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I need help with a crew

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by outrunjason, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Posts: 703

    Ok first off I did do a search but they did quite answer all my questions.

    In a run down here is what I have. I have been in business for about 5 years (the right way) and just on and off for about 4 years before that. I usually drive and have 2 guys that work with me. But really I need to run a second crew. It would be so much more efficient. So, how are you suppose to find a guy that can drive just about as good as he mowes. I use all mexicans. Some of them are really good hard working guys. I am worried about using somone from day labor, and I don't want someone taking off with my truck and stuff either.

    So, I figure 2 guys on a truck. Driver at $12 an hour and the other guy at about 8 like always. Then I would start on a second crew that wouldn't be full quite yet and that would be my crew. So, I guess the question is where do you find the good guys? If I have read right money talks and if you pay them good they will stick around. Also do you send a map with your crew on what lawns to do next? I have a route sheet but no map on it as I know where they are. I guess they would just have to get used to the route and look it up in the mapsco.

    Thanks, Jason

    (if this is in the wrong section please move)
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Paying well does help as I do much above average. Think after about the 3rd week your crew could toss the map.
  3. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    Use a folder with addys, phone numbers, AND maps .... you need to get your crew to these jobs ASAP! Stealing your clients away with such information, you say.....

    Draw up a non-compete clause for them to sign with the paperwork you give new hires .... ive never had a problem with employees signing this sheet and no problems with them trying to steal away my list's. I did have problems prior to the sheets though.

    Finding good help is hard, and i personally dont use Mexicans. I run an add in the paper and use a questionaire over the phone to narrow down applicants. Next, i met the qualifying prospects at a place like borders, or a resturant to further examine their qualifications. I narrow them down from there and pick the best applicant. Always keep potential prospects information filed, as you dont know when you may need some extra help out of the blue.
  4. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Posts: 703

    So, you think that I should have a folder with all the info on it? Also what about insurance. As it is I just have the truck and a car on there and me and my wife as a driver. Can I just add the guy as a driver? I am also looking at putting a gps on my truck. Just something cheap so I can make sure they are doing there job. I don't care about certain things but some I do. Also what do you do about equipment being stolen. I am going to place this on the driver. I thought about withholding so much from his check till a certain point so that if anything gets stolen it will be covered. I know that sounds harsh but if one day something comes up stolen he could just bail and I would be stuck with the bill.
  5. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    As the saying goes, "good help is hard to find". And I don't care what anyone says, it makes NO difference how much you pay. A good employee has it inside of them or they don't, period. I have hired and fired employees for 17 years in this business and 8 years prior in another business. I have paid $15.00 an hour to some people who I thought based on their qualifications, would be good help, crew leader quality, they lasted about 2 weeks. I have paid $5.00 an hour to others to start, one of which is now my forman, who I pay salary, and he has been with me for ten years, has keys to my shop and everything I own. You just have to hire someone, work with them for a while and build up to putting more responsiblity in their hands. It's hard, very hard to find someone off the street and decide wether they can, or will, handle the responsiblity and treat the equipment and customers like you will. They won't. I could use two more people as crew leaders, can't find them. I tell everyone I hire, how much you make is up to you, the more you can do for me, the more you are worth to me. They have to show what they can, or will do, then they get more pay after at least 30 days. I put adds in local paper when I need help, usually get 30 or 40 replies, I talk to them on phone just to set up an appointment at my office, I want to see what they look like, as well as see if they can carry on a conversation, then I decide on someone after talking to everyone. Everyone fills out an employment app to start, I keep these on file because you never know if you will have a crew tomorrow or not. Typical employees will bolt on a whim, or not show up because they are supposedly sick, I keep plenty of replacements on call.
    Good luck with it though, just know that when you send your new crew out to do jobs on their own, they WILL NOT do as much as you and your crew do. Human nature.
  6. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    First remember your current employee's are one of the best thing s in your company. Try to develop them, maybe thats not practical now, but you need to develop your employee's to help lead your company. You want to have business as usual even if you cant be there. Good luck with finding help. I have found that the best way fro me to fine help is to develop from within, and get etry level employee flowing thorugh all the time util you hit on some good ones.
  7. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Do you have business insurance? You haven't mentioned that, just vehicle insurance. Insurance should cover you on equipment being stolen. But thats also why you get information like their SS number, so in the event they bail you should be able to do somethng about it. I've never dealt with the paperwork side of having employee's, just managed them.

    As for the route part, give them maps and they should have it covered after a couple weeks. Then they should just need the list with names/address. I like rodfathers pay method(i've debating selling and going to work for him :D ). If you pay your employee's well, they'll stick with you and you have a better chance of getting someone worth having. If you pay them bad wages your just going to get slackies. Around here, the average pay for the industry is 7 dollars, a crewleader is lucky to get 10-11. When the time comes for me to expand, I will be hiring in at 9-10 an hour and crew leaders will get 15 an hour.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    A great #2 guy can make or break a business. If you can find one your company will grow and prosper, until you do you will flounder with inconsistency. Lets face it what we do is not rocket science so anyone with desire /ambition can fill the bill. Look everywhere talk to other people you know. Finding them in the want ads is not likely. Married with kids is good, they need to work. You may even have to pay him more than he is worth to begin, but once it gets rolling its very good. As far as the how to find the job site issues, send your current #2 / lead guy with your new foreman. The leadman will know the route and the routine and make things easier on the new guy. As far as non competes are concerned they are a big stick but if it really comes down to enforcing it's expensive and timely, and lets face it if a customer wants to leave they are gone . I have thought about having the clients sign a non-compete to keep them from stealing the guys, but the guys are smart enough to know better. Anytime you have to get lawyers involved your loosing, just a matter of how much.
  9. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Just spoke with my last 2 guys this afternoon.

    As of today, everyone is coming back next season including my college guys. Pay for mowing/landscaping and crew foremen is $17.50 and $22.50 respectively with 5 paid personal days and 1/2 major medical paid should they choose.

    Don't worry Kurt, I have a opening for ya :)
  10. Coreyb

    Coreyb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    you need commercial or business insurance. go to an insurance broker (one who can offer many carriers). i use pekin and they have been good. there are too many guys on here without insurance. you want to carry $1million gen liability plus coverage for all your equipment. as far as drivers, my guys can not have any suspensions in the past 5 years or they can not be insured. fiind out what your insurance requires and go from there.

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