Employee frustration

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by grassmasterswilson, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,903

    A little background... A week ago(today is Sunday) I was toying with the idea of adding a third guy. We go to work Monday and my crew leader ask if I could talk after work...oh no! Turn out he is taking another job and will finish out the week. No hard feelings he's a young guy and has no parental support. I just could pay him what he needs. I asked him what he needs but he never said.

    So guy number 2 on the same crew(I run a 2 man crew) is a new hire who has worked 5 weeks or so. My old crew leader has mentioned he is a little slow and I've noticed some missed areas that didn't get trimmed. So I was hoping to hire that third guy in the chance I had to let this guy go. This guy tells me he might not be at work Monday cause he has "things to do". Said he would let me know this weekend. I had to call him Saturday night to find out. He will not be here Monday.

    All this with a full week of mowing and a full round of lawn applications. I can't do it all and it is stressing me out!!

    So I've been fortunate to hire a new crew leader who has 3-4 years experience with a larger company. Hoping he can be a real asset to the company. He just isn't familiar with this area so he may rely on The GPS. It works out in a twisted way but since I can't get any pine here on Monday I will be able to go mow with this guy to show him how we do it.

    So when it rains it pours! I've got an add on Craigslist and have gotten a few responses from guys. They all say they have experience but who knows. I just not sure when I will be able to set up interview while trying to get 5 days of mowing and 5 days of applications done in one week.

    Just need to vent to some guys who have probably been in this postition. My wife says what about this guy or this friend. They are all hard workers but we all know you just can't pick someone up off the street and expect them to run the trimmer like a pro.

    So frustrating......
  2. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    This is usually the case when you have employees in this line of work. They seldom last long term.
  3. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    You are experiencing growing pains. Your crew chief is really your right hand man and unless your able to delegate more authority to take on more task by him you will be playing catch up indefinitely.
    You may need to secure a temp to help with the day to day office work and scheduling of your daily work load until you have made more time to find a full time person to fill this role. This of course means more work and more funds required to continue moving forward. The continuous struggle/challenge.
    Although your wife is supportive do yourself a big favor and don't get caught in the trap of hiring friends or family. From my experience and many other replies I have read on this site the results usually but not always go's South very quickly. It may be necessary for you to fall back and regroup your present and future growth plans in order to maintain your sanity and a reduction of your families stress levels. Unlike my product running a business in this industry is very challenging and not easy.
    easy-lift guy
  4. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,017

    How about see if your guy that just left can work part time to get you through.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,655

    You've had a lot of these employee posts in the last few weeks.

    Did you maybe mention to your crew you were thinking about hiring a salary manager?

    IF you did I'll bet that's why your crew chief left. Probably miffed you were offering him the opportunity.

    It also sounds like you are trying to do way too much at once in the first place.

    Rule number 1) Never have five full days of mowing for a single crew. IF something breaks, it rains unforgivably for days, or people call in… you will never catch up.
    This is the reason mow crews should ALWAYS do 4 tens. NOT 5 eights or more.

    Rule number 2) never talk about your company aspirations in front of the meager hourly help. They have weird selective listening and IF they hear your hiring a new guy, it means they all suck and are worthless.

    You only had two guys to begin with so HOW were you expecting to do something with pine, a full 5 days of fert AND a full 5 days of mowing IN THE FIRST place?

    You have a 60 hour work week coming here my friend.

    Start monday at 7am (Id have the trailer loaded and mowers prepped tonight).
    Go mow.
    Fert will have to wait til the weekend.

    Anyone who wants to interview can do a working interview.
    Go to the bak and keep like $300 on you.
    Guy calls for an interview, have him meet you near the next job.
    Pick up and say we're going to cut some lawns, show me what you know…I'll pay you $20 to show me.
    Maybe he will want to mow a few with you, then you can pay him more.
    Anything under $500 per guy, cash is 100% legal, it's called casual labor.

    Next interview, same thing, meet me here, we're going to go mow.
    and so on.

    Best way to find guys that can actually do it and work well is to actually do it.
    Don't coach them, don't show them how or show them the grass master way or anything.
    Just work with them. Watch what THEY know…they are supposedly experienced right?

    How many people do YOU know that get paid for an interview.

    Two birds, one stone.

    That's how you will find time to interview and cut your own grass.

    There won't be any pine straw this week.
    Fert will happen next saturday/sunday.

    Act as if your number 2 guy will never show up again.

    Im pretty sure you said something to these guys that deflated them.
    Move on.
  6. socalkol

    socalkol LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Wow I think you were definitely just served a solution to your problem on a silver platter! Thats awesome hope this week goes well.
  7. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,903

    Good advice. Thanks.

    I never said I was hiring a manager. I run a 2-3 man mowing crew including the crew leader who makes sure everything is done. I meet them and give them the list and instructions as a group.

    I do the Fert applications, sales, books, etc.

    I am in the middle of lawn applications so given the senecio i will have to push hard to get the mowing done and hope Mother Nature will give me a few application days.

    Just bad timing. If my guy had quit next week it wouldn't be a problem
  8. Agape

    Agape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,644

    When someone says they have experience, their interview is edging a short portion of my lawn. If they can't use the trimmer, or they grab the wrong tool off the trailor, i know they don't know squat.
    I pay them $1 for their time ($60/ hour) for casual labor and thank them for coming if they don't know crap.:laugh:
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,655

    eh…something… you said something… sometimes you never even know what it is.
    If it's ever anything other than "you're the best, do you wear blue undershirts with An S on them? your friekken awesome"
    employees tend to get butt hurt.

    They are like needy girlfriends, they expect you to know when they need extra hours, they expect you to know when you are working them too much, they expect to be told great and wondrous praise for mediocre work and they expect favors.
    But this is what it means to manage people will to work an hourly wage int he first place.
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,655

    You said "edge" and then mentioned trimmer.

    Do you mean weed whacker/trim or do you mean literally edging, like with a dedicated head?

    Depending on the past experience of the worker, this could mean very different things.

    IF you tell me edge, Im going to look at your truck expecting to see a Kombi unit or a dedicated edger.
    If I don't see one, Im going to think you're a quack and call "trimming" , edging and probably not want to work there in the first place.
    Be careful of who you chase way by being over critical. Let someone mow a whole lawn, don't micro manage and dictate.

    Mow/Trim/Blow is one service.

    Edging is another.

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