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Quality Employees or the lack thereof

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mountain Gardener, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Mountain Gardener

    Mountain Gardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    Just finished reading, then re-reading the article on B14 of Turf Magazine concerning employees. With little exception, I could have written that piece with my past experiences concerning labor. We completely changed our business model in late 2003 and in doing so were able to eliminate all employees and the troubles they bring.

    Do I sound a little negative? Just a few examples;

    1 employee went to a client's lake home and made off with $5000.00 worth of HH goods. He got caught and used the excuse that he wasn't making enough money working for me.

    Another employee stole about $3000.00 worth of plant material over the course of 3 months and was "landscaping on the side" at his church where he was a deacon. I suspect every member of that church testified in his behalf. Hard to dispute 3 game cameras showing him gathering plants. He got jail time and had to make restitution. The church held several fundraisers to help with that restitution.

    Numerous employees had drug and achohol problems that came to work with them. Found drugs in company trucks several times. Started drug and acholol screening and were unable to find a clean applicant.

    Most applicants did not have a drivers license. Those that did "just got them back". Uninsurable.

    Another employee attributed a badly cut and broken thumb to being an on the job injury. He went to the jobsite first thing instead of shop that day. Finally were able to prove what really happened in court. A fight the night before.

    Nearly every "quit" filed for unemployment. Some of the reasons were hillarious. A number worked less than 1 full day. We always contested claims.

    Women were our best workers but also had the most baggage, usually a beer swilling old man at home watching TV while preparing to beat her after she got home. Had 2 instances of their old man showing up at a work site to "teach her a lesson". One showed up with a gun.

    1 employee announced that he was going to have his way with my 14 year old daughter. His tenure with us was very short. Another grabbed her and got his nose broken and a badly cut ear. I nearly got arrested for that. That same ex-employee raped the bookkeeper at another nursery less than 2 months later.

    10 years in the nursery business and I had 6 good employees, but never at the same time. Believe it or not, I seemed to have less serious problems than my competitors had.

    We sold the nursery several years ago and now have no employees, the costs, or troubles that go along with them and a commericial location. We handle about 75% less money than before but yet now keep more.
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

    man you had some winners...with 10 employees i got some stories but not as good had some that were on drugs and stole stuff got some complaints from drivers saying my trucks almost hit them...but my worst one was employee comes to shop in the middle of the night takes truck that the crew got done late so they didnt unload the huge brush pile in the back and then proceded to weave down through the center of town in a yellow truck full of brush....yup he got a dui
  3. Focal Point Landscapes

    Focal Point Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    You have had plenty of employee problems , no doubt . But being solo does limit the amount of volume that you can handle , so maybe higher profit margin , but much less gross . If you can live on what you personally can do , it is certainly less headache
  4. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,416

    January 08' any job applicants will go through a basic interview process that consist of the following:
    !. Must pass a basic industry skills test
    2. Must be able to fill out a job application with verified refrences
    3. Background Check
    4. Drug Screening
    5. A 90 probationary period
    5. A monthly review each month of job review.
    6. Cleary defined job performance review(Coaching, Coaching, Corrective, Termination)
  5. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 2,412

    ... and after all that you will still be solo.
  6. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    welcome to arkansas.

    how many of the problem workers were white?

    how many trouble makers were hispanic?
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I tried 3 or 4 in my early years, that was all I needed, haven't dealt with this headache in years.
    It is one of the main reasons I got tired of working for someone else...

    Some people say they didn't get paid enough, I suppose that sums it up.
    But I don't get paid enough now, so that can't be it :laugh:

    The best answer I could find in all that time is that some owners thrive on the supervisory aspect while others would rather drive hands on, and that made the most sense, in a nutshell.

    Peace out man, it'll be ok

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