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My BEST & Only employee quit today

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Fresh_Cut, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    in lieu of another job that pays $1 more and buys lunch.

    This makes me feel like ****.

    I think his decision also had to do with me not keeping him busy everyday the last couple of months. He likes fast paced work and everyday work. Last year was our best year, due in large part to him, but I quickly realized that I would need to re-organize some things in order to not repeat some the same issues we had last year.

    1. Need scheduling & billing software
    2. Need a dedicated office & shop - CHECK
    3. Need to hire somebody with driver's license to drive (he doesn't have DL) - IN THE WORKS
    4. Need to focus more on commercial rather than residential.
    5. Start Payroll

    He's been with me almost a year and I've never had a helper with his level of experience, work ethic, etc. I just don't like the ultimatum part about it because I really hate manipulative moves; "You pay me more or no mas".

    We've been really slow the last few months, and in the process of doing all the things above, I couldn't be driving around to every yard. I explained this to him, or at least attempted to.

    I've already decided that I'm gonna pay him in order to keep him, but I'm looking for suggestions on how to go about it. Should I make his raise contingent upon a few conditions that "I'll need him to become" in the future?

    Also, I've been paying him cash... I told him last summer that eventually I'd need to pay him a check, but with it being our best year I was stretched thin and didn't get around to payroll.

    Finally, how do I go about hiring a second guy to drive and still wanting my main guy to be crew lead, even though he doesn't have a license? Is it plausible to require a new guy to have something that his crew leader ?doesn't have?
  2. Choppin

    Choppin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    How do you know he's actually has another job prospect ? I wouldn't let him bend me over the barrel for a raise, unless you think that he is worth the extra $1... I work about 30 employees a year on my farm and mowing and they will come at you at all angles for more money... But if the person is worth the raise than I would give it to him... If you think your being fair with him now that I would let him go to the other job if there is one.... But I figure someone without a DL isn't worth very much... Why does he not have DL?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    He told me.

    Even when we're busy 6 days a week, he looks for extra work on Sunday.

    I thi... I know he's worth it, but I think I need to be clear with him about me expecting more.

    The DL is a legal thing.
  4. Choppin

    Choppin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    Is he Hispanic ?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    So what? Just let him drive without a license, hell, you are already paying him cash under the table and not reporting it.. why worry about a little thing like no drivers license?
  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,982

    No mas… typical hispanic thing, I personally hate that.
    No DL no mas,
    No shower No mas,
    No work here, I call INS.
  7. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    I let him go No DL he not worth the stress
    But if you want a good worker buy there lunch
    Lunch it a write off

    I don't hire nobody that doesn't have a DL
  8. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Messages: 948

    Sounds like he just wanted to work more, not a bad trait, not many white boys around here have a decent work ethic. This guy knew all the properties was a productive worker and just needed to make a better living. Now you've gotta find a replacement and train him get him doing things your way and hope he sticks around. Now the harsh part ....he was ready to grow your business and you weren't. What you should do is find someone to replace you as the driver and lead man and you concentrate on acquiring new business and building the company. This is the only way you can move your business to the next level. I succeeded because I found people and trained them and then found more. Now if your not careful you'll be back at square one. Pay he $80-100 more a week, this time of year you need to be ramping up for season. You'll have way more than $100 worth of headaches if you don't do something soon. Another way of approaching the situation is the old saying "I was lookin for someone when I hired ya and will be lookin for someone when your gone" Good Luck.
  9. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    I'm not sure this is completely accurate (the bold). I've grown considerably since he's been with me and he's witnessed it.

    As far as finding someone to replace me as the driver, that's exactly what I wanted to do, but without demoting him or passing him up, so to speak, in terms of having a new guy that's probably gonna be younger, with DL, as his new boss.

    I know I need to replace myself in that truck, but how when the only guy I trust with my equipment, trust with quality of work, work ethic, safety, etc... is him. I trust his judgement, he's 47, very intelligent.

    I was thinking that I would hire a driver and work with them both on the routes until I see that he's capable of operating everything safely, until I trust his judgement enough to not have to babysit him, and until he's familiar with our operation enough to not be dependent on me telling him what's next. Then I would cut them loose together and focus on the admin part of the business.
  10. Fresh_Cut

    Fresh_Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    I appreciate you chiming in.

    The license thing is not a big deal as long as he stays on board with doing his part and doing it well. Not every person that works with me will need a license, and I'm fine with that.

    Also, I would rather have clear defined roles/duties with everyone understanding & respecting the boundaries. I don't need everybody driving and each of them driving differently, so when something breaks I'm not sure of the source.

    You buy lunch everyday??
    I buy lunch sometimes, often, when we're busy, but not everyday. I don't wanna give anyone a sense of entitlement
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014

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