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my best guy steals from me. what do I do?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Right Touch, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Right Touch

    Right Touch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Ok the title is a little misleading, but it had to be catchy to get anyone to read this and hopefully reply with anything but "just fire him!"

    I started a new construction only crew last year and hired a guy to run it. He actually came from another company that I did business with for a while, and this guy always did side work for me. The other company went under due to stupid greedy owners and this guy and his 3 man crew needed work. They had been working together for years and worked really well together and basically came as a package. It was a great opportunity for me to expand and I jumped on it.

    The main guy is 34, spanish, but is legal and speaks spanish and english very well. He is also more talented than any other spanish guy ive ever seen and has many many years experience. He does great work and is a really nice guy with a wife and 3 kids. Lives in a house with his family (not 20 other guys).

    Today I went to get ready for the snow storm we are about to get and I noticed a half a bag of calcium missing- i know its no big deal, but stealing is stealing. I know it was him because he came to pick up a truck. He did have two guys with him, so he says they put it in the back of the truck he took and he didnt know. Im sure he took it to use at his house and either didnt think I would notice or didnt think I would care.

    I dont care, but only if he asked me first. Of course I would said yes, but its just the fact that something is missing, it makes you wonder what else is going on. Little things like this happen all the time. Part of me wants to brush it off and part of me wants to fire him. ive talked with him before but it keeps happening. A tiger cant change its stripes, ya know. He is a great worker and making me alot of money. what do I do?
  2. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,227

    I would confront him. Ask him "hey did you take that...." How come you didn't ask first? I'd like to elaborate but I don't know anything else to say unless I started the conversation like this.
  3. newtostone

    newtostone LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 681

    I wouldn't go crazy about it but I would address it. I would just next time I see him be like hey next time you take some salt let me know first so I cant keep track on inventory. By doing that your letting him know that you are aware of what goes on. Sometimes you get guys that start to think the boss doesn't know sh%$ and they can pull anything they want. Just by softly letting him know you noticed it, it will cross his mind next time without crossing ends. And If your a pretty laid back guy with helping out your guys whenever you can then I am sure that's why he didn't think it was a big deal.

    Now I say this because I don't know the guy and giving him the benefit of the doubt, sometimes that's not the best approach you just have to know the kind of person he is.
  4. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    I'd just mention that you saw that half a bag was missing and to let you know next time so you can make note of it on the inventory list. No reason to make a big deal about it, but you should make him aware that you do notice things. Otherwise, even good people will eventually start to take larger liberties.
  5. J. Peterson Grading

    J. Peterson Grading LawnSite Senior Member
    from IA
    Posts: 989

    Half a bag of Calcium? If it were a whole pallet then I would worry about it. Say something to him and make him feel stupid, then let it go.

    You should have bigger things to worry about with a large snow storm coming your way.

    I have a guy that wrecked his truck this fall, so he always needs a ride. I went to pick him up the other day and there was 10 bags of Ice melt in his garage. All the kind I use. I see it, he gets in my truck. I say if you needed Ice Melt you could have asked me. He says No man I bought that. Well I know he didn't, Guy can't afford to fix his truck @ $200 to get to work, let alone buy 10 bags of melter @ $15 per bag. Kicker of the whole deal is, I have 50 pallets of salt in the shed and he goes after the expensive stuff, for a GRAVEL DRIVE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am going to let him finish out the plow season, then fire his ******** @$$. Oh did I mention he is getting dumber every single day? Lol

  6. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,227

    Well some people get better with age, guess he didn't fit into that category. LOL
  7. J. Peterson Grading

    J. Peterson Grading LawnSite Senior Member
    from IA
    Posts: 989

    Lol No. The guy has 5 kids. He owned his own landscape company for awhile, (Did a good job) But having 5 kids and only being 29 years old didn't help that plan.

    He is going to Comm. College to get a degree in Landscape Design, But with his lack of intellegence I think he will be lucky to be an install guy.

    I have had him sub to me on a couple small wall installs a few years back, and he did great. I didn't hear from him in over a year then I ran an add for an experienced landscaper and he awnsered it. He could barely remember me. (He used to smoke the crazy stuff, and its really affected him) I hired him on the spot because of his past good work.

    So he comes on with us, does great, he goes out of his way to get jobs done, and is a big help in the shop. Then it starts to get cold, and the dumbness starts.

    Don't get it at all.


    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,778

    I agree with this. Don't let it go, but just mention it to him and then watch him like a hawk.
  9. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,807

    1/2 bag of calcium, 5 gallons of gas, a weedwacker, etc etc etc.. nip it in the butt i wouldnt fire him but i would def have two eyes on him.. it could be a one time thing but ya never know.. ive had plenty of guys over the years fired for stealing gas, cutting on the side, its pretty much unpreventable the larger ya get..
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    The sad truth is you are correct stealing is stealing and you have a decision to make. I was in the same position in my last company (a partnership). We each had our number 1 guy we always worked with.

    Just so happens my partners was a guy I had hired 10 +years prior when I was an employee. He started out the same way, we let it slide cause he was good and we made bank on the guy. Fast foreword 13-14 years and this guy is a supervisor and a payroll check he was supposed to pass out comes up missing. We stop payment on it and a check cashing place calls a couple days later and asks someone from the company to come down and view video of the guy who cashed the check. Take a guess who it was... so I I.D. him and expected him to be fired and go to jail.

    No such luck, my partner goes down and pays the check cashing place back and refuses to fire the guy. I said adios and was out of the partnership in about 30 days. I left a lot of $$$ on the table but it was the last straw. That was not the kind of company I wanted to be associated with no matter how much money came my way.

    Tough spot, you could implement a policy but then you are always playing detective and business is hard enough without that headache. The worst part is if he is your number 1 guy you are developing a company culture based on this guys moral fabric. Glad I am out of that mess. Good Luck

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