New Employees and Theft

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by lawnspecialties, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    I'm just about to hire my first employee. One of the areas I'm unsure how to handle is taking care of the equipment and dealing with theft out in the field. Do any of you guys have guidelines on obvious misuse of equipment or having equipment stolen on the job?

    I certainly realize no employee is going to be as careful with the equipment as I am but I want rules beforehand in case things get out of control. Thanks
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah, one of the solutions I've heard is to devise a percentage payola scheme where so long the equipment falls within your maintenance budget then they get paid in full, but obvious abuse and the like can end up costing them a percent out of pocket (which is deducted from the check).

    As for theft, that can't be tolerated, either devise a system of writing employees up for violations (and fire on 3rd write up) which would also work and may even work better in the case of abuse or other violations, and/or fire them on the spot for stealing. To me there are some things simply can't be handled with anything but a zero tolerance policy, theft is one of them, but that's just me.
    Other things I would have under Zero tolerance is alcohol and drugs (now I don't care much what they do in their off time so long they never do it at work and are straight and sober come that time), and again that's just me.

    You might, during the interview process, outline these things so they are informed (and kinda keep an eye on their reactions).
    Which, some good pre-screening methods would help considerably as well.
  3. salandscape

    salandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    I believe it is illegal to deduct from someones base pay as a penalty, check you local laws. You can do a bonus program and they lose % of bonus for misuse. Thinking on doing this myself.
  4. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    years ago when we had employees over the period of a year we were losing what seemed like about a dozen pruners. we only bought felco2's so this was a very expensive loss, around $500 a year. we ended up with a plan of giving each employee 1 bucket, 1 felco2 pruner, 1 pair of gloves, and a trowel. they were responsible for all of these items and if any were lost they did without but if they couldnt perform the jobs we requested because they lost thier equipment they were let go. which only happened i think twice...

    when i first started working landscaping before i even dreamed of owning my own business my boss at the time had a couple of us go to this job to manually transplant these 6 huge spirea. no bobcat, no tractor, just shovels. the rootballs were 3ft across if not bigger. in the process of pulling them out i broke 4 wooden handled shovels and 4 fiberglass. i am still to this day surprised i wasnt fired that day. needless to say i now have all steel, welded shovels for transplanting which ive had the same ones for 3 years now.
  5. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    TGLC had all employeey (from BM to laborer) sign a sheet agreeing to pay upto $300 of the actual value of lost/damaged equipment were negligence could be proven. This was part of the hiring program.

    We had one guy lose a brand new pair of gas shears, but amazing that none of the locks or cables were cut or broken.

    At TGLC they employees paid for a pair of feclos out of their first pay check. we woudl periodiclay do truck checks on the way out in themorning and if people did not have their pruners, home they went for the day....

    I had to fork over 150 bucks for a new chrome bumper onmy truck when I was backing up and jacknifed and bent the bumper all up...

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