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  #11  
Old 09-05-2012, 07:13 AM
Greenboy24 Greenboy24 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Sturbridge, Mass
Posts: 294
You have to hold the workers accountable for not showing up ready to go. THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE PAYING THEM FOR. If they can't be ready to go then you need to find new help. You need to but some rules in place that address this and most importantly ENFORCE them. Maybe a 3 strikes policy or whatever you want to do but there needs to be consequences.

I tell the guys to be here at 7, most show up early a few as early as 620. The trucks are usually gone before 7 unless we are doing something additional at the shop. I have fired people for not showing up on time. 7:02 is not on time. Yes things happen, there is traffic etc... but when its a regular thing there is no place for them here.
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  #12  
Old 09-05-2012, 10:24 PM
seabee24 seabee24 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Well I think that's been my big problem. Next year bring on an extra guy in the spring then fire someone with in the first few weeks if needed.

I'm tring to create an employee handbook. I've never done it, or had one. I'm one of those people that never had one at my previous jobs but I always operated honestly and worked hard....I guess that's just me.

So I'm tring to keep the respect of the guys, give them top pay and incentives, but I have to draw a line somewhere. I worked for a landscaper for 4 years. We mowed 125 homes, 3 guys, 4 days and never an hour of overtime. In fact we had to "wash the truck" almost daily just to get 40 hours. We got top pay for a maintenance crew. I think each guy was getting 13-15 per hour. But we didn't take smoke breaks, (we didn't smoke). We took a 30 min unpaid break for lunch and that was it. We didn't carry cell phones, the truck left at 7:03 everyday. And too be honest I could have saved even more time on that crew if we had the opertunity to do it again. That in my mind was an honest days work for an honest days pay

I pulled up to a site today with guys standing around...they claim they were on break, I heard this story before from this crew....must be fait that I pull up when they are on breaks

I know of 2 ways to fix this issue. 1st way taken from a large local landscaper, he gives set break times.....9-9:10. 12-12:30. He says if he pulls up at 9:13 and your standing around its a write up.

Other way is to allow them to take a break as they want but punch out. If I pull up to a site and see them sitting, go straight to the truck and check the clip board....if they are not marked out, write up

Which way in your mind is better and fair?
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  #13  
Old 09-05-2012, 10:28 PM
SP Landscaping SP Landscaping is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cold Spring Ny
Posts: 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by seabee24 View Post
Well I think that's been my big problem. Next year bring on an extra guy in the spring then fire someone with in the first few weeks if needed.

I'm tring to create an employee handbook. I've never done it, or had one. I'm one of those people that never had one at my previous jobs but I always operated honestly and worked hard....I guess that's just me.

So I'm tring to keep the respect of the guys, give them top pay and incentives, but I have to draw a line somewhere. I worked for a landscaper for 4 years. We mowed 125 homes, 3 guys, 4 days and never an hour of overtime. In fact we had to "wash the truck" almost daily just to get 40 hours. We got top pay for a maintenance crew. I think each guy was getting 13-15 per hour. But we didn't take smoke breaks, (we didn't smoke). We took a 30 min unpaid break for lunch and that was it. We didn't carry cell phones, the truck left at 7:03 everyday. And too be honest I could have saved even more time on that crew if we had the opertunity to do it again. That in my mind was an honest days work for an honest days pay

I pulled up to a site today with guys standing around...they claim they were on break, I heard this story before from this crew....must be fait that I pull up when they are on breaks

I know of 2 ways to fix this issue. 1st way taken from a large local landscaper, he gives set break times.....9-9:10. 12-12:30. He says if he pulls up at 9:13 and your standing around its a write up.

Other way is to allow them to take a break as they want but punch out. If I pull up to a site and see them sitting, go straight to the truck and check the clip board....if they are not marked out, write up

Which way in your mind is better and fair?
I like both of them and I might make that a new policy. I can't tell you the amount of times I pull up and I see the guys scrambling to get back to work
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2012, 12:55 AM
seabee24 seabee24 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Landscaping View Post
I like both of them and I might make that a new policy. I can't tell you the amount of times I pull up and I see the guys scrambling to get back to work
My guys don't even scramble, they just look at me then say we are just taking a break.

Some other ideas that other business owners gave me;

One supvisor told me they now start their crews later in the morning 7,-8 am instead of 5:30-6:30. He saw a decrease in overtime, his thoughts being they hurry up at the end of the day because once 5 pm hits everyone wants to just get done and go home.

I have heard of all kinds of bonus programs including just a simple 20 bucks for every crew member cash everyday that shows up on time, completes the route in full, no break dows, no complaints.

Also was given advice to "slightly over schedule" and note the actual time you feel they should be on and off the sight. Giving them something to aim for, yet a full day plus a few, so if they slack even a little they get behind

Not sure if any of these would work or not?

Also
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  #15  
Old 09-06-2012, 02:20 AM
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PLS-Tx PLS-Tx is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,332
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcbailey View Post
the extra 45 minutes or so in the evening to get everything re-lubed/re-fueled/re-everything saves about 2 hours in the morning! Took me about 3 years to finally learn that.

