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  #41  
Old 01-19-2014, 07:09 PM
Armsden&Son Armsden&Son is online now
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: adirondacks, NY
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I actually started when I was about 8 or 9 years old taking care of numerous neighbors(my mom would only let me use a reel mower) but yes I got my first gig with a real company when I was 12 or 13, I can't quite remember. I know for a fact that I was in 6'th grade.

Is this surprising to you? You do know that there are little dudes right now on this site that are younger than 12 years old right? Some of them even post pictures and have videos.
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  #42  
Old 01-19-2014, 07:43 PM
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GMLC GMLC is offline
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Location: New Hampshire
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I was 13 or 14 years old when I first started mowing. Had 3 accounts my father would drive me to.
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  #43  
Old 01-20-2014, 12:20 AM
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Exact Rototilling Exact Rototilling is online now
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Some golden nuggets have rolled by here last few pages or so. Hope the smart ones picked up on them.

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  #44  
Old 01-20-2014, 12:47 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wasilla, AK
Posts: 3,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly's Landscaping View Post
The thing I hate the most is how few options I have with employees. My partner and I work in the field it's where we are happiest. I can't stand office work nor him. But hiring requires we place and ad we takes dozens of calls we screen and take the turd with the least amount of flies. It eats up days which costs us thousands in lost work time for every employee we hire. Hiring is not free to us so firing is not a punishment to them but a self inflicted punishment to us. It means one you are now short handed and the solution to fix that is to get out the field go into the office and take interviews and all that stuff. So basically your unable to get your work done and your plan is to do even less of it. Then of course the new guy lies about his skills and experience they always do and you find you would of been better off not hiring anyone in the first place. As a result we end up dealing with crap that everyone would say fire them over only rather than looking at the thing they did wrong you end up weighing it against is it so bad to warrant inflicting thousands of dollars of costs on our selves just to be in the same spot a month from now.

That is the thing I hate the most and the solution is as harsh as the problem was to begin with. Either learn to accept ones fate of having your stuff destroyed and mistreated and doing substandard work while you sit in an office you cannot stand to be in. Or simplify the business and drop the employees and do the work your self. The trouble is the grey area. You cant get out of the field on the backs of just 2 employees and since I have a partner it would require having a dozen. That's the price to make what we could make with out having them in the first place. Anyways you asked and thats my answer which has 11 years of thought into that something to think about before offering a 5 min thought out reply.
!) no one wants to pay a good employee what they are worth
2) everyone who is half way good thinks they are better than they are and starts their own business and becomes your competitor
3) they arent as good as they think they are and fug it all up, leaving customers with expectations of champagne when they have been paying for beer, and now they call you looking for the same.

Many companies "problems" would go away or never start if they weren't so talented at breeding their own competitors.

IF you think you're place is in the field, then interview for a field position.
a business owners place is the office.
If youre not good at it, either get that way, or don't be in business.

a good landscaper does not make a good business owner.

Seriously, what 'qualifies' you to work for your self? Would you hire yourself to be the CEO of your company? Of course you wouldn't.

IVe been in the green industry for well over 20 years.
I'd be happy to run someones office, billing, sales and operations for a company that is sized enough to afford the paycheck.

Find someone who wants to pay me $55,000 or more a year to do that.

Everyone whats to hire a 9-12$/hr office lady who doesnt know a thing about landscaping, can't answer questions and has no authority to make decisions, so basically just spins wheels and frustrates customers by not getting anything done.

you want to run field ops and be a technician, hire on with a big company, or hire yourself a GM/Ops manager but it's going to cost you... can you afford it?
The answer is, if you don't want to be in the office, You can't NOT afford it.
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  #45  
Old 01-20-2014, 12:54 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wasilla, AK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCLawn and more View Post
1. Customer management(I feel like a parent to my customers sometimes)
2. Employees not taking owmership of their job
3. People not understanding how much a dollar is worth.
4. Because of the above reasons knowing that it will be extremely difficult to provide career positions with full benifits.
5. Because of the above its my personal life that suffers trying to make this business work.
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2) do you PAY and EMPOWER them to take ownership of their work? Or are you just looking for a low cost dude to blame stuff on?

Taking ownership implies he's empowered. Does he choose the materials? the equipment? the schedule?

