Keeping track of equipment

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Sep 4, 2001.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Recently it seems like I've been having to buy small equipment (rakes, shovels, etc.) a lot more frequently than before. I'm not worried that anyone's stealing them necessarily. I know my guys pretty well and most of them have no need for these things anyway. I think they're being left on properties, etc.

    Anyway, I wanted to come up with a good way to keep track of these things and then hold the crew leaders accountable when something comes up missing. So I am just looking for suggestions as to how to do that.

    Here's what I've come up with so far. Tell me what you think or give me suggestions of what you [larger companies] do to keep track.

    * We thought of painting part of the handles of each piece of equipment a certain color for each crew. Then we would do inventory periodically and if a crew was missing something the crew leader would have to come up with a good explanation or pay us back. Of course, as tools broke I'd let them off the hook as long as they brought me the broken piece. I want to be fair.
  2. Chuck Sinclair

    Chuck Sinclair LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 336

    :( You might what to checkinto that, but i know in California we can't make the employee pay for stuff like that unless they agree to it in advance.
  3. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,910

    I think that one of the best ways to keep track of stuff is to have only one spot (hook) for each tool and then it is easier to look to see if a piece is missing. This also helps when you are getting ready to go in the morning it's easy to check to make sure everything is there to do the job.
    You know shovels blue handles, rakes orange, broom green etc and the hook would be the same colour. One look and you would know what is missing. Of course I am no where near that organized.
  4. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    We color code the tools for each crew. Crew Leader is 'responsible' for the tools. We reward them for such responsibility in their hourly rate.

    Last year we lost less than $100 in tools over the course of the season.

    Broke tools are turned in to tool crip for replacement or repair, as needed and as determined by our warehouse manager.

    Works well.... for us.
  5. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 437

    Not sure how to keep track of hand tools, but we do paint the handles on ours. Most hand tools are kept in large garbage cans at the whse. Two to three times a year I put all hand tools in the cans and spray, liberally, into the cans with a can of $1 spray paint. All handles end up being coating in Red, Blue, Etc.... and I Know my hand tools from others. Also, most shovels and sharp shooters have a band of tape at either 18 or 24" that is used to determine depth of holes. Most people don't put a depth indicator on there tools and this can also be valuable in differentiating (sp) you tools from anothers'.

    Good Luck,

  6. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,579

    We also color code for each crew.

    What I found out works best.... designate one member of the crew (usually the newest employee) to do a tool check and a walk around before leaving the jobsite. Last question foreman asks before leaving the jobsite is "have we got all our tools".

    This gives the "new guy" some responsibilty and also a lesson in the old saying "crap rolls down hill"..... meaning , if a tool is left on the job and the foreman gets a "talking to" from the boss ,someone else is going to hear about it.:mad:

    PS. We never completly paint the handle, just a little down by the bottom. The reason for this is that painted handles are very hard on the hands. If a wooden handle has any kind of covering I used to sand it off.... If you have never tried a sanded handle..try it'll like it!!
  7. Got Grass?

    Got Grass? LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 363

    The best and really only way to keep track of who is causing the tools to be missing is to mark them in some way.

    Do you keep the toold on the truck trailer all the time or in a general area?

    The best and least cost way would be if thay are not kept on the truck/trailer is to keep an seprate area for each crew to store thier own tools. and get a couple cheep spray paint cans in RED, Blue, Black, Green, White that wont fade or rub off and look alike like if you used red, yellow & orange. Paint the handle ends diffrent colors for each crew. Paint the extra/backup tools a diffrent color, and your personal tools a diffrent color. Do the same thing with the blowers, trimmers, mowers.

    Mark down what crew has what equip and what color, post it on a wall/desk. and have the crew leader stay 1min longer and do inventory at days end.

    Inform you crews thay are NEVER allowed to touch your personal tools, swap tools between crews or take from the reserve pile w/o asking you in advance. Make them tell you when something breaks as well. If you catch the wrong color with the wrong crew or missing tools, there will be consequences to pay.
    You may not be able to make them pay $. But you can always send them to your worst jobs, make them weed, trim ditches all day, plant large trees, or other activity thay hate doing.
    Reward them every month or so if all thier tools remain intact and none missing, or wrong color tools, with buying them a lunch/dinner, Pizza/Wings and some beer.
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Although i have never color coded hand tools, we do have our company name on our aerators/ slicers/ trim mowers/ hand helds/ etc., we have a checklist that is part of our Daily Work Orders.

    We list how many shovels, spades, forks, wheelbarrows, picks, mattocks, etc leave the shop and before returning to the shop they have to check off what coming back.

  9. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 712

    If these tools are being left, painting them with a high-visibility color should help. If you have crews, you could paint just the end of the handle a different color for each crew.
  10. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    and put in writing (with a signature of the employee) that says that part of their duty as a crew leader is to account for all your assets before leaving a job site. And if it is because of lack of care, or misuse, they will be financially responsible for the loss.

    Of course if it breaks or an "accident" occasionally happens, I wouldn't push it too much, but hold firmly to a policy having all tools accounted for before they go out the door in the morning and before they come back in in the eve.

    I'm not going to go into spray painting the handles of your tools, because the first 30 times it was typed should be enough! :)

    An inventory sheet would be a good idea, like was mentioned before, tools listed as they go out the door, and checked off or "cleared" when they come back.

    Hope this helps.

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