Basically in the morning the only thing the guys do are get the schedules and go, they do stop at a gas station about a mile away for their ice if needed, other than that, the mornings are pretty smooth.
We have a fridge with a freezer in the shop. We make our own ice now. small plastic bowls, fill them with water. When they are frozen we put a couple of blocks of ice in a bag, works great and no need to stop at the store.

I try and fill up the gas cans myself, usually take one guy with me. When the truck needs gas the crew leader takes it and fills it up at the end of the day after the rest of the crew has gone home for the day.
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  #16  
Old 09-06-2012, 02:26 AM
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JContracting JContracting is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Champlin, MN
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Its not a law in MN but it is extremely weak to not pay your guys when they're in the trucks at any time, driving or not. It's not like they can be doing anything else they'd want to do when they're off the clock. A couple yrs ago I worked for 2 different companies that did that, let's just say their trucks didn't go below 3000 rpms & 70-75 mph the entire trip home. To pay out an extra $15-30 in labor costs when the guys are making a trip back makes a hell of a lot more sense than the destruction of a truck's engine & tranny because they're in a rush because they aren't getting paid. That's how I was! "To hell with their stuff if we weren't getting paid to drive to the shop."
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  #17  
Old 09-06-2012, 05:12 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
Our days start at 6:30 AM. If I get to the shop at 6:30 they are gone.

I have a shop fridge, filtered water , case of powdered Gatorade, some bottled water, trail mix. sweet roll, some soda's...

They do not go through a case of water in a month, they re-use the bottles. They cut a corner off the 3 gallon Gatorade pouch. They mix up a little at a time in the water bottles and drink mostly filtered water from the cooler.

I likely spend about $100.00 a month on water, soda's, snacks. At this rate the Gatorade will likely last me through next season.

I rarely see any OT, if I do it is because of extra work or one guy coming in to take the truck and eq to dealer. They guys maintain the equipment other wise.

I could leave for a week and all the work gets done, if they break something at a clients they fix it. My jobs is to give them work, collect the money and pay them. Once in while I have to ruffle a few feathers and remind them of things to be done.

It is amazing what happens when you tell them they are men, treat them like men, and expect them to be men. I ask them to do things, I rarely yell or get excited. I Let them know I am paying attention. I give bonus money out of the blue and they know it is based on profit.

If jobs are not done well, take too long, equipments is abused and broken... then no bonus.

It is hard to find good people but when you do, let them know you appreciate their work and you care about them, their lives and their families.

Last edited by Duekster; 09-06-2012 at 05:19 AM.
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  #18  
Old 09-06-2012, 06:44 AM
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gcbailey gcbailey is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: southern WV
Posts: 1,760
Quote:
Originally Posted by PLS-Tx View Post
We have a fridge with a freezer in the shop. We make our own ice now. small plastic bowls, fill them with water. When they are frozen we put a couple of blocks of ice in a bag, works great and no need to stop at the store.

I try and fill up the gas cans myself, usually take one guy with me. When the truck needs gas the crew leader takes it and fills it up at the end of the day after the rest of the crew has gone home for the day.
I have thought about finding a used ice machine, for years we used the 5 gal jugs and either had water or gatorade and it ended up wasted most of the time, now we've got a large cooler on each truck and I provide a case of water and if the guys want to bring their own drink (non alcoholic!) it's up to them. I can get a bag of ice for .99 cents, so it's 3.00 a day for ice, I haven't figured out if a small ice machine would save any money or not.

I'm responsible for the gas/diesel cans myself, pretty funny looking at times rolling in with 8 or 9 cans and hogging up a pump for a while.
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  #19  
Old 09-06-2012, 09:00 AM
seabee24 seabee24 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 619
Quote:
Originally Posted by JContracting View Post
Its not a law in MN but it is extremely weak to not pay your guys when they're in the trucks at any time, driving or not. It's not like they can be doing anything else they'd want to do when they're off the clock. A couple yrs ago I worked for 2 different companies that did that, let's just say their trucks didn't go below 3000 rpms & 70-75 mph the entire trip home. To pay out an extra $15-30 in labor costs when the guys are making a trip back makes a hell of a lot more sense than the destruction of a truck's engine & tranny because they're in a rush because they aren't getting paid. That's how I was! "To hell with their stuff if we weren't getting paid to drive to the shop."
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I have always thougth that as well. I got paid travel when I worked, I truely think its fair. my issue is getting them to be out the door quickly. As it stands now, they punch in, smoke, talk , $hit, 1 guy changes blades, the other 2 stare at him and pretend to help. what i need is a system that allows them to punch in, and then with in 3-5 mins be in the truck rolling down the road.
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  #20  
Old 09-06-2012, 09:24 AM
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gcbailey gcbailey is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: southern WV
Posts: 1,760
I guess I'm lucky that my 2 full time guys are "old school" and have always been great, even mentoring for me. Heck, they are both old enough to be my dad! My part time college guys are good workers, but typical late teens early 20's types. Their only problem are their phones. The "dads" keep them in line! haha. The time clock starts and stops back at the shop.
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