My H2B experience 2007

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Precision, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    I started the process in Late 2006 to be sure to get things done in a timely manner.

    In general the process (using Markus Drake) worked out well. I sent in all paperwork in a timely fashion and they submitted it in a similar manner and generally kept me updated as to what was and should happen.

    My first hiccup was related to the Agency that the state of Florida has handle the paperwork on their end. They sent out a bit of paperwork that needed to be returned within 3 working days, unfortunately they mailed it on Dec 20th and I didn't receive it until after Jan 1st. This meant my application was AUTOMATICALLY rejected. Marcus Drake redid the paperwork and got me back on track and made sure they mailed and FAXED the paperwork to me. Slight delay in the line but back on track.

    I put my ad in the paper (cost $1500), did my interviewing, OMG child molestors, convicted arsonist, drug dealers. VERY EASY to tell the government why I WOULDN'T be hiring any of these guys.

    Then wait and wait for approval, which finally arrived in mid March. I had requested workers for Mid March.

    Then I found out that the first batch of visas was done and I didn't get anyone (march issuance), but I should be mid pack on the second batch (mid April). Well lets just say that DIDN'T happen.

    For some reason (and I heard different reasons depending on who I talked to) but the approval process got all mucked up and to make a long story shorter, I finally got my guys on JULY 19th. This meant my ad campaign had been cut short in the prime season. No one to hand out bulk amounts of flyers and more importantly no one to do the added work if I got a large amount of new clients. But I had done some flyering in my spare time and such to build up some.

    The guys finally arrive. First thing I hear from them is that they were expecting to do general maintenance and AC work. HUH??? turns out I got guys from Peru, whose agency flat lied to them as to the kind of work they would be doing AND sent me a 48 year old and a 43 year old.

    The 43 year old was completely worthless, and who should have been fired after week 2 but I needed the warm body while I awaited a replacement that I later found out was never coming. The 48 year old tried but also tried to carry the 43 year old out of misspent loyalty to a countryman. So I end up with one fired and the other quitting. Which is for the better since they did in 26 man hours what takes me (alone) less than 11.

    Bottom line:
    After spending $4500 on fees, newspaper ads, and government approvals (plus their wages)--I get two guys completely unable / unwilling to do the work, who end up staying on payroll for 6 and 7 weeks respectively and working about as well as my average loser American from last year. AND because it is so late in the season, I can't get any replacements.

    I am not really blaming Markus Drake (although there are things that they certainly could have done better) I just want to let there be some buyer beware out there on how the "System" really works. And in the end, I am the one left with a wasted year and an empty checking account.
  2. Jusmowin

    Jusmowin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    Can you say "THAT REALLY SUCKS", sorry you had such a bad year maybe next year will be better! Kind of makes you wanna go solo and stay solo.
  3. STLlawnboy

    STLlawnboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97


    Sorry to hear about that I would be really pissed, I send you a pm. Are you going to go through the process again this year??
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,567

    Our experience has been a little better we started in the program about 4 years ago. A friend recommended a couple college guys so we submitted their names and took two additional guys that responded to our application. None had lawn experience but all were guick learners and worked very hard. All of these guys had some education and took english classes and was internet savy. Two got liscenses and are drivers for us. The good part is once a guy comes across and works it is easier to get him approved (returning guys not part of 65K quota) the next year ....assuming he wants to return. The guys now are recommending brothers and friends that want to come from their villege. My son plans to go interview them..... The quoto caps for lawn workers are very very low and the demand far exceeds amount allowed. And we wonder why they try to sneak across:hammerhead:
  5. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    No, once burned and all that. $4500 in fees $5400 in salary for 520 man hours of labor. OR almost $19 an hour for my (unskilled) guys PLUS their lodging. That takes a bite.

    I am actually thinking about selling the company that needs the employees more. I may sell the full service company as well.

    Burnt out and frustrated and I have what I think is a better business opportunity getting started as well.
  6. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    If they screwed up and cost you the money, I would run that by a lawyer.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    I have been through the visa program before - out over eight grand and still no visas.
    I have gone a different route with less than stellar success yet better than an agency but I categorically refuse to hire an agency, regardless of who they are, that will not guarantee a fee refund should the visa's be denied.
    I might as well take that money and spend it on topless dancers for all the good it has done me so far.
  8. LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,136

    Personally I feel this way about the whole H2b thing. You complain that the American workers you have interviewed have records. How do you know your immigrant doesnt?

    Personally instead of going thru the agg, and cost of bringing in immigrants, you may want to pay a few extra bucks to an american.

    If your creative, pay well and offer pleasant working conditions, there is no reason in the world why cant find employees in Florida. Particulary since every tom dick and harry that used to swing a hammer, is now outta work!

    Good Luck
  9. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    i looked into the whole h2b deal and from what i gather it is just like buying and selling cattle. you buy em use em for a while them ship em off only to buy more next year. i may be a little extreme with my terminology but buying people regardless of where they come from just aint right.
  10. z_clark

    z_clark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369


    I have had similar experience w/ the H2B program. In 2005 I got $3500 into it. I started the earliest date allowed. The result was "your workers are almost ready" in August. Too little too late.

    In 2006, the first cap was met shortly after my help wanted add ran. I bailed out then to save the second half of cash.

    This would be a great program, it it was easier to work.

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