Hiring my first employee

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Meehan47, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Meehan47

    Meehan47 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 33

    First of all, let me explain my situation.

    I have had a small business for a few years now. Last year I expanded and currently have 50 residential accounts. I am also back in school (graduated from college in 2004, going back to get my teaching certification) and I am doing my student teaching in a few weeks, which is from jan 14 until may 1, monday-friday. I love the freedom of having my own business, especially this industry. I decided that I want to be a teacher and would supplement my income with my business. Before deciding to go back to school, I was successfully able to manage a full time job and have my business on the side, working solo.

    Well this is where I start to get stressed. Last year I decided that I wanted to expand my business, I bought a new truck (used one), a zero turn, and new trailer. I can easily get more work for myself. But I want to add an employee. I am looking for someone that I can trust and be confident in letting them go do the work for me when I am not able to. I want to hire someone full time, so I know that I would have to get enough work to make it worth while for them.

    Basically I think that I am just worried to take the next step with my business. I feel that this is natural to be worried about this. I have invested alot of time and money into what I have now and don't want to let it go. What would be my best bet for looking for a good reliable employee? classifieds? I have already tried word of mouth, and have exhausted all of the people I know. I think that I would be willing to bend over backwards for someone that is capable of doing what I want.

    This might be me just rambling on about a little problem, but I know that alot of you have been in this situation before and I want to know how you successfully took that next step?

    Thanks for reading this post.
     
  2. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    put a free ad on Craigs list, and I'd do a local classified instead of a major market paper because of cost, and you want a local person to apply, but I owned a large staffing company for a long time, and don't expect very big response for the classified ads.
    To ease your tension a little bit, remember, even if you're expanding your business, you'll still be out working with this guy 10-30 hours per week, and you'll KNOW what you have at some point. Build a relationship with this new employee just like you would like to have with a client so he WANTS to do a good job for you! If he's not the guy, keep the ad updated in Craigs List and look for the replacement.

    Best of Luck!

    Steve Hoogenakker
    Steve@Landscape.Pro
     
  3. koppandson

    koppandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    It's hit or miss with employees. You can try to do research on them .. you can try to follow up with references ...

    I've seen people with amazing "references and paper" that turned out to be worthless and i've seen people with felony criminal records do wonders.

    Use craigslist. Tons of people use it ... and hey, it's free.
     
  4. Meehan47

    Meehan47 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 33

    Craigs list is a good option. I never thought of that. It would be ideal if this all worked out for me. I plan on starting the beginning of April. When do you suggest I get the word out? I don't want to do it too soon and don't want to start too late either. Thanks again guys
     
  5. dutchhook

    dutchhook LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    Its OK to look now. When we did recruiting, finding people who are presently working are sometimes a better bet than unemployed people. You might run across a good, employed lawn guy who is wishy washy at their present employer, might not be ready to leave yet, but if you've met with them and something happens at their current job next month, they have your number and they might call you in March, April or even May. Time to go fishing for employees now, and reel them in anytime in the future!!


    Steve Hoogenakker
    Steve@Landscape.Pro
     
  6. koppandson

    koppandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I agree with steve. Finding someone that is currently employed is a better bet. Start looking now. Make it a point to tell them that the position doesn't start right away. Meet with the canidates more than once. Try to get a feel for their personality and lifestyle. If they have a wife/girlfriend take them out to dinner or lunch(once you've narrowed the canidates down).

    If you're trusting them with your equipment ... DRUG TEST. You don't need any guys with cocain addictions being responsible for your business.
     
  7. Desertdweller

    Desertdweller LawnSite Member
    Posts: 159

    You don't necessarily need someone with a lot of experience. They need customer skills, a good work ethic and need to be trusted. You can teach someone to mow. I just hired 3 guys in the last 2 months. Didn't think I would find anyone I thought would live to my standards. Time will tell. One guy had his own business but was barely making it, one worked for someone else and one was the son of a friend. The tech stuff will come but they all come across well with the customer and are hard working.

    My opinion on Craigs list is stay away. At least down here you get what you pay for and we all know how much Craig's list costs.
     
  8. Meehan47

    Meehan47 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 33

    Thanks for the replies guys. I am going to get started this week with getting the word out.
     
  9. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Besides finding the right employee, the other big obstacle you have is, basically not being available to work Mon-Fri. So I'm not sure how you would handle training somebody.

    One thing you could do would be to hire 2 guys and work with them on the weekends to start, then hopefully one of the 2 will be good enough to trust working on their own.
     
  10. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Posts: 703

    I need to hire someone this year also to drive a second truck or even my first truck for that matter but I get nervous. How do you guys no that the guy just won't take off with your stuff? Take a weedeater or something and just say someone stole it?
     

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