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Old 04-03-2011, 10:21 AM
wglyons wglyons is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Alachua, FL
Posts: 10
Ready to hire 1st employee - HELP?!?!?

Well - I figured it would come to this...

I started my business in May of last year to make a little extra cash, and it kind of exploded. I only do this part-time, as I am a regional manager for a large corporation, and travel most weeks Monday-Thursday. So, that generally leaves Friday and Saturday for lawn care, and I usually have to handle a few properties on Monday's before I leave town.

At this point, I handle approximately 45 properties, with at least 25 lawns per week now that we're back to the growing season.

However, I keep getting on-line requests for estimates, and the phone keeps ringing with new potential customers, so I continue to grow. I don't really want to stop taking new accounts - I would really like to make a go at trying to turn this into a substantial and successful business.

I've had a buddy or two help me out here and there, but nothing official (I know, not good). But I need to take a serious look at hiring someone on part-time. My thought is to work with them for a few weeks, and then try to cut them loose on their own, or maybe hire them a helper. I have a lot of reservations letting someone take my truck and equipment, but in reality, I know a lot of people on this site see that happen every day, so it must be possible. I also realize that many of my clients have hired "ME" and not my company/employees to handle their lawn care, so that may be a situation that I have to face.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me on how to handle these growing pains??? Any suggestions will be GREATLY appreciated...

Greg
Gainesville, FL
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:37 AM
VanAllen's Lawn Service VanAllen's Lawn Service is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Melrose, FL
Posts: 52
lol you're right down the road from me. But really just let them know that they're working for you and that you expect the same quality of work from them that the customers expect from you. If they think they are the only thing holding your business together let them know that they're expendable.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:44 AM
wglyons wglyons is offline
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Location: Alachua, FL
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Ah! Melrose!!! My wife grew up there!!! Just inside Alachua County...

Great suggestion - thank you...Do you have employees??? If so, I'd be interested to know how you handled hiring your first...
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:19 AM
VanAllen's Lawn Service VanAllen's Lawn Service is offline
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Location: Melrose, FL
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No, I don't but my grandpa owns a big operation in Orange Park and now my uncle runs it. They had problems with help because they hired friends. It never works out because they expect to be treated as friends and not workers.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:56 PM
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Brown & Co. Brown & Co. is offline
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Location: Kyle, TX
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I started off that way and at times it feels like a giant hiring circle with helpers getting tired in the heat and not pulling the same weight as they did in the spring time.

Then client financial issues that you can have covered before they hit. Have your employees first 2 months pay before he starts in case hard times hit your clients and they cant pay for a month or two till they get caught back up with their own money. you may have to foot his first few paychecks yourself...instead of the company...you being the owner and having the ONLY initial start-up capitol. Through out the years we've had about 15 guys working at any given time. I suck at the hiring process still any one have some good interview questions...ways to verify experience. I was thinking about starting EVERYONE at $8.25 with a 2-5% performance raise at 90 day, 120 days, and then annually after that. That way they show they are interested in this industry and have experience....keeping in mind they are ONLY going to be doing one maybe 2 things completely supervised. Trimming and Edging...you think that merits more $ initially. You do nothing but hold it and walk. With that raise structure they get rewarded more the faster and more proficiently they learn it. Then once I know that they KNOW how and what to do without being supervised and can handle everything with confidence then and ONLY then unless they have proof that they have worked in the industry for how every many years ...perhaps old pay stubs or check with previous employers listed on an application I dont know for sure. I definitely dont take their word for it as it usually kills the time for me having to deal with an upset client then reprimand the employee, then train him, and you have to go through the whole trust thing all over again.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:15 PM
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Brown & Co. Brown & Co. is offline
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Disregard that last reply because of the 10 minute timeout.

I started off that way and at times it feels like a giant hiring circle with helpers getting tired in the heat and not pulling the same weight as they did in the spring time.

Then client financial issues that you can have covered before they hit. Have your employees first 2 months pay before he starts in case hard times hit your clients and they cant pay for a month or two till they get caught back up with their own money. you may have to foot his first few paychecks yourself...instead of the company...you being the owner and having the ONLY initial start-up capitol. Through out the years we've had about 15 guys working at any given time. I suck at the hiring process still any one have some good interview questions...ways to verify experience. I was thinking about starting EVERYONE at $8.25 with a 2-5% performance raise at 90 day, 120 days, and then annually after that (that would put them right at $10/hr once they actually know what they are doing. That way they show they are interested in this industry and have experience....keeping in mind they are ONLY going to be doing one maybe 2 things completely supervised. Trimming and Edging...you think that merits more $ initially. You do nothing but hold it and walk. With that raise structure they get rewarded more the faster and more proficiently they learn it. Then once I know that they KNOW how and what to do without being supervised and can handle everything with confidence then and ONLY then unless they have proof that they have worked in the industry for how every many years ...perhaps old pay stubs or check with previous employers listed on an application I dont know for sure. I would have no problem hiring a person initially at $10+ if they are proficient to my expectations of what you should know after doing a specific job for a year or more...but I definitely dont take their word for it as it usually turns out its not entirely true and they fibbed a little just to land the interview... it kills the time for me having to deal with an upset client then reprimand the employee, then retrain him, and you have to go through the whole trust thing all over again and it maybe months into the next season before you think his competence and proficiency is there without supervision.

Another thing would be to start the new guy under the pretenses of become a foreman once proficient on his own....with the key responsibility of making sure his helper isn't cutting corners or milking the clock. Pay once or twice a month AFTER service is performed and meets expectations...any cut corners or neglected areas should be fixed to company standards and policies before he gets paid or they dont meet their end of the employee/employer contract...and it is a contract! Weather you call it one or not the state and government views it that way. and if they quit well kiss that unemployment good by.

If you get a bad employee and dont want to pay unemployment...demote his pay (from reprimands, write-ups, etc)...increase his hours (to go back and fix those areas or call it training)...until he quits on his own or is forced to improve.


Would you work for $8.25 hr in an entry level position if the only thing you did was edge OR weed eat OR Blow? Not all combined, just ONE! I think hats completely fair...IMO.

Now that might not cover the cost of living but that's the difference in P/T and F/T. P/T you'll need to work two jobs more than likely (usually its one job with shitty pay and great benefits OR great pay and no benefits.


Just thought of this.... How about hiriing 2 or 3 at Min. wage for this first week or so and then take the most proficient one...I believe this paid training/verification period is protected from the two that didnt make the cut from not being able to collect unemployment because it was stated upfront exactly what the qualifications that are required and they failed at keeping their end of the employment contract. Im not sure what it is that protects you but I do know there are companies out there that are protected in the manner.
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Last edited by Brown & Co.; 07-29-2011 at 08:22 PM.
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