Competent Employees?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MuskTurfKing, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. MuskTurfKing

    MuskTurfKing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    Howdy boys and girls, I have a question for you guys who run crews. How do you hire people you can trust to go out with your truck, trailer, thousands of dollars of equipment, AND then expect them to do as good of job as you do yourself?

    Personally, it'd scare the heck outta me to have some guys who don't really care going out and cutting for me. Do you give them the accounts to cut that (I know this sounds horrible) don't have to look perfect?

    I really got to thinking about this now that I'm working out at the course. We have guys that my boss doesn't even let trim. They just totally botch the job. They can't edge. They just screw it up. I dunno what he'd do without me, cause I end up doing most of that work, we got a few now that can actually do it.

    But edging for example, unless you have a stick edger, that's something that can be very tricky, and took me hours upon hours to get down that it looks nice and sharp. I'll STILL occasionally mess it up too, I can fix it, but it's tricky to make a razor sharp edge with a trimmer.

    Do you pay your guys a lot? Train them for weeks? Have to stay on them like a hound dog to make sure they're doing it right?

  2. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    You can let the guys go off on their own once they are able to do the job 80% as well as you can.

    LA LAWNS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    did it really take hours upon hours to learn the stick edger??
    this is the first year i have used one. had the hang of it in about , ohh, 40 feet or so...
    back to the topic: i feel your pain. cant find people that measure up either. once in a blue moon someone with skills will pass thru. grab em and hang on to them...LA LAWNS
  4. MuskTurfKing

    MuskTurfKing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    lol, no, not hours upon hours to get the hang of a stick edger, it took me a while to learn how to put a nice straight edge with a trimmer.

  5. longslawn

    longslawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    Beleive me, you will go through some to get what you want.

    First, tell them what is expected of them and hold them to that standard. If they need training, then you train how you want the jobs done. You can teach employees how you want things done. Most people don't take pride in thier job, but take pride in a job well done. Praise when the work is good, and correct them if they mess up, but don't belittle. If the propblems keep happening then you will need to replace the employee.

    Treat employees like you would like to be treated and most will respond in the manner you desire.

    Second, Hire slow and fire fast.

    LLMSERVICE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    If you are at the hiring stage, a good recruiting strategy is a must.

    Be specific about what you are looking for in staff and go through resumes.

    Interview and ask both general and situational questions.

    Check references.

    Develop a operations manual for all new hires.

    Be prepared to spend time (and some wage $) to train successful job candidates.

    Give constructive feedback.
  7. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    Being an employer is like being a manager of a baseball team.

    Recruit the best you can find.

    Put them in a position to shine.

    And if they can't get the job done, place them on waivers.

    LA LAWNS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    sorry for the mis understanding...string trimming a straight line does take practice...get em a stick edger instead...LA LAWNS
  9. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    AAAHHHH......employees. When I was at a job where I had to hire/discipline/fire employees, I ran into the same situation with shoddy employees. It took me years to convince my bosses that it would save us money in the long run to consolidate 6 laborer positions into 3 skilled positions and pay accordingly. I required all employees to have Master Gardener certificates and Pest. Applicator licenses. That weeded out all but the best people. Of course we had to pay them in the $12 - 15 per hour range, but it was well worth it. I had very good employees and it showed in their work. Productivity increased and the place looked great! I could finally take a vacation without having to worry about coming back and finding the place destroyed. In the long run, we actually saved money with less people collecting benefits (6 people vs. 3 people). I guess the moral is, if you want good employees, be prepared to pay above the scale. I see a lot of folks whine about their help. The first thing I ask is "What do you pay them?". When they say $5 to 7 an hour, I tell them that they are getting what they pay for.

  10. Lawn Lizards

    Lawn Lizards LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    My lowest paid employee is $9.50 and he just started. He's awesome, too. I got lucky. Next one is $11.25 plus 1/2 health paid. He's been with us for one year now. He is a bit lazy at times, but is good. Definitely knows how to mow. Our best guy, at $12.00 + bonuses. This guy is the model employee. He's cool, loves to work lawn care and never really complains, unless it's about the other guys, lol. He's been with us for about a year and a half now. Just recently, we have sent him out with a helper. He knows our lawns so well and we all communicate really well. He's more of owner material. He will always be taken care of and eventually will just be put on a really good salary and running a crew full time.

    We both have known all three of our employees for some time. We do have another guy who helps every once in awhile. He's good, too. We know him, as well.

    You do get what you pay for. I want my guys to get good paychecks. I want them to get raises. I want them to know that if they treat my company and it's clients like I do, then I will be more apt to give them more $ as we grow.

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