4 years ago or so I decided that after 13 years being solo and doing everything on my own I was going to start the hiring process. In those 4 years I have probably gone through a dozen guys and the longest one has lasted has been about 2 months. Some last a day, some a week, one a month and one 2 months. I have had to let go of 3 of them but most of them just quit showing up. It starts with 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there. Then they call in sick for a day or two and then they just quit coming in so I put another ad out and I start over. I don't know if its me, the work, society or what is to blame. Before anyone goes off on a tangent on what I pay please understand that in different parts of the country there are different pay scales. When I first started to hire it was at 10.00 per hour. Since then I raised to 11.00 and now this year I'm at 13.00. Their responsibilities are trimming, blowing, light landscaping and generally helping out where need be. I have trained a few on the mowers. I tell them when I hire them if they show up for a month on time Ill give them a dollar raise. If they stay employed for a year Ill give them a weeks paid vacation. Weekly paychecks. I buy them lunch on occasion. Usually once a week or so. I also let them know that if they are interested in driving a truck and running a crew ill bump the pay to between 16.00 and 19.00 per hour. The last guy I hired started Monday August 28th. Good worker with experience. I had to retrain him a little on how I wanted things done but for the most part he knew what he was doing. Tuesday he was 10 minutes late. Wednesday he was 15 minutes late. Thursday he was 1.5 hours late. He told me he forgot to plug his phone in and it died so he didn't have an alarm. He met me at the third house we were mowing and worked all day. Friday he was on time. I told him I would look past this week and his cut him slack and he didn't have to start the 30 days over for a raise. The next Monday was Labor Day so I gave him the day off. He showed up on time all week and things went well. Friday rolls around and we are discussing the weekend. He tells me he is going about 2 hours away for a family function, laughs and says " there will be lots of drinking". Yesterday morning I get a text at 6:00 in the morning telling me he has food poisoning and cant come in. He says he is going to the doctor. I tell him to bring me proof of his doctors appt. and I wont hold it against his raise. No response. Yesterday afternoon I text him to see if his coming in and he yes. He tells me he couldn't get into the doctor but he slept all day and is feeling better...whatever... this morning...same text. Too sick to come in. I told him to call me around 430 to discuss his future employment. No response. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I try to be a good boss. I buy lunch. I try to be flexible with appts. but I tell them to try and do stuff on rain days or weekends. I let them mow and Ill grab a trimmer when I see they are getting tired. I'm a small company (about 100 yards a week) but I try to offer some benefits. I don't take time off their timecards for lunch even though we will stop and eat for 30 minutes. I pay them weekly so they will have money all week and don't have to wait. I keep water coolers on the trucks always cold for them. I try to make work as easy as possible for them because I know it can get hard at times. I pay overtime when a lot of companies don't. I cant seem to keep anyone. Its always the same thing. They work good for a few days and then the downslide starts. I don't want to go back to doing this all myself. I'm 43 and ive been mowing for 23 years. Its hard on my body, my health, my relationships with my wife and kids. I have zero free time to do anything and eventually I snap and get depressed and take it out on the people around me. Its not fair to them. Am I a bad manager? A bad boss? Am I looking in the wrong place to hire people? I need advice quickly before I just throw in the towel and sell. I don't want to but at times I think it would be easier just to work for someone else. It was always my dream to be self employed but its quickly turning into a nightmare.