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Stolen Equipment - what would you do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jason Pallas, Nov 9, 2001.

  1. tslawn

    tslawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Many insurance companies do not insure for theft that was not under "lock & key". And....there's an aweful lot of theft that occurs "inter-company"...meaning that we had some of our own employees steal from us. If you've had that much equipment disappear I'd make somebody pay for it. Your foreman should be the most resposible person on the job you have, so ultimately I believe he bears the burden of making sure your equipment makes it back onto the trailer/truck when you're done, as well as safe-guarding that nothing happens to it while en-route, unloading and working, etc.
  2. cos

    cos LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,253

    I would make the person that was in charge that crew be responsible. When you give someone responsiblities, that is definitely one of them.
  3. Dochere

    Dochere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 137

    I'm with cos, but I do believe that you have to make responsibilities known to your employees before enforcing the consequences. It is just as much your responsibility to lay down the law as it is for your employees to live up to it.
  4. Got Grass?

    Got Grass? LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 363

    You said it was the 5th or 6th pice of equipment this crew lost this year alone? and the only crew leader has been w/ the crew the whole time?
    Sound like you are either in a really bad hood or the leader is planing to start his own thing for free. What else was stolen this year?
    If that much was stolen then I think I would come down extremely hard on this person, as he isnt watching and taking care of your equip. I would try and find a way to check out his garage/yard for the missing euqip. Just sounds bit weird to me as so much is missing this year and he hasnt done anything to stop it. How did thay tell you it was missing? If thay didnt tell and you noticed on your own its a big problem. Either way, something sounds kinds fishey.... Whats next, the mowers?
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    I go along with Sinclac on this one. Here in Maryland it is against the law to make an employee replace anything, whether it be money, tools etc., that comes up missing. What I would do is replace the blower and the foreman at the same time. At 5 or 6 losses in one year this foreman doesn't have your best interests in mind.
  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    The workers are just that, workers. But the crew leader is the responsible party. You pay him to be responsible. You problem is not equipment being stolen, its a management problem with your leadership. If you have certain standards such as all equipment being locked down when not in use, then the crew leader didn't manage his people correctly to keep it locked. If you don't require this, and you have shown them in the past a hap-hazard way of handling equipment then you are to blame for lack of management.

    This is not to place blame on you or anyone, its to show that most problems start at the top with management. What level of management it starts at is up to you to figure out.
  7. cos

    cos LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,253

    I think this equpment may have got sold and the other employees got a hush, hush fee.

    5,6 in a year is a little much. After the second piece of equipment, I would start to blame the owner for not making have to pay. I don't think anything would have been lost after that day!
  8. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,325

    I defintely agree that I am at least partly to blame by not coming down harder and sooner on this crew. My leadership here was not good at all - I should have set an example/precedent at the second piece.
    I'm almost certain that the crew chief and the crew didn't take any of this. They're pretty straight/honest guys - just careless. What I do think contributes to this is that there have been no consequences up to recently. If they lost something - the result was the got a brand new replacement - More of a reward than a punishment. I'm pretty certain that some of the trimmers/stick edgers weren't locked down and bounced off the truck or trailer or got left on the jobsite. Problem is that the crew chief is salaried and (without monetary consequences) his motivation to spend an extra hour looking for the stuff is zero - as it decreases his profitability (more hours on the job). So, despite the fact they tell me that they looked for a long time, I bet they only went around the block once and moved on. For this reason (and many more) salary doesn't work and I won't be using it next year.
  9. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    hate to say it bud but thats the world we live in.
    have a meeting of all employees . state the problem an
    any efforts u want them to make to prevent theft.
    just about impossible without hiring somebody to just prevent theft.there always the possibility of employee theft.
    pay for this one and let them know u cant keep paying so
    at least part of the next one is on them.
    wish there was a real answer,but like i say thats the world we live in. mabe a dog is the answer. i know a fella whos big black dog stays in his truck all the time. believe me u do not get near that truck. good luck ,we all need it now days. later

  10. The same in Massachusetts - you cannot deduct this from their pay. You can be liable for triple damages if you do. You can ask them to pay voluntarily and fire them if they don't. But do not just arbitrarily take it out of their pay. Whatever you decide to do make sure it is legal.

    It seems to me unfair to hold them responsible if this was not an established policy that they agreed to at the time of hire.

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