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Good help?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by wattsup, Jul 14, 2002.

  1. wattsup

    wattsup LawnSite Member
    Posts: 123

    I am a solo operator, but would love to have some good help. My problem is; I have gone through 5 people this year. Some could not do the job correctly and some just quit showing up. I may be a poor manager/teacher, but I am very laid back and easy to get along with. I am however, very picky about quality of work. I show them how I want the job done, and they never do it right. I have a high schooler who has worked with me temp. for the past 3 years and I have to show him how to use the trimmer every time he helps. He works very hard, but he does not have the "Eye" you must have in this business. If there is long grass cut it. I spend more time inspecting their work than it would take to do the work myself. Anyway, does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you combat it. Am I missing something in my way of thinking. Do not hold back lay it on me.
  2. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    I have no help for you, but a question to sorta help me out with something.

    Are these full time or part time helpers you're talking about?
  3. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    Let new workers know that the first three weeks are only a trial. They will need to work harder. Higher wages are not the answer either. Raises only after 30 days. When interviewing ask prospect what motivates them. This might also help a great deal.
  4. strickdad

    strickdad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 544

    i dont really agree robert, ask them in the interview what motovates them??? money...
  5. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    wattsup it sounds like my experience with workers. Pretty much impossible to find good help. I can tell you a higher wage aint the only answer. Last year I paid $10 for help that was worth $5.50. This year it is $8 for help that is not worth more than that.

    Good luck man. I too am laid back and easy going most of the time, but anal about the look of my lawns. Help will never get it, that is for sure.
  6. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Jim Lewis has written some stuff in the past on this subject that is just great. Maybe someone could find the link, or you could just do some searching.

    The good help I find never prove reliable in the long run. Just had the two best guys ever (Mexican fellas), and they have not flown the coupe.

    This business is very hard to find and keep good workers, it is the nature of the beast.

  7. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Shady Brook-I've had this problem since I started hiring people 7 years ago. I am also picky about details and I couldn't understand why my employees weren't. The bottom line is-It's not their business. Employees will not do as good a job as the owner will. They go home after work with a clear head. We go home to an answering machine full of messages. Unfortunately, I've just learned to live with this reality and deal with the complaints as they come. Unless you want to stay as a solo operator, you will have to live with this. I'm really not proud of it, but I have had to drop customers because of their constant complaining, some of which were legitimate. I read years ago in a trade mag that it was easier to replace a good customer than a good employee. I believe this is true. My men are nice, hardworking people who are as reliable as the sun. They try hard, but their work isn't always the best. I choose to live with it. I think your last statement sums it up, it is a hard business to find and keep good employees-it is the nature of the beast. Good luck to you. Mike
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Good help and the lack thereof is the reason why my partner and I haven't added another crew, although our demand warrants it. I have yet to find a good part time worker, let alone someone I would hire full time to run a crew. All I have to pick from is drunks, pot heads, and college kids that don't want to work. Just not a good business to be in for workers.

  9. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517


    Yeah, I wish it were not so, but with this type of business, and they way families are being raised it is to be expected. If a guy is real good, your situation has to be ideal in order to give him full time year round work. With the difference in weather, it can be difficult to even be consistant with hours from week to week with draughts and things to deal with. Lawn care can be pretty hard work, and requires more skill then many would believe to operate effectively, and yet it is difficult to give pay that is comenserate with the work. I usually pay experienced guys $10/hr to start. To some this seems like pretty good money, but what does that get ya? Can I support a family on that? Not hardly. So in a sense I am frustrated, but in a sense I can understand as well.

    You are right, it is not their business, and we can not expect them to see things as do we. I like your point about replacing a good customer being easier then and employee, so true. You just have to deal with the hastles, stay so small that you kill yourself and make little, or find another line of work. That's how I see it.

    Oh and by the way, I wrote that my good workers had not flown the coupe, that should have read "have now flown the coupe" :confused:

    Take care fellas
  10. dr grass

    dr grass Banned
    Posts: 242

    training your help should always include making sure that they have good common sense. lets face it guys, were not doing brain surgery or building space ships for n.a.s.a. and thats what i tell my help. this is a very common sense oriented field. just moved a part timer up to a full time status this week. greatest decision ive made in a while. he the best employee ive ever had to date. hes 14 years old.....

    Shep :blob4:

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