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What to do about my help/helpers

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    Ok This my second season. I have ran across so many incompetent help it has become my biggest challenge. They say they have experience but out in the field its an obvious lie. I have to baby sit them all the time for every single thing. This is causing me to lose time, clients, and money. However some of these guys come with good referrals. I had have guys who will disappear in a middle of job come back either high or drunk. I have had guys not show up. Guys in and out of jail. Guys so lazy they rather sit down and wait for me to tell them how to re-fill the lawn mower or trimmers. The list goes on and on. What should be my best approach in finding decent common sense helpers.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  2. TeamYardsale4

    TeamYardsale4 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 325

    I hate to say it but I always feel it comes down to money!! You didn't state how much you are paying your help but guys that will apply for a job making $15/hr will be much more responsible and dependable then guys applying for $9/hr! It's the same thing with the company I am a manager at for my full time job they want the employees I manage to be these hardcore dedicated employees but they pay them $9/hr so all you get is young kids that only wanna joke around and hang out on there cell phone or older Middle Aged people that clearly can't hold steady jobs in the first place! At the end of the day it's like everything else, you get what you pay for unless you get lucky with some good help! Just my opinion
  3. parrlawncare

    parrlawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    I've had the same problem, I hire guys that say they have experience but once in the field its more than obvious they don't. I was so fed up with slack help last year I fired them and went solo for the rest of the year and getting a relative to help on his days off from his regular job. I think that I'm going to hire a Mexican this year.
  4. nashlawn01

    nashlawn01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 463

    Same problem here. In a rural area like ours there aren't many people who can even operate a ztr much less over steep terrain. So I can't start them out at $15. I have to try and train them all. The guys that helped last year are all being replaced but one Out of five guys three are in jail one hopped on a greyhound bus and went to San Diego. I would love to find Mexican workers. One will outwork three of these dope heads around here
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    I think the problem is when a business costs and pricing is set on having minimum wage employees they will never be able to get good help.

    A pick up at $20,000 is about $400 a month payment.

    $9 hour is $360 a week, take home $300.

    1.33 weeks pay just for car payment, then insurance, cell, gas, and the rest can be covered if he is still living home sponging off mom and dad.

    Housing, rent a dump will be $1000.

    Married, two kids. Forget about it.
  6. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,717

    If you have no interest in babysitting don't hire employees.... unless you want to pay them more than 30k+ a year
  7. dllawson

    dllawson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    I went to a Dave Ramsey Entreleadership 1-Day event several years ago, and it was some of the best business training I have ever attended. He gave some great advice on hiring and managing employees.

    He said one thing that really hit home with me. Almost all problems with employees come from poor management. When I started feeling responsible for my sorry employees rather than blaming them it made a huge difference.

    1. Create job descriptions so each worker knows what is expected, and how they can get promoted or get a raise.

    2. Consistently train and retrain your employees to make sure they are doing the right things.

    3. Have a good discipline policy to hold them immediately accountable when they do things wrong.

    The other great piece of advice he gave was to "hire slow and fire fast." He said he always takes his time to make sure he hires good employees, even if he is slammed. When someone isn't working out, and the managers have done their part, he gets rid of the employee quickly.

    I know that is easy advice in February, but I hope it helps.

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