Are Foreman Necessary?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Sean Adams, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    With titles comes more money, or at least usually.

    In the lawn and landscape industry it has forever been a challenge to find hard working, reliable, competent employees. When you do find an employee who you can trust, who does his job well and seems to be genuinely concerned with the overall success of the company, you definitely want to keep this person around.

    Often times, business owners in this industry are quick to hand out the title of "foreman". They feel that since this person has demonstrated qualities other employees have not, they deserve to be recognized, given a title, given more responsibility and ultimately, paid more money.

    But are foreman necessary?

    Does a crew need someone to tell them what they should already know? Does there need to be someone paid more money to make sure everyone is doing the job they are already being paid to do?

    Depending on the size of your company, I do not have an issue with "Division Leaders" - a person in charge of all employees who provide a service that falls within a division of a company - maintenance, lawn care, installation, irrigation, lighting, etc...

    This division leader oversees all work and all employees within that division. But again, each crew that goes out into the field, if properly trained and informed of their duties should not need someone along side them to tell them what to do and how to do it.

    The avoidance of crew foremans comes from the company being organized, efficient and training all employees to do their job the right way, the safe way, in the proper amount of time.

    Also, when a crew has a foreman, the other members of the crew often do not "step-up". They feel that they do not have to concern themselves with accountability, because ultimately that will fall upon the shoulders of the foreman.

    Create a culture from the start that requires all employees to be on time, follow safety guidelines, work hard, finish their work within the expected amount of time and provide quality in the process.

    Then you won't have to pay someone $19 an hour to babysit.
  2. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Nice point of view. Many of these people would rather not be responsible for the work of others.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,574

    It is crew chief and yes they are very necessary. Every day there can be a new twist that requires some change in the normal work pattern.
    Workers need to have some upward mobility if they are good.
  4. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    I like the name of crew chief or team leader. The name foreman reminds me of a guy standing around with a clipboard and not doing much labor. Most of the guys are gloried drivers, but it is important to have someone keeping things up to snuff when you are not with them.
  5. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,358

    This is a great topic.. I think that a lot of the times, this is just a natural progression... You got a guy that has been with you 5-10 years, he might have been your first guy. So you have grown and this guy has grown with you... You have added an employee here and there over the years.. Now, it's only natural that this guy is going to be keeping an eye on the others, be there for assistance or guidance, and probably be getting paid a little better as well. Call him a foreman, crew chief, team leader... doesn't matter.. He will be someone that you trust to take care of things when you aren't there. That being said, I think it's a bad business practice to straight out hire a "crew chief" into your operation and give him a bigger salary right off the bat... Yes, he may know the business, but not how you run it.. And what about your other guys? All the sudden this new guy shows up and starts barking orders. He hasn't been in the trenches with them dying on those 100+ degree days.. He hasn't been soaked to the bone at 8 am with 9 more hours to go.. And why didn't you promote one of your own guys anyway? Believe this, nobody knows how to run YOUR business as good as YOU do... Not a fancy shmancy foreman, not the lawncaremillionare, not justmowing, not even Donald Trump......
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,574

    The crew chief is usually the driver and runs the mower. In our area it is common for crew chief to help recruit new workers. And that is good because he feels responsibility to get em there every day. I watch our guys when they come in at the end of the day and the crew chief is finishing up filling out paperwork and loading it in the computer. The other guys sit and wait for him to finish.
  7. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    I definately need someone responsible to be accountable on a crew. The crew leader the one responsible for the safety, inspecting the quality of the others work. I also agree the the others should be trained to not need supervision and groomed for additional responsibility so that when the opportunity exist they are ready for advancement.

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