When you hire someone, Do you test them??

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by ATL Lawn, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. ATL Lawn

    ATL Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 318

    Everyone ive hired this year are freaking IDIOTS!!!!. :hammerhead: :hammerhead: they dont know/understand what the hell square feet is, and are totally lost on what a cubic yard is.

    does any one here have any test that they give new hires?

    this is sad, i learned all this stuff in elementry school. even after hours of teacing someone they forget it all.

    im tired of doing all my sod estimates myself.
  2. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    One thing to say about doing estimates yourself is that you are the one who will screw it up and you're the one who has to get bitten when you screw up, rather than I go out and badly underestimate a job for you, then we do it and you get stuck with a big loss on it because I screwed up your estimate.
  3. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 292

    I don't let anyone else do my estimating but I do have a guy who is a whiner, all day he whines, whines, and whines some freaking more. Is it too much to ask for him to simply weedeat a yard without stopping me 30 times for stupid stuff or making me tell him to "get around the fence" or the shed, etc..

    And taking a break to pour water on his head every 30 seconds. I swear, tomorrow if I can done mowing a yard before he is even done weedeating again, he's a goner.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I think they're telling you they're not ready to do estimates...

    This is normal, all the people you hire NEXT year as well will be idiots :laugh:
  5. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    you are nuts for letting a new worker do estimates.... even if its figure out the sq feet and multiply but what you charge per sq ft

    go with him a few times its a new job im sure he is nervous and probably not good with customers like you
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Yeah you know, I tried this route once or thrice and a few old timers told me there are those business owners who simply are better off without employees.

    So if you feel the same frustrations time and again, perhaps that is the issue and the solution is stay solo.

    Hiring employees is done just like with customers, you need to pre-screen them and be aware that likely you will need to interview 10 of them for every one you hire.

    Now if they have no experience, then it is your job to train them.
    If they say they do, have an old Wb loaded on a latched trailer, ask them to unload it and get'r going, might be helpful if you have a small patch of grass they can cut with it.

    stuff like that, it's not brain surgery but as for me, I can't tolerate it so I have no employees and never will.
  7. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    When I had someone working with me last year, I asked them what the "knew how to do". Once they told me, I told them I wanted a demonstration. I had 7 people apply. I hired 1 of them, he worked well for about 3 weeks and then said he couldnt take the weather. I hired a second guy and he only lasted 4 days, because he would weedwhack and miss obvious stuff. When he would mow, he would cut corners and leave me with patches sticking up everytwhere. He claimed everything looked good. Those 4 days, I ended up doing twice the work. After that, I just stayed working as a solo operation.
  8. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    We maintained a crew of 18 when mowing 4500 Acres a month. It took a couple of interviews and some basic questions about job/equipment knowledge. OJT worked pretty good with new hires being partnered with a couple of older employees. When I worked alongside the crews they realized that they were under evaluation for performance and acted accordingly. When I was gone the crew leader became my eyes and ears. We passed out about 25-30 W2's each year with the core group size remaining at 18-20. There were always a few 'in transit' types. My competitors had almost 2-3 times the turnover I had.

    I also ran an 18 hole golf resort with 25 employees during the first year startup period. Later they cut back to only 9. It is tough when 9 do the work of 25. It is also a 27 hole course now. Talk about overworked and underpaid.

    Keep on with the training and add a few work related questions to your interview process along with a simple skills test for the prospect to perform.
  9. ATL Lawn

    ATL Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 318

    you dont happen to have one that you give out do you?

  10. ed2150

    ed2150 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

    Whenever I'm hiring a helper part of the process is to take them out to work for a day or two to see if they work to my standards.....if I'm not happy with them, I tell them why, pay 'em for their time, and send them on their way.

    Don't know what it's like where you are, but here if I run a 1 day help wanted ad I'll get 50 - 75 phone calls. I've got plenty to choose from so finding help is generally not a problem.

    Last year I had the same helper all season, this year he wanted to work for his brother-in law so I had to find somebody new, so far I've had about 5 different guys. Nobody seems to want to work, they're great for a while then suddenly they're a no-show.....

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