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Dealing with Employee issues

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Lawnamus, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Lawnamus

    Lawnamus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    I need the help of those who own their lawn care business and deal with their supervisors, foreman, whatever. I have one particular guy (foreman) who for the most part does a pretty good job, works hard, and shows up everyday, and has been with me for the better part of 6 years. While there is a lot to be said for that, over the last year, he has started his own little side business cutting residential and smaller commercial with my knowledge and hesitant approval. Last year when he started faultering a good bit, I voiced my concerns. For the most part this spring/early summer has gone well. But obviously his business has grown somewhat rapidly and I told him it was a huge conflict of interest for him to be a supervisor because I know he always " needs to go" after the job is "done" matter of opinion. I tried to make a change which he readily accepted, put a new guy in and it blew up in my face. Bascially most of the laborers for the lack of better words, revolted so I switched it back to the way it was. Now he doesn't want to work weekends "because he has his other stuff" etc., etc.

    Its the ultimate Catch 22. For the above reasons, I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I just fired him, because as all of you know, good let alone decent workers are very hard to find and that show up. But I've given him everything, done everything for him, pay him extremely well, etc. and its apparently not good enough. He tells me that last year I kept threatening his job so he had to have something to fall back on which I reply that he threatened his own job with shotty work, not me, and trust me I have been forgiving.
    In the end, I have too much to do to just up and let him go, but it just keeps eating at me that a person with that position wants his cake and eat it too. Like I said, he works like a mad man and does a good job running the guys, but damn:confused: Any ideas would be great.
  2. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    ask him if he wants to consolidate his biz with yours.
  3. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,667

    Sounds like he's on his way out, you should have seen the writing on the wall when he started his own business. You better hope he doesn't take some of your business with him.

    A good paycheck is something lure a new foremen.. You definitely need some new blood in your co.
  4. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Posts: 2,419

    I think the answer is simple here. Either he drops his business and you keep him, or he keeps his business and you let him go. There's no telling how many customers you are potentially losing if he might be lowballing your price to them.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    There's your problem right there, why is it that some business owners understand they shouldn't bend over backwards for customers, yet they don't think twice about it with employees? Then again, some owners bend over backwards for everybody, and once you do that they take you, time and again.

    I wish I knew why it doesn't work if you're a nice guy, I am sorry I don't know the reason, but I do know the solution. Now in my world I don't need to know why things are like this, all I have to know is how to fix it. I HATE running my business with an iron fist, but playing softball never did the trick and I tried every which way I could think of, nothing ever worked in the Mr. Nice Guy department. So, hardball it is.

    Think of them as an extension of your machines, then you can run a business.

    Right, right.
  6. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,416

    Lawnamus why are you asking our advice, obviously you know what you have to do. What if he starts to take your customers? It was a mistake to keep him on this long. Yes he's a good worker but looking back you should have started grooming a replacement to him. I don't know how large your operation is but be ready to lose some workers, that's fine also. You'll survive don't let them think they are your boss. You pay them every week and I imagine you treat them respect. Replace the guy and whoever else that doesn't like. Can you jump into his role until you train somebody else? Best of luck but your the boss. Wish him the best keep the door open and if he wants to return allow him. But do yourself the favor and pull the trigger.
  7. Lawnamus

    Lawnamus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    I thank all of you all for the advice and input. I have gone through each of the options time and time again that you have presented. I know what I need and have to do, however: as you all know its kind of like playing your hand in poker when running a business. Key people are hard to replace especially at this time of year. Like I said I will jump in if need be and put other things on hold. I was just hoping that someone had dealt with this before and been able to creatively show their underling the light. In the end, I guess your right. I've pushed the horse in the water and he still won't drink. So be it. Anybody looking for a job:)
  8. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,028

    I just fired a guy who has been with me for 7 years. Why? Because he started to think that he could get away with anything, and he showed me no respect.

    Oh, His work was great, and he showed up every day. But, since I fired him, the rest of the employees are really working hard and realize that they are replaceable.

    I'm glad he is gone.
  9. Lawnamus

    Lawnamus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    Thanks Gene, I have finally arrived at that decision as well. I have to bide my time for one more week until I am out of a project and then take care of business. I am tired of thinking about it and it consumming me. I should of done it sooner. Thanks.
  10. NewWave

    NewWave LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    I'd let him go and find a new guy. Give him the ultimatum. Hope he doesnt take any of your customers. All of our guys sign a no compete clause when hired that last from day one and up to two years after employment was ended.

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