss hold out 2 paycheck and was unavailable or not home everytime he called. 4 of us went to his house while he was having a BBQ and watched my friend beat him mercilessly, the dude had broken ribs and was missing a tooth when we left.(maybe a little different though because it was over 1200 bucks).

kootoomootoo
03-24-2004, 07:14 PM
"you pay peanuts you get monkeys"


Couldnt have put it better.....

I'm really tired of hearing people whine "I can't find Americans who want to work" when the problem is that you dont' have a business plan worth the paper it's written on so that you're prepared to give a person a steady gig, offer wages well below what it takes a decent honorable adult to live on, yet are insulted when only bums who need beer money show up. You can't stand the idea of paying them and not having instant production out of them, so you toss them out there untrained where they feel like idiots, they often are not acclimated to the hard work and weather, and often get so demoralized they dont' show up again. I'm sure glad my car mechanic, doctor, and the guy who cuts my hair aren't "trained" in that fashion. ...

bobbygedd
03-24-2004, 07:21 PM
how much $$$ does it take a "decent , honorable" adult to live on?

Flipperneck
03-24-2004, 07:32 PM
Lets see, 275 a month for car insurance, a 1 bdrm apt. 900+utilities, 300 a month food, 200 a month lunch and gasoline, savings, spending, etc... I would say 15 an hour + some OT for an honorable adult to live on here.

bobbygedd
03-24-2004, 08:37 PM
really? so tell me, who's gonna pay $15+ an hr plus ot to a new employee to wack edge and blow?

kootoomootoo
03-24-2004, 09:02 PM
Most western nations. ....pity about the US screwing its own.

Kelly's Landscaping
03-24-2004, 09:04 PM
15 an hours a bit steep for someone with no skills the thing that many seem to not understand is a starting wage should not also be the final wage. I know some guys that have worked for 7 years and make 12 an hour thatís a joke. When I left my last landscaping job to start my own it was because I was at top rate and was capped with no hope of another raise. Since I was at 20 an hour this was 2 years ago so far IV not made as much as I did for the former employer but the amount you make is up to you and just takes a little time to build.

I agreed with Bruce on some of what he said and I found myself agreeing with others as well on different points. If I hire you your either going to find yourself on landscaping jobs as a laborer or on a lawn crew as the trimmer guy these are entry positions. Mowing is not it takes about 3 months before a guy becomes really good at trimming and edging in fact edging is the last thing they learn when learning to trim. After 4-6 months when they have mastered trimming they begin to learn the WB I do not teach the ZTR till the second year. Year 3 is trailer and truck and light foreman assignments it takes a long time to make elite workers. As they get better their wage goes up and it does get to a living wage but it doesnít start at one which is why its a young persons trade I prefer 18-24 year olds who donít need a lot of money while they learn our profession.

Flipperneck
03-24-2004, 09:14 PM
Not that many people thats why new people are such a pain in the ass. If you pay them too little they don't put in the effort, If you pay them too much you are betting on a long shot. I was answering your question of how much it costs for an adult to live on. You can get a new guy that puts in 110% and is worth 15 or more, but you should check his references and the people that refer him. The only way for employees to make more than that is usually to have experience in everything Lawn and Landscape. If the business is tight and profitable wouldn't it be better to have reliable employees that work hard then to pinch a few pennies and have derilicts that scare off new customers or show up to work hammered underbidding you. I can get just about anything done faster then 2 wastes of life and it will look a hell of alot better too. Thats all I'm saying. And I get paid very well because the boss gets paid very well. That is the basis for my stance.....Close observation of successful businesses from the inside. I know there is some that have a whirlwind of cheap help running around doing alot of work and making alot of money also. I can guarantee the first one though can make more with less employees and less stress. I never said good help was easy to find, just that when you do find it pay for it and maybe it will pay you back with interest. I was making 15 an hour 4 years ago and we only did about 75% maintenance and 25% Landscape. There wasn't much more to be made so I switched to a hardscape, softscape and Irragation only company.

lawnman_scott
03-24-2004, 09:17 PM
Originally posted by kootoomootoo
"you pay peanuts you get monkeys"


Couldnt have put it better.....

