nice post Sean
I worked for ChemLawn Corporation from the late 70's to 1990. Back then, they paid "Chinese overtime" (usually less than minimum wage). Then I started my own company (American Lawn Care, Inc). Some weeks I would put in about 90 hours per week - 7 days a week & using my truck's headlights to see while finishing up lawn app's.....just to build my business
Now we have nearly 3000 "spray" accounts (we subcontract the mowing). Eight applicators including myself. Now it's rare that any of my guys work more than 40 hours per week, cuz we have tight routes & nice equipment. Personally, I still average about 50 hours per week. I am still the first to show up in the mornings & the last guy to go home, but that is expected if one runs his own business.
I try to treat my guys as easy as possible, cuz they have lives too. Back in the early 80's, ChemLawn Corporation (not TruGreen) did a corporate-wide survey of employee's complaints. Number ONE issue: "Not enough free time.
My company operates like the "Knights of the Round Table" -- (nobody is better than anybody else). I respect my employees' wants & needs, so I let them choose what equipment they want to use, and I listen to any ideas they may have. Example: My ride-on applicators prefer the T3000 spreader/sprayer cuz they do NOT want to have to pull a trailer. Others were tired of the constant prob's with LESCO push spreaders, so we switched to Spykers instead. I could go on & on.
We also provide NASCAR tickets for races, give them a weekday off to attend the Iowa State Fair, as well as several other free events that our company pays for. They work about 9 months out of the year. The other months = they get weekly paychecks. Health/dental insurance is also provided. Many weeks, my guys average $25 per hour. Many earn $30,000 per year -- not bad for Iowa.
We always find time for several training days as well. Both 'in house' as well as land grant university events.
Proud subscriber of TURF Magazine. (thanks Ron)