How to teach Weedwacking?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    So, I've been dabbling with help lately, getting my feet wet with potential employees next year, etc. The one thing I keep getting hung up on with the helpers is teaching how to weedwack. It's hard for me to explain to someone how to hold the wacker, what I want done, etc. For me, it's second nature and I do it without thinking, and I've got almost 10 years of doing it under my belt. I'm at a loss for how to easily teach newbies how to wack. I think it's a skill you pick up from experience, but at the same time I don't want these people trying to learn on customer's lawns. Any suggestions?
     
  2. IMPACT

    IMPACT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    Tom, if we could start a course called "Trimmer 101", we'd be rich! lol..seriously, I think most guys either have a desire to do it or they don't. Most new hires want to sit on the Z or ride a Stander. No one wants to be the trimmer man.They think if they screw it up, they can ride.. Almost anyone can cut a lawn, but it takes skill, desire, and attention to detail to be a good trimmer on the crew.Few and far between are the good ones. If you find one, hang on to him / her(give it up for the ladies- I have seen many out work the men!) Good luck ,Tom
     
  3. rockhouse

    rockhouse LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Have them practice on the competition's lawns.
     
  4. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    Tom, do what I'd do.. take them to a public park and give them explicit instructions.. and see how well they follow your lead. Some dogs just won't hunt.. If they can not get the basics ( proper grip, No burns on the grass ) in 10-15 minutes, I'd look for other help.. If the help can't opperate a $300 trimmer, no way would I turn em' loose on a several thousand $$$ machine, not to mention, I want someone who can do everything I can. And at least be able to match my speed after some time.. ( I mean like a week or two tops)
     
  5. chuckers

    chuckers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 657

    i take them to a park they usually love it anyways.... i would never expect as fast as me they just dont have it in them they have to be quick but its not there busness so they arent gonna speed walk with a trimmer they just gotta go at a decent pace and be done when im ready to go....
     
  6. TrueTrim1

    TrueTrim1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Just curious if that is legal to do. If it is, I might have to think about doing that if i get new help. Great idea, have your helper learn on public land. If he messes it up, you don't have to worry about your own yard or any of your customers looking bad.
     
  7. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    It doesn't LITERALLY have to be a public park, I was just giving ideas.. As far as the legality, I doubt a Cops gonna write you a ticket for "illegal trimming".... I doubt even the worst trimmer can do worse than the guy's who work for the city....Either way, they ain't tearin up my pad or any of my customers, nor will they waste an inordinate ammount of my time/money learning...Too many with the skills or willing to learn, to waste time with dead heads, that don't wanna work.
     
  8. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    Another idea I've serriously considered, is making a video, in English and Spanish, that clearly demonstrates proper technique, and safety. Then I will require them to watch it, and demonstrate their new found skills. Another thing, to weed out the "yeah, yeah, I know how to trim, I've worked for Jim bob's LCO before for 2 years.." Is to set up an obstacle course, Say three tree's and 20 ft of edge, and maybe a few other things, like chain link. Run the course yourself, to establish a base line time.. then test them to see their performance in real time.. ( BTW, I wouldn't let them know they are being timed, they may bust a^% to get the Job, only to lay down on you when you need em' most... Just a few Ideas, I hope I helped..
     
  9. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    I try to tell them what I want the finished product to look like and let them find their own way to do it as some hold the trimmer different and still get the job done. I have found that the best "workers" are the hardest to train as they just don't seem to care about the product as much as just getting it done. On the other side I had a guy who would do a great job but took forever to get it done as he went over and over to be perfect. A guy I have now is a machine. Put the truck in park and he jumps out the door and starts trimming. Was turning around in a cul-de-sac the other day and had to stop to move a garbage can. I got back in the truck and he was gone. Looked out and he was trimming away. We were still 3 doors away from the people who pay us.
    Some people say that finding the right people can take as many as 100 misses before you find the good one.
    I have a few open lots that I can put them on and train without having upset customers. I also had a friends kid work over the summer and I took him to his house and set him loose.
    I see people write about the easy and cheap entry into this business and I look at the 150K+ that I have in equipment and the problems with labor and I wounder what they are talking about. Good luck with the labor.
     
  10. SouthernFried

    SouthernFried LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 273

    I could always get experienced help with an ad. Always specified 1 yr of commercial work before I would even talk to them. Never failed to get dozens of responses for $8/hr...some of them were awesome.
     

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