Employee Responsible?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by dclandscape, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. dclandscape

    dclandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    I am looking for some honest opinions on two particular instances that have happened recently. Would you hold the employee resonsible?...

    (1) The operator running our mini excavator ran over the demo saw, crushing it. Clearly did not check his surroundings before getting in the machine, nevermind before he reversed. What would you do?

    (2) I have been very busy in the office latley, leaving the crew to do the installs mostly on their own. The guy I left in charge just completed a small raised patio project. After my review I discovered that all the pavers were about 1/4 inch BELOW the retaining wall blocks in one corner. Well it rained the day I met with the customer for a walkthorugh and yup you guessed it, IT PUDDLED, a lot...I turned to the customer before she could even say anything and told her I would be back after the weekend to fix it and make it perfect. So, now I have the same crew in addition to myself making repairs. Extimated 1 day worth of work...What would you do?
  2. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    train them better.
  3. dclandscape

    dclandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    His excuse..."it was raining and we were behind schedule, just wanted to finish it up for you boss, I want happy with the result either"

    Then why leave it if you wernt happy with it??? I simple phone call to let me know "hey were going to need another day over here to finsh up boss, sorry we didnt meet schedule"
  4. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    I would tell the guy in charge he can come with me to work on it on a day off or he can look for a new job. No more excuses
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,619

    There's not a thing you can do.

    Chalk it up as a lesson learned.

    First of all, tell us: How long have YOU been doing hardscapes???

    You may need to train your guys better. And training and teaching are not the same thing in my mind.

    I teach my guys. I explain to them that I know all the things that clients will complain about. And I explain these things as I see them coming into the equation.

    Also, you're guys may be like my guys and everyone else's employees. DUMB. You get what you pay for. A few weeks ago I made a comment about dealing with employees. And someone responded with something like "how on earth could you even think of saying that?" Well......seriously, for $10 -$15 per hour WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GETTING????

    As far as the saw - sorry for your luck dude. Most state's labor laws do not allow you to withhold money for damages, losses, etc.

    And really, you can't even make them fix the work payfree. You have to pay them to fix it.

    Lesson learned for you. Believe me, I have to endure hard learned lessons about once a month. How else do you think I became so great? We can't learn if we do not mess up.

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  6. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    All you can do is write them up and put a copy in their employee file. However before you write anybody up you should make sure that you have a clearly written employee manual and operation policy that your guys have signed off on. If you don't then you should consider one along with a formal disciplinary plan. Spending a few hundred dollars with an labor law attorney now will save you a lot of cost and headache later. Those things are the only thing that will save your butt when you finally terminate the guy and he gets an attorney and comes after you for something.... and trust me, he will.
  7. dclandscape

    dclandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    DVS - Good response. Pretty much nailed it on the head.

    I myself have only been doing this for about 5 years. Not an expert but I consider myself pretty knowledgable in hardscapes. I TRY to teach my employees the things, above and beyond correct installation techniques, that makes a customer happy. I agree that this is not rocket science and there really isn't much good help out there. Everyone wants to show up to work, do what they have to do, and go home at the end of the week with a pay check. Bummer, but it is what it is.

    The laws do prevent me from holding any pay for damages. However, the lessons in this situation will be noted and used at a later date if need.

    As a side note, If you dont mind me asking, how much is everyone paying for a crew leader on a hardscape crew? And do you require them to have ICPI, NMCA, hoisting, CDL, etc?
  8. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    Use incentives.

    Pay a small but worth while bonus for a job well done.

    In both of these cases I'd tell them that I don't even have to explain why there is no job bonus or monthly bonus for them.

    An extra $100 here or there goes a long way with an employee that is trying to do their best.
    If they aren't trying it may help them try harder to get the bonus.

    Lets just say that you implement a $200 monthly bonus for being on time, jobs completed right and not destroying equipment.
    You don't want to pile on too many things or achieving the bonus will look impossible to do and they won't even try.
    Make the amount too small and it'll have the same result..... not worth the effort.
  9. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Just a demo saw, thats not too bad. Just have them be aware of what a new one cost and tell them to open their eyes next time. Ya nothing you can do, you'll have to figure out if they are worth having around or not. Crew leaders are 24 and 25 respectively. But now we are down to one crew and I can't reduce the pay so I'm paying almost 50 an hour for two guys on the same crew.
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,624

    1) Buy a nwe saw
    2) Make that job right

    Then I would get off your axx and run your business properly.

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