How to keep an employee from year to year?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Lawn-Scapes, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    I hope to add an employee (hopefully 2) for next year and would like to know what you guys do when winter hits? How do you keep the same guy(s) coming back? Do they collect unemployment? Pay salary year round? Something else?
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I did two things in the past and it worked, but as you can see I no longer have employees because of a lot of reasons, and one of them is retaining them.

    the two things I did was
    1. they drew unemployment from me
    2. or they were paid percentage for snow removal. Basically they had their own accounts to take care of, and they would get paid 80% of the accounts price. That covered their fuel and pay. They seemed to like it.
  3. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,548

    Offer a sign up bonus in the Spring. Keep the busy as much of the year as possible. I'm afraid it's an ongoing issue with this industry without a great answer for.
  4. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,676

    Pay them a dollar or 2 more than anyone else pays in your area and they are your slaves they can't leave because they can't match or replace their income from you. Sounds cynical but its true iv been on both sides of that. I have guys who come back every year for 5-10 years. And I remember how much I hated certain well paying jobs and that was one of the main reasons because the unreplaceable rate of pay took away free will to up and leave.
  5. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    You should lay your employees off for the winter and let them draw unemployment. It sucks to manage that, I know, but it's really only fair. My old job didn't do this, and I would end up 1) delivering pizza 2) working at a Mobil station 3) Working at American Eagle Outfitters 4) Screen Printing 5) Working at a Friendly's 6) More BS Jobs that I hated and can't recall for 3 months. It sucked, I never had time to plow (which would have been better paying and made my boss more money), and it got REALLY old after a few years.
  6. Danny13

    Danny13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    for me what i did this year was expand. I really like the last 2 guys i hired. I kept all the trees i cut down hooked up with a tree company also an started selling firewood. My guys cut split and delivered it i got so many calls. Between snow an firewood they were busy all fall / winter for the most part. We also do concrete work so a few builders I'm hooked up with sent me a few jobs over winter... so basically my guys worked at least 3 to 4 days a week in winter an were more then fine with that because they get paid more for snow an they are used to being layed off every winter with other companies. Have to get creative an keep your best guys busy to keep them happy. On firewood i didn't lose any money but i barely made a profit after overhead because i was selling wood cheap to sell a lot. But i wasn't looking to make a a lot just wanted to at least break even an keep guys busy. An now the firewood turned into other jobs because end of the season i grabbed like 10 extra cleanups an jobs off of firewood an they were very happy with my service and will be calling me this spring. Also got 2 extra lawn cuts. it all worked out =)
  7. 35DollarLawns

    35DollarLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    In the past I have done many things and what I found the easiest was to simply set aside a set amount all year for each worker and come years end I could pay them off that for the 12 weeks of slow time. Then it did not matter what the weather did and i personally cleared more money durring the slow of the year allowing more money be avalible when season kicks off.

    The money I held was not part of their pay, more a bonus for staying around. Some members would still take their share as a paid in full bonus and enjoy the time off.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    I keep 4 to 5 full time employees year round and hire seasonal help for the busy months. Here's a list of the things that have worked for me...

    1. We do a ton of pruning during January and February. It's the perfect time to clean up perennials, prune deciduous and even evergreens that are out of shape. You can even prune your flowering shrubs like Azaleas, Rhodos, Weigela, etc... but only lightly so you don't decrease the bloom amount by much. I charge premium labor rates for this type of work. I suggest this type of work to all of my clients, big or small, when I'm walking their properties with them during the summer or fall. You've got to see it up beforehand.

    2. I give clients a reason to book winter work that may not even be considered landscaping by offering low labor rates for Jan - Feb. These rates barely cover my overhead... but they keep my guys paid and working. This is usually simple labor jobs - clearing a wooded area, removing a fence line, etc. Anything that I feel like we can do. It's usually jobs that the client would like to have done but they don't want to pay a high labor rate to get it done. Getting things done on the cheap will entice clients to book work for winter months.

    3. I've set my estate contracts for early mulching - late February through March. I've done this for two reasons - 1. These are large properties and it gets them out of the way early so that they don't interfere with the influx of new spring work - plant install, hardscape, small mulch jobs and 2. My guys get to work / get paid during the winter months and I get premium rates.

    4. I set all of my equipment maintenance for the winter. All trucks, tractors, skids, mowers, aerators, tampers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, blah, blah, blah, get oil change, filters change, whatever... during the winter.

    5. Any work at the shop is planned for the slow period. Build new shelves in the shop, re-organize, etc.

    Add all that up and it's a busy winter with employess getting a paycheck every week. If we have a week with few hours because of weather or whatever, I kick in a little extra money to fatten the check. Some of the winter work, I make money. But basically, I look at it like... I get paid 10 months out of the year, the other two months (Jan - Feb), it's about just making sure my guys get paid and I get to keep the employees I've worked hard to train.

    I agree with Danny13. He found a way to make it work. That's it. You find a way to make it work. It's in your best interest.
  9. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,783

    This advice is priceless. And, exactly right.
    Posted via Mobile Device

Share This Page