H-2B Debate in Turf Mag. What do You Think?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mojob, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. mojob

    mojob LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 515

    I felt it was time I chimed in again on what I think is a cancer growing in this country and the near-sighted people that are allowing it to happen.

    In our industry, I think it's these huge HOA subdivisions and business complexes that are causing the problem. They didn't really exist forty years ago and neither did our need to import cheap labor. Everything was on a smaller scale and was easily taken care of by all the small "Mom & Pop" operations. Nowadays it takes a huge LCO to manage these types of properties. These LCOs have to have a large staff of people willing to work for ten bucks an hour, with no benefits, in tough working conditions. It's no wonder they have a staffing problem.

    The way I understand it, a developer has certain conditions they must meet before they're able to start building. In other words they have to plan ahead and make sure what they build won't have a negative impact on the surrounding area. I say they should have to prove that only U.S. citizens will be needed to support what they build. That would cause these huge LCOs to have staffing problems and limit their growth which would in turn give all the small "Mom & Pop" operations a better shot at getting a piece of the action. This would keep the "Walmarts" out of this business. Everybody knows what happens to the local economy when one of these huge outfits move into town. You end up out of business and working for them (at a fraction of what you were making) or moving away. One of these "Walmart" LCOs moved to my town a few years back (95% hispanic staff) and I found out later that we bid on the same contract and their bid was almost half of what mine was and mine was more than fair.

    Is it just me or does anyone else see a problem with importing people that specialize in the same type of work that we do? Not to mention allowing their families to tag along. How are they supposed to support a family on ten bucks an hour? They can't so we have to. Where will it end? What about all the other people in the world that want the American dream? We need to draw the line somewhere or this place will get pretty crowded. Supply and Demand 101. I had to rant. What do you think?
  2. mojob

    mojob LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 515

    Geez, they buried this thread fast. Was it something I said?
  3. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    Do you have employees? The only people I can find that will actually work is hispanics.
  4. deapee

    deapee LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Posts: 25

    lol...I've worked with a few companies doing other construction, and I will say it is nice when you can pull up, pick up a couple Hispanics, toss them $10 an hour, let them know what needs to be done, come back in half the time, the job is done, the tools are cleaned off, and they're standing there waiting to be picked up. I think every one Hispanic equals two people when it comes to work getting done.


    On another note, lowballing has been a problem forever. Especially in fields where the brunt of the work is primarily labor. The more skill involved, the less and less things like this begin to happen. But either way, it's competition, and it is the way it is.

    It's a problem everyone deals with and yeah it's upsetting to be outbid by half especially when you know your work is superior.

    A business may not last forever, but a good business owner should. It's a mindset. If you can make landscaping work for you, there is no reason that you can't adapt, change, modify your plans or business, and grow in another field. If it's time for change, as an entrepreneur, you need to realize that. Whether that means hiring cheaper labor, restructuring your prices, or getting out of the field, then that's what needs to be done.

    And no, I'm not Hispanic, and I do work...well, every now and then I do.
  5. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 943

    I dont know what you mean, but there is no hispanic guy on this earth that works harder then me or some of my guys:usflag: .....Yeah, hispanics might work fast, but most of the time the work is sh*tty work....Look at all the half built homes out there.....I mean it kills me that people think hispanics can do anything.....Those same hispanics who were on the corner yesterday that were pick-up by the LCO, were picked up by the Big Construction company the day before and help built a few homes, but just because they are hispanics they are experts.....no they are CHEAP, and thats the bottom line....If you guys would stop being greedy and pay someone then you can find other people willing to work....but when you are living 10 to a 2 bedroom apt then you can afford to get by on 7 or 8 bucks....Landscaping is a skilled occupation, and if you are looking to keep good reliable employees you have to show them the money.....It burns me up everytime I hear someone say that hispanics are the only people they can find to work....from my personal knowledge of Hispanics, they are lazy, corner cutters, and always looking to cut your throat when they get a chance......Then at the end of the year, you have to pay your taxes while they just wait for the next years money train to come rolling in so they can send it all back home and increase their flow.....I wish I could find someone to work for 7 bucks, but I am sure I would get what I pay for ;) .....JMO....
  6. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    Man I wish I only paid my guys $7 an hour. I start my guys at $10 an hour, and I am located in a place where the cost of living is low(not like ATL). And to say all hispanics cut corners and are lazy is just not true. Most of my guys have been w/ me for a couple of years and they are great. They maintain full service properties flawlessly w/o supervision. I can't find anybody else that take the toll of manual labor for 60 hours a week every week of the summer(especially August). I wish I could, but my labor pool sucks. With hispanics... you get what you pay for.
  7. mgm

    mgm LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I have not read the Turf article , H2B is a way to get labor ( if you are willing to wait and pay a fee to get them here). The "Mexicans" that I talked to at the corner told me this - You must pay me $10 per hr, you must have at least 8 hrs of work and I don't start work before 7:30am and also you have to buy my lunch. The 2 black guys standing next to them now work for me for $8 and pack there own lunch and work what ever hours I have. That was 2 yrs ago.

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,669

    7-8 -10 I wish
    Up here it is hard to find workers at 13-15 an hour. Americans do not get out of bed for less than 20. And then they still are terrible.(for lack of a better adjective)
  9. Cantona

    Cantona LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    We are a mid-sized company and H2-B is a legal form of labor. The workers pay taxes they work hard they allow my company to grow. We have 47 Employees 35 are H2-B...4 of those guys are not good workers 5 of them are skilled or extremely hard workers willing to learn. They take english classes and 2 of them have taken business classes at the state college. We have 6 managers here that make a good living because of the H2-B workers. We continue to grow and we do this through H2-B. We are never the low bidder, never. We win bids because we provide a proffessional service. I base what I pay people on maintaing my margin. Of the 12 American workers we have 5 are new this year and to get those 5 keepers we brought in at least 15 other Americans. We paid some of them 15 dollars and hour to start and they still were awful. If I could grow a company to this size with all American workers then I would, but until that day comes the H2-B workers have been great and instrumental in making a great company.
  10. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Posts: 1,387

    Canton where do you get your h2b workers. I am tired of my guys whinning about them having 20 yards to cut when there are 3 of them. I will need some for next spring.

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