Finding A Good Crew Leader

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Georgiehopper, May 11, 2003.

  1. Georgiehopper

    Georgiehopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    For the past several years my company has gotten by with a few guys and ourselves, plus subcontractors doing our work. But now, we'd like to hire someone to take over running the jobs ..he would have to be able to drive, and be able to delegate work...I would also like him/her to have experience and familiarity with plant material.

    What should his job title be? And what is a good starting wage for a person working in this capacity. We are going to offer some benefits like health insurance too, but what else would be good to offer a good employee? We are located in northern Virginia.
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I think that we are about ready to hand out gold bars if the right person came along. We have had a boom for several years now, so anyone with the talent to be a foreman has had an easy time of doing it for themselves. That means that there are few foremen for anyone and a zillion little landscapers.

    It is a tough go for landscapers that need lots of personnel or lots of quality control. You just can not manage a lot of help without good foremen. It also sucks for the consumer that has a big or involved project because things take a whole lot longer.

    We interview people that talk the talk, hire them on a trial basis, but for someone to walk the walk - I think we are still looking.
  3. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    im not sure how this well help....but i am graduating next week with a two year associates degree in turfgrass science. ive decided that i would rather work for another company for awhile before i go into landscaping full time with my business. through various interviews and recruiting sessions, offers seem to be in the $30-40 thousand a year for a supervisor/foremans position with benefits.
  4. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    From my understanding of things, right out of college should be getting $50,000 - $60,000 a year, if not more. I would suggest going to a local vocational school with a good horticulture program. Or a good college with a horticulture department... ask around and let it be known that you are looking for people.
  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    If I understand you correctly, you are looking for a person to supervise the foremen and their crews. This sounds like possibly an operations manager. Since many foremen in this NVA area make more than $30K, this manager is probably going to look for $40-$50K to start with bennies and some opportunity to advance that salary with time, growth and positive performance.
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    No one is getting $50-60k right out of school with a hort degree. The degree is not valued without experience. Go to the big nurseries in your area and talk to the workers. They don't make a lot of money untill they can impact the bottom line either through developed people management skills or sales skills.

    An uneducated experienced landscape construction foreman is going to impact the bottom line of a company that needs one in a very big way. That person will be paid well if they produce. No piece of paper is going to replace that type of experience.

    A degree is good because it helps the person with it accelerate processing their experience. By that I mean that you it is easier to understand what happened, why it happened, and what to do about it. In other words, a person with an education is going to be much farther ahead with experience than he would be with no education.
  7. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    i think the figures of 50-60k are out of whack, or at least in this area for kids coming right out of college. like i said....ive been job hunting, and i havent seen anyone offering numbers like that. i even talk with other kids looking for jobs in the golf industry, and paid assistant superintendents are starting at $30-40 thousand too. if somebody wants to pay me $50k a year to be a me an offer:D
  8. Georgiehopper

    Georgiehopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    It would be nice to make even $30,000 straight out of school...

    Personally, I have 20 years experience in landscaping, horticulture and possess a horticulture degree... before I started my company, I tried getting a job around here. No one offered me $30,000 a year, and in fact they told me I was over-qualified. The most anyone offered me was $15.00 an hour...and these were from companies grossing 1.5 to 3 million a year.

    This is why I am confused about what to pay a supervisor/foreman etc. I understand what you guys are saying, but if a person is straight out of school, with only a 2 year degree and no experience, I can't justify 40 or 50 grand a year.
  9. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    the most anyone offered me was $15/hr. THAT is a good start.

    But I would say you have to FIRST find someone that fits your need. That is going to be hardest part!

    As AGLA said, anyone with the skills you are looking for is usually taking a stap at it themsefl. AND anyone you hire is going to leave as soon as they think they can make it on their own, so you are only training future competition (like mdb) unless you have something to keep them.

    Once you find them, ask them, "What salary is going to make it worth it for you to stay 3-5 years?" If it works within your numbers throw him (or her) a W-4.

    I would suggest once you find someone to offer them a unique compensation that keeps them onboard for years to come. Something like profit-sharing after 5 years and gradually increasing thereafter so they can be become a benefactor in the company.

    MDB what would it take for you to consider staying with a company 10 years rather than striking out on your own???
  10. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    im not quite sure.....thats what im setting out to determine. i think there are a lot of hidden agrivations with running a business, and after running one part time ive decided maybe its not worth all the hassle to go full time at 20 years old. if somebody is gonna pay me a good salary, give me benefits and a company gonna stick with it. i think staying for 10 years is all a matter of being happy. my plan right now is to get hired as a supervisor and see how i like it. i want to learn a lot more about the business...and apply it to mine some day when i go full time. who knows when that day will you say...what will it take to stay a long time? who knows, im gonna give it a shot.

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