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Getting Good Employees

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Duncan IN, Nov 11, 2000.

  1. Duncan IN

    Duncan IN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    This is my first year starting out in the commercial cutting business and I am ready to consider expanding for the next mowing season. My biggest concern about expanding is trying to find help that will last at least until the end of the season. There is another commercial cutter in my area that has went threw 30 guys in one summer. I think his problem was that he was not offering them enough for what they were doing. I am wanting to know what a commericial cutting business pays employees that will keep them with the company for a long time. Do you pay by the hour or do you share a percentage with the employee. I plan on expanding by adding another trailer with mower etc., to my business. Anybody out there not have a problem with keeping employees?

    Levi Duncan
    Lone Tree Lawn Care
  2. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    I finally came to believe that some employers
    can just get better work out of hired help than
    oters.That is one thing i just dont have the
    natural ability to do.Some obviously can
    but i never found many that i could trust my
    accts to .Hense my final conclusion that it
    was really my lacking instead of thiers.
    Like ole CLINT says A MANS GOT TO KNOW
    HIS LIMITATIONS.For those to young thats
    Clint Eastwood.D--- i feel old when i have
    to say that
  3. Cutter1

    Cutter1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Getting good employees is the BIGGEST problem in this business. Can you trust them, are they going to try and take your accounts because their college didn't work out, is your equipment going to be in one piece at the end of the day. These are things you ponder and no matter what you do, finding good employees is the hardest thing around. I pay hourly wage, just like most of the guys on this site. THey stay on ALL year they get a bonus, they come back next year they get a raise. I pay for lunch everyday. Keep them happy, they keep you happy.
  4. Mark_Christopher

    Mark_Christopher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Paying for employee's lunch everyday is way too expensive. I was doing that for a while until i noticed one employee was spending $8-10 for his lunch. I put a stop top that real quick
  5. tpirobert

    tpirobert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    No problem keeping employees at this point.

    I fired them and now have one p/t helper:)

  6. Cutter1

    Cutter1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Mark....Everyone has there own opinion on how to run things. Thats why we all have our own business. :) I try to do whatever possible to keep them happy, if that costs me a few bucks, fine I'll do it.
  7. GrassMaster

    GrassMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    Hello Everybody:

    LOL, It's more about how the Employees are treated.

    First try to hire ones that meet these few standards!
    Over 21 years old.
    Has transportation.
    Has good driving record.
    If possible half way presentable, clean cut looking?
    No Rock & Roll Outlaws. But I have made a few exceptions?

    Then pay them half way decent wages. It doesn't have to be that much. Never tell them what to do. Always ask them to do something. Thank them for doing it & do it in front of everybody. If they trim bushes & they look good tell them in front others.

    My empolyees got paid less than $2 an hour over minimum wage. I did not cut their hours short. If it was a rough week or weather was bad. They had at least 32 hours in they got 40. If I knew for sure they were sick, they got paid anyway. If they been with me more than a year they got full 40 hours unless they take time off. Believe it or not if things were slack they would take off, knowing if they didn't they would get full weeks check.

    If you need 3 employees, best you hire 4 people. They always got to have time off. Don't give them a hard time about taking off. If you try to make them work & they do, quality goes down & breakdowns increase.

    Tell them in advance that if work gets slack, that you will ask for voluntary days off & if they don't you will pick who takes off.

    When they make mistakes, look at the mistake & see if it makes any sense to you. Before going off on them. Before you do ask yourself have you ever made a mistake? If you have well now you know what they feel like.

    Between my 3rd to 5th year in business I worked 5 to 6 people & only had a couple quit. It was the last man that I couldn't keep. The Remaining 5 were with me the 3rd, 4th & 5th years. Eveyone of them has drove over a 100 miles to see me more than once in the past 9 years.

    If you ever have to raise your voice at them, you are not much of a boss or business person. If you ever did it twice to the same person, you need to get in another line of work. This is one of the easiest busines's there is & if you can't handle this business, you better go back to what ever you were doing before & hopefully you will have a better boss than you were?

    If they were as good as you, you might be working for them. If you are working them over 8 hours a day 5 days a week. You are hurting yourself & them as employees. If you can't make it in 5 days, then find another line of work. I would just hire more people. Yes I did work them a very little overtime & it was strictly voluntary. I also tried to work it out where if they missed time, they could make it up at my house or they could maintain equipment.

    If I had to talk to my guys I did it one on one in private? I'm not into pushing my weight around & belittling others. I always listened to them also, it wasn't always my way or the highway. They came up with good ideas & they were real care bears all the way. My customers liked them all too!

    They got Christmas bonuses, they got off early with pay, they got taken out to eat at nice resturants if I felt they deserved it. If they needed help I was there for them. They were good guys & I miss them!

    They are no different than I, except I'm was always better looking.
  8. Duncan IN

    Duncan IN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Grass Master do you have set hours threw the week that you set, sounded like you only worked 8 hours a day was that from 7-3 8-4 9-5? Just wondering

    Levi Duncan
    Lone Tree Lawn Care
  9. CCLC

    CCLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 261

    Employees can be the biggest headache. They are also your biggest asset. We have found that the hiring process is wasteful and tedious. We can set up 25 interviews in one day and only have 2 or 3 actually show up. We also always ask on the phone if they have a drivers license and RELIABLE transportation. We have even had a guy say we should let him drive a company truck home so he didn't need reliable transportation. Needless to say he never interviewed.

    We try our best to keep our employees happy. When we find someone that works hard and relates well with other employees we go the extra mile to keep them. We pay a little more and give a bonus here and there. Money is not always the best bonus. I've even replaced a bad tire on an employees truck as a bonus. If they need time off be careful not to be a slave driver. We all work extreemly hard in the summer. Long, hard, hot days sometimes need a brake. We took a company fishing trip this summer. Make the employees feel important.

    ALWAYS listen to what employees have to say.
  10. Duncan IN

    Duncan IN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Thank you all for the good information. I think I am going to take some good ideas from everyone and make my own. I am wanting to add another crew, I jus don't want it to be a mistake by making wrong choices

    Levi Duncan
    Lone Tree Lawn Care

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