How do you train your employees for lawn service?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Ramairfreak98ss, May 1, 2008.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    From basics to all the details?

    Do you give them lists, of customer specs like, Maria likes it cut shorter and focus on trimming, John doesnt care about trimming at all but wants it 4"+?

    Have you ever hired guys that have little or no experience cutting lawns? It seems even if i find guys willing to work hard, their effort gets an "A" but goddam, i swear i cut and trimmed lawns better when i was 12 years old!

    One guy trims the curbs to the street 2x lower than the mower, looks horrible. Another doesnt trim "flat" and areas look like their not trimmed then and i've gotten complaints.

    Another doesnt understand that the freking 48-72" zero turn mowers cannot get 6" into a corner of an obstacle, but they still trim a 12" wide area in the corner of a 90 deg bend/angle of the obstruction

    The other guy is freaking super duper slow at trimming and isnt great at it at all. Both mower guys tend to miss spots, one i swear purposely or not, lifts up the deck and cuts with the deck up sometimes or whole back yards that way, enough to take off the dandelion tops and thats all.

    Today, i went out myself with the one guy i thought needed the most help/tips as far as trimming and all. I ran out of gas with the 61" mower, stupid me, gauge is broken apparently and didnt realize it. I disconnect the trailer, run to the gas station, fill up a 5g tank, put half in the 61" and finish the lawn. My trimmer guy with me walked around the can a few times sitting on the lawn on the side of the house and left it there....

    Next lawn 4 miles away, i have the 72" mower out for 10 minutes, go over the driveway, bump, shuts off, go to get the gas can... nada, just as it shuts off it starts to rain out :dizzy: Repeat the same process, isnt this type of work common sense stuff?

    Im mowing another lawn, the trimmer guy is trimming the back of the house and there is a fold up lawn chair in my way behind me, he stands there and looks at me until im pointing to move the chair, common

    I dont know what to do, at the end of the mowing week, i want to freking scream! The last thing i need is customer after customer complaining about every little thing, and they have the right to after what ive went back and checked on :(

    All this and staring the 08 season with a crap load less lawns than last year for residential accounts, I know its not our work from last year loosing those accounts because i am pretty anal about the overall appearance of the lawn once done.

    It just sucks when you have 2-3 guys mowing for you and all they do is cost "paychecks", "fuel" and time and then i still have to go back to each house and fix their freking botch jobs. They're all white/english speaking guys 27-37, what gives? ANY advice with training or tips or whatever would be greatly appreciated. The last thing i want to do is fire them and look for new help but theyre starting to cost me money when i have to hold off on other jobs to finish their crap again.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Be patient with them, take it easy, it's all good.
    It's just all in a day's work lol

    Maybe use this math: PITA + BS = LOL!
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Im in the same boat myself. I finally made some progress today with one of my trimmers. He listened to maybe 50% of what I told him, proceeded to tell me he didnt think it should be that way, then I forced him to do it my way all day which took some time, then at the end of the day he agreed that my way looked better. The other trims one handed, misses everything, burns the rest, and doesnt pick up anything, doesnt listen, but he wont be around much longer.
  4. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    lol, well i feel a little better sorta :p

    Topsites, that math works i guess, at the end it should be -$-100.00 lol
  5. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,338

    Were you not the one that posted about losing almost all your residential lawns, and was down to like 1 full day of mowing? Why not do those in 3 days by yourself? What do your guys do the rest of the week?
  6. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Messages: 1,969

    I am solo (for those of you who don't know), but anytime I have needed some temp help, I have invested about 4-6 hours as a training day prior to the newbie and i going to my clients' yards. I will show/coach the trainee how to effectively operate equipment on my yard, and on a large field that I have access to. $60.00 towards training is cheap insurance when compared to repairing a big goof-up by an unexperienced rookie.
  7. randosh4

    randosh4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    Breath,Walk and SHOW UP IN THE MORNING
  8. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    I know I will get yelled at but you get what you pay for.I do not think I would be happy with anyone I hired.When snowblowing I pay 2 guys $25/hr each and everything is done perfect and I do not have to check up on them.I had better not have to at that rate of pay.Plus that is under the table money.But these guys each gross me $150-175/hr so I do not complain.I can't see getting quality help all day out in the sun for 10-15 bucks an hr before taxes etc.But I realize you also cannot pay someone mowing 20-25 bucks an hr
  9. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Yes you do have to teach them every little thing. Workers don't think like owners you have to lay everything out for them. Put it in print and make them read it, then read it with them, draw diagrams on a dry erase board then show them in the field. Give them specific tasks like filling all the equipment after each job while the other is wrapping up the blowing or picking up the safety cones.

    My directions for watering a pot are a full page long. You can :laugh: if you want but I don't have plants in pots dieing and its already in the high 90's here. I have directions for raking granite and mulch and they are also a full page long.

    I spend about 3 hours start to finish from reading the material to training on the 7-8 tasks they will be asked to perform then they sign a form that states they have been thoroughly trained and they understand how to complete their assigned tasks.

    You should read my e myth thread the last post I think was on proactive management -vs- reactive management. It is some great info I suggest you read the last post at the least.
  10. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,786


    Az., check your inbox I sent you a PM.

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