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. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    In this new economy, that's not uncommon, there are tons of people that have spent thousands on higher education only to be put on the streets by their companies and forced to change careers. Actually, I am one of them.

    Anyway, I would think that someone coming out of a college level landscaping program is probably going to be looking at a mgmt postion not a laborer job, and if he's smart enough to get through college he's probably gonna start his own business, at least that's what I did. I think I get what your saying not sure it's practical, but good idea anyway. I think what the industry needs more than anything is a state licensing test mandate to start a business.
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,116

    I want to work 7a-6p 4 days a week.
    I want 3 months off a year.
    I want a company truck and cell.
    I want company uniforms so I don't have to tear up my own clothes.
    I want very basic health care (nothing fancy)

    I want to make enough money to support my family.

    This is around $48,000 per year. ( I would require more, if I was management or had more stress to deal with)

    I have been in the industry 22 years. I have more experience than anyone I have met who doesn't own a business or in the upper management of the top 14 landscape companies in America.

    I am willing to work with a crew actually DOING the work, on site.
    I can sell, estimate, design and communicate with the client.

    I also CANNOT get hired by ANYONE, which constantly forces me to work for myself.

    Landscape companies can't hire good employees because they can't or won't pay a living wage.
    They want to pay crew leaders (decent ones) 18,000 to 25,000 per year.
    A decent job at mcdonalds (after a 3 year tenure) pays better than this.
    Every year you force your own competition to build, because the guys that are smart, the ones that can do what you want them to do, go into business for themselves. And they don't know anymore about actual business than most OTHER landscapers out there.
    Hire good guys, pay good. Keep your prices high and don't encourage lowballs in your market because you low ball your pay rates.

    If you can't afford $48-$55k per year on a decent hand (lead man) than you might as well be a mom and pop shop and do it yourself, or close shop. IMO.
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,256

    I agree with you on about 95%. Your $48-$55K would be $30-$36K in my area for a good seasoned lead guy. $18-$25K for a good laborer.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,116

    You cant set living wage my friend. 30-36 is tooooo low. 36k is an average of 3 grand a month you want the guy to live on, raise his family and be able to get to work in something that starts regularly in the morning?

    Now, if you wanted to pay 36K and supply the cell, the truck (to and from work and limited personal use with in REASON) and a uniform allowance? Yea, that would work.

    But if you pay lower, you get several things:

    1) the guy is always looking for a "better deal"
    2) you get those "my car broke down" calls too much
    3) he's side jobbin to make ends meet which causes:
    A) he's more tired on your jobs, and less productive
    B) he's taking away work from you, effectively becoming your competition
    C) is yet ANOTHER excuse for him to call in and not show because he's busy on a side job.

    The combo of 36K to 50K can work many ways.

    In most cases you need that truck anyway. If the guys lives with in a reasonable distance from work (20 minutes) it's no big deal for him to take his truck home, and his rig isnt taking up space in your yard while he's at work, as well as your truck isn't in your yard taking up space.
    also you company cell is something that helps out tons.
    You can get a company iphone with unlimited everything for $30/mo now (the first 200/mo would cover the first two phones, each additional would be another 30/mo)
    You can also check up on your dude with GPS so you can make sure he's not running around with your truck where he hadnt ought to be.

    A simple mileage log keeps him honest with your truck.

    $300 a season for boots and pants to reimburse the guy, and give him three company polos, and possibly a jacket? Maybe two hats if you are a nice guy.

    Yea, then you can pay him $36,000 a year.
    In the 9 months that I would be working (taking 3 off) that's 4k per month.
    IF there is job attach in your state, then the guy can collect U/I for the 3 months there is no work and come up with an extra 3 grand.

    With that deal there is no reason you can't hire a decent guy. Heck I'd work for that. ( I really have no desire to own/run a business)
  5. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,358

    Here's the deal. You WANT a lot.

    You want to work 57% of a week.
    You want to work 75% of the year.
    You want 177% of the ave income ($27k).
    You want 92% of the ave household income (52k).

    What you want is $30/hr plus some benis. It costs closed to $35/hr with tax/work comp no benis.

    You want a employer to do this up front without seeing you work.

    Then you want to collect ui for 3 months which we also pay for indirectly.

    Basically what I hear is I'm hiring you for the privilage of paying you my wage cost and most of the profit so I can have a chance of making money off of the crew I pay you to lead. You must be a superduper employee at that rate.

    Looking at those numbers I can see how it is hard for you to find a job.

    I can see maybe 10 to 15 lco company's in mn that may pay that way for employee's that have been with them for a long period of time. Most $30 to $35k max.

    FYI, I not saying your not worth that but what the market will pay. Also the term "liveable wage" is very much decided on your decisions in life and nothing a employer can do about it. The "american dream" of owning a house and cars has changed to a entitlement in most americans mind. Unfortnately that entitlement mentality makes the dream even harder.
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  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Pay for schooling on mowing lawn, planting plants, sowing seed, edging beds, weed eating, pruning shrubs, running a spreader,,, all at the scale paygrade...
    Most of the commentary has it correct so far...

    The classroom doesn't make a good employee... in fact the classroom doesn't even teach the tasks listed above... the ONLY way to master those tasks is to DO them...

    Some people can do it while others can't seem to grasp the reality of working with living things or anything outside the virtual book world... ADHD and power equipment doesn't work... kids today don't even have recess in their little drugged up, inactive, obese worlds... just a bunch of raw data without real world application...
  7. Duekster

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

    Sounds like a great idea. Take every 8th grader in the public school system and have them mow the parks, pick up trash in the afternoons.
    In the 9th Grade have them work in the food kitchens in the afternoon.

    In the 10th Grade give them a choice of working in the food kitchen, the parks or learning about the cost of living, finance charges on credit cards and other useful things. In the 11th and 12th grade it is college prep or trade school.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Duekster, you surprise me...
    indicating that caged up gov't school children actually use there bodies for something other than housing a languishing frontal lobe...
    If they did that,,, they would already be able to make sense of "air pockets" in the soil, before college... maybe... :)
  9. Duekster

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

    More worried about the air pockets in their heads and perhaps a little motivation to understand what it means to be out from under mama's skirt
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    If it were only that easy, I would gladly pay 40K a year to a lead man IF the customers were willing to pay the rates it would take to pay out those wages.

    I totally agree that liveable wage is determined by life decisions, Even the big companies that can afford to pay those wages won't! If what your saying is true then Wal-mart would be paying 40K+/yr. Salaries aren't determined by "Liveable wage standards"

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