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Employee frustration

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by grassmasterswilson, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. JohnnyRocker

    JohnnyRocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    Some people can edge with a trimmer, some can't. I know for a fact that I can edge with one, many time looks better than some edging with a dedicated edger. Of course I have done this for many years, and was once not very good nor efficient at all with it. You probably don't want to expect employees to be able to efficiently and neatly edge with a trimmer. My one client was so amazed I had been using(when I was the one on the property), a trimmer to edge, he said "wow you have a steady hand", and he is a very picky ex-marine(extra cool guy). He had stated at the beginning that he wanted a blade used for edging, so I told him that I would always have an employee use what he wanted, and let him know that I wouldn't, and explained why...he was fine with that as long as it looked above par. He has been more than pleased for the past two seasons. To reiterate, I wouldn't expect an employee to be able to edge as well as I can with a trimmer, but it would be a plus to have as a skill in their back pocket. :usflag:
  2. Agape

    Agape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,645

    Yes, I expect a maintenance worker to be proficient with a trimmer ( if they say they have experience) otherwise I can not hire them.
    Most of my account properties are well under 10K square feet lots, and we can't spend 15 minutes on edging when it should take 5 minutes.
    I've taught my workers how to edge left handed and walking forward.
  3. JohnnyRocker

    JohnnyRocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    Yes Agape, I meant, I don't expect them walking in, to be as good as I am with it. I know some experienced guys have only used blades to edge, due to the system they were in previously. Certainly I would want them to be trainable to adapt to quickly turn the trimmer over to walk an edge, then resume to trimming, as required by the property.
  4. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    Employees are always going to be the toughest part of this business. And, you really can't blame them for not wanting to stick around. They could get a push mower, trimmer, and blower and make more money on their own than they can working for us. This the is the main reason I am trying to get out of business. I never intended to be in year 11 of business and still be wearing all the hats. I wanted to run and manage a business. Let' face it, we are not dealing with A++ quality individuals when hiring in this line of work to begin with. Year after year I have worked individual after individual and I would say about 20% have been decent. The best one I had stuck with me 2 years, and when he left about a year ago, it has been nothing but madness and chaos ever since. We continued to grow over those 2 years, and now 3 employees later, I still can't get someone to get back to the same rythm we had. Their is some good advice given here though. Still, your best employees are just here because they are down on their luck. They will not stay. They would be crazy to do so. The rest are the same..Either they are on drugs, have no car/license, have something wrong with them, or have some attitude issue and can't hold down a job. Joy joy....I don't see how the larger companies do it. I have tried and tried....Best of luck!
  5. Agape

    Agape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,645

    How much were you paying the one who stuck around for 2 years?
  6. New2TheGreenIndustry

    New2TheGreenIndustry LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Posts: 861

    I'm in the process of looking for a few new guys. I put an ad out and have had a few emails where they left their name and contact info. So before I get back to anyone I've been googling and looking up Facebook pages, etc. I've come across some real winners...arrests for child cruelty, burglary, Facebook pages that have all sorts of crap on them. I can look past a lot of things, but a burglary conviction, and the details that went along with the child cruelty story just don't sit well.

    These guys might be awesome workers, but not on my crew.

    Where do you draw the line?
  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Same question went through my head.

    Why did you wait to offer him more money before he left? Specially when in your own words you could afford to pay him more.
  8. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    If I remember correctly I think it was just under $12/hr when he left. But, he left for a job starting at $18/hr in a factory with full benefits. No way I could match that. Employee pay is also one of those things that will vary by area. I know the largest LCO in town starts at $8 or a little less. I mean, why the heck would you cut grass for $8 an hour when you could find easier work that pays the same? Although some people aren't worth $2/hr.
  9. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,548

    Unfortunately I feel I may be having to let a guy go. He's getting a little lazy and will be shipping off to boot camp in November. I feel I may need another year round guy and not sure how easy lawn guys are to find in the fall/winter especially if I need to trim back to under 40 hrs in the winter.

    Just hard to drop a guy and hire a new one when things are full throttle.
  10. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 316

    I make sure to ask & let them know I expect them to know how to "edge with a trimmer". Is that better?

    I've had a few dedicated edgers over the years, but when we had all our handhelds stolen off truck, and we had to make do until the insurance check came... we edged with a string trimmer and it looked better, saved time/a trip to the truck, and made more room on the trimmer trap for another "trimmer". So, when the insurance check did come.... I didn't replace the dedicated "edger" with a new one.

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