Former Employees w/ businesses?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turfdude, Jan 28, 2002.


Former Employees have own business?

  1. No. Not to my Knowledge

    2 vote(s)
  2. Yes. I have helped them out too.

    4 vote(s)
  3. Yes. I give them no help/guidance.

    2 vote(s)
  1. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Just wondering how many of you have watched former employees start up their own businesses? I have 5 that I know of. Two of them are full time legit businesses. The one guy is a very good friend. We don't really compete against one another, he will sometimes help me w/ plowing if I get swamped. The second guy I pass on the road, and only see a few times a year. He's okay, just another employee.
    Two other guys have legit p/t lco's. One is a cop in town. Great guy! Wants to keep it small. Gives me all his ferts and larger landscape construction. Other guy is a Public works employee. Good friend, and party animal.
    Fifth guy is also a good friend. Has a small "scrub" business on side. Does great work (excellent landscape ability!), just not insured or anything. I will be bidding on his best 5 residential ferts this season.

    There may be more. But over the years I've had so many employees, I just don't know.
  2. scagman

    scagman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    I started out by working for a small lawnservice, then I got smart and went out on my own. Were still good friends. We dont give eachother work, except for one time. My first customer that I ever got wanted pruning after doing her lawn for 3 months, so I gave her his # they got together next thing I know I get a call from her saying that shes going with him for mowing also. It didnt bother me all that much, but its kinda funny because 2 weeks prior I got a call from a lady that wanted an estimate. I went over there and she told me she was looking for a better price than what her current service is doing it for, so I say well what co. is it GUESS WHAT former bosses. I politely explained my situation and left. On my way home I have to go by his house, we live down the street from eachother. Hes outside so I stop and tell him what happened he just laughed and said thanks. Two weeks later he lowballs. Owell I dont even think about it anymore.

    Just curios would you hold this against him if it were you??
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I have had it happen twice. One of them was a hispanic worker who doesn't speak much english and doesn't have really much going for him except lowballing and a good work ethic. I am sure he pays his bills and is happy. But he's really not any competition to the kind of clients we service.

    The second is a guy who used to be a good friend of mine. Unfortunately he is so ignorant, has such a bad temper, and is such a slacker that even when I do throw him a bone once in a while (e.g. give him a tip or try to help him out) he usually ignores my advice or thinks he has a better way. So he's really not much competition either. After 5 years, he has 11 clients. He loses them as fast as he can get them.

    I don't believe in helping my competition, no matter who they are. Friend or no friend. If they are working in the areas I work, I won't help them. It's just business, plain and simple.

    Conversely, I am always more than happy to give whatever I can to those who are not my direct competition. I have a good friend who is just starting his lawn care business this year (40 miles away). He will be modeling his business, marketing, equipment, etc. off of what I use. I'm giving him as much help and guidance as he wants. I wish it had been done for me. So that's why I do it.

    On a similar note, I make all employees these days sign a non-compete agreement drawn up by my attorney. With all of the systems I have in place now it would be REALLY easy for one of them to take it and go do their own thing. Fortunately nobody has wanted to for several years now.
  4. Rodney Johns

    Rodney Johns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    I have had several do it to me....
    One guy totally detroyed a friendship over the all mighty dollar. Bad mouthed me....solicited my clients.......copied everything about my company down to the business card. The guy used to still mow grass in the old square pattern and has no idea how to landscape. He is still small scale and always will be but I would have been glad to help him out had he not conducted himself in the manner he did. I could have discounted him equipment and all sorts of things. Even more so saved a friendship.
    You just have to let things happen. Guys that are destined for failure will do it with or without your help. It sucks when you have friends do that to you though.
  5. King City Lawns

    King City Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    No one uses non compete agreement with employees???
    I dont but some of the bigger guys aroung here do. Sounds like a good idea.. After all why would i want to train someone, show him some of the ins and out of the biz and then have him as a competitor who knows how i charge and how i operate and where all of my accounts are??? He would even know which ones would be more easily gotten based on complaints ect.

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