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View Full Version : Man, I freakin' hate.....


JimLewis
12-07-2004, 08:48 PM
.....Having to lay people off.

It's just getting slow right now. Had to lay another guy off today - just a few weeks before Christmas. I hate having to do that. It was sad. I told him we'll be hiring him back in January or February, as soon as business picks back up. But he was bummed. This guy has a family and kids and works hard out in the rain every day for me every day. Did good work, was responsible, etc.

I didn't have a choice. And I know he'll be able to get paid from the unemployment dept. But I just hate having to do it. It just sucks!

Firing people isn't nearly as hard. When they deserve it, it's not that difficult. It's when they don't deserve it, but you have to let them go anyway, that it hurts.

TURF DOCTOR
12-07-2004, 08:55 PM
Good help is hard to find,why could you not keep him yearly, what will happen is you will lose a good man.I have been in the same boat as you i know about pulling salaries and no income comeing in.

Mo Green
12-07-2004, 08:56 PM
yeah... that must suck. Maybe you can find some other way to handle the situation if this guy is that important to you. Good help is hard to find. I'd hate to see you lose this guy if he is that good of an employee. Some companies allow their employees to "buy time" throughout the year to use later on. Maybe this could be an option?

locutus
12-07-2004, 09:12 PM
I've often wondered if it would be worth it to carry an A-number-one employee for up to a month just to retain him? I dont mean let him sit on his rear, but at the very least do some equipment maintainence etc.

Dig-it Landscaping
12-07-2004, 09:27 PM
i try to talk to other people that i know that need misc work done and i put in a great word for him. it has worked really well so far. my dad has him help him sometimes like, insulating the barn and doing some small jobs on the farm while dad is at work. hopefully this helps

JimLewis
12-07-2004, 09:28 PM
Good help is hard to find,why could you not keep him yearly, what will happen is you will lose a good man.

It wasn't my only employee. Out of the 5 guys who are currently staying for the winter, one had to go. This one was the least desirable of the 5. But a good employee, nonetheless. We couldn't afford to keep him, unfortunately.

I am confident that he will return and come work for us next year. He likes working here and he came back last year. But still, it sucks. I was hoping not to have to do this.

Mo Green
12-07-2004, 09:32 PM
If he is interested, next year with hold about 3 hours per week. Then in December when it slows down he has that time saved up, and you can pay him.

Fantasy Lawns
12-07-2004, 09:34 PM
Ya .... I hear ya Jim .... every winter fore us it's the same thing ... the full time base grows when we can afford to make summer help 'Full Time" .... fore me I run with 6 all Summer n only 4 from Nov to March ....

This year is kinda different as one of the regular guys is going into the Air Force 1st of the year ... I had a replacement lined up with the understanding that "your more than likely be out of work for 1-2 months ... he busted ass so good in Oct I decided to carry the extra payroll .... everyone just got little less hours

Last year n one before that was 3 full time .... this year 4 n hope by next year it will be 5

Up North
12-07-2004, 10:47 PM
Jim I'm sure it does suck, big time. But it sure seems that you're the type of guy that treats his employees very well and I'm sure he enjoys working for you. As bummed as he is, he probably understands where you're coming from and why you have to do it. Plus I'm sure you were completely up front with him and assured him he'll be asked back as soon as it picks up. One of the unfortunate things about business that you have to deal with. Luckily I'm still a solo guy and haven't had to face that yet.

Anyway, hang in there Jim, it'll all work out.

Buck

J&R
12-07-2004, 11:21 PM
Thats not a bad to what i had to do today. Ex worker stole hedge trimmer and pawned it. I reported it too the police. He's setting in jail as of 3:00 today

Envy Lawn Service
12-07-2004, 11:21 PM
Unfortunately, the wife is always a lot less understanding about such situations.
Unless he has saved and prepared his family for this, his wife will probably hope he gets a "real job" for Christmas.

This industry asks a lot of employees.
For this reason I still stand by my comments in the "hiring mexicans" thread....

walker-talker
12-07-2004, 11:23 PM
I dont have any employees, but has it ever crossed anyone's mind to bid jobs at a break even price just to keep their help busy. As explained to me by a friend in the concrete business, there was a local business here that did just that. The local business is huge (did a lot of city contracts...paving streets and more).

gene gls
12-08-2004, 12:03 AM
My guy was hoping to be laid off on Dec 1st. He looks forward to it every year so he can bum out and sleep in every day.

Gene

thill
12-08-2004, 01:32 AM
Mo Green's idea to hold back a bit each month to pay out in the slow months is temping but is unfortunately not legal.

State and/or Federal Wage and Hour Boards can really burn you. All it takes is for one employee to file a complaint and you are up to your eyeballs in supplying data and paperwork in massive amounts for several years back.

If they find against you, they can fine you and make you pay "back pay" and damages to the former employee. Add that to the cost of submitting tons of stuff....... it ain't worth it.

Tom

Mo Green
12-08-2004, 02:07 AM
My wife works for a very large credit card company, and they but time to use as vacation as she sees fit. I have a friend that works for a very large, nationwide bank and they do the same. That's where I got the idea. I had no idea it was illegal.

mtdman
12-08-2004, 02:40 AM
My wife works for a very large credit card company, and they but time to use as vacation as she sees fit. I have a friend that works for a very large, nationwide bank and they do the same. That's where I got the idea. I had no idea it was illegal.
If you had the employees permission, I can't imagine it would be illegal.

Jim, what do you do with your employees during the winter? Do you get snow there in Oregon so that you do plowing? I've often wondered just what to do with employees during the winter to get them to return in the spring. I don't have enough work to keep anyone busy or justify their employment myself. Even with snow.

