I am asking that the entirety of the Lawnsite community read this thread, and then chime in on your own experiences relating to it as it could be the most insightful and revealing thread in recent Lawnsite history.... Over the last decade (possibly last 15 years), it appears that there has been a major shift in the culture of the grounds maintenance and landscaping industry. I am not referring to design trends or the latest eco-friendly practices, but the viewpoint that prospective job applicants take. From 2014-till now, I have spent over $6000 of my money trying to recruit a full time employee. I thought I was doing everything right: postings on job listing sites, online classifieds, with temp agencies, and local newspapers. During this time only two people were willing to fill out a job application. Additionally, only three to four others even called to ask if I was hiring, only to never hear from them again. Of the two that filled out a job application, only one of them worked for me (in 2016) before quitting because he could not take the heat, and I don't fault him for that. Based upon these facts, it would appear that most individuals have a negative preconception of working in the landscape industry, thus the dearth of applicants. Conversely, I see my competition having a different experience. I have noticed their offices getting bigger, their fleets getting larger, and their staff levels increasing year after year. Some of them post company photos on their websites where the group of people in the photo goes from 3 to 15 in a few seasons. I wondered extensively how this could be....Was I offering too little pay? I mean after all, $17.50/hour seemed perfectly acceptable to me for someone with little to no experience. Was my benefit package inferior? I thought providing healthcare/vision/dental and profit sharing was the right thing to do to stay competitive. Was I being to rigid with the work schedule? I thought working a 4-day work week (10 hours a day, Monday - Thursday) was a desirable perk nowadays. I could not rationalize that I was missing anything. Then, something very unexpected happened. I was talking with a friend of mine at church about my hiring troubles who is a top-ranking executive of a company (not landscape related) that does 9 figures gross a year. What he said was very polarizing, "It's not you, Ben. It's that no one wants to work for a one-man show. It does not matter how successful you are as a businessman, how inspiring you are as a leader, or how generous you are as a boss. If you are a one-man op, you will not be viewed as a credible, stable place of employment even if you have a track record proving that you're at the top of your field." As we kept going on with our friendly discourse he continued, "It used to be that people weren't opposed to working with guys like you [one-man op], but this current generation of people want stability more than pay and perks. Traditionally it's been large firms that can deliver that. You're challenge is getting that first person, and in your line of work you have a mountain in front of you. The guys around here [landscaping companies] that have employees likely started with more than one person from the beginning." I will say that I do agree with my friend's statements, as he has a lot of executive experience, and is about to retire (old enough to be my dad). So what do you all think? Is this the new normal? What have you experienced? Are one-man operations cursed with a hex of negative job opportunity, or is there hope somewhere? Has the culture changed in the context of what I've presented here? This is for posterity, so please respond thoughtfully and honestly.