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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So most of are slowing down for the year, who had the worst employee issue this year? I’ll start (been wanting to do this, just haven’t had time)…

so I’m a firefighter cutting part time, had about 23 properties when an opportunity came about to purchase another firefighters accounts… I hired a guy that had worked for me previously (different business, carpentry and home repair) and had always done great work. Was paying him 25% of gross each day for him and his zero turn mower, pretty fair I felt. I was doing a majority of the weedeating/edging/etc, plus all the billing, staying later gassing equipment up at the end of the day, and provided all the equipment (except the second zero turn). 61” Scag, 36” Scag, 2 hedger trimmers, an edger, 2 blowers, 2 weed eaters, and 2 combis that both had weed eater attachments, so up to 4 string trimmers total (this comes into play later on)

well as we start I’m training him on lawncare, (I’ve been piddling with it for 19 years now) and having to tell him over and over the same things, like “we cut ALL the grass on a property”, or “when we blow it off push everything one direction, and don’t waste time blowing off an area, then come back and blow more debris across that area”, or “when you weedeat/edge go around the area systematically, don't jump from one area to the other across the property” etc. etc. etc… 🤯

well 2 weeks in he shows up with a brand new blower and trimmer, both commercial grade echos… wanting more money. I explain to him that we have multiple of everything he just bought, and it made no sense for me to pay him more for equipment we didn’t need, nor have room to carry. He replied “yeah, but now I have everything I need at my house so if you need me to go cut I don’t have to come pickup anything from your shop” 😳 I told him, and after multiple weeks of have to tell him the same thing over and over causing some frustration, “until we start getting these yards right, you cutting solo while I’m on the fire truck is the last thing on my mind, and by the way, don’t bring that blower any more, it’s in the way and smaller than the two I already have”

another few weeks go by, and I’m needing help due to the number of yards so I’m having to put up with him… I get a call one night that he’s going to have to follow me around the next day because a relative was in the hospital and he may have to leave. Now call me heartless, but the drama that surrounded him led me to be pretty sure the relative was ok (I was right)… knowing this was going to be bad, I consented. We get to the first property at 6:30 AM (commercial property that had been cut weekly by us together for 5 weeks at this point) I beat him there and started cutting, and maybe this is my fault, but I didn’t think I had to tell him he ought to start in the lit areas, not the dark portions of the property 🙄🙄 I guess he thought we were done cutting/trimming and he starts blowing…this time he’s missed an area that’s 50x150 with a mower… he’s grabbed his blower from his truck, and blows about half the property off before he runs out of gas… had he grabbed the big blower from my trailer it had been fully gassed the night before. Well the day went downhill from there, yard number two he somehow stretched into 2 hours (we’d been doing it in 40 minutes, again this is a weekly route) I tell him the next address and we leave, I stop at the house, make and drink a pot of coffee, and get yard number 3 cut, trimmed, and edged before he showed up, yard number 4 he walked off of and I haven’t, thankfully, seen or heard from him since.

can anyone too this from this year? I put up with a lot because when he worked for me before he was great, and let’s be real, running a zero turn and cutting yards isn’t rocket science…
 

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I think you should avoid telling employees how do to do things and just give them a goal to meet. If they're going slowly tell them it needs to be faster. But don't tell them how to do detailed things like blowing the same place twice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you should avoid telling employees how do to do things and just give them a goal to meet. If they're going slowly tell them it needs to be faster. But don't tell them how to do detailed things like blowing the same place twice.
not quite where I wanted the thread to go… but since you went there. If you had a 100x200 rectangular parking lot to blow off and he blew off half (working with the wind to take it where we needed it to go) and then went to blow the other half across what he had just cleaned you’d let that fly, on a consistent basis?

When I cut, I take a systematic approach to the property to keep from backtracking, also prevents me from missing anything. If I had to trim the perimeter of the above parking lot, I’d pick a starting point and go either clockwise or counterclockwise around the entire perimeter… not cut a 100’ side, walk across to cut the opposite 100’ side, then by default have to cross the lot again to cut one of the remaining 2 sides. Not to mention you add in some bedding, sidewalks, etc in a yard and you try to leapfrog all over the place something will be missed. And it was. So while I always check behind any employee when I’m on a site, not only am I checking, now I’m trimming and cutting what he’s missed, gotta grab a blower again etc… keep in mind, he was learning a new business that he’d never done before, we all learned at some point, and in a sense that’s why we’re here. This thread was just for fun, but when I get on here typically it’s to learn and ask for help. That’s life.
 

