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I will NEVER, hire a "helper" again

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by haynestotallawn, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. haynestotallawn

    haynestotallawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    Buddy of mine's brother worked the past 2 summers with one of the big times said he needs a few extra dollars because he's wanting to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. I said well do you know how to sharpen blades, do oil changes, etc.? He said of course I do that was our responsibility with (the other company). So boom he's hired for that purpose while I go out and cut my few clients lawns for that day. Get back and he's all dejected looking and I said "what's the matter with you?" and he said "man, I think I screwed up your pushmower" I said "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?" he said "I was took the blade off the mower to sharpen it and after I put the blade back on I (here's the good part) turn the mower right side up and then all this oil comes pouring out." :angry: Needless to say I was a tad pis$ed. No more, I don't care how good a friend he is, I'm still new to this business and I can't afford someone screwing up my equipment. Anybody else ever had anything even remotely similar to this happen before?
  2. kerr lawn

    kerr lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    got some work from family friends of ours, high end ppl i want to keep very HAPPY. The one son i'm friends with and the other i know well enough to say hi.
    anyways i drop my worker off to trim mums and black eyed susan while my other guy is edging the trees. I come back he dug up all the mums (4 beds like 2'x4') and black eyed susans (2 beds 2x4), rather than clip them back. I was mad. Then i take them to lunch and then i was so mad that i said your going home and while taking him home he asked if he could go buy the plants at a used plant place. He smoked a little to much weed. I forgot that there are ppl really that stupid out there.
  3. Mykster

    Mykster LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 668

    Ona an install, I told one of my helpers to take the truck and get more topsoil, he came back with bark. So I sent him back with my truck and trailer to get topsoil. Now mind you my truck is only a half ton. He came back with 1yd in the truck and 1yd in the trailer. As he turned the corner I could hear the trailer jack scraping the road all the way up the street. Was not to happy with him. Lucky for him there was no damage.
  4. nu83

    nu83 LawnSite Member
    from omaha
    Posts: 238

    I always SHOW them exactly what I want the first time I have them do something. Get them started and make sure they really understand and are capable of doing what you want them to do. I would be pissed about the flowers also, but it seems likely that you didn't explain what you wanted him to do exactly. If he had never trimmed mums or black eyed susans before how would he know what to do? Or maybe he was on crack?
  5. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    Time to read (in the trades) about hiring practices and training. Some of these are prime examples of just how inexpensive it can be to spend some time training newbee's.....
  6. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,213


    Some help just don't listen. We were doing a clean-up, 4' high cement wall 150' along front of property next to the road. This is half way down a long hill so the plows really lay it up on the bank plus the hill is sanded heavily. Told my helper to use the power broom to clean the sand from the TOP of the wall and edge of lawn. Half hour later I go see what is taking him so long and he is cleaning out the bottom of the wall along the road. He had doug out about 1/2 pickup load of sand and leaves. He had this dumb look on his face when I asked why he was cleaning the bottom of the wall instead of the top. It was a bad day all way around.

  7. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    It all goes back to the top. If you haven't trained or instructed the guy or gal thoroughly then you can't blame them. If you have and he continues to cost you money then it's time for him to go flip burgers.
  8. anythinglawns

    anythinglawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    I have found one must be very directive with a new helper. Regardless of experience it is important to explain or show every detail at each particular job site. It is also important to check references. Before learning my lesson, I hired a helper on the word that he had worked for a well known an reputable LCO in my area. He lasted two days before I let him go. Out of curiosity I called the other LCO and found out he had indeed been employed by them and had lasted all of one day.
  9. garydale

    garydale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 813

    We have all done it before(turned a NuB loose too soon)

    Nothing beats a trained employee. A few minutes up front will save your sanity.

    Try this with All employees (new and old).

    Step one: Tell them what to do.
    Step two: Explain as you SHOW them what to do.
    Step three: Have them TELL you what to do, as you do it.
    Step four: Have them TELL and SHOW how to do what you want.
    Steo five:Tell them how to find help or you if things go wrong.

    Telling you how will show what they don't understand.
    Telling as they show you ensures they understand.
    Where to get help or you will limit damage.

    Who's at fault if anew man screws up? Quest.
  10. kerr lawn

    kerr lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    garydale-you have learned threw experience and i agree competely. Thanks good stuff.
    the only thing that i would add, if you are doing something compeletly new and it somewhat b*tch work. Work alongside him or her, to show really you will do it all. Also you would never leave the helper doing something you woudn't do.


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