Female workers vs. male workers

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by profitmargin, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. profitmargin

    profitmargin LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 3

    we currently have 12 employees in which 2 are female that work in the the office, I have never hired females to work out in the field cause I never was confident that they would be able to keep up with the long hours, and physical work that the spring and fall bring, and really the whole season. Last year I went through 25 males, none of them made it for longer than a month, they did not want to work, paid no attention to detail, always late and lazy. We are hiring 1 1/2 months early this year to get a jump start on what is out there, but so far I have hired three females and out of 19 people that I interview. These 3 females had the best outlook, the love for the trade, and the willingness to work. My question is do you employe females and if so how do they compare to your male employees and would you make more than half your team female.
     
  2. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    I'm going to do my best to leave subjectivity out of this.....strictly empirical evidence.

    I interview anyone who responds to the ad in the paper, provided they are of good enough breeding to have decent phone manners. Male and female alike.

    I've had a minimal physical test at the interview to assure me that every applicant was capable of handling the demands of the job. I had one woman who passed that test and who also wasn't asking for wages in the stratosphere. She was about 5'11'', maybe 170. Athletic build (played college-level sports).

    During day 4 it was clear to both of us that she could not handle the physical aspect of the job. We agreed it was time to part company.

    Because of that experience, I've changed the physical test - I now take a 6 cu ft wheelbarrow, place 5 Versa-Lok block in it (400#), and have them wheel it to a spot 20 feet away, turn around, and come back. I run the course first, to show them that I'm not asking for the impossible. This test has been a surprisingly good predictor of future success.
     
  3. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 462

    Profitmargin,
    We had 2 women on the payroll last year out doing manual labor and mowing. One is my wife. She is on the mowing crew and can outmow and outwork any guy we hire and the clients love her. Since coming aboard, she has added the "attention to detail" that only women seem to be born with. It has made our firm known for our perfectionalist attitude that sets us apart from the rest of the pack. It was because of this that I decided to hire more women, and set out to specifically hire them. I let my wife interview over 40 people to find a mower for her crew, and a laborer for mine. Lucky for me, she found a cute 25 yr old girl to work with me! She worked out ok, wasn't afraid of hard labor, but out of respect toward a women, I took on most of the bad stuff, much to her protesting that she could do it. Her attention to detail was not there like my wife's, even after multiple corrective actions were given. Due to the fact she didn't mow much, when we teamed up with our mowing crew, she wasn't much help with mowing or trimming. So my theory that all women have great attention to detail is a myth. I enjoyed working with her, and her willigness to learn was great. She became a great hedge trimmer too. As for my mowing guys, they can be lazy, sloppy with detailing, seem to get selective amenesia alot. They can be very inconsistant as well on quality of cutting too. My wife tells me the mowing part can be very demanding on a women, doing 20-25 lawns a day. That is why she hired the girl for my labor crew. But by having her on the mowing crew with the guys, she can nag them to death and sends them back out on the lawn until it's done right. Don't get me wrong, the guys work hard and they can mow any estate type lawns perfectly, but can be inconsistant at times, where my wife is consistant on every lawn.

    Mike
     
  4. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    I guess you helped to illustrate my point -

    If I hire someone on, they can't be any fraction of an employee. They need to get in the muck, they need to lift 80# block all day (some days), they need to schlep brick all day. The woman I had working for me could not push a full 6 cu ft wheelbarrow. To help her, 2 men would willingly join in to hold the sides of the wheelbarrow while she pushed. So now, a one person job became a three person job. I could see my dollars sprouting wings and flying away as I watched.

    My operation is not large enough to accommodate differing physical abilities, so I have to have all my people able to do every physical task.

    I've been verbally beaten up on this topic by my wife and a good female friend, and would expect to get beaten up about it here, too. But I'll say it anyway. In general, I don't think the female of the species are capable of load-bearing work to the degree the male of the species are. Because the jobs I offer are 'load-bearing', I tend to stick to men.

    If the job was running a mower all day, I would likely consider either of the species. In my area both genders of the species are equally represented in lawncare.
     
  5. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    It really isn't a matter of gender. No matter how physically fit they are, or how good there job attitude is, a person that weighs less than 135 lbs. usually cannot handle the heavy physical labour of hard landscaping. Women are very good at annual planting and maintenance positions but when it comes to stone work you need to be a bigger stronger person, be that a man or women. Stonehenge is right, if you can't wheel the barrow it is not worth having you around. Lot's of jobs in this industry for people that can't handle the heavy physical aspects be they men or women.
     
  6. John from OH

    John from OH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 144

    We had great luck with women on our crews. They are generally more interested in learning the industry than their male counter parts. The women seem more interested in a career than in a job. The most profitable crew I ever had was an all female install crew and I was the crew leader. These women were not afraid to try anything and really paid attention to detail. Equipment abuse was nil, very little absentism, and since wives make most of the landscape decisions, communication with the clients was a breeze. I currently have a female crew leader and the biggest problem we have is getting the younger guys to check their ego at the door in the morning. While most women can't physically lift as much, but they are usually working twice as hard. Productivity also increased because the women seem to care more about the projects final appearance rather than just getting the jobs done, therefore less reworking has been needed. I have always felt that the women were overall better employees than men.
     
  7. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Stonehenge,

    Picture this scene:
    A client of ours had us remove approximately 3 ton of cobblestone/belgium block border and about 11 -12 tons of 1"-3" riverstone from their home. WE had to manually remove this stuff as it was being loaded up a ramp into our dump trucks, transported and stored in a lot they own 5 miles away as their large addition is being done on home. Anyway, we got notice that this had to be done at the end of August (85+deg. days), and had a day and a half to do it (myself w/only one laborer). The female client is watching me schlep this crap up the plank and wondering why the barrows are ony 1/2 full. I don't know what the weight was, but I told her that I'd take a full one if she could get it from the bed to the truck 40'away. Now this mid-40's woman is in great shape, and I did fill the barrow 3/4's, so I wasn't surprised that it tipped over on its side after only 2 steps. BTW, the kicker was that I informed her that "company policy" states anyone spilling a loaded barrow purchases a case of beer and I love my BASS!
    Unfortunately, I didn't see any as she reminded me that she signs the check.

    I don't fault you for your choice, and I know I've had some smaller guys work for me that couldn't handle your job all day long either.
    Bob
     
  8. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,205

    i used to work with another LCO who is a friend of mine before i went solo. he had his sister and two other females working and they were hard workers. one was even pregnant and worked up to 7 months into the pregnancy. since then, his sister has boughten him out and runs the landscaping business herself. from my experience, women are just as capable. its pretty funny too, because she doesnt even break a nail. she gets manicures every week, and works really hard, but hardly ever breaks a nail.
     
  9. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 678

    Yes Jethro, there is a difference. I think God had a more important job in mind for women than to be pack mules.

    Question: Who is raising our children while we make our women try to be mediocre men?
     
  10. Mykster

    Mykster LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 668

    I have one female employee. At first I had my doubts. I must say I was impressed with her attention to detail. Wish I had more just like her.
     

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