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not quite where I wanted the thread to go… but since you went there. If you had a 100x200 rectangular parking lot to blow off and he blew off half (working with the wind to take it where we needed it to go) and then went to blow the other half across what he had just cleaned you’d let that fly, on a consistent basis?

When I cut, I take a systematic approach to the property to keep from backtracking, also prevents me from missing anything. If I had to trim the perimeter of the above parking lot, I’d pick a starting point and go either clockwise or counterclockwise around the entire perimeter… not cut a 100’ side, walk across to cut the opposite 100’ side, then by default have to cross the lot again to cut one of the remaining 2 sides. Not to mention you add in some bedding, sidewalks, etc in a yard and you try to leapfrog all over the place something will be missed. And it was. So while I always check behind any employee when I’m on a site, not only am I checking, now I’m trimming and cutting what he’s missed, gotta grab a blower again etc… keep in mind, he was learning a new business that he’d never done before, we all learned at some point, and in a sense that’s why we’re here. This thread was just for fun, but when I get on here typically it’s to learn and ask for help. That’s life.
How you trained your guy is how he should have been trained. It was the way I was trained 40 years ago. Too many wimpy minded people now, they don't know how to think rightly, properly.
 

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So most of are slowing down for the year, who had the worst employee issue this year? I’ll start (been wanting to do this, just haven’t had time)…

so I’m a firefighter cutting part time, had about 23 properties when an opportunity came about to purchase another firefighters accounts… I hired a guy that had worked for me previously (different business, carpentry and home repair) and had always done great work. Was paying him 25% of gross each day for him and his zero turn mower, pretty fair I felt. I was doing a majority of the weedeating/edging/etc, plus all the billing, staying later gassing equipment up at the end of the day, and provided all the equipment (except the second zero turn). 61” Scag, 36” Scag, 2 hedger trimmers, an edger, 2 blowers, 2 weed eaters, and 2 combis that both had weed eater attachments, so up to 4 string trimmers total (this comes into play later on)

well as we start I’m training him on lawncare, (I’ve been piddling with it for 19 years now) and having to tell him over and over the same things, like “we cut ALL the grass on a property”, or “when we blow it off push everything one direction, and don’t waste time blowing off an area, then come back and blow more debris across that area”, or “when you weedeat/edge go around the area systematically, don't jump from one area to the other across the property” etc. etc. etc… 🤯

well 2 weeks in he shows up with a brand new blower and trimmer, both commercial grade echos… wanting more money. I explain to him that we have multiple of everything he just bought, and it made no sense for me to pay him more for equipment we didn’t need, nor have room to carry. He replied “yeah, but now I have everything I need at my house so if you need me to go cut I don’t have to come pickup anything from your shop” 😳 I told him, and after multiple weeks of have to tell him the same thing over and over causing some frustration, “until we start getting these yards right, you cutting solo while I’m on the fire truck is the last thing on my mind, and by the way, don’t bring that blower any more, it’s in the way and smaller than the two I already have”

another few weeks go by, and I’m needing help due to the number of yards so I’m having to put up with him… I get a call one night that he’s going to have to follow me around the next day because a relative was in the hospital and he may have to leave. Now call me heartless, but the drama that surrounded him led me to be pretty sure the relative was ok (I was right)… knowing this was going to be bad, I consented. We get to the first property at 6:30 AM (commercial property that had been cut weekly by us together for 5 weeks at this point) I beat him there and started cutting, and maybe this is my fault, but I didn’t think I had to tell him he ought to start in the lit areas, not the dark portions of the property 🙄🙄 I guess he thought we were done cutting/trimming and he starts blowing…this time he’s missed an area that’s 50x150 with a mower… he’s grabbed his blower from his truck, and blows about half the property off before he runs out of gas… had he grabbed the big blower from my trailer it had been fully gassed the night before. Well the day went downhill from there, yard number two he somehow stretched into 2 hours (we’d been doing it in 40 minutes, again this is a weekly route) I tell him the next address and we leave, I stop at the house, make and drink a pot of coffee, and get yard number 3 cut, trimmed, and edged before he showed up, yard number 4 he walked off of and I haven’t, thankfully, seen or heard from him since.

can anyone too this from this year? I put up with a lot because when he worked for me before he was great, and let’s be real, running a zero turn and cutting yards isn’t rocket science…
First I want to thank YOU for your service as a Firefighter.

On the Employee Rant, find a "Self Starter" employee, that you give full responsibility/accountability (Not Ownership) and don't micro manage. Pay that right person MORE than they are worth, enjoy some extra income yourself, as well as respect from your employee....Think "Team Building" not Manager (Just Like a Figherfighter would). Put you self in their shoes as the Dollar does not go very far these days, for many in this group.
 

