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Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by NCL, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. NCL

    NCL LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 132

    I'm new to this site so forgive me if this is a repeat question. Where do you find good qualified guys with a valid drivers license that will show up for work everyday do the work that needs to be done with the quality you expect. Not call out with some lame excuse. Someone that you can trust to run your cutting route, etc. I seem to come across guys that are drug addicts or they are just not responsible enough. Please help
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    You start by looking in a mirror.

    Actually, all of my employees were referred by one another at some time...good ones will know and find you other good ones. I have been doing it that way for 9 straight years now.
  3. JohnK

    JohnK LawnSite Member
    from Seattle
    Posts: 53

    Unfortunately it seems many today don't even know what a good work ethic is, much less have one. I haven't been in this business, or done hiring for it (I have for other industries though) I wonder how much better/more reliable etc the people would be if you were offering $30 / hour with full medical/dental/vision, instead of $7.50 and no benifits which seems fairly common around here?

    This isn't a jab at you NCL, just a question. I'd be surprised if most companies could afford to pay that much to employees, I'm just tossing it out for consideration.
  4. NCL

    NCL LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 132

    When I think I have a top guy I pay him $14/$15 an hour and they get at a min. of 40 hrs. a week.
  5. JohnK

    JohnK LawnSite Member
    from Seattle
    Posts: 53

    Well, it doesn't seem like the salary should be an issue then, I know I've worked for a heck of a lot less at times in my life.
  6. badranman

    badranman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 99

    I have worked as a manager before and I came to realize some people are born lazy and won't change if you gave them $50.00/hr and 20hr work weeks. I don't think there is a certain 'place' you find the good ones. I agree with rodfather, through casual conversation I might hear about someones friend etc. and you get to find out more about these people than just some guy responding to an ad.
  7. ZEKE

    ZEKE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    When you do find out where these guy's are.....send the ones you don't need over to me! This line of work does seem to attract the odd folks...I haven't hired a Harvard graduate yet!! I have found that for every 5 or 6 that suck I find a good one. I have actually had some luck with the younger crowd. Young or old you can tell pretty quickly who has a good work ethic and who doesn't. I usually try and start folks out on something like weeding or a laborous cleanup...if they show up the next day...their a keeper. I have had many an employee get "attached" to mowing and not want to do anything harder during the day. Good Luck! Z
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Hire females, they all seem to want to prove that they can out work men. Plus most all referals come from people walking up and talking to the ladies about maybe doing there house. The men in a household make the money but its the woman that decide how it will be spent, and woman feel more comfortable discussing business with other woman. Don't believe me hire one from a temp agency one day and you will see I"m right.

  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,347

    I think its trial and era. If I am counting right I had 7 employees this year maybe a few more of which one was a known entity. Brother of my partner the guy has 12 years experience. He does very good work and rivals me in some jobs. That having been said he’s a pot head completely unstable is known to snap and have break downs has hair half way down his back and has worked for { no lie } more then 60 different landscapers they all loved him and most of them fired him. Obviously he’s not the future of my business in fact he’s on an indefinite suspension as we speak. Pending an apology for wasting my time with an argument he started in a work day. Of the others I had this year one I had in fall was awesome but has a full time job as a mechanic and wont be leaving that. That leaves me with one guy of the entire year I found that was good enough that I think in time will be foreman material. I plan on personally training him for just that next year.

    Your gona have to go though bad ones to find the gems allot of it is up to you. Do you inspire them and shame them into trying to work to your ability or do you simply say guys here’s the list have fun. There will come a day when some young guy can out work me that day hasn’t come in 16 years nor will it in the next decade.
    Something I don’t worry about so much is substance abuse problem I am completely square I wont nor have I ever touched anything. But the fact is most every landscaper I have ever met is a smoker, most are mild drug users, and some are alcoholics. I'm after landscapers not alter boys so I don’t make and issue out of it if they did it on the job id probably throw them out of the moving truck. They are very aware of my stance on that.

    You want horror stories about hiring employees long ago when I did this part time I use to be a night crew chief at a grocery store the work was so much harder then landscaping it wasn’t funny. My back was worthless for 4 years after doing that for a mere 3 years our store was mega under manned some new ones have 20 guys we had 4-5 and did the same amount of work. Case out put in many stores today is like 175-200 per man and they don’t even have to mark we did 300s marked once I did 3 shy of 500. As a result when we would hire new people they did not last long. In one year we had 57 new guys 2 lasted more then 2 weeks and only one lasted 6 months. As hard as it is to find good landscapers I think back to that and realize I have it easy.
  10. Johnny

    Johnny LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    Rodfather made an excellent point. When you find a good one, they will know other good ones.

    A number of years ago I struck gold. A good friend calls and tells me his sisteen year old son was looking for seasonal work. Great family that understands the value of a dollar. Chad was a healthy, strong wrestler (state runner up). He was also very smart and hadn't missed a day of church in his life. And a great work ethic. Did I mention, no drugs or drinking.

    Well I took a likin' to the kid, paid him well, and constantly asked about how his life was going. And helped him with things he needed help with (college advise, women, etc).

    To make a long story short...He physically brought me around 14-15 guys over the last 7 years. A lot of wrestlers (he now coaches), guys from church (he still goes every week), as well as others. OUt of the number he has brought me, I can only think of 2 that didn't work out well.

    Most of these guys are young adults now. I love these guys and they love me. They would do anything for me. Last year I was in a pinch and in need of a lot of help for 1 day. I called chad, and he had guys driving 2-3 hours home from college to help me.

    When you find your church going, hard working, wrestler. Pay him well and show a concern for him and his life. It could be a gold mine!!

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