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employee too lazy to spot spray.....

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by americanlawn, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,946

    We just started our summer lawn application (dry fert + spot spray). The previous application (late spring) was also dry fert + liquid (pull out the hose or spot spray, whatever was needed). Now my guys are reporting weedy lawns that should have been sprayed the previous application --- all done by an ex-employee. We have no quotas, and most applicators only average about 15 lawns per day, so I'm not pushing them. They only put in about 35 hours a week during the summer months, but if we catch them doing poor applications, we ride with them, train them again (even though it's a lack of effort), then tell them their job is on the line....that normally works.

    Question: How do you guys handle employees that say they are spot spraying, but seldom do (at least not very thoroughly)?

    I tried searching, but found no posts that addressed this issue. It's an issue that is more common than it should be, as I know other guys that experience the same thing.

    Please advise. Humorous replies welcome too. Thanks!
  2. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,351

    Go check on a few of each applicators routes, a week after app. Bring door hangers with "Quality Control Inspection" as one of the check off boxes.

    Do a brief walkaround, make notes on pad of who's route and any things they may have missed. Leave the doorhanger.

    Weed out the bad apples, and be sure all employees know why person was let go.

    Also KEY IMO is the OWNER do the Inspections, without the employees knowing.

    Lead By Example....

    Pete D.
  3. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    I like heritage's idea.
  4. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    lead by example is excellent advice. this we must always remember...even if its at the end of a long week and we want to go home we must still be leading.

    I find myself being a poor example MANY times. Like when I got a something that needs to be done and I say 'tomorrow' (now the employee feels that 'tomorrow' can work as a good excuse for most things)...my bad, not his.

    I do quality control as suggested except I let the emplyee know I doin it. In the mornig I'll tell him I'm going out to his lawns he treated 10-14 days ago. Generally I get a confident 'have fun' but I have had many excuses before I even go out to a lawn...."oh i wasnt feelin well that day as i remember"....or ofcourse,,,"the weather sucked that day"...blah blah blah
    I always tell the guys that when they are out on a lawn in a quiet neighborhood and they dont see a soul around....somebody is still watchin them.
    Same goes for the company leader(s)....the emplyees are always watchin, you slack off just the slightest and BAM...they got ya
  5. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,946

    Thanks heritage, Lind, lawnservice.....I hear ya. Other members too, please rscvp, cuz customers don't need to be ripped off. Thanks -- keep 'em coming.
  6. vegomatic40

    vegomatic40 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 6
    Messages: 406

    I once had a employee that was sent out to do warm-season aeration (zoysia, hybrid bermuda etc.) about this time of year. His role as a employee was already on pretty shaky ground and this was his last chance to redeem himself. Granted, this is not a easy job to do but he was given a few lawns that I selected for him because they were relatively flat and small. Within 2 hours of him leaving my shop I started getting calls from customers stating they had recieved a invoice but no aeration had been done. I tried to justify it with the first customer as it was very dry and using a walk behind aerator can sometimes yield very few 1" plugs. By the third call I knew this idiot had tried to do the impossible..."ghost aeration". This was in the days before 2 way radios and cellphones were rarer still and I had no way to communicate with him. I grabbed a route list and a Ryan IV and checked every stop and aerated every one. Most never knew that he had tried to steal from them as I got there before they got home. Having a late start I got back to the shop a little after dark...absolutely fuming with rage.
    The next day I waited for him to arrive (30 minutes late) and told him " I can't tell you how fired you are". Simple termination was not enough. The guy even tried to say he had completed the stops until I informed this imbecile that I had done his route right behind him. Most terminations are difficult...this one was easy.
    From that point on I've had no problems with employees doing sub-par or "ghosting" apps. Everyone understands from day 1 of hire that it is regarded as theft and termination is the least of their worries. They also know that I pull routes at random from the previous 2 wks. and routinely check the work.
  7. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    i watched a guy from scotts do an aeration, he did the perimeter and then made an 'x' pass from the corners, loaded up the aerator and went on to another. i thought what a lazy a$$. i stopped by that customers house and showed him what scotts had done, and got a new customer (charged almost twice as much as scotts and he didn't even care).

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