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Employee doing sidework...in your name?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Harley-D, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    To kind of go with a previous post with the secret shopper idea. I have worked for a large com outfit before, and not only did i turn several clients, existing and new, toward the company, but i also refused to do the work on the side.

    I have to say though, i know for a fact that some other smaller lco did the work and would eventually get the client contract due to lower prices.


    Could you trust an employee enough to let them do side work outside of company time for cheaper than what you would charge? Now i know that knowledge of this could carry some liability, but i can't see it really being detrimental to the large picture.

    From the employee's side of all this, i couldn't stand seeing work being done by some other company because my account manager didn't get an accurate bid to the customer or just didn't have time. And i could have earned an extra 50-100 bucks for 1/2 hour of prunin crape myrtle or whatever. (Happened about 6 years ago)
  2. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    Whose truck, mowers, trimmers and liability insurance is he going to be using? Yours? His? Even if he carrys his own coverage, which he probably won't, a 3rd party suite comes to mind. You are correct to a point in the liability area. Only it's not 'some liability', it is a lot of liability. If the court could prove you even had knowledge of his after hours work, I believe you've got a very big problem.

    Sorry guys, maybe I'm a harda$$, but I would have to call him my 'former employee'. He works for me or for himself. I've got way too much to lose.
  3. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    if he/she didn't use the co's equipment or truck or trailer or anything. All his/her own stuff. I'm talking small jobs that a large co with major overhead can't even pull up to for less than $50.

    I just think it's hard to blame someone for wanting to make more money on his/her own time. Being a landscape foreman doesn't pay that much these days.
  4. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I don't disagree about the paycheck not going very far and I like seeing someone take initiative and working hard. That being said, I live in Madison County, IL. The county that has been called in the national press as "The legal hellhole of the nation". This is where the tobacco lawsuit was lost. The drug lawsuits are brought here. We have very generous jury's and an abundance of lawyers. You can probably be sued here for breaking wind on a still day. That's why I'm so aware of the potential liability. You always have to 'CYA' in this county.
  5. DeereHauler

    DeereHauler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 604

    if that employee directly lost me business or stole it from my company, then i would be extremely mad, and would most likely result in being fired.

    if it was work that my company didn't take on due to size or whatever, and they gave it a shot on their own time, in their own name, maybe.

    i guess i'm just not comfortable with an employee doing work on the side, they are free to do what they want, but eventually greed, or the potential earnings of their own business may get the best of them, and soon they become your competition.

    as far as tools, and using a company name for their own work is concerned, NEVER, using tools for something at their home, maybe, but i'm still leary about that.

    too many people suing for too little. i can't look at this post from an employee point of view, i'm the boss, its my stuff, my name, my insurance, and my career. i'm looking out for my future.
  6. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,459

    There is no reason good enough to allow an employee to use your equipment to do anything other than your contracts. He can buy a mower to mow his own yard but he can't use yours.

    If he wants to be a LCO then that is his decision but he can't work with your equipment.

  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    It's a no-go from all angles.
    End of story.

    If you don't understand why, you should figure it out.
  8. 1cooltreeguy

    1cooltreeguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 630

    Fired, Fired, Fired. No way - No how. Treat them right and loyalty will follow.
  9. googles

    googles LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    i totally agree. i fired a guy because he got a side job on my time by one of our neighbor's houses that we where mowing. the guy came up to him and ask him if he could do work for him. the worker i had said sure and i explained to him the customer came up to my company not you. you where working for me on my time.
  10. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    My original question wasn't about using a companies equipment for sidework or at the employee's house.

    I was in a situation where i was honest in trying to get my company more work when approached by a possible client asking for pricing. I gave the client the phone number of the company i worked for and was happy to be getting my company more work. That makes me feel good as an employee and maybe i get a raise or even a "thatta boy, good job".

    Unfortunately, the company i worked for either didn't call the customer back or went to bid the job and was unreasonably high.

    The client then comes back to me a couple weeks later and says you do good work and i really want you to do the job but your company is too expensive. Can we work something out? (This is my main dilema, what do you as the owner or manager say when your employee tells you this?)

    How can you blame an employee for doing that job on his own time with his shovel and rake because the(your) company can't afford to do the job for less than $1000 but you(the employee) can for $650 and make money.

    I realize the princeple behind it but why lose the job to a competitor?

    Not to many foreman in this industry will just come to work, go home, and be fine with that. They will either refer that work to a buddy for a finders fee or do the work themselves. So you fire him and find another guy who doesn't work as hard, doesn't take pride in the company you started, and will sell you short even quicker. (Good help is hard to find)

    I don't know the answers. I know you guys on here have experience with this and can maybe give some personal experiences or views.

    I'm in sales now but i look back and it was something i never knew how to handle from a field workers point of view.

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