Employees Can Be Fixed

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Sean Adams, May 27, 2009.

  1. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I want to preface this by saying I respect you and your operation amlawn I just wonder why your employees don't make enough to buy cars on their own? Wouldn't it be better to pay them a higher wage and make less profit on your end. I may be naive but my guys are buying houses with the money I pay in wages. Maybe I pay too much.

    Your company is bigger than mine so I guess maybe I do pay too much. I just think if you want good responsible employees that are proactive with the clients and the job they do you have to provide them a standard of living that will allow them to have a normal life. Which in my mind includes health insurance, a home, yearly vacation. Also an opportunity to be more than the paid help.

    Just some food for thought, you seem like a good guy and I believe you are trying to do right by your employees. You might just be able to raise the bar in the industry by paying a little more.
  2. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,955

    Thanks Az - I appreciate where you're coming from. We pay our guys well -- average wage = about $20 per hour plus vacation pay & co-pay health/dental. Much better than other LCO's around here. (pretty good for corn Country).

    My wife & I make less income than the lowest-paid specialist. All of my guys are top notch. They have been thoroughly trained and attend regular land grant university training/events.

    Experienced guys get 3 weeks vacation during the work season. All employees get weekly (uncontested) unemployment paychecks during the 3 months in winter. Unless it snows - then they get paid on top of their weekly unemployment checks.

    While we never buy them a "home", we try to give them the financial tools that most folks need. If they have fines to pay -- It ain't our fault. If their wife can't get a job cuz she has no car -- it ain't our fault. Yet I will go way out of my way to find a cheap vehicle & pay for it (out of my pocket).

    I believe in Karma - What goes around, comes around. Tonight I just fixed the soft water unit in our next door rental house where employees live.

    In the past 2 years, 2 of my guys have been able to buy their own homes. Before that, they rented. Nuf said.

  3. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    I haven't contributed to this thread since the start several weeks back so here I go. When I commented at first I was accused of being a whinny employee and in some regards I can see exactly where he was coming from because at the time I was. After reading the dialogue between American and AZ I think that you both are great employers and are concerned about operating a profitable business and treating your foundation(employees) well. In the book Good to Great every great come had a strong commitment to finding, hiring, and retaining great employees and at seems you have a good start on it.

  4. pararest

    pararest LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I hired my first employee about 11 years ago and it went OK as long as I was there to keep an eye on him. As my business started to grow and we added a second crew I quickly realized what a disaster employees can be. Now with over 30 employees (and a lot of head aches later) I take the time not only to screen my potential employees, but I try hard during the interview process to see if I can detect anything in his attitude that would make it hard for him to fit into our system of doing things. Even if he comes with a lot of experience, if I feel he will not be a team player I don't make the hire.
    When I do find the right guy, we provide him with an employee hand book. We then go over our expectations of him as our employee, then he gets thoroughly trained. I have had no problems at all for 5 years now keeping guys. When I do have a complaint it is taken care of fast and the employee is notified and the problem is fixed for the future.

    owner: Paradise Restored
  5. jeffslawnservice

    jeffslawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 830

    This is a little off topic but if anyone has an employee hand book or any type of employee training book that they would be willing to share can you PM me. I am in the process of hiring my first employee for next season. Thanks.
  6. indy2tall

    indy2tall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 417

    Pararest, you have an AWESOME website and your pictures of your work are equally awesome. Either you or someone on your staff must have some formal education in landscape design because some of those installs looked very challenging and complicated. I would guess some of those jobs had to bring in close to $100,000. Do you mind saying who designed your website?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  7. aaron86

    aaron86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    How would you deal with my situation my father started the company in 1979 he is ready to retire now I'm going to be taking over in the next few years but this is my problem I have to run the business with my brother who doesn't have a clue how to run a business or how to treat employes he has the my daddy is the boss attitude so I'm better than everyone he claims I'm the pruner so I don't have to clean up an will go sit in the truck once the pruning is done an wait for his crew to cleanup couldn't trim a straight edge if his life depended on it and to top it off will not take help from anyone because he knows everything please help me find a solution to my problem
    Posted via Mobile Device

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,668

    I get at least three cold calls a day from prospective employees,
    go ahead call in sick, late etc.
    unless you have been with me for years it will probably be your last day.
    sorry but it is what it is.

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,668

    I agree, love the pizza oven!

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