new hires

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Qualey, Mar 23, 2003.

  1. Qualey

    Qualey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 144

    In your experiences, have you found it more productive from an efficiency and financial standpoint to hire 2 $7.00 hr workers or 1 $12-15 hr worker? This is assuming all comp charges, payroll services, liabilities, etc? I need to make up my mind quick.

    I have one guy on salary who runs the maintenance. He will get 1 low hour rate helper. The problem lies in my construction foreman. He wants sig. more money (winter gravy work spoiled him). He is good, but I feel wants more than the position commands (he is not ICPI certified, no CDL, etc, just a fast learner who is always on time and professional). On the other hand, I have always been a firm believer in the fact that if you pay better and treat the help better, it is a better investment in the long run than a bunch of punks beating up your equipment and not showing up. BTW, I offered him salary, but he didn't like the figure. My gut says let him go.

    Matt
     
  2. double e

    double e LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    How much does this guy bring you in?
    Can you send the $7 an hr. worker out on his own?

    If he wants a raise- tell him he will get xx amount more when he gets his CDL's and xx amount more when he gets ICPI cert.-

    When I give a man a raise- I sit him down and give him more responsibilties- Might be something simple like he's in charge of keeping shop and grounds organized ( he's the one who gets on everyone else for putting tools back where they go)- less headaches for me
     
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Man, this depends on SOOO many things. How good of a worker has he been? Does he speak fluent english? Does he show up on time, every day, and work hard? Does he call in sick very rarely? Is he good with your clients? Does he have a valid driver's license and decent driving record? Does he have good character (e.g. honest, moral, ethical, etc.) Is his knowledge of the industry fairly significant? Is he a good and fair leader? Can he operate independently of you? Does he know where a lot of the local suppliers are? Does he know the streets, clients, area very well?

    If you can say yes to most or all of the above questions than this guy probably deserves what he's asking. But if you can only say yes to some or half of them, then I'd say he may not be worth it.

    My foreman is all those things and more. And he is more efficient then any 2 guys I could hire. So I when he was looking to leave a year and a half ago I asked him how much it would take for him to stay. He said he needed $3.50 more per hour to stay another couple of years. I didn't even hesitate. I gave it to him. He now makes $14.50 per hour. And once we get a little bigger and I can afford to, I'll pay him even more. He knows his stuff so well he can start and complete any job with very little direction from me. He'd be very difficult to replace. And most important of all - he's got tremendous character.

    So it all depends on the situation and the guy. But yes, some guys are worth it. And will make you lots of money if you choose to keep them.
     
  4. thartz

    thartz LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 486

    I'm with Jim on this one.If he is extremely productive then pay him what he is worth.I made the mistake of " taking care" of some employees that the benefit went straight to their head.Before long they were doing half as much work and asking for twice as much pay.This sounds cruel but I look as it as a "what have you done for me lately" attitude.If the person is helping to make a profit verses taking from it then I react accordingly.I'm getting extremely tired of people standing around doing nothing with the attitude " He's making plenty of money; a few breaks won't hurt him" You call the clients and explain why we didn't get to them today because" my crew didn't feel like being productive" When I started in this business you were lucky to get .50 over minimum wage. You would get laughed at if you asked for benefits.
     
  5. Qualey

    Qualey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 144

    Man, this depends on SOOO many things.

    How good of a worker has he been? excellent, fairly new to the trade, but really busts his *****

    Does he speak fluent english? Yes, though not an issue in Maine

    Does he show up on time, every day, and work hard? Yes

    Does he call in sick very rarely? never once

    Is he good with your clients his strong point, background in retail

    Does he have a valid driver's license and decent driving record? valid, but 5 moving violations in the past 3 years. This started the dilemma as I could not afford to have him operate my plow trucks. He has been getting $20 under the table for his fathers carpentry firm all winter, and all but 1 of the violations is gone in
    April

    Does he have good character (e.g. honest, moral, ethical, etc.)Yes

    Is his knowledge of the industry fairly significant?getting better, fast learner and loves building the walls and patios. Very methodical

    Is he a good and fair leader? soso, likes to run equipment rather than grunt. This is practically inevitable though and the reason we hire college kids, right?

    Can he operate independently of you?Yes

    Does he know where a lot of the local suppliers are? Yes
    Does he know the streets, clients, area very well? Yes

    It looks as though I will have to give this some more thought and discuss with him exactly what I need from him in order to warrant the kind of money he wants. The driving record is the big problem. I will not lie to my provider and risk a major catastrophe where I'm left high and dry I (even though the jerks want 3 times my current premium to insure him)

    Thank for the replys

    Matt
     
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Well, Matt. It sounds like you've got yourself a pretty dang good guy there, except for the driving record. But like you said, that all falls off in one month. So that is no longer an issue really, as long as he keeps his record fairly clean from here out.

    See, the biggest thing I like about my foreman is I can drop him off at a jobsite on Monday, tell him "Ok. Rip out this lawn, ammend the soil, install a 5 zone irrigation system here and here and here, and then install a new sod lawn, then these plants based on this plan, then put on some mulch and clean up." Then I can come back on Friday and it's all done how I asked, how the client wanted, and I just collect my check and move on. My foreman got all of the tools he needed, picked up all of the supplies, materials, etc. and installed it all. To be able to trust someone like that and end up with it done on time and the right way every time is invaluable.

    Now you're guy may not be quite that good yet. But if it looks like he's getting there (e.g. can at least do many jobs with little or no supervision) than I say keep him and pay him what he's worth.
     

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