Anyone else having trouble finding employees

Discussion in 'Employment' started by dodgediesel96, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,389

    You promote merit based pay and I agree with you.

    Some guys still look to "pay the peanut head as little as possible."

    When the going gets tough the good employers will take these guys on while the people with that mindset see everything fall apart on them.
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,915

    Same guys who pay the peanut Head as little as possible also charge as little as possible.
    Low prices mean easy sales.

    I meet guys who are proud their closing ratio is almost 100 percent
    Saying dumb things like “I get almost every job I quote” and smiling about it.

    These guys aren’t effective communicators
    They don’t instill confidence in themselves or their clients
    So they shoot low and hope for the stars to accidentally align and give them success.

    This poor people skills thing translates to how the handle the peanut head as well
    Is he trained?
    Have you accurately communicated to him your expectations?
    Do you criticize him every moment of his performance?
    Over bearing bosses with underpaid expectations create peanut heads.
    They will attract non confident people to begin with who then get turned into purée by a guy trying to get $60 of work out of a $10 employee for a job he quoted for $40.
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,915

    Old timer figures why do more I’m already doing x and getting paid y.

    The age/time thing is pretty solidly sunk in to our culture.

    My kid is going to be 17, she’s had the sand job for almost a year now.
    She trains new people to do simple things like how to fill the ice chest without contaminating ice, clean the soda and ice cream machines and how to tell the difference between military ids and poser contractors trying to get military discounts.

    She gets into it with older people all the time.
    “You can’t tell me what to do you’re just a kid”
    Ummm have you done this before? No
    Have you had this kind of job before? No.
    Well wtf have you been doing with all your age and experience since you’re here trying to learn a job a high school student is teaching you?
    ... shuts them up pretty fast.
    Tara Ann and like this.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,915

    The key to employee success is paving the route to success.
    You create a road map for them to follow.

    Step one
    Identify the positions you need.
    Not a “guy” a “helper” or a peanut head.

    Technician 1
    Tech 2
    Lead in training

    The titles are less important than the definitions
    What do you expect these positions to do?
    A tech 1 can change blades
    Load the trimmer
    Mix fuel
    And run the trim mower?
    What’s that pay?

    Tech 2 does what?
    What does it pay?

    Now a new employee comes in and automatically knows what he needs to do to get paid more.

    I put a sign up sheet on a wall this year
    I said anyone who wants to learn new skills, something they can’t already do... write your name and what you want to learn and I’ll teach it to you.

    Not a single employee has signed up
    All year
    Out of 45 positions no one wants to learn something new they’re curious about.

    Because they have no idea what there IS TO learn.
    You have to constantly evaluate employees and kniw when they are ready to be nudged into the next step of evolution, wether it be working on a paver crew, building a Mexican pizza oven or learning how to estimate jobs and supervise people.
    You have to take them and say “we’re learning something new today”
    Or they will just keep showing up (hopefully) for the same paycheck over and over until
    Some new opportunity comes along that offers new challenges and new money.
    Even tho they could have learned it with you, they e now gone somewhere else.
    Because you let them get bored, complacent and haven’t defined in writing what the next step of their evolution could be.
    Some guys will sit there staring at the diving board and never jump , but at least you showed them that the pool even existed.
    Idlewild, hort101 and Tara Ann like this.
  5. LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,315

    Wow !
    45 ppl and no-one signed up ?
    I feel a little better now.
    I offered the mosquito spray job to around 10 or so ppl. No body jumped.
    They as you said just wanted to get a weekly check, not extra responsibility.

    I'm going to have a winter project this year.
    List each job as you did. With responsibilities and pay brackets.
    What training may be involved, and how I can help them step up.
    sjessen, hort101 and Tara Ann like this.
  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,915

    Like I said, Pay the POSITION not the man.
    It doesnt matter how long someone has been there, until they can do the job as outlined, they dont qualify.

    "Bob, I REALLY want to pay you more money, really I do, But a lead in training is the next spot above yours, and it requires filling out paperwork accurately, following the route effectively and not getting lost, and requires you to keep your cell phone on and active.

    Over the last few months youve gotten lost twice, costing the company time and money, your cell phone has gotten shut off twice because you havent paid the bill, and frankly your paperwork is very in accurate.

    I tell you what, If you can keep your phone bill paid, paper work clear and legible as well as accurate, and dont get lost all month... and at the end of the month I will promote you to lead-in-training. Sound good?
    Ok thanks Bob! I look forward to that promotion for you next month!"

