Finding Good Help

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by BRIDGE577, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. BRIDGE577

    BRIDGE577 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I am sure this has been talked about before but I will explain my situation.
    This is my sixth year in the biz for myself and I am growing steadily. I know to expect problems with employee's but it is so hard to find reliable help. It has always been suggested to me to by a friend doing this for 30 years to keep 2 mowing crews of 3 people each and one landscape crew 3 to 4 people. This has been an ideal setup for me but the finding people to work is horrible. If 2 people don't show I'm pretty messed up for the day witch affects the whole week and everyone else. And my customer base suffers. I actually lost 2 customers this year that were on board for 5 yrs with not a complaint because I sent a black employee to there house as apart of a mowing crew. I never even thought like that before now I guess this can be an issue that I had not considered. If guys do show up and produce I could care less about race. I have been considering trying to find immigrant labor I have heard the pro's and cons to this but just want reliable help I love to work and work hard and rather long hours. I live In Ohio so you gotta make 12 months income in 8 moths and look at plowing as a bonus. I would like some opinions from people with similar experience and if I do do this I want to do it right and legal but don't know where to start. I hope this doesn't't turn into a racial topic these are not my intentions I want to do smart business and take care of my client's while making a good living.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I'll give you the figures I gained recently from a study that was conducted, they somewhat match my own figures, you make of it what you wish, anyhow...

    Out of any group of things, there is always the average, the good, and the best.
    Be it employees, or machines, or what have you, the field in case can be narrow and specific, or broad and less selective, either way there is always the average, the good, and the best.

    This can be taken out of every 100 of something, or every 10 or so, but as a rule the larger the group and the more time is invested in the study, the truer the figures stand, which is not to say there exist no exceptions, but over time the figures will tend to cling to the below facts:

    The average of a group of something, as a rule, makes up 90 percent of the group. 9 out of 10 of anything is average. Average means just that, and for those of us with a low level of tolerance, generally this group isn't good enough for us, plain and simple, the average fails us miserably and frustrates to no end.

    The good of that same group consists of only 10 percent of the whole, only 1 out of every 10 of something is good. The good stuff, as a rule, performs at least twice as well as the average. For those of us with high expectations, this smaller percent is worth finding and it is the part we tend to stick with, for it works to our liking, most of the time, and we find the occasional slip up tolerable.

    The elite, the best of something consists of an unfortunately small 1 percent of the group. Amazingly enough, the needle in the haystack doesn't just outperform, it shines and goes far beyond most of our expectations, the best tends to outperform the average by up to 10 times, and is about 4-5 times better than the good... Only 1 out of every 100 of something is usually this good, and guys like myself find the lack of error or mistake in this group an eye opener every time, because the elite never ceases to amaze.

    There is a slight discrepancy of a percent here, not sure how to explain it but for the purpose of the study, this discrepancy is tolerated. Which is to say, as hard as it is to come by the elite stuff, guys like myself find our tolerance levels satisfied once we reach the good portion of the haystack.

    Like I said, make what you can or want out of it, but that's been my experience, in addition to having seen more than a few other business owners talk and write about it.
  3. mkroher

    mkroher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    topsites....what...the...HECK...are you talking about??


    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    He has no employees yet constantly puts in his 2 cents on the topic. Some of his stuff cracks me up, and some of it puts me to sleep...

    You know around here almost all workers are Hispanic. A black guy that speaks English would be treated like royalty around here.
  5. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 2,412

    Topsites- lay down the pipe, it is time to stop.
  6. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,131

    I enjoy reading your posts and find some of your advise to be good. I would like to see the study you refer to. Is there a website you can point me to?
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    The thing about it is, whether I have employees or not, it never ceases to amaze me how owners of employee-based companies assume all their troubles are over for the simple fact they don't have to deal with the customer.

    While it certainly helps to have this buffer zone between yourself and one human problem aspect, make no mistake, I find the SAME rules apply to employees as they do to customers. In a nutshell, whether it is a late payer or someone who doesn't show up on time, what I see all the time on LS is owners bending over backwards for their employees, then wondering why they get took!?

    A solo such as myself wouldn't dream of bending over backwards for my customers, because playing nice guy does nothing here other than the customer then takes me for granted, and that's how I get took.

    If I ever DO decide to expand, rest assured I plan on interviewing at least TEN people for every one I end up hiring, and if that's not enough I'll gladly interview up to 100 folks before I hire the one I want. Seems to me around here folks hire their friends and their relatives, they pay them TOP wages because they want to be nice guys, heck they give them rides to-from work and then wonder why they get took?

    Fact is, paying your employees more does NOT make them better workers, it does NOT make them more reliable, it does NOT make them work harder and it does absolutely NOTHING some owners might think it does, but what it does do is make them take you and their job for granted, which is how and why owners get took.

    And to me it's all about pre-screening, something that seems to escape the minds of multi-worker company owners. Pre-screen and use your senses, much like when I see trouble coming with a customer long before I start the work, I assure you I RUN nine out of ten times, I turn down a LOT more work than I accept, for the simple reason that I don't have most of these headaches, nor do I want them.

    I can no longer find the article, I think it was on Score...

    It might've been one of these stories ... LOL sorry in advance...

    And it might not have been on score, I'm not sure.
    Either way, if you can't find it, there are several good sections worth a read.
    And thanks.
  8. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Bridge577, you bring up an interesting point about reliable help, race, and clients. I'm with you on this.

    If you have an employee that has great work ethics, who you can trust totally to get a job done, who is honest and trustworthy, then he will be a more valuable asset to your business than one or two backwoods clients who don't like the way someone looks.

    If you have such an "elite" employee, as Topsites referred to, then by his work alone you'll likely pick up more clients.

    Before going into business myself, I worked at a large company that went through a lot of employees. In the few years while there, I probably had more than two dozen guys, and gals, ride shotgun with me. Out of that many there were only two who could be considered as "elite" workers. They worked as if they wanted to do a good job and to improve things, rather than to just pass the day and collect their pay.
  9. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    Look, Bridge577, I think the following may help you. I used to live in Hudson, OH so I know what plagues you. The younger labor force today does not have the work ethic that was around 2 generations ago. How do you compensate? You set up a refining process--it's called tests. We have a 3 step process for anyone who wants to be an employee. First, they MUST fill out an application. This allows us to do background checks. If a prospect passes, we offer them a 30-day position where certain skill sets must be mastered. During this time, the prospect is given written exams to determine their personality type, strengths and weaknesses, stress indicators, etc. If he/she passes all 3 processes, we compensate them WELL.
  10. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    I disagree w/ alot of what you said. The more you pay... the better employees you have. Because I pay better than average... great hispanics are attracted to my company(and stay w/ me)... I never really even interview for labor positions... my current employees usually find my guys... and after the newbie working a few days, I let the crew leader decide if they are going to work out.

    I would try to find legal hispanic help... talk to hispanics from other companies or anywhere you see a hispanic... chances are they know somebody that needs a job... and they want to help them out. They really vouch for each other and some go the extra mile to get you help.

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