How much do you support your employees?

I know this guy (well ill call him a kid he's supra young) who lets his crew leaders choose which mowers, trucks etc they drive... he doesnt have a fleet per se, when he starts a new crew, he lets THEM pick the stuff.
If an employee doesn't like a job on the route, he cancels the customer if he can't get another employee to like it.
The kid is amazingly successful.
His main guy gets paid 18-19/hr with (from what ive seen of them around town) decent amounts of OT.
his helper gets $15.

How much do you pay your people you want to be owners?
How much control (ownership) do you really give them?

Most people in this industry are micro managers.... can't take ownership away from a micro manager, they have to have it all.

'taking ownership' is funny little catch phrase that people usually don't fully understand what that means, what they mean is "I want to blame someone else for my failure to run efficient, coherent field operations"
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  #46  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:17 AM
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JR's Lawn Service JR's Lawn Service is offline
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Posts: 49
Tpendagast: The kid as you call him has it figured out. That is basically how the military teaches you, or at least did back in my day...take care of your men and they will take care of you. I have modeled my life after that phrase, and it has worked very well. You can't do the mission if your men don't have it in them to follow you, and respect is always a 2 way street. I pay my part timers $12 to $15 hourly and buy their lunch. I never did get these guys that pay $10 or under. I guess some are successful at that, but I think in the long run it will cost you more in one way or another.
I am in the process of deciding if I want to hire full timers in my 2nd year of this business, but I think I will try to avoid that, however, if I eventually do so, I will definitely make them feel they are a part of the team and not just some 2nd rate employee. You do have to maintain control, but you can use tact and pretty much like I said, just take care of them. It comes back ten fold.
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  #47  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:50 AM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ragland Al
Posts: 9,856
I will say this business is my passion and after 6 years I still love it.

Things I dislike.

1. Janurary

2. Feburary

3. The phone ringing off the hook in March because no one wanted any thing done in Janurary or Feburary.

4. NEW equiptment that wont start.

5. The expense it takes to operate the business.

And the Old Body that gets sore and tired.

One thing that's hard, as a lot of our customers are old, is seeing customers getting sick or hear that their in the hosipital sick.
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  #48  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:58 AM
JCLawn and more's Avatar
JCLawn and more JCLawn and more is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: MI
Posts: 4,807
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
2) do you PAY and EMPOWER them to take ownership of their work? Or are you just looking for a low cost dude to blame stuff on?

Taking ownership implies he's empowered. Does he choose the materials? the equipment? the schedule?

How much do you support your employees?

I know this guy (well ill call him a kid he's supra young) who lets his crew leaders choose which mowers, trucks etc they drive... he doesnt have a fleet per se, when he starts a new crew, he lets THEM pick the stuff.
If an employee doesn't like a job on the route, he cancels the customer if he can't get another employee to like it.
The kid is amazingly successful.
His main guy gets paid 18-19/hr with (from what ive seen of them around town) decent amounts of OT.
his helper gets $15.

How much do you pay your people you want to be owners?
How much control (ownership) do you really give them?

Most people in this industry are micro managers.... can't take ownership away from a micro manager, they have to have it all.

'taking ownership' is funny little catch phrase that people usually don't fully understand what that means, what they mean is "I want to blame someone else for my failure to run efficient, coherent field operations"
That was answered in number 4. You need people who take ownership before you can pay them that. I find people either have it or they don't. Money is not a motivator when you get use to it. I can say that about myself at times. I pay them as much as I can. Also since I can't provide benefits I pay for everythomg when they punch in. Drinks, food, snacks are not that expensive when looking at the other costs of business. I have a guy who plows for me and I don't even have to tell him what to do and when he gets bored he fixes my trucks. He also use to be a CEO of a multi million dollar company so he doesnt have motivation issues. I do get what you are saying though and I have to fight the urge to be a micro manager because most of the time things Arnt done to the customers expectations.
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  #49  
Old 01-20-2014, 09:05 AM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Location: Ragland Al
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I forgot to mention POISON OAK/IVY
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  #50  
Old 01-20-2014, 09:10 AM
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JCLawn and more JCLawn and more is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: MI
Posts: 4,807
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryinalabama View Post
I forgot to mention POISON OAK/IVY
Whenever you see my name does it remind you of that?
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