What would you do? (Long)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jgoran5, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. jgoran5

    jgoran5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Well here goes. I am a first time poster but a long time lurker. I bought an existing Lawn care company about 3 years ago. I inherited 4 employess when I took over. I fired one employee when he stole a pressure washer from me. Called the police and was going to press charges but he returned it. Well one of the 3 remaining Mexican guys is a very hard worker and is very good at everything from bush trimming to plantings as well as mowing and trimming. He is a foreman and is paid $16.00 per hour, which I thought was pretty good. However I just found out that this guy has stolen about 15 of my accounts from me and does them on Saturday or Sunday. I just thought the customers didn't like me personally because I was the new owner. Now I'm 6'5" 315 and what I would like to do is grab him by the throat and ......well you know what I mean.

    I have 9 guys working 3 crews right now. When I took over I only had 4 guys and 2 crews. We never worked more than 40 hours. Currently we are working 45- 55 hours a week.

    What would you do? Right now I look like the village idiot to the rest of the guys and I'm not happy about it.
  2. scottb

    scottb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Since he is already the competition I would have to let him go. Because he is stealing from you.
  3. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    Call a company meeting. Discuss company loyalty and moonlighting. Explain how everyone has a stake in the success of the company. Explain that moonlighting is stealing from the company and from its employees. Ask for suggestions from ALL your employees on what they think should be done if anyone was caught moonlighting. Then ask your foreman to join you in a private discussion and ask him to resign.

  4. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 295

    yup, he is history. No choice in this at all, good worker/foreman and all is no excuse. He knew what he was doing, now it is time to pay the consequenses. JD
  5. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    im no lawyer ,but it sounds like u mabe ought to talk to one. then if u dont get any good course of from him ,treat the sucker like the thief he is.
  6. stahls2

    stahls2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    This happened to me two weeks ago. One of my customer's requested me to give him an estimate on mowing a 50 acre tree nursery with his equipment. I could not get back with him for four weeks of the weather and this employee not showing up.

    Two weeks ago, this customer approached my employee and requested him to bid the job for me. The employee went and bid the job on my behalf. Later that day, he tells me that the customer approached him and that the customer wanted him to do the work, not my company. So he took the job.

    Next day I approached the customer and asked why he went with my employee. He stated that he was not trying to go around me and thought he could bid the job on my behalf.

    Long story short, the customer still wanted me to do the job and not the employee.

    The employee lied about the situation so he could keep the money. The employee was fired and I am mowing 50 acres.

    The employee was a friend.
  7. I wonder if doctor who left a group to open his own office and had patients who just wanted him to treat them, whould be considered a thief for continuning to treat them at his new office?
    How about a lawyer who left a firm to open his own office? Yep, a theif too, if he takes any clients with him, forget about the fact he is the only lawyer who can win the case. He is a thief, Just like the doctor. The CPA's ain't no good either. It is called BUSINESS for a reason. It is nothing personal. Fire him, wish him luck and get on with running your business.

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Posts: 665

    What separates this guy from many others is that he got caught. This is a very common practice in many service type businesses. Employers are teaching employees how to run a business. The employee feels cheated because he gets a mere 20-30% of the revenue he produced. Some then, feel compelled to go out on their own and usually solicit clients who know them. Its the ugly side of business. Others are no more than basic criminals, using the company's time and equipment and are pocketing the cash. What a shame. I've said it so many times before... I'll stay solo, thank you.
  9. ADMowing

    ADMowing LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 175

    This thread makes me glad we are solo too! It's just me and my husband!!! We've thought of hiring, but, for us, the headaches just aren't worth it.

    I agree with what is being said here. I like the idea of calling a company meeting and I like the idea of letting the guy go.

    I REALLY like the idea of talking to those customers who he has stollen. If you can get them back and fire the dude, then he will be out on his butt -- entirely!!! This is not vindictive, although I think you have a right to be. It is just getting back what was stollen from you. You might not get them all back, but maybe some of them and, at least, the customers will know what kind of individual they have doing their lawn care.

    It is underhanded practice and I wouldn't want an employee like that working for me no matter how good a worker he is!!!
  10. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    If you want control of your company and respect from your employees you need to take immediate and harsh action. Nothing gets everyone's attention like firing someone. You will let everyone know its not acceptable and carries big consequences. You must be swift to get the desired effects.

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