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Time to be a DI!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turfdude, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Hey guys,

    Gotta vent some! Normally I run 3 crews everyday w/ my Foreman/Lawn Care Mgr. out doing the fert thing for me as the 4th crew a lot of the time. I hate Mondays!! Two weeks ago, I took the family for a weeks vacation. All went pretty well, mostly all employees in every day - only reason some work not done was extreeme heat. Last Monday I return - you guessed it all 3 crew chiefs out. Only 2 trucks on the road. All unrelated illnesses - just major inconvenience. My grandmother passed away last Wednesday (last living grandparent). Private viewing and funeral today. Now I have one crewchief on vacation - guys know I can't work. Only 3 guys show up today and the projected high was 98 w/ heat index 110. I know my one employee was sick for sure as he has been ill since Friday. The other guy drives my one crewchief in and he supposedly couldn't sleep last night so neither one of them made it in today.
    So after the services, I had lunch w/ the family and had to go to work. I can't believe that the crew could shaft me so bad in my time of mourning like this. I feel like I am always willing to let them go attend concerts, leave work early for other poor excuses and so on and this is how they return the favor.

    Well no more mister nice guy!!! For now on its my way - or the high way. These guys are going to learn the meaning of the word respect, or they'll find themselves shipped out. I've always believed in trying to keep things light w/in reason and in bounds, but I feel as though I gave them the perverbial inch and that they'vve taken a country mile.

    Sorry for the rant - just feels soooo good to vent sometimes.

  2. Potomac Lawns Inc.

    Potomac Lawns Inc. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 409

    Sounds like me a little except i do not have three crews, give somebody an inch and they take a mile, there are some people who are just glad they have jobs and want to work, maybe you should set up a company policy for everyone or a point system if they take off like 10 points and see ya. then again it would all depend on the excuse, ask for doctors notes.
  3. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Sounds to me like you have a bunch of slackers..:(
    They shouldn't have done that to you. Sorry this all happened at a bad time for you.
    To me, work is a commitment, if you can't be there 95% of the time, you shouldnt' be working that job. Heat & Humidity is part of the job round here, you shouldn't take the job if you don't wanna work in the given conditions.
  4. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900


    We do have an personnel policy manual. We try to treat our guys very well (paid sick time, vacation, holiday, 1/2 medical and offer retirement plan). For a small company (seasonal LCO at that almost 12 months), we feel that sometimes all we do is give. Half of my guys do respect us for this and realize the commitment we make to them. I agree the rest are slackers, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to take what you can get. The labor pool here is not that plentiful. I guess a lot of it is how you were raised and what morals and values have been instilled in you. Personally if I'm not workin - I'm pukin'. Missed less than 3 days in last 15 years.
    Bushhogboy, if you haven't already thanked your parents - go ahead and do it. For a 15 year old, you sure have a helluva a good outlook on things.
    Thanks again for lettin me vent.

  5. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    Tell them what I tell them:

    "If we got 'x' number of guys here and the job aint getting done, somebody aint needed and I'm staying."
  6. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Your employees, if they are decent human beings, should care too. Bu that should not be the sole reason they show up for work. I agree with you - changes need to be made and maybe some heads need to roll. Treating everyone the same, making sure they all follow the rules, regardless of who they are, is the solution. Fire away if need be. Creating company policy up front, expressing expectations will often eliminate some problems - but not all. Best of luck.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you're doing ok.

    What you are describing (regular illness, wanting time off, not showing up to work without any notice) are all a direct result of your employees not really wanting their jobs that badly. I've been through this for years.

    For me, the solution has been to get rid of guys like this right from the get go and hire guys who are HUNGRY for work. Unfortunately, in my area at least, that means immigrant hispanics. I only say it's "unfortunate" because I've came to experience that most Americans are lazy as heck, which is really sad.

    So this year I just ended up asking my hispanic workers if they knew any guys looking for work. I ended up with an entire company of hispanic laborers, save me and my foreman. Two speak fluent english. 2 speak decent english. And 1 doesn't speak any english.

    I've had one hispanic guy working for me for almost 4 years now. He's incredible. But with any of them, here's what I get;

    * They never call in sick - ever.
    * They never want time off.
    * They want as many hours as I will give them.
    * They do the work I ask them to do without ever complaining.
    * They have a high level of respect for me.
    * They keep my trucks clean and looking sharp without me saying a word
    * They are always eager to go the extra mile for me or more importantly, for my customers.
    * They are loyal

    Anyway, whether they be hispanic, Americans or anything else, these are the kind of workers you need to find. Guys who are HUNGRY. Guys who will show up and work their butts off every day, without problems.

    You can't run a good reliable business with the behaviors of your current employees.
  8. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    I'm with Jim on this one.

    I've been using the latinos for over a decade now. I've experienced exactly the same thing for the most part. The only exceptions were during times when the demand outstripped supply such as during periods when the building boom here was really going. Construction stripped away all the good latinos and left the dregs. And every ethnic group has its bums.

    But now, construction is on the skids and we've got mexicans stepping all over each other and man are they motivated!!

    And with the latinos, if you get one that's not pulling his weight, he'll usually be taking more heat from his fellow workers much more than he will from you because he'll be making them all look bad. So they're actually self-policing. Many times the others will be down on the slow one's back long before you're even aware of any problems.

    It's the way to go.

    One final thing. If you wind up hiring any of the local white boys, and you're running a good crew of mexicans, make sure that he understands right from the gitgo that he's gotta keep up with the mexicans or he's gone. Everytime I hire a man, latino or american, I make sure that he knows that the 1st 3 weeks are a trial period. And the rule is that any time in that 3 weeks I can let him go for no reason whatsoever because he needs to know that I'm looking for a specific mindset. If I don't think he has it, there's no use in us wasting each other's time. Then I spend the first couple of days working along side of him and man, I wear his a** out! I act like that this is normal for this company and that I'm happy to have this kind of work. I go on about how it feels good to work hard and hard work never hurt anybody. Usually by the end of the 2nd day, the american is thinking that I'm crazy, but if he lasts the week, I know I got a pretty good guy. But conincidentally I'm the only white boy on this crew. All the others are latinos.

    If the latinos DO get lazy (they call it "flojo" and remember that 'j' gets an 'h' sound) I pick the worst one and fire him in front of the others. Believe me the others will get the message.
  9. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Thanks for the posts guys. Jim L. - I highly respect your input. W/ the exception of our laborers, you sound like you run a very clean show. (Like your responses in anyone get another LCO to mow their own yard??).

    I currently have only one hispanic worker. Have had a few in the past - they really do good work. The only downside is that when they want to go - you usually don't get a 2 week notice. Each year I say I'll try to get some. Around here its tough. Brickman and Likpinski (2 in to 25 of country) get the first available. I may have to look into H2B like LGF mentioned.

    Mowerdude, I agree w/ you as to working w/ the new guys frist few days. Most young guys can't hang w/ me either. I don't expect them to either, but if they are willing, they could after a couple of seasons. Iwas spoiled w/ great help in the late 80's/early 90's, but GenX - sux!!


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