Fired another helper today…they only get worse..

JLSLLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
The Garden State
He‘s #8 hire/fire of the year..

Claimed he was experienced when interviewed 4 days ago.. Used to cut 40 lawns daily “back in the day with a crew” was the quick reply..

Taste of today:
Shoots grass on 2 cars with the mower, not A single care about it..(we had a detailed conversation in the truck, highlighting not to do this! )…could not operate a belt drive mower with pistol grips, never seen someone so frustrated squeezing a handle to go into circles, over a dozen time’s :dizzy:, before that he couldn’t understand why the mower kept dying, the safety levers were present and function properly. When he sort of got it going, I see him about to scrape the mower handles against a car door because so close. Gets done, barely Loads on trailer and just leaves it running at high idle..

So we go to a landscape job,we worked there yesterday- I gave clear instructions…I come back later to debris piled on the customers neighbor lawn, about half a truck load.. i go into the back yard to find he ripped out a border where I’m installing river rock..I asked if the customer had him do it, and he tries to tell me I instructed him to do so...

Just about the end of the day comes and he gets in the truck and just sits on the phone while I fix his errors, clean his mess, and let the customers know I will fix the border.

What a day and rant. We barely mowed 3 houses by noon before I threw the towel in.. Not only grass shot on the nice newish cars, but all over vinyl fences, siding, high traffic roads..

This crap has never happened in the close to 15 years I’ve been operating, until today.
 

sjessen

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Knoxville, Tn
He‘s #8 hire/fire of the year..

Claimed he was experienced when interviewed 4 days ago.. Used to cut 40 lawns daily “back in the day with a crew” was the quick reply..

Taste of today:
Shoots grass on 2 cars with the mower, not A single care about it..(we had a detailed conversation in the truck, highlighting not to do this! )…could not operate a belt drive mower with pistol grips, never seen someone so frustrated squeezing a handle to go into circles, over a dozen time’s :dizzy:, before that he couldn’t understand why the mower kept dying, the safety levers were present and function properly. When he sort of got it going, I see him about to scrape the mower handles against a car door because so close. Gets done, barely Loads on trailer and just leaves it running at high idle..

So we go to a landscape job,we worked there yesterday- I gave clear instructions…I come back later to debris piled on the customers neighbor lawn, about half a truck load.. i go into the back yard to find he ripped out a border where I’m installing river rock..I asked if the customer had him do it, and he tries to tell me I instructed him to do so...

Just about the end of the day comes and he gets in the truck and just sits on the phone while I fix his errors, clean his mess, and let the customers know I will fix the border.

What a day and rant. We barely mowed 3 houses by noon before I threw the towel in.. Not only grass shot on the nice newish cars, but all over vinyl fences, siding, high traffic roads..

This crap has never happened in the close to 15 years I’ve been operating, until today.
Sorry, Jake!!

Hope you are able to find a good worker soon.

How old is your son? He will likely be your best worker ever.
 

Mark Stark

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rochester, NY
Hiring competent employees is always a challenge. Training them can also be challenging.

I'd suggest looking at your work and figuring out a way to break it down "Barney" level for guys (purple dinosaur, we used to say this in my Army days). Develop some kind of training program. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just something to start with. Add to it as things come up.

We do hands on training on all hand helds + we explain everything about each machine, we set up cones to train with trailers and mowers, I ask the new guys tons of questions and encourage them to do the same, I tell new guys we want quality first and will work on the speed later. We do other training as well.

What sucks is it does take time. Investing time in guys that probably won't make it is expensive and it sucks. You can mitigate these issues by developing the best training program you can. Work on it during slow times in off season, etc. It's a contantly evolving thing and def is not fool proof. It's the thing we can control though.
 

Gus McGee

LawnSite Senior Member
Whatever number of years of experience a potential hire tells you he has divide it by 10 and that is likely the amount of their actual experience.

Finding competent laborers is a gigantic pain. If it wasn't for Hispanic workers I would probably get out of the business. 99% of the time that I hire US born workers it turns out to be a disaster.

Training programs helps, but they don't solve bad attitudes and poor work ethics. Those are behaviors instilled during the formative years.
 

Toro44

LawnSite Senior Member
Had a guy start with us who “mowed lawns” for a mostly fert and squirt business in town. Didn’t even know they mowed, turns out they take on one time mowings and send out a couple people with push mowers and weed eaters with 0 training. He said we just made it shorter, Lol.
 

Triplex

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Ambler, PA
Sometimes the more “past experience” the worse it is.
The better ones go on to either start their own small landscaping business, or at least become a crew leader somewhere. If a guy with a lot of experience hasn’t advanced, he’s usually either a drunk or a stoner.

When I worked on a golf course, I had a couple of middle-aged coworkers who had a lot of experience, and could have easily become assistant superintendent somewhere if they weren’t constantly sneaking drinks of warm beer while working.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
I saw someone else do it
While ago
While driving down the road at 25 mph I passed them
But I’ve seen it before

I was translating the experience for you.

90% of people who have mowed before mean a 21
Another 5% mean a riding tractor

there are fewer experience commercial lawn mower applicants in the US than there are army rangers
We are an elite few!
 

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