Employees a problem? I may have a solution. Feed back urgent!!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Pittsburgh Stone83, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Pittsburgh Stone83

    Pittsburgh Stone83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    I read last year a quote from Bill Gates that when he was asked what is the most important part of running a business was he replied "Time management". What dictates the majority of our time as business owners each year is the responsibilities delegated to our employees. Thus...

    Every year it's the same situation with employees. Recruiting and keeping key employees to grow your business, help your economy, and strengthen the industry. The same problem occurs and we participate in the same ridiculous rat race. In the Pittsburgh area there are trade schools filled with fresh candidates in Heating/Cooling, electrical. plumbing, carpentry, masonry, mechanics, and now gas wells but nothing for landscape/hardscape/lawn industry. A multi billion dollar a year industry and no formal education short of 1 to 3 day classes. Not having these resources makes our jobs as business owners, unnecessarily and tremendously difficult for various reasons:

    1. It lets current employees know how tough it is to find replacements and at times work below company standards as a result. If they knew there were trade schools pumping out fresh recruits productivity would be up because employees know they are replaceable and turnover would be drastically reduced. We can exhaust far less energy dealing with unaccountable employees and excessive time and stress finding new recruits.

    2.The Money and time that is lost each year from current employees training new employees basic field skills on site would be turned into money in your pockets or extra time to use at your leisure.

    3. Having a school or academy that has atleast a 6 month program would let us know directly from the instructors the candidates potential, strengths, and skills. Rather then us taking the yearly gamble. Not to mention possible intern programs.

    4. Keeps employee money in local economy. Immigrants are sending close to 75% of their pay across the border in opposed to fueling our economy and strengthening our country.

    5. Having educated entry level employees enables new business owners to reduce the number of hats they wear. I believe so many businesses fail or struggle due to the owners being a salesman, designer, book keeper, mechanic, foreman, and technician as I witnessed my Dad doing for 25 years.

    The list goes on. I believe implementing education for entry or immediate level personnel is imperative to improve and strengthen our industry, quality of life, and put a dent in this employment issue plaguing the country. I have started to get the ball rolling but I need your help to prove to the distributors, manufacturers, and congressman that we are in severe need of these resources. If you care about the future of your company, the industry, and want to take your business and life to the next level I need your feedback to show the powers to be the problem is universal. As there is strength in numbers. Let me know your feedback as I am taking this situation seriously and want to have a plan in action during the winter season as this concept won't happen over night.

    Thanks everybody and Merry Christmas!!
  2. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,358

    I don't agree, right now there is too many going on to higher education. They make it so easy to pile on debt to the students which they don't have a clue on how the payments will affect their lives later on.

    K-12 right now is also a problem as it seems like they gearing them up for college not the real world.

    I can train them and do so within timeframe/budget that works in our industry. What I can't do is give them a work ethic or instill them with values that is missing in our current culture.

    Give me a guy with a good work ethic and ill make him a good employee with a decent wage.
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  3. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    I agree with djagusch. I want to teach my guys how to do it my way. you cant teach hard work, loyalty or honesty. thats all i really need in an employee.
  4. show-n-go

    show-n-go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 232

    Our local vocational schools have programs for landscape and grounds care. I have been gone since 96 and they didn't have hard scape back then but might now.
  5. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    I like the outside the box thinking. I believe most of the 'trade schools' offer some type of property maint/grounds programs already. It seems that you are pushing for more 'hands on' training.

    Most of these schools are expensive. Even the local community colleges are pricey and would require one to go into debt. Why go into debt to use a stick edger or hold a shovel all day for 8/hr? I can understand someone wanting to go into debt for electrical work or something similar.

    Part of what makes the landscape business so enticing is little to no barriers for entry for both employees and employers.

    If someone spends 2 years in school to work as a landscaper, he will be looking for the next best thing while employed by an owner. The turnover will still be high.

    Sounds like a great deal for employers, but horrible deal for employees
  6. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    Yep. Not much of a barrier for employees or ownership in the landscaping bus. schooling will not help much. Is there some degree of skill involved in general lawn maintanence? Yes, but not anything a meticulous owner can't accomplish. Like others have said, I would rather take someone with minimal skills and a good work ethic and show him/her the way things are done.
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  7. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    You are describing a skilled labor hiring pool.

    Also known as union hall.
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  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    UMW - United Mower Workers.
  9. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    A buddy of mine went to a school to get his CDL for 8k. Then he wanted to learn how to be an operator for 12k. When he was done he got a construction job for $11.50 an hour :hammerhead: Needless to say he no longer does construction and wasted 20k on needless training.
  10. lawnman24949

    lawnman24949 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    I don't know how big of a company you are but if you are this may be a possibility. Every year at Suny Cobleskill in New York they have there 4 year Landscape Contract students do a 15 week internship. Now since there is such a demand there are companies for around the country trying to recruit these 50 or so college kids. But if you are big enough you may be able to get in on the program to get kids to your company. Once these kids work with the company for the 15 weeks most end up taking a job there. I know this may not work for you and this is just my opinion but I think there landscaping program is the best in the U.S.

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