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So this guy has a zero turn, blower, trimmer, and I presume a truck & trailer of his own, right? And he knows that the accounts gross for 4x what he was getting paid...?

Watch your back next year to make sure nothing gets sniped from this guy... Lock in your contracts, especially those commercial accounts early.
 

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So this guy has a zero turn, blower, trimmer, and I presume a truck & trailer of his own, right? And he knows that the accounts gross for 4x what he was getting paid...?

Watch your back next year to make sure nothing gets sniped from this guy... Lock in your contracts, especially those commercial accounts early.
And of course, Building TRUST in the working relationship matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So this guy has a zero turn, blower, trimmer, and I presume a truck & trailer of his own, right? And he knows that the accounts gross for 4x what he was getting paid...?

Watch your back next year to make sure nothing gets sniped from this guy... Lock in your contracts, especially those commercial accounts early.
most customers have appreciated that he’s gone, don’t think I’ll have to worry about that 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How you trained your guy is how he should have been trained. It was the way I was trained 40 years ago. Too many wimpy minded people now, they don't know how to think rightly, properly.
And maybe that’s my fault, due to the drastic increase from 23-46 accounts (literally overnight) most of this was on the job training… nothing he was taught would ever stick was the problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First I want to thank YOU for your service as a Firefighter.

On the Employee Rant, find a "Self Starter" employee, that you give full responsibility/accountability (Not Ownership) and don't micro manage. Pay that right person MORE than they are worth, enjoy some extra income yourself, as well as respect from your employee....Think "Team Building" not Manager (Just Like a Figherfighter would). Put you self in their shoes as the Dollar does not go very far these days, for many in this group.
that was the goal, and previously he’d been a self starter, motivated etc… not sure what happened, I agree 100%
 

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I think you should avoid telling employees how do to do things and just give them a goal to meet. If they're going slowly tell them it needs to be faster. But don't tell them how to do detailed things like blowing the same place twice.
Telling him how to do the detail work IS telling him how to do it faster. He's responsible for training his employee how he wants it done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don’t believe in micromanaging, initially I would consider it training, and as we went on… it just didn’t click, wasn’t efficient, and left a lot of work undone.

there was no ability to follow ANY instructions.
 

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We lost our first part timer to college schedule. He’s working nights and weekends now. I didn’t bother to ask him what he’s making since we’re slowing down anyway. He was a good hand, but a little immature, always 5-10 minutes late but he wasn’t lazy.

We fired a sketchy lady who expressed interest in starting a business like ours after 3 days of working with us. Her curiosity into how our business worked became pretty clear after that.

We’re down to one employee who can only work 3 days a week. She’s a solid hand, good attitude, but could use a confidence boost. She always thinks her work is under par even when it looks as good as mine, and always seems unsure about the “best” way to do even simple tasks like cleaning up. She’s too afraid of making mistakes.
 

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I have had some bad ones this year. Alot who were supposed to start and never managed to make it in at all. One guy went a week and a half giving excuses morning of his first day, from things like have to help my gf look after sick kid, or have to drive 2 hours to submit passport papers etc.

Then a month ago hired a guy on at 80k CAD plus benefits to run a crew and told him its mostly paver and retaining wall work. But he doesn't really seem like hes done more than a handful of days of that type of work (he knew he had to run the jobs, foreman job description) and hes average 2.5 days per week over the first month with various health issues/sick kid issues.
 

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I’ve trained a few guys mowing what works for me is letting them get to know the machine and properties first. Push the few important things like not spraying houses and cars w clippings. Then start focusing on the details. Go over “everything” once - then as you see problems…address them again on the spot. Its easier to show the employee the problem etc so he can see for himself. Also take time to Explain “why” you do things a certain way…it’s annoying but is part of good training .
 

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We have a tech that gets unbelievably belligerently drunk every night.. To the point that he makes no sense whatsoever when talking.. Ive learned not to answer any calls past 6pm, or respond to any texts. He shows up daily, good at his job and is great with clients. :brickwall: We are planning a company trip, I'm concerned about him drinking with us in a social setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I’ve trained a few guys mowing what works for me is letting them get to know the machine and properties first. Push the few important things like not spraying houses and cars w clippings. Then start focusing on the details. Go over “everything” once - then as you see problems…address them again on the spot. Its easier to show the employee the problem etc so he can see for himself. Also take time to Explain “why” you do things a certain way…it’s annoying but is part of good training .
this was the game plan… he couldn’t see it.
 
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