Employees (picking your battles)

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Ijustwantausername, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,037

    I'm not sure how to ask or phrase this but for those of you who have had employees for some time, how do you determine what battles to pick with your guys and what to "just let go?" I'm not talking about a guy you're ready to fire but rather the little stuff that even good guys do that drives you crazy every now and again. I guess, after all, if we wanted to only hire ourselves we'd never have employees in the first place.

    I think I go in phases, sometimes the little stuff gets to me and sometimes I just don't worry about it so I don't have an aneurysm at age 50. I have weekly meetings with my guys and constantly discuss items and share my feedback with them but sometimes habits are hard to break. I have to tell myself stuff like the below to justify not bringing my hammer down harder:

    - We'll at least they consistently show up on time or at the least no more than 10 mins late
    - They are working in 24 degree weather (today actually) with a high of 40 degrees all day. (Asking myself) "Self, would you rather be out there or have employees doing it?"
    - They are for the most part pretty honest
    - Would you rather deal with some headache and have employees or not have employees and go solo again.
    -etc etc

    I'm primarily trying to figure out if the above and the like are "normal" employee things or if they are not. No one in my family ever had a business or employees so I only have other business owners to talk to.

    What are some of your pet peeves or preferences that you had to just let go?
    CK82 and That Guy Gary like this.
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,922

    I can't list all my pet peeves that I let go...some call me anal. Some worse but close in anatomy.

    I do know one thing, after some changes in manpower over the past year, there are some things I will not be letting go anymore.
    zlandman, Mark Stark, sjessen and 2 others like this.
  3. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,504

    I look at about 4 things in workers.
    And understand they are here for primarily one purpose and that is to earn a living.
    Not to make me or MowDaddy shine, but to earn a living.

    The 4 thing's I focus on are.
    #1 Are they being safe, not endangering themselves or other's.
    #2 Are the weekly work schedules getting completed without OT.
    #3 As I said above, they are not here to make MowDaddy shine, that's my job.
    But they cannot bring shame to MowDaddy either.
    Example: Looking like a hobo on his last breath, standing around smoking on customers properties, swearing so customers can hear them, or making snide remarks about customers on property. "Never know who's listening".
    #3 No alcohol or weed at work, or on company property including trucks.
    #4 Be honest. If something gets, broke, damaged, lost, or if something gets damaged at customers properties I really don't care. But tell me asap before customer calls me. That way I can usually call customer before they are even aware of it.
    Ex: Hi Dave Jim here with MowDaddy,
    My guy's said one of your sprinklers was sticking up and mower chopped it up. Sorry about that. We'll be over tomorrow to fix it.
    Simple as that.

    Other than that were all just trying survive another year.

    With that said. We are very small so I'm not dealing with lots of workers.
    Myself, My wife, and 3 worker's.
  4. OP

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,037

    What are some of those things mentioned, I’d love some more details! Like what are you not letting go?
  5. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,387

    I agree with everything Daddy said and I was having difficulty finding the words to express my opinion.

    It's important to put aside your own ego. If someone does something differently but it's not dangerous and still efficient you don't want to nitpick because "that's not how it's done." If someone sucks at a particular task but is honestly putting in the effort switch em out if you need to, even if you're left doing crap work while they are sittin' pretty on the mower.

    I had a crew member one season who was terrible. You'd swear there was no line in the head after he was done trimming, would occasionally leave strips of uncut grass when mowing, etc. None of his issues were dangerous, hell he was scared of his own shadow. Wouldn't trust the blade brake on our 30" until I threatened to replace it with a cheap ass 21" Murray with no transmission if I saw him shut off the engine one more time to empty the bag. He showed up on time every single day though and that was reason enough for me to change up my routines to keep him productive and shore up his deficiencies.

    On the other hand I won't give an inch if someone is just flexing or testing my boundaries. I'll call for a ride to take a guy back to the shop and send him home midday if they won't take orders or follow instruction. Half of em won't come back afterwards but that's ok too, that result is probably inevitable so I prefer to get it over with as quick as I can.
  6. hal

    hal LawnSite Silver Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 2,707

    People are all different, different make ups, backgrounds, genetics, mentalities, goals, ideas.... you name it. Learn peoples good points and bad, strengths and weaknesses learn to work with them. Biggest thing is are they willing to learn and be led. You're the boss, if they can't follow your directions, suggestions or rules, they are just going to be a PITA.
    Johnny79 and That Guy Gary like this.
  7. Johnny79

    Johnny79 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Jersey
    Messages: 279

    My guy has a problem with # 3, he's high all day long, hes a hard worker but he is 10 to 15 minutes late everday and is constantly high
    cant take it any more..
    That Guy Gary likes this.
  8. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,504

    Give him the ultimatum.
    Show up sober or don't come back.
    Which brings up #1, saftey.
    Mark Oomkes and That Guy Gary like this.
  9. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,387

    This ones always been tough for me to be honest.

    I've never had anyone under me who was high all the time but I've worked alongside many that were.

    With some of them it's really obvious and it gets under my skin. When I see a kid hop on a Walker and set the speed control to about 4 mph and just operate it with one hand while he putts around like grandpa on a lawn tractor while he's higher than a giraffe's p**** I want to beat him over the head with my trimmer.

    On the other hand I've worked alongside guys, many of them with painful medical conditions, who I'd never know were high if they didn't confide in me.
  10. Johnny79

    Johnny79 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Jersey
    Messages: 279

    I told him a few times no smoking weed and he hasn't listened. I didn't want to fire him during the season till i found a replacement.
    MowDaddy likes this.

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