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Old 06-22-2002, 11:31 AM
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Holloway Lawns Holloway Lawns is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Wichita Falls, Texas area
Posts: 253
Finding good help

Last year I used a friend of my moms he done good work. The only thing is I have to pick him up and take him back. This year same thing pick him up and all but for some reason he is not working as hard or as good. He has used the trimmer and trims all the way to the dirt and misses lots of trimming he is also slower now. How do I fing a better helper? Have any of you ever used a temp employment company to get help?
Holloway Lawns

Roger Holloway

Wichita Falls, Texas
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Old 06-22-2002, 12:12 PM
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gusbuster gusbuster is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Sunny Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area
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If one thing that i learned from the trade mags, set up a review system and be fair with the judgement. This may work with your current helper now. I know it's a pain to train somebody new.

What are you paying in wages?? What do you expect from a helper? What do they expect of you? Are you pulling your weight?

Those are questions that you need to answer first before hiring a new guy. Compare yourself to other operators.

As for looking for new helpers, Ask at your local mechanic shop, they may know somebody that isn't happy or know somebody. In current econimic conditions, should be a heck easier than last year. Also, have any friends in the trade? As them if they know of anybody that's looking for work.

J-LC Landscaping & Maintenance Gardening
C-27 CA. Contr# 770044
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Old 06-22-2002, 09:07 PM
kris kris is offline
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Location: nowhere
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We constantly struggled with this ... and it is a industry problem.

The best luck we had was when wages were raised and overtime (practically unheard of here) was paid.

In order to offset some of the costs we have eliminated alot of travel pay. A couple of us start at 6 am and working from a "calk board" that the foreman write their needs for the next day, start loading each crew's trucks ...hooking up trailers and loading machines. At 630 when foreman arrive they finish loading and so far this season we have had every one out of the yard by 7 am.

ALL labors meet the foreman at the job sites at 730 am. We have probably cut at least 30 hours per day in wasted travel pay.

We are more effiecient then we have ever been in the mornings.

This does not apply to the maintenance crews ,you couldn't have people driving site to site. Their days are much shorter... they come in at 7 am to fully loaded truck and trailers and are back at 330-4 each day.

Sorry to ramble ... the short answer to your problem may be to PAY MORE FOR GOOD HELP.
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Old 06-24-2002, 01:02 AM
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Brickman Brickman is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: eastern WY
Posts: 1,249
Paying more isn't the only anwser. I was paying $10 last year for a guy that wasn't worth more than $6. This year I am paying $8 for a guy that isn't worth more than that yet. But I am still trying to train him.
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Old 06-24-2002, 10:28 PM
The Lawn Choupique The Lawn Choupique is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: The Occupied South
Posts: 199
Some companies will advertise for employee's with catch phrases such as "No drug test required" or "No background check needed".
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Old 06-25-2002, 09:05 AM
LawnLad LawnLad is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 738
Advertising "No Drug Test" is like opening up your company to a world of hurt. Unless of course you want to attract the dregs of society.

As more and more larger companies drug test - those that know they can't pass a drug test are finding the typically smaller company where they are not drug testing.

Because urine testing is close to being a joke - many companies are moving to hair testing. So again - those that know they can't beat the urine test are looking for typically smaller companies where they can beat the urine test, if present.

This means that as a percentage of your applicant pool - you are more likely to have those that would test positive for drug use applying to your company if you don't test or appear to be a good target for someone who knows they can't apply to a company that has a no drug policy that they enforce.

I asked myself about 8 years ago if I wanted to accept what appeared to be common place - people, particularly laborers/foreman in this industry were going to come with drug habits. I was not willing to accept them into the ranks of our company and this is why we now do preemployment screening and post accident testing.

I won't assert a 100% clean record - I'm not that ignorant, but I do know a number of guys that have told our employees that they'd like to work at our company but they know they couldn't pass the drug test and so they didn't bother to apply. As well, I've had numerous people withdraw their application (or simply disappear) as a result of the drug test.

Sorry it took so long to get to my point - which is, hire slowly and fire quickly. So often we are attracted to the live body that walks through the door and is expressing an interest to work. We hold onto that guy way too long after we realize that he's not working out. Their is a problem with finding good people - and you can continually raise the bar for your employees (as you should be) so it's as if there is never anyone good enough for the company. However, hiring someone hastily will only come back to cost you in the long run. Interview carefully, check references, criminal back ground, workers' comp check, pre employment drug screen/physicals, etc - will all help to reduce hiring mistakes. You'll still find bad apples from time to time - but you'll cut down on them for sure.

The only good solution I"ve found for finding "good people" is to hire the person with the right attitude and train the skills if they don't have them. You'll have to develop them from within the company - it's tough to hire the company guy from the outside.
Lawn Lad, Inc.
Cleveland, Ohio
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Old 06-25-2002, 10:23 PM
AL Inc AL Inc is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Long Island, NY
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Holloway- Some good points above. I don't know if it applies in your area, but there is a large Hispanic workforce here, and for the most part, they are willing to work hard. My whole crew is from El Salvador. I still have my employee related problems, but these guys are as reliable as the sun. Nowadays, most American kids feel they are too good to do manual work, so I have had little choice. My men do speak some English, so they can communicate with my clients, and since the same guys service the same properties every week, the client does get to know the guys. I guess what I'm saying is, is this a possible avenue for you? I have had good luck with a Hispanic crew- My first Hispanic employee that I hired 7 years ago is still with me. He brought guys that he knew worked hard, and that is how I grew. Just a thought. Good luck to you. Mike
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Old 06-25-2002, 10:25 PM
Kyle Carter Kyle Carter is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 13
I am having the same problems. I agree wages are important. I have been working with some of my slower workers hoping to get them up to par. Starting from scratch is harder than correcting an old problem.
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Old 06-25-2002, 11:29 PM
site site is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Stratham,NH
Posts: 168
Before I lay down my opinion I'll admit that employees are the biggest headache for my business. That being said...
Payin good wages seems to get results. Asking current employees if the know anyone who wants a job gets you some halfway decent candidates. Responsibility= job satisfaction, so don't just bark out orders minute by minute. show them the big picture and let them figure it out once in a while. Fire the troublemakers even if they've been around a while. It stings, and you need good luck with the replacement, but its worth it (I just proved this one myself this month).
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Old 06-26-2002, 12:16 AM
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Brickman Brickman is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: eastern WY
Posts: 1,249
I disagree with paying good wages gets results. At least not all the time. Some of the time yes, most of the time that would be nice.

One loser I had last year was drawing $10. He wasn't worth more than $6. And yet he would still hint at the fact that he hadn't gotten a raise in a while. Just for your info $10 is way high around here for most any wage. Some areas that might be like nothing.
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