Employee Training

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ALarsh, May 13, 2007.

  1. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    How do you guys most efficiently train new hires? I don't like how much time I have to spend with them, reiterating over and over that they need to trim around everything, trim around that tree over there, show them that they missed this spot, tell them to double cut the lawn, tell them to blow off the lawn and that back porch, etc. How do you guys give them that attention to detail that they need to keep customers happy? I find one of my guys likes to go fast through the trimming so he can start blowing sooner because it is easier. Another one of the guys loses his attention to detail as we do more and more lawns as far as double cutting and striping goes. How do I keep their attention to detail and diligence to do good work high?

  2. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,205


    You know i'm only fourteen so i can't drive myself yet. Earlier this season i had my brother who is sixteen and has an s-10 working for me. He's the typical teen but enjoyed the money. He was working and i just wasn't satisfied with the results and wanted to do all of the work myself. Ends up he's in training to be a lifeguard so my mom is now hauling me around with my dad's jeep. Ends up i feel a lot better and like the after look of my properties when i do them solo. I'm sure your at a point where you need a helper so my words aren't helping. I'd say that you should have them trim and then you run the mower full time. This way your getting the yard looking well and then they are just doing the trimming. -Mitch-
  3. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    How damn many lawns are you doing to need two guys helping?
  4. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    I hear you but the I just have too much work to be taking that much time on these accounts. We have to do 37-40 accounts weekly and I only have the time to work with after school (approx 15-20 hours, booked landscaping work the rest) so we have to be quick to even get them all done on the scheduled days.
  5. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    So I take it your help is part time, after school too? Or do you have a crew running while you are in school?
  6. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    After school also. That is a recipe for disaster to have a new hire running around with that much equipment not knowing what he is doing while the owner is not in communication/support. I can't trust someone to that degree right now.
  7. Midwest Lawn Services

    Midwest Lawn Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    Heres what I have offered to all of my employees. You get paid XXXX dollars per hour. For every seasonal client we take on that is reffered to us by them, they get an extra .25 per hour increase. I earns the company another 600+ per year, and it only costs me about an extra 280 per year to have them work the extra hour or less a week at the clients location. They tend to give a $hit about the locations they reffer because as a rule of thumb they knew the client in some way or another when they reffered them. They are also earning more income, having more work, I am making $$$$, and everyone is happy.payup Moral of all this is try and find an incentive to offer them, then they will give a $hit about the quality and quantity of work they are performing for YOU and the client!!!! Works for us! Thats how my foreman makes 16.75/hour. He works for the business because he knows it benefits him.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    A lot of it just takes practice and more practice...an employee can get the basics down of how a piece of equipment works pretty quickly, but it takes time to learn how to work efficiently and produce quality work at the same time. I've been doing this work for so long, I can pretty much pull up to a lawn and tell right away if it's going to need double cutting or even bagging in some cases.

    My employee doesn't always do it the way I would like it done, but for the most part he now makes pretty good decisions regarding when to double cut.

    Trimming is probably the hardest task to really master...and so many guys hate trimming they are quick to stick the new guy on it, which is not usually the wisest decision. It's tempting as the owner to jump on the largest and best mower, but if you have 2 other guys with you it's probably fastest to trim yourself and then you can keep an eye on them.

    They have to learn a system to trim at each lawn...for instance, if the lawn is open with no fence, first have them trim around the house...then work in a circle around the lawn hitting all the trees. May not be the fastest way at first but it will give them a system to start with until they get the hang of it.
  9. stick9

    stick9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    I agree w/ the incentives suggestion.

    Unfortunately, there don't seem to be alot of people who care floating around anymore. Took us a heckuvalongtime to find people who would work properly.

    We usually started the new guy on Edging (and learning which houses) and they'd use the backpack. Then, after a week or two, we'd start teaching trimming.
  10. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    Good advice. Good thinking also about not putting the new guy on the trimmer right away. Both of them are trained to use the Z pretty well and neither are trained to be using the w/b. I might have to start training them on that so I can take some of the trimming every once in a while.

    I have thought of a piece rate type deal. Pay them X per hour and pay them Y for every lawn we complete on top of that but I would think that would make them want to work faster, missing over more stuff that they need to do. I don't really have an issue with them working fast, it is more of them doing good work, trimming around everything, the whole time we are mowing (quality seems to diminish as time goes on).

    Further suggestions?

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