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Employee handout FYI-lawn care for dummies?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    We've always had basic guidelines for our employees. Some start the job and are fine by the first week, others they dont seem to get it months later...

    I thought if they dont have one already, why not have a LAWNSITE lawncare employee book for dummies? :)

    If any of you have had an "odd" occurance with an employee or something that really bugs you about new guys, what they dont or cant do correctly and seems they just need more up front knowledge about it, please post it here.

    Something simple like "trimming", would show the correct and in-correct ways to do it. Simple as it may be for most of us, i still have employees to this day that i find out they botched trimming around tree bases, tried to line/trim a pavement driveway, only to leave a nice 12" patch parrallel to the driveway much shorter than the mower cut the lawn at, obviously looks goofy.

    I have had guys NOT start mowing close to the triailer, but drive to the far end of the property, the middle, or anywhere in between and THEN turn the blades on to start, forget to put the mower down, numerous times.

    Ive had guys, usually when 2 or more zero turns are on a site, one drives straight through, at some funny angle across an entire lawn after all the striping looks nice.. you know what im talking about, looks like you just crossed out all your nice work :/

    I want to put something together in word, turn it into a PDF that company owners here can download at will that will have numerous correct/in-correct photos that anyone here has submitted. Im sure you have a slew of them just like i do. :hammerhead:
  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    Seems like a good idea. And I know a lot of the info would seem like common sense. But, one thing I have learned is that many people do not have any common sense. I have a manual that is about 10-11 pages long (I think that is right).
    You have to cover every detail from safety issues to proper work techniques.
    Put a discipline plan in there too. So the employee will know what to expect when they do not obey the rules.
  3. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    No offense ramair and Im probably insulting myself by saying this but most people work for lawn service for a reason and its because they are not to bright. Lets face it, doing this job does not take a large amount of brains and unfortunatly people with LESS brains keep applying for the jobs.

    The key is to find a good crew leader and have him teach his crew things so he can watch them day in and day out. Make him responsible for the guys in his truck.

    Another thing is. I know most companies need FT workers for the year but I have found that having some HS or college kids in there is better then having full grown adults. It seems that the young kids really want to work and make some money while the adults are really not that bright and just floating from job to job.
  4. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    who gets up in the morning and says man I want to cut grass for the rest of my life? Sure I will go work for someone, cut grass, make the owner a lot of money, come on time, work long hours, and all for 10 dollars an hour sure thats what I want to do for the REST of myn life!
    I dont care how many manuals you put out it does not matter. Nobody gets up and says yep i will work for you for the rest of my life...... Thats why we get the dope heads, no license can you pick me up, weeed wack backwards, I call off once a week, pay is gone by sunday can you help me out, kind of guys....... Good thing there are a abundance of these types so we can hire more of them:hammerhead::dizzy:
  5. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    I know what you guys are saying. But the manual is to cover your butt. You can't assume they know anything. You have everything in writing. They sign stating they agree to follow them and you file it. Then there is no confusion when a problem comes up. You say, "Dude, it was in your employee handbook. What, you didn't read it? Well you signed this paper saying you did read it and agreed to follow the rules and guidelines. now take a hike."
  6. djchiodo3

    djchiodo3 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    I ran an add in the local news paper looking for lawn maintenance help. The last sentence in the add was " drug testing". I didn't get a call for a week. I called the news paper and had them remove "drug test". The phone never stopped ringing. What does that tell you?
  7. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    I totally agree with what you say. There are some on this site that would say it is the LCO owners fault if they can't find good help. I say that's B.S. As owners we can only do so much. I explained to someone on this forum before that yeah, we could probably find good help if we paid them $25 per hour, and offered all the same benefits as a large corporation. But after a few months of that I would be out of business. And others say charge more money and pay the employees better. Sure...Mrs. Johnson i have to raise your rate from $200/month to $400/month so I can compete with the big industries in town and attract good employees. :dizzy: A small price hike would not cover it. Customers are not going to go for that. They will find some other sucker to come cut for $20.
    So we are left with the "Bottom of the Barrel" applicants just like Frue said. I laugh every time I see a someone start a thread where they talk about expending his business next year and getting a couple of crew leaders, etc. They just don't have a clue. :laugh:
    Sorry to get off subject.
  8. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    I think is a very good idea. I would almost even use it for myself to go by
  9. DuallyVette

    DuallyVette LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,949

    My newest assistant seems to be another pothead+. I grew up during the hippy dippy days of the Vietnam war. I guess I didn't really fit in. I had long hair, but I got too paranoid the only time a cute young lady brought some pot over. I didn't like the outcome.:) It seems that many people smoke pot, at least with employees and the conversations on the radio, they act like pot is just a harmless fun thing to do...like drinking & driving in 1960(hah hah ...I don't remember driving home last night after drinking a case of brewski's:laugh::laugh::laugh:)

    So...do you guys think that pot is a harmless fun thing to play with ???

