Employer Wear and Tear question

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by forrpets, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. forrpets

    forrpets LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    I have a friend helping me with work. His exact words are, "I am not willing or able to take responsibility for wear and tear on your equipment. Complaining about it to me is counterproductive and insulting."
    Below are a couple of issues that he has considered wear and tear.
    I have told him to look over areas before he mows. We mow quite a bit of tall grass, fields, etcc in Colorado. The employee constantly drives very fast through these areas without first looking over. He hit something that broke a lawn mower blade in half. When I looked at the blade it had obviously hit something very hard. I wrote him a letter stating I was not happy about the blade situation.
    He backed up over a concrete block with my Dodge Dually. He broke off and lost one of the mud flaps. They are expensive. We luckily found it at the dump after dump employee looked for it. I only asked employee to help put it back on. Sound easy but actually takes some time cuz of position.
    The breaker was when: I had rented a large chipper, ($150.00 for rental). Not after 30 minutes into a very large job, the employee got my truck and chipper stuck up to the axles in mud. We had walked the site and knew where to drive and where not to drive. He drove it through the NOT TO DRIVE section and nearly into a small creek. To me it was obvious that it was too wet in that spot. It took nearly 4 hours to pull truck and chipper out. The Client had to use his own jeep and winch for over 2 hours. We made ZERO money for the day. There was a section of around 75 feet with 2 lines of 2 foot deep ruts in the clients yard which I now have to fix. After $15.00 and 1 hour of washing under my truck, I still cannot get all the mud out. Brakes squeeking, truck steering wobbles, etc..
    I could write more but I hope you get the picture. I wrote the friend/helper a letter asking him his opinion on the situation, and he quit. He said he couldnt take responsibility for the wear and tear.
    What I am wondering, do any of you think that those issues are considered wear and tear? Every day I find something new wrong with my equipment that employees cause. I would consider dull blades, flat tires under normal conditions, etcc. wear and tear.
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

  3. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    I bang my head against the wall at least once a day over one of my guys doing something that is just stupid or lazy.If I could only clone myself then I would have no one to blame but me.....
  4. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,742

    Amen!! SO true:hammerhead:
  5. forrpets

    forrpets LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    thanks for the replies,
    But with what I wrote, do you think that is normal wear and tear or is it negligence. And if neglegence, do you have your employees pay for big mistakes. Or do you think I should have to pay a person for 4 hours of pulling them out of a mud bog that they drove into?
  6. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Posts: 251

    the guy really claims to be your "friend"....damn

    pay him for his last few hours and never hire him back

    all of those actions were from CARELESSNESS and probably some jelously over the fact you are actually building a business and he is chipping limbs

    if the guy was really a friend how did you not know he is hard on equipment....I personally will admit I can be hard on equipment, but I also get it fixed or fix it if I break it....and it is no secret to anyone I know that I am hard on equipment....even then I don't just do plain careless stuff and I also realize when equipment is out that = down time

    you should have dumped him the moment he said he could not take care of your equipment he obvisously has some other issues besides just being hard on stuff....it sounds like he thinks he should be in charge just because hey "you are no smarter than him"

    I don't know how you got your company started, but it sounds like your friend feels you had something handed to you or had some "breaks and chances" that he did not have and he thinks you are just "lucky" to have your company and you don't "deserve" it

    he sounds like a loser and a drag to be around.....distance rapidly :)
  7. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    normal wear and tear is the chain on your saw needing to be sharpened or the truck needs a new set of brake pads and my guy told me before they went metal to metal, NOT some F****ing idiot driving your $40,000 truck and an expensive piece of rental equipment into a swamp when you told him not to go there, if he was my "friend" he would be at the emergency room having my boot removed from his a**
  8. forrpets

    forrpets LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    Thanks so much for the advice. I need to be alot harder than I am. I wish I could do all the work myself.
  9. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    if someone, even my best friend, drove my new truck into mud, got it stuck, and broke equipment, i would still be his best friend. however, he would never work for me again.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    No it is absolute negligence, I am one very aggresive lawnmower driver, and I have never in 5 years broke a blade in two!
    Thou I did, one time hit a root that bent a blade, one time...
    I do get chips in them, but that's the thing, the more it happens the more I watch it.
    That's not to say it can't break, but omg...
    And I do have my fair share, this year has been fun times with the Z to say the least, even got the Wb stuck once and there was another thing or two that cost me some time and money (an hour or two here and there) but overall, nothing unusual lol.

    Sometimes things happen in quick succession, 2-3 maybe 4-5 bad events but sooner or later it should let up, things should improve.
    Meanwhile, at other times one should be able to go 6-8 and even 10-12 months and longer between mishaps, per person.

    So, accidents and mistakes do happen but there is such a thing as fair share, everybody makes one here and there, more at first and fewer later, but all in all one employee's mistakes should not be grossly more than anyone else's.

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