On the edge of first employee... oh the anxiety!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by AL's, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. AL's

    AL's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,047

    Season has barely started and I'm already feeling the burn.

    Financially I could fund a full time guy for a full year even if he didn't produce a single penny. So the anxiety isn't really over having to pay them but more all the other stuff. Like for example:

    The revolving door.
    Having to babysit.
    Customers yards looking like trash instead of being well manicured.
    Wrecking the truck.
    Mowing over trash instead of picking it up or dodging it.
    Having to train with the trimmer (this one right here, I could write a novel on this one).
    Breaking equipment.
    Being left high and dry in the middle of heavy workloads.
    And on and on....

    Lets talk about the potential employee for a second... because I already have a guy lined up.

    Some stats.

    Hard worker.
    Common sense.

    No formal experience.
    No drivers license.

    So a couple of the reasons for my anxiety are alleviated with this guy, while others are magnified. For instance, I think its likely he sticks it out all year and I won't have to go through the revolving door and I doubt I'll ever have to babysit this guy... biggest thing thats magnified, if he gets licensed I'm not going to be comfortable with him driving the rig for who knows how long.

    He wanted to start with me last year. Season was half over and he was 17 and I didnt even wanna dig into the laws of hiring under 18 plus he was still in school.

    Now the workload is beyond just me. Maybe I'm getting lazy, or just old (28) or worn out I don't know but I really WANT help at this point.

    We've discussed pay and heres where were at:

    1st month training $8.33/hr.
    Bumps to $11/hr after training.
    After 6 months he'll have 1 week paid vacation.
    2nd year $13/hr (driving, maybe)

    I know the rates seem low guys. I think they're kind of low anyway. But he has no license at the moment and no formal experience. I'm actually looking foreward to being able to train him the way I want things done without having to undo old habits learned else where.

    Planning on giving him 36-40 hours a week until thanksgiving.

    Anyway whats everyones thoughts??

    Edit: almost forgot... where do I post employee rights posters when I dont have a commercial store front? And what about osha regs and compliances etc?

    Insight on those greatly appreciated!
  2. TColemanP

    TColemanP LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    If he's willing to take those rates then I would hire him. As you said, train him how you want him trained- that's always nice especially since it's just you and him and you don't have 100 other employees needing things.

    As far as trusting him...that's just part of the gig. If you're going to hire someone you have to trust them as much as possible. Hiring people is a risk- always has been, always will be. He will make mistakes, that's a promise. But if you spend the time with him and teach him your ways you will be fine.

    If you're that worried about this guy, maybe you need to spend more time looking for a more qualified person with a good driving record. You will still get mistakes, but at least you might