    I think I'll try the "drug test" verbiage and see how that goes.
  10. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    land22, yeah im assuming this will be lengthy, i have a lot of basics already that have been issued out to the crew, about 3 pages but still not detailed "enough" and needs to go over other circumstances too..

    in2mown, i hear ya on that one, no one ever said landscapers are smart ! haha, I mean i've met my fair share of guys in the industry somehow whom im just baffled how they make it, at all. I guess i always look back at myself when i once worked for $10 hr, sure, i wanted more, i wanted to succeed and make $100 hr some day and idled those who did, but i still was relible, showed up for work every day, worked hard, and rarely slacked, well maybe sometimes but rarely. Why cant i expect anything close to that from my guys?

    I even buy my guys drinks on hot days when we are on commercial sites, have bought them pizza on a couple occasions etc... its not like im a jerkoff to them and theyre going to slack as much as possible.

    We have had numerous problems early on this year though with keeping employees. Guys were showing up at wrong times, needing to leave much earlier than i knew we would be back, cars died, others called out 5 minutes AFTER they were due in, some showed up 20 minutes late after all of us put away all of the equipment the 2nd crew was supposed to use for the job that day, and then when they show up 20 minutes later, we need to take it all back out again :/

    Its not my crew leader if im not there that has problems, its what is slowing him down too when the regular crew is screwing up. We've also tried a few things like working myself and my crew boss on lawns together, but not economical because of his pay and my pay hourly... just to cut lawns.

    We hands down can go faster than having 3-4 guys out mowing lawns, and were not hauling a$$ either. Its the times we have to go back and double check areas for clippings in mulch beds, severely improper trimming or missing trimming, missed grass from mower cutting.. One of our guys notoriously, near the end of mowing, before he gets the blower goes and gets a cigarette from the truck in his bag, then gets the blower and works... The time span may only be 30 seconds to a minute, but its the fact that he does this when the mower guy is finishing and at times, another employee could have taken the blower and been done a minute later, now the cig. guy is causing the rest of the crew to stand around for a minute here and there.

    I dont know about you or your crews, but i have some guys that just DONT understand a blower, the blow like they think Prince charles is comming down the driveway! I mean, clean up the mess but we dont need to be removing atoms of soil from the asphault. If a house normally takes 30 seconds - a minute to blow off the sidewalk and driveway , how on earth does it take some guys 3-5 minutes?

    Frue, Dont the little guys usually make the business the big bucks? The point is understood, but its like saying no one should ever work for walmart because you support their billion dollar CEOs... i hate that company but surely, it has no relation to the employee what happens in the top level of the company, long as they work and get their paycheck.

    No ones saying anyone needs to do thsi for the rest of their lives, but you still have to WORK for the hour/hours you are being paid for.

    I understand all those same types of employees you spoke about there too lol. We've even had craigslist ads out, get LOTS of responses usually, guys dont want to interview, dont want to email resumes, if we advertise pay from $9-13/hr, the first thing they want is $13... so we changed it to $9-10 and increased depending on knowledge after they start the job so there is no negotiation up front. Ive already been burned a few times by hiring guys claiming to worked for other big companies, know it alls etc, some of the worst employees we've paid the most per hour to start, yet im not balzy enough to tell them leave or risk having your hourly pay cut down a buck or two because your not performing.

    djchiodo3, thats funny, within about a year, we are going to have to be pretty "specific" in our hiring terms for the insurance.... most of what im covering here is basic laborers/workers. I still havnt found anyone very reliable to drive trucks and larger equipment, F that, i want my stuff to stay in nice shape :(

    Guys, start posting some one or two liners here so i can start adding stuff in. Something that bugs you or happens a lot..

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