I'm really tired of hearing people whine "I can't find Americans who want to work" when the problem is that you dont' have a business plan worth the paper it's written on so that you're prepared to give a person a steady gig, offer wages well below what it takes a decent honorable adult to live on, yet are insulted when only bums who need beer money show up. You can't stand the idea of paying them and not having instant production out of them, so you toss them out there untrained where they feel like idiots, they often are not acclimated to the hard work and weather, and often get so demoralized they dont' show up again. I'm sure glad my car mechanic, doctor, and the guy who cuts my hair aren't "trained" in that fashion. ... Ever heard of internship, or residency? Yes residency could mean the place that you live, but the term is used for doctors that are in training. Apprentice:the car mechanic. Maybe you ought to go add a few pages to your great business plan.

amar
03-24-2004, 09:22 PM
Pay him. You don't want trouble down the road ie. stolen equipment, damaged truck.
Than show him the door.

HIRE SLOW FIRE FAST!

brucec32
03-25-2004, 02:54 AM
Originally posted by lawnman_scott
[QUOTE]Originally posted by brucec32
[B]I'll only unload with one barrel since you're a woman.

What exactly did you expect? You pick up some guy, perhaps an illegal day laborer? And gasp, he doesn't know how to and doesn't want to edge? I'm sure your customers appreciate the intensive training the people on their lawns are receiving. And if he's already complaining about the pay, obviously you're not paying him enough to satisfy him. Then again, agreements made shouted out a truck window on a street corner might tend to lead to misunderstandings. Of course he may just be someone you knew, but again it's hardly a professional situation that lends credit to the industy.

Where do you train employees? And about how many years does it take the average idiot to edge. Let me see, start the edger, and walk. Thats it in a nutshell. What employee is satisfied with his pay? Were you before working for yourself? Do you have employees bruce? Because good luck finding "professional lawnguys" in FL.

Ever consider having an actual training session to go over equipment, explain why it's done, etc? Spend some time watching and correcting them. Many employees are satisfied with their pay. How sad the industry has become when they consider employee dissatisfaction to be just the way things will always be.
I was very satisfied making decent but not great money. IT was the other aspects I didn't like.

I've had anywhere from 4 to 40 employees at other jobs. Always kept them happy, even with modest wages. Never had trouble finding hard workers. It can be done ....untilthe industry presents itself as one suitable only for the desperate.. Then nobody with any sense or potential wants to get into it.

There are "professional" guys in Florida. They'd just not doing lawns. Why? Because the pay sucks, the conditions suck, the advancement potential sucks, the esteem they don't get from people sucks, etc, etc. The key is to change all that if you want good reliable workers.

brucec32
03-25-2004, 03:07 AM
Originally posted by lawnwizards
its not like trimming is rocket science. would you rather have a new guy running a $5000 dollar mower or a $600 dollar trimmer? around here its all trimming when you start. its kinda like the initiation situation. prove youre willing to work by doing the crappy work, then get the better work... just my 2cents.

That's a great way to run off the few good ones who might show up to work. I ran into this at a previous job. They took great sport in trying to make your first day on the job as miserable as possible, like it was some sort of fraternity hazing to weed out the weak. I almost told my boss there to shove it on my first day as a peon there after a day of being told to do stuff I had no idea what to do, being criticised for being slow doing things I was untrained in, etc. Thankfully someone in the know explained that I did well and that they were full of it and I stuck it out. 2 years later I was running the place. I save work them into it slowly, give them easier tasks till the get acclimated and more bound psychologically to the job.

But the new guy shouldn't be working on a customers lawn with either a $5000 or $500 machine! That's my point! Train em to the point where they do NO damage, then put them to work. It doesn't take years. Just some time. I drove a Toro T bar wb into a tree the first time I was told to mow with it. A couple hours later I had it down. And a week later I was a pro. Now I make it dance. If you have no faith in training and no faith that your new hire will stick around long enough for the training to pay off, then you hired the wrong man anyway and your training program is training people to fail.

