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Employee problem.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LHlandscaping, May 23, 2004.

  1. LHlandscaping

    LHlandscaping LawnSite Member
    from PA/ SW
    Posts: 100

    Last month we hired our first part-time lawn care employee. I am wondering how long you usually wait until a new hire has to get the grasp of the equipment> So far this experience has been an uphill battle for me> To date he can only run a push mower and the blower< I fear to see what he"ll do on the walkbehind and rider and the trimming is completely out of the question> For example we recently bought one of the last two cycle prolines and after I specifically told him it took the same fuel as the trimmers and blowers he filled it with straight gas and actually ran it for a few minutes> Mind you I didn"t even have the machine for a day yet> I even tried to give him a training course in trimming which went good then the next day he completely forgot that the object of the game was to actually trim the property not walk around making noise to look busy> I am at my wits end and I am open to any suggestions you may have> Thank you in advance>
  2. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    Running a string trimmer is the hardest thing for most to get good at. We have one employee that does most of the trimming and 2 that just run the push mowers. My partner and I run the WB and the Z. We have had some guys in the past that never could get good at even running the push mowers. This year the guys we have are doing great. We are actually getting done in about 3 hours less time per week than last year.
  3. Matts Mowing

    Matts Mowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    This is one of the reasons that I am a solo operator. When I was young I used to work with my uncle and he would go through 1-2 guys a week. It is amazing the amount of people who cannot run a mower or a trimmer. I find it best to work alone, get the job done right and do not have to worry about babysitting.
  4. J and M Mowing

    J and M Mowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    Did you ask this guy if he had previous experience? Better to ask up front rather than find out on the job site what he can do. My two guys couldn't edge or weedeat for their life, but I told them they had to learn sooner or later. After several weeks of doing it, they are almost as good as me!
  5. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 223

    There are some who will never grasp the whole "attack mode" of lawn care. We have had guys that would only run push mowers because they were too dangerous with anything else. These employees would find themselves on bed maintenance , landscaping crews or the unemployment line. I would pull the plug quick on this "look busy" guy. He is only going to frustrate you and drag you down.-Harry
  6. yourlawnguy

    yourlawnguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 228

    I agree with Harryo. You want guys with experience or at least aptitude. If they aren't saving you time then they aren't worth keeping.
  7. MWHC

    MWHC LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Posts: 202

    It usually takes someone with marginal skill about a week to learn how to use a 21" mower. (the way I want it used) If they have not picked it up after that period of time it's probably time for them to hit the road. Depends on the skill level of the employee, but we work them in on the walk behinds after about 3 weeks.

    Others have stated it correctly; string trimming is the most detailed work requiring the most tallent.

    When we hire people we let them know the first month is probationary, meaning we can fire at any time for any reason.

    It takes a long time to find someone who is any good and gives a damn sometime. Another thing I have found is that you can pay them more and still get the same lackluster performance. Some people will never be any good at it.

    BALDEAGLE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    from my exp. (dozen yrs.)as foreman for another lco. the guys that refuse to learn and think they can get by just looking busy,need to go buh-bye! that was one of my biggest reasons for going out on my own;didn't hire on to babysit...actually had to fire the bosses son, not once, but twice!!! guess he figured he shouldn't have to work-being the boss's son. WRONG!!!
  9. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    For guys who have never done lawn work before, this job is going to be a challenge for them. It is important to start day one with your training.

    They must know what you expect. SHow them everything with their gear that they are going to be running, from a to z. If their trimming, make sure they know that machine like the back of their hand. Starting, using, changing line, troubleshooting, fueling...etc.

    Trimming takes skill, I know last summer after a 7 month hiatus from it, it took me a week or two to get back on my feet.

    Explain this though? Whats hard about running a push mower. Except being safe and going in straight lines..what else is their?

    Make sure your guys get the best training possible..but in the end some guys will just never work out..and thats ok, not all are met to work in this biz.
  10. RTallday

    RTallday LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    Personally, I would almost rather somebody with no experience to start with me, so i can teach him the way i want him to work. I just dont like it when my new help tells me how he did it with his old boss. I guess either way it can be a problem.


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