Employee commitment


LawnSite Member
I'm looking at bringing on an employee this season. I'm wondering how others have dealt with the issue of employee's working alone and having regular contact with clients. My worry is that I would bring on someone and after going to the expense of training them they decide to go into bussiness for themselves. They then use the relationship that they have developed with my client while working for me?<br> Has anyone else ever had do deal with this or similiar problems?<br>

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
I don't know of anyone that has 1 employee that works by himself. Why not work together on the same lawn. We have several 2 acre lawns next to each other, so we each mow a lawn. If your lawns are the same size he should be getting done at the same time you do. I'm not sure why you would put a guy by him self and you be by your self, but we have never had a problem like your saying.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>


LawnSite Platinum Member
Central Florida
I have seen employees like this, you can usually spot them after they have worked with you a short while. A good employee, that works hard and is paid well would not think of doing this. If he chose to go out on his on, he would tell you of his decision and would look for his own accounts. The employees that would target your accounts are usually not that smart and the only customers they could take from you are customers you probably would be better off without.<p>Eric is right on this. A crew of two work faster and better than two individual employees. If you are working with your employee there is little chance of the guy taking your accounts. The customer associates you with their lawn maintenance, not the employee. If you let an employee do everything and the customer doesn't really know you, you could end up with a problem. If you must run your business like this, make sure you stay in contact with the customers.


Moderator, Friend, Angel
South East
I now work alone. But I have been through the hiring of another person to work with me.I hired and fired many or they quit. One went into business after he quit suddenly. He didn't go after my customers. I never left any of them alone. I found that hiring the extra man didn't help to speed up my work enough to cover the trouble of trying to make sure he did quality work at a fast pace. The employee would take unexpected days off. Then I would have to do the work along. Not prepared to do 2 times the amount of work mentally or physically. As I normally would. And too with just one employee I would still just feel like doing some many yards a day. There are not many work along qualified people who would be satisfied not owning their own business.<br>Charles

gene gls

LawnSite Gold Member
I had this problem.I have a part time business. In 1997 I had one helper that was with me for two years.Things were looking good I was growing.I talked things over about the future with my helper so we both would have a better understanding of each others plans.He agreed to continue with me.I took on five new customers for the 98 season.I knew of another guy that worked only 40 hrs for another landscaper(out of my area)that needed extra cash.He agreed to work all the hours he could,which was going to be around 20 per week.My regular job was going full blast,they were pushing for 55 hrs.Spring clean-up started,my regular helper never showed up.The new helper worked one day and had a fight with his girlfriend and moved back home.I found out that my other helper was haveing problems with his family.I was left with 40+ hours of mowing and all the other work.I finally found a guy that only wanted to work part time durning the day because he had a part time business that involved nights and weekends.I was desperate so I gave him a crash course in lawncare,my way.He had never run a commercial mower.It was a tough season,we made it through it.I had to do a lot of explaining to my customers.Every day the phone would ring with him on the other end with concern about something.When the season was over I made up my mind to go it alone in 99.I cut my business in half.I think I will end up better on the bottom end after taxes even thoue 99 was a dry season.<br>


LawnSite Member
ran into the same employee problems as everyone else. usually i go through about eight guys a season, over the last 3 years and its only for one full time position. as for keeping your ex-employees loyal do some research on non-competition agreements. they are hard to enforce in court, but it may do the trick to have a soon to be ex-employee thinking about it before he steals customers. Most ex-employees don't have the resources to call your bluff and try to defend themselves in court and in most cases such as my own, most guys hired won't bother to see how hard they are to enforce <p>----------<br>Stephen<br>


LawnSite Senior Member
SW Missouri
Something I did at the start of last season-<br>I made my employees pay dependant on retention of customer accounts. Also paid $10 per new account when he went out with flyers. If I got a call from an area he worked, $10 per for him. Not alot of $ but I knew he was out working to attract new accounts. i also found a sence of pride &quot; That's my lawn' when we would pull up to an account he got.<br>Also gave a 50 cnet raise when we reached my target number of accounts.<br>How to keep them - take care of them. Buy him lunch, notice a good job done, buy him a pair of boots....


LawnSite Member
Thanks for all the replies. The reason this person will on occasion be working alone is due to the landscape component of my bussiness. Lawncare is only a part of my client base as I'm only part time(still working in the industry as well) and I enjoy the treecare part of the industry.<br> Lance<br>