I have a friend who's a contractor remodler. He has one good employee (makes $30,000 plus) and hires day laborers from a company that rents them out for $12/hour (they keep about $8 of it). NONE of them are any good at remodling stuff. But he runs them off before they have a change to become productive and learn anything becuase he makes them do grunt work all day, carrying lumber, crawling under stuff, etc. Gives them the impression it will always be like that, so most never return. Meanwhile, in his efforts to save, he loses $100,000's worth of jobs because he doesn't have the labor to get the jobs done and has to pass on them. His complaint "If I only had another Bud". Bud is the guy making over $30,000 with steady hours. Some folks just don't get it.

brucec32
03-25-2004, 03:17 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
really? so tell me, who's gonna pay $15+ an hr plus ot to a new employee to wack edge and blow?


Beautiful! I love how Bobby manages to inadvertidly make my point for me w/o knowing he's done it.

Nobody is, and that's the problem in the industry. They're too short sighted and can't see that if they invest in higher quality people the higher quality results will pay them back tenfold. I guess they just basically lack faith in all people, so their answer is to shoot for the lowest common denominator since in their heads they all suck.

Or so bobby can relate:

"My mower blades are dull. I need to replace them. But no, I can't afford to stop mowing long enough to do that. So I will just mow on. Dang, I'm losing customers due to complaints mowing with these two round steel poles under the deck. I need new blades. But damn, I can't afford to stop to do that and I can't afford to stop to buy them. Must keep mowing."

Like a toilet bowl, the spiral just heads downward. Junk in, junk out. The current fad is to eat lots of junk food and hope you'll excrete out diamonds.

brucec32
03-25-2004, 03:29 AM
Originally posted by lawnman_scott
Ever heard of internship, or residency? Yes residency could mean the place that you live, but the term is used for doctors that are in training. Apprentice:the car mechanic. Maybe you ought to go add a few pages to your great business plan.

Actually the term you're looking for is "residence". But I get the point. But may I retort?

1. Doctors in a Residency have already had YEARS of education and training before they're allowed anywhere near a hospital. So that analogy is pretty much flushed.

2. Apprentice: The word apprenticeship's very meaning says "training". An apprentice works under the close supervision of the master, performing menial tasks to help out perhaps, but also learning and observing for a long period before being given tasks for which he is not qualified. The idea is that the apprentice trades his low priced wages for knowledge that he will use later and which is invaluable to him. Handing a day laborer an edger and saying "edge that" isn't quite the same thing. Mechanics also go to school these days. Quite a bit of it. And certainly a lot more than the day or so I was suggesting as a minimum in our biz. Even then, I doubt they're breaking down engines on their first day at work while the boss heads off out of sight and sound.

Let's face it. The industry has sunk far enough in the mire in terms of training/job enrichment/pay that it may never recover. Because even offering double the current pay, you may find too few applicants, because thanks to a selfish few "early adapters" who thought they'd gain an edge this way, the industry rep is not one seen as full of lifelong fullfillment and ample monetary reward. So people aren' teven considering it as a job. They sit languishing in the aisle of Walmart and Lowe's and Home Depot, making $8/hour, but at least they get a steady job, benefits, some advancement potential and training, and they stay clean and unfatigued.

So, as long as the strategy is "low as you can go" in terms of pay and caliber of workers, the toilet will contine to drain. And nobody wants to come over to where the toilet is.

bobbygedd
03-25-2004, 06:52 AM
i think bruce just called me stupid, but that's okay, i like bruce. anyhow, walmart and home depot are the nations top two leading retailers, and they pay thier employees $8 an hour. so a small lawn company should pay $15? bruce, face facts, your'e not going get the brightest, or most motivated people to apply for a job at a lawn service. how much training do you invest when your experience shows you that one out of ten will work out? wait, ok, let's just hire someone now to just train employees, show movies on safety and procedures, etc. you're really reaching on this one bruce. every job i ever had from the time i was 14 yrs old involved a few days working alongside an experienced person, and take it from there. but on day one if i showed no desire, and did the things this guy did, i'm sure i would have been gone. and i worked in retail outlets, resturaunts, and on multi million dollar machinery in the printing trade. what did i have other than some minor training? motivation and drive. i really think at some point you go way overboard .

brucec32
03-31-2004, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
i think bruce just called me stupid, but that's okay, i like bruce. anyhow, walmart and home depot are the nations top two leading retailers, and they pay thier employees $8 an hour. so a small lawn company should pay $15? bruce, face facts, your'e not going get the brightest, or most motivated people to apply for a job at a lawn service. how much training do you invest when your experience shows you that one out of ten will work out? wait, ok, let's just hire someone now to just train employees, show movies on safety and procedures, etc. you're really reaching on this one bruce. every job i ever had from the time i was 14 yrs old involved a few days working alongside an experienced person, and take it from there. but on day one if i showed no desire, and did the things this guy did, i'm sure i would have been gone. and i worked in retail outlets, resturaunts, and on multi million dollar machinery in the printing trade. what did i have other than some minor training? motivation and drive. i really think at some point you go way overboard .

I'm sorry Bobby. I actually get the feeling you're getting one over on all of us with your colorful stories. And you are a "colorful character". The world needs more of those.

But again I think your argument makes my points.

1. Home depot doesn't have to pay as much because of their good repuation, job stability, and benefits. In that regard, doing the right thing actually SAVES them money in the long run. They would have to pay $15 an hour to get people to work seasonally, out in the hot sun, etc. But because they offer flexible hours for those who want it, evening work, benefits, etc, they can get away paying less. They also have the advantage of being a household name and having more applicants show up, just out of inertia. We don't have that luxury. My sister in law was a lowly cashier there in the early days for a couple years while in college and she got enough stock options to put her kids through college now. The employees shared in the growth of the company. Little growth, little stock profits. Much growth, huge stock profits. How many lawn techs are getting stock options? My point is that there's no incentive for the typical lawn mower employee to be a world beater. He has little to gain from it. Usually in industries with little or no advancement potential, low wage salaries are higher than entry level wages in jobs where advancement is quick. It's just common sense. All those old Factory jobs now leaving the US were that way for a reason. Pretty good pay in return for knowing you'd be doing the same drudgery for 30 years. What attracted applicants to those jobs instead of more interesting work was the higher wages, benefits, and job stability. It's always a tradeoff. Problem is, we don't really have much to offer anybody. Low wages, bad working conditions at times, tiring labor that you can't do for 30 years, few benefits usually, lay offs in the off-season, etc, etc. Something has to improve.

2. Unfortunately you're correct. You won't get bright people to apply. But that's not always been a given. It's come to this because wages were depressed so low and that caused a tailspin in terms of training, since nobody wanted to invest in training, knowing that 9 of 10 would be losers.

3. Yes, you had drive and ambition. And some people do a good job no matter what. But most people are more rational about it. Good job with good pay and something to lose? I'd better not screw up! Crummy job with low pay that's easy to replace anywhere else? Who cares? I'll just sleep in today and find another job this weekend.

I remember applying for flunkie jobs with building contractors in the late 70's and having to show references and give work experience to get the jobs. Those were jobs that were much less demanding than piloting a $8,000 mower around a property. Yet they expected some sign that I was a reliable worker before hiring me. Today, contractors are so desperate that if you show up you're put to work on the spot. No wonder 9 out of 10 fail. And I just think that the desperation that drives this behavior is a low wage structure. No single company can break the cycle, but you can chip away at it by at least trying the high road in terms of hiring. But it takes work and concentration. You can't just hang a sign out "lawn maintenance $15/hour" and expect a quality employee. You should be interviewing 5 or 10 people for any opening, not 1 or 2.

As economists put it. There is no labor shortage, ever. Simply a shortage of people willing to do the labor at the wage offered. And since I believe in the economics of TANSTAAFL (thereain'tnosuchthingasafreelunch) I believe that any gains made by lowering wages will be paid elsewhere (increased turnover, reduced production, reduced quality, social issues, crime, increased taxes to cover expenses of low wage earners with families using more govn't services, etc)

But back to the original post. My point is simply that if you base your business on hiring casual labor don't expect much from it besides frustration and irritation at how pathetic the workers you hire are. That's why I've chosen to mostly remain solo over the years. Tried employees again a few years ago, but I can't stand the aggravation of dealing with them.

bobbygedd
03-31-2004, 02:13 PM
ok, now i get it. but, what does it mean to be a "colorful character?"

Lux Lawn
03-31-2004, 02:38 PM
Pay him for the time worked and nicely tell him you know longer need his services.