    The above is preferable to "no, you suck, I have nothing but problems with you and you arent worth the money."
    It may very well be true, But as leaders in our industry, WE are driving this bus thats out of control with no brakes, so its up to US to do the Steering...for everyone.
  7. LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,315

    I kinda prefer this line better !

    The above is preferable to "no, you suck, I have nothing but problems with you and you arent worth the money."
    It may very well be true ;)
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,915

    That line is my preferable route as well
    But I’ve learned over the years, it doesn’t help my ultimate goal in the long run.
 likes this.
  9. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,566

    I agree with all the positive posts about company culture and you do have to give them a sense of direction and guidance. But the tough position to be in, from experience, is that initial step of going from solo, or solo with one part time helper to get you through the hot part of summer, and taking it to that next level of having a whole new crew or crews. The tricky part is:

    1) You get stuck in that whilwind of having way too much work and running yourself crazy (while wearing all the hats in the business) but not enough to really justify hiring another full time person. In my area, there is year round work to be done, but it really cuts down to the minimum. If I have enough work to keep 2 full time workers busy in the summer, it is only enough to keep one person going full time in winter. That struggle is always going to be real in my area. There is stuff to be done, but you spend half the time on each property in winter as you do in summer. There is no snow removal or anything like that here.

    2) You get to that point where you are picking up these small insignificant residential that take up time you don't have but again, you are maxed out already so it puts you back in the whilwind. So you need extra help. You pick up 2 more year round residential for $200/month. works. But again, what good is another $400/month when you can't keep up and that still doesn't justify bringing someone else on as an employee? Then you get caught back up at point number 1 again, and its a vicious cycle. Then as you pick up those 2, one or 2 others drop you for a cheaper price, or they move, or become unemployed, or die, or whatever. So you keep finding yourself back at the same place again and again.

    Now, if you can land $2000/month accounts then you can get somewhere. Then you have to factor in all the other things that make it difficult for us...A) this is actual work and many people really don't want to do hard work B) It's dirty C) It's hot D) most people with any drive and not on drugs have or will very soon move on to bigger and better things. Just put yourself in an employees shoes. Why do you own your business and not work for someone else? Well my answer is I want to operate a business and make decisions and not be a robot for someone else. If I am going to do most of the labor then I am going to make all I can and not get a low salary working for someone else.

    So, why would others with any drive and direction not feel the same way? They do, that's why we are stuck with a majority of applicants that have little direction, little drive, are on drugs, can't get along with others, can't live a stable life, etc..Even if they meet this criteria, they just can't seem to get their act together and do good work. This part I will never understand. I have seen so many that would make great employees and they show up on time with a good attitude, but they just can't do the work. It's just not rocket science. Yet I would say 60-70% just can't learn the job the way you want it done. There is no excuse for this. And it does us no good if they can't gain speed and perfection as they work each day. And even worse are the ones that can't keep any sense of a pattern and miss things. If you have one eye and half a brain you should be able to tell if the work is completed and things are not missed. And if I can do the job twice as fast as you, at some point you have to scratch your head and ask what can I do to gain some speed, or what are you doing different to save time and make more money? Yet it just goes over their head. Again, you are stuck with the little drive/little direction bunch...

    So then that brings us back to the other side of the coin...most of the smaller businesses have no real clear direction anyway. So many Lawn companies are just running around day after day in their routine and they have no real business backbone. Many can't even run a business or can't manage a business. They are just interested in driving around in a new diesel truck lowballing properties and getting business. They have no idea what it costs to run a business. Why does any decent applicant want to work for a company like that? How are you going to even pay someone a decent salary if you are lowballing and don't make much profit at all?

    Even if we know how to run a business, the little guy can't even get ahead these days. We have nothing to offer applicants. Maybe a bonus or some time off. But we can't compete with large industries that have 401K, group health insurance, and so on. Who wants to work hard in 100 degree heat, sweating, dirty as heck, for $12/hour with no benefits for a company that has no business sense? They don't even know if they will have a job in the off season after they busted their rear all summer.

    Some will tell you it's all your fault you can't find good help and keep good help. And I am sure we can be half the problem. But it still goes both ways. I have a difficult time finding anyone I want to take the time to train and teach and mold, because the basic elements that I can't teach are not there. I can hod your hand and teach you and tell you the tricks, show you the tricks...I can lead you to the water, but I can't make you drink it...
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  10. LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,315

    No body. Thats why you pay them $15 - $20.
    MNLawns likes this.

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