A little help please?!

grass man 11

LawnSite Bronze Member
I think most of us have been there. Especially when you have 1-2 crews and the guys think they did all the work so they should get all the pay. Every time I got a new mower, truck, trailer, stick of gum I was called rich. I would say “no I’m not rich. I just paid $30,000. If I sell it tomorrow I only get $25. I just lost $5000 so you don’t have to work as hard”

If you don’t need those guys back, don’t take them back. If you do need them back, frankly , use them. Have them back, Hire their replacements, let them go when you don’t need them. I don’t want to recommend you hire them back, but I do understand your back being against a wall. The good news is they only had a “pay scale” issue. They left and figured out that the grass isn’t greener. They tried to bluff you. Now that you know their hand, you have control. Just don’t use them for very long. Oh, and hire them back $2 per hour less.
 

Jeff@diyokc

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Owasso, Oklahoma
I think most of us have been there. Especially when you have 1-2 crews and the guys think they did all the work so they should get all the pay. Every time I got a new mower, truck, trailer, stick of gum I was called rich. I would say “no I’m not rich. I just paid $30,000. If I sell it tomorrow I only get $25. I just lost $5000 so you don’t have to work as hard”

If you don’t need those guys back, don’t take them back. If you do need them back, frankly , use them. Have them back, Hire their replacements, let them go when you don’t need them. I don’t want to recommend you hire them back, but I do understand your back being against a wall. The good news is they only had a “pay scale” issue. They left and figured out that the grass isn’t greener. They tried to bluff you. Now that you know their hand, you have control. Just don’t use them for very long. Oh, and hire them back $2 per hour less.
great reply. OP, you took the risk starting the company, you reap the benefits when it is successful.

everybody thinks they’ve got it figured out until it’s their money on the line, then different story. Their dime isn’tspent fixing or repairing anything, yours is.

I like @grass man 11 response, use them at a lower rate, then jet them when your able.My thoughts are they’ll do it again when a perceived pay inequity crops up.
 
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hort101

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
S.E. New England
like @grass man 11 response, use them at a lower rate, then jet them when your able.My thoughts are they’ll do it again when a perceived pay inequity crops
Id pay them the regular rate if they do a good job still
They may have even been lured away by a another company promising more money
 

hal

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Kansas
Hire them at the lower rate with a commitment if they stay x amount of months and do a good job give them a bonus of the normal amount.
 

Cross Creek Lawn Care

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Middle Tennessee
@octoma I am just seeing this thread. I just wanna say, I am very impressed and inspired by how hard you work. You let nothing stop you and I find that very admirable. It’s disgusting how someone would think they are beneath working for a black man, I wish I had someone around here as hard working and frankly high paying as you, black white or Mexican.

For hiring I’ve heard good things about hiring at church. If you are a churchgoer then ask some teenage guys if they could help you out. Those idiotic Mexican guys you’ve dealt with who think you are rich for buying a dump trailer shouldn’t be hired.

I personally would work for you for $15 an hour, and I am quite good at using Zero Turns, Trimmers and Blowers, I am also legally here and I speak English really great... well like obviously, I’m a spoiled white kid from the 5th richest county in the US. If I ever move to your area I know who I’m working for.

Again, the literal blood sweat and tears you put into your business is really great. It sucks you have had such bad luck with employees and injuries but you just keep working. We all face problems but how you deal with them differentiates you from all the typical lazy Americans. I wish you luck with your business!!!!
 

cooperthumb

LawnSite Member
Location
St. Louis
I have a large sign above the door to the warehouse it says "You want more? DO More!" Every owener out there does this realizing it or not. Every time you you upgrade trucks, equip, trailers, software or just hiring an office worker. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK.. because you want more and are doing more. Just buying 1 new string trimmer allows you to trim a little faster, edge a little cleaner, makes you just a little more efficient which means hopefully you make a little more.
Well I tell my guys the same. If they want more money they need to do more. Show up on time, get out the door a little faster in the morning, start getting that Tuesday and Wednesday route done a little sooner. Or take it 1 step further tell your crew lead, foreman, manager, you want more money? Take on more responsibility... In my experience thats the only way I personally make more money
An annually price increase of 3,4, or 5% or 1,2,or 3.00 a cut doesn't do anything for my bottom line it simply keeps me level.
But if I have a guy running a crew or a laborer trimming and blowing as they acclimate to my propertys week after week the efficiency ensues
Take into account we start a guy on 36" only back yards, moving up to using a 48 or 52 W/B and on to a 60 zero turn he is learning, then he is becoming proficient, and all thru this process your making some money but until your guy or guys become proficient your not making much profit. So I would ask your guys "what are you going to do for me" you got a medal in little league for showing up. Your an adult now we don't congratulate warm bodies. In the end your the man, your pushing thru, your getting it done regardless, I understand sometimes its a pride thing about rehires but in the end your providing a service of labor and you need the labor. I'm sure plenty of guys on here will tell you guys demand more and quit all the time just know those types of people are not your backbone. My managers have saying about those kind of guys "their like jock itch they will be back" good luck in 2021
 

Tn Turf

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Spring Hill, TN
What's really sad is part of the taxes we all pay in gets used to encourage people not to work.

Too many people abuse Government assistance and are getting away with it.

Another issue I see is 20 and 30 year old's still living home with their parents. Mommy and daddy will take care of them, but once they pass away, these 'guys' are screwed as they were never instilled with any work ethics.
 

IngramLawnCare

LawnSite Member
Location
Ambler, Pa
Interesting questions, note and comments. I cannot address any racial issues as I honestly do not view people that way and I am not black so I cannot relate to your issues. However, my very first thought after reading your commentary was a) you should decide what business you want to be in i.e. landscape & lawn maintenance, hard scaping, tree company, etc. You are all over the place. Labor rates for a tree company do not translate well for a lawn and landscape maintenance company. In our area (N.E.) tree company labor gets paid well above lawn and landscape work and hardscape company employees are usually in the middle of both of the others. In addition, your insurance rates (workman's comp.) is also very different for each. Tell an insurance company your doing tree work and watch your rates double. b) you should know what are good hourly rates before hiring anyone and stick to them. In our area we start at $13.00/hr. for lawn and landscape work and this rate could go up to $18.00/hr. for good experienced help. We surely do not give our guys special bonuses for each different job we do. We stick to our primary focus of the business and let other contractors do what they specialize in. Last thing I need is for an employee to get hurt doing tree work, go to the doctor or hospital and one of the very first questions asked is how did the injury occur. If they say tree work your insurance carrier will not cover the claim if you told them your a lawn and landscape company.

Every service area out there has large competition and lots of trouble finding good help. We only hire solid citizens whom we do background checks on. I would never hire or retain an employee where I knew they were using illegal drugs or drinking a lot. We also preform random drug and alcohol tests. These employees represent our company and do work on our customers properties. They need to be employees you can attest for.

You have accomplished a great deal. Now, you need to sit down and define your business and how you will operate. You likely are not going to be able to be all things to all customers (and employees). I made the mistake the first year or two of serving almost anyone who called us. I found out quickly our service area needs to be compressed (in miles) and only take work within that area.

Lastly, I admit that we tend to hire guys (or girls) who clearly have a pretty stable background, with no incoming background issues we can easily find. They all must have at least a high school education, drivers license and generally their driving record is clean. We have never hired anyone other than a U.S. citizen.

I'm not sure you need a partner. I think you simply need to decide what your business is and how you will operate it going forward.

Good luck whatever your path.
 

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