:D

JimLewis
12-08-2004, 02:51 AM
If you had the employees permission, I can't imagine it would be illegal.

That's like saying, "Hey, I had my employee's permission to pay him only $2.00 per hour. He agreed to it!" Yah, nice try. Still don't work - their permission or not.

It's called comp. time and it is illegal. I checked with my state labor board because I used to do that. We don't do it anymore.

Jim, what do you do with your employees during the winter? Do you get snow there in Oregon so that you do plowing?

They are just doing maintenance stuff. We do year-round maintenance around here. The amount of work on each property (per month) goes down during the winter. But it doesn't stop. We still get paid the same each month.

forgop
12-08-2004, 03:48 AM
It's called comp. time and it is illegal. I checked with my state labor board because I used to do that. We don't do it anymore.



If you make him a salaried employee, it wouldn't be illegal.

Gene $immons
12-22-2004, 09:45 PM
Running a business means having to make tough decisions. As you already know. Laying off quality people is a hard decision, but in landscaping, that is a reality come winter time.

Turf Medic
12-23-2004, 12:26 AM
Comp time is illegal in most states. But one option you might consider is cutting everyone's hours instead of laying an entire person off. One of the local concrete companies does that every winter, the cut hours enough so everyone can get unemployment. They then let them work up to the amount of hours allowed by unemployment, usually the drivers are making within 10 percent of what they normally do. This allows them to keep all of the drivers season after season.

out4now
12-23-2004, 12:32 AM
.....Having to lay people off.

It's just getting slow right now. Had to lay another guy off today - just a few weeks before Christmas. I hate having to do that. It was sad. I told him we'll be hiring him back in January or February, as soon as business picks back up. But he was bummed. This guy has a family and kids and works hard out in the rain every day for me every day. Did good work, was responsible, etc.

I didn't have a choice. And I know he'll be able to get paid from the unemployment dept. But I just hate having to do it. It just sucks!

Firing people isn't nearly as hard. When they deserve it, it's not that difficult. It's when they don't deserve it, but you have to let them go anyway, that it hurts.

When it comes to getting laid off I liked it better when they at least let me know before I bought a bunch of Christmas gifts. When I ws a mechanic it happened every year and I had to go get another job which is how I ended up cutting full time with the school district. Year round work with bnfts.

Soupy
12-23-2004, 05:10 AM
Instead of holding 3 hours a week and letting him trade it for vacation. Couldn't you just give him the option of depositing 3 hours pay a week into a savings account within the company. You could even match a few %.

Or, pay him salary and stretch it out over 52 weeks. If you pay him 10/hr for 40 hrs a week with 46 weeks normal. You could offer him $355 a week, which would come out to $8.75/hr. You would benefit from this too, you would have a worker on call 52 weeks a year for the same price and if he quits then you would have paid him less for the time he did work.

PMLAWN
12-23-2004, 05:26 AM
Jim, If you are doing maintenance all year and getting payed the same each month (I think that is what I read in your last post) why can't you keep them on.
I have rental homes and also invest in fix-it-up properties. I try to buy a handyman special or 2 in Nov. so we can use our landscape guys in our handyman division.
We also maintain a few HOA's and if they have bigger projects that they want done I try to get them to hold off till winter to do the work. This works great if they have work around pools or boat docks as those things are shut down in the winter.
Still a bummer laying off at Christmas--- Hope it works out for both of you and have a Merry Christmas and a great 05.

osc
12-23-2004, 09:38 AM
Fella's:
Jim pays unemployment insurance, state and federal. He's keeping four guys on through the winter. What the heck do you want from a small business owner?
I'm sorry but you guys can't do math. Suppose you make 20 grand a year payed out in 9 months, then you get layed off for 3 months and collect 3 to 4 grand in unemployment benefits. If you get your pay spread out over 12 months, you 've just been cheated out of the 3 to 4 grand. Do ya get it??

Seasonal industries use unemployment as a way of life. Nearly all construction trades for example. Most men in the skilled trades look forward to "rocking" in the winter months. It's called a "good" lay-off. Now if you are layed off for good... that's a different story.

Soupy
12-23-2004, 11:39 AM
Fella's:
Jim pays unemployment insurance, state and federal. He's keeping four guys on through the winter. What the heck do you want from a small business owner?
I'm sorry but you guys can't do math. Suppose you make 20 grand a year payed out in 9 months, then you get layed off for 3 months and collect 3 to 4 grand in unemployment benefits. If you get your pay spread out over 12 months, you 've just been cheated out of the 3 to 4 grand. Do ya get it??

Seasonal industries use unemployment as a way of life. Nearly all construction trades for example. Most men in the skilled trades look forward to "rocking" in the winter months. It's called a "good" lay-off. Now if you are laid off for good... that's a different story.

I thought of the whole unemployment thing, but my post was meant for guys that don't like the lay off. I don't understand why the guy was sadden by the layoff to begin with. I know I would want to be laid off too. Plus he is only laying him off for a month.

PMLAWN
12-23-2004, 06:36 PM
Unemployment ins. is another point. Here in NC. we start paying the least amount but if guys make claims the insurance goes up for the whole lot. That is one reason I try to keep them. I do get lucky as one guy goes home to Mexico for the month of Jan and another works a bunch of boat shows and tows boats for a boat co. and that cuts back on the pay.
I do know that even if we visit each property all winter there is still very little work to do.
If you have friends in other labor intensive trades see if they could use a few of your guys for two months.