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LawnSite Member
Troy, Michigan
I want to make up some signs to post around the area on boards and what not in stores and public places, in the effort to find some employees for this coming year. Has anyone done this before? Also, what were the results? If anyone has any examples of a good layout, they would be greatly appreciated. It is a hard task (hiring) for me, being only 18 years old. But we are going to need to add at least two more men to the company.

David Parks

PS Thanks again for all of the help in the past and future. You guys have really helped me build my business. It is really starting to show up now that it is the end of the year. But we will have to wait and see how much Uncle Sam:( is going to want.


LawnSite Bronze Member
whatever you do dont hire your best friend or friends they r more likely to goof off mine did its a pain to fire them. But im only 14 so i guess i cant help u to much


LawnSite Senior Member
I'll be 27 tomorrow and I still have problems with older staff.Older staff are usually better as they are more reliable and can think for themselves.However,they usually
have some problem taking direction from a younger boss.

Treat them how you would like to be treated,firm but fair.
You are not paid to be popular.
They are not paid to be your friends,they are there to MAKE YOU MONEY. Remain polite,pleasant but aloof.


LawnSite Fanatic
Beaverton, OR
Handling employees can be a sticky situatoin some times. I had my first employee at age 26 and am now 29. So although I am not as young as you, I have had a little bit similar experience. And a good 50% of the employees I've had were older than me.

One initial bit of advice - don't hire an employee unless you can afford to do it right. You need workers' compensation and you need to have a good understanding of payroll (or better yet, hire out for a payroll service). Don't try to bypass the system and pay people under the table (well, unless it's only for a day or two). It's just not a good idea and you are setting yourself up for a fall.

I can't emphasize enough the value of a payroll service. If I had it to do all over again, I would have used a payroll service from day 1. If you don't you will be constantly burdened with payroll issues, quarterly reports, year end reports, W2s, W4s, etc.... It can result in a lot of time doing paperwork. And there is a good likelihood that you will be late on your filings (many contractors are). That just costs you more money.

I pay like $35 per pay period for a company to handle all my payroll, all the checks, all the tax B.S., etc. Now I am always on time and I don't have to ever worry about any of it.

Next, I agree with the person above. I would avoid using friends if possible. They will expect to be treated like they are special and the friendship almost always gets in the way of the work relationship.

Don't worry so much about your age. If you look and act professional they will catch on to that. You should always act as if you are a mature, responsible business owner and your age is not an issue. You will demand respect from your actions, not your age. Being professional from the get-go helps with this. If you have them fill out an application, interview them, fill out a W2 and an I9 form, etc. You look professional from the start. Get a few company shirts. Even if they are just a few cheap screen printed T-shirts. This helps create a professional image as well.

Always keep things positive with your employees. Never badmouth another employee and try not to do it about customers as well. Act professional. Pay them on time, never let them hear if you are having money problems. Never let them hear that you are worried about business, truck problems, etc. Every time you ***** about something to them it underminess their confidence in you and the company. Keep them out of it when negative things happen.

Conversely, be sure to include your employees in all of the exciting things that happen with your company. Use the word "we" a lot. "Guess what? We landed another big account!" Make them feel like they are part of the team. Make them feel like your company is going places. Their loyalty will increase as a result.

Pay people what they are worth. I give raises whenever an employee deserves it. I don't care if I hired them at $7.50 an hour. If it's obvious to me that they are working 1.5 times as hard as most people and making me lots of money because of it, I will quickly give them a raise. I have one guy I started at $8.00 an hour in the spring. And he's up at $10.50 now. He's worth even more than that too! Don't hesitate to give raises to someone who deserves it. Otherwise, for employees who are not quite outstanding but are reliable and do a decent job, be sure to encourage them and give them periodic raises or bonuses as well.

Don't be a dick. I know that a lot of people have the attitude that "It's not a popularity contest and you are the boss". And that is true. But don't use that as a license to be a dick. Always be fair. Always be polite. Don't yell, criticize or condemn your employees. Especially in front of other employees! Correct them and let them know when they make mistakes. If the error is grevious enough to warrant it, sometimes you must fire them. But always be polite and fair. If you lead with an iron fist you will never get respect or loyalty and you will always wonder why you can never find any good help.

Be firm with employees. They are often like children and even if they are great workers they will often test your limits and try to take short cuts. Don't let them. Check up on their work.

Feel free to delegate as well. Once someone has demonstrated that they are trustworthy and reliable, give them some added duties or responsibilities. One of my employees has his own expense account, can sign for product at all of our suppliers, has his own company truck and cell phone, etc. Now, you don't need someone to have all this at the beginning. But don't be afraid to delegate some things. The idea of having employees is to free up your time to run a company.

A great friend and business advisor of mine always says "The goal of any company should be to replace yourself." I agree. Eventually, you have to delegate responsibilities that you used to do to your employees. In the beginning, that may simply mean leaving them at a job site to complete a job while you are away. Later that may mean writing up an invioce and collecting a check from a customer. Later than that they may be doing small estimates for you when you are busy. And finally, they will be doing more than that. But slowly add responsibilities.

Then one day, you can be sitting in front of a computer surfing the internet, taking a phone call now and then and cashing the 5 or so checks that arrive in the mail each day. ;-) And that will be your job. If you like that kind of thing. Otherwise, you may have other pursuits. But this business can be great if you build it correctly. It can also be a headache from time to time. Just be patient and keep learning.

Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services


LawnSite Fanatic
Beaverton, OR
Oh, and one last thing..... try not to get too close, personally to your employees. Making an employee a friend is just like hiring a friend. The friendship almost always gets in the way. Don't invite them over for Monday night football. Don't have them over for dinner. Don't go to the movies with them. If you do, keep it down to a few times a year. But try not to get too close to them on a personal level. The more you keep the relationship professional, the happier you will be.

Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services


LawnSite Senior Member
Man, I had to print that out! Totally agree with everything you said.

Wish i would have seen that before i started, i had some experience w/employees before i started but not in my own biz., learned the hard way, friends,payroll , under the table etc., true, true, true!

Only thing i can add to that is try to avoid hiring family too.

Nice website, by the way, i'm starting on mine and like that layout.


LawnSite Member
Great stuff there Jim. Good to see you back in here. It has been a while. I don't think there is much to add to this thread after that.



LawnSite Gold Member
stanfield nc
But if you look at the yellow pages at
well known small companies.Check out
the number of them family run.
I believe the family buisiness has a
much higher success rate.Why because
there is usually a strong buisiness mind
in charge and and other talented people
who are loyal to the buisiness.
Its very hard for a small buisiness to
make it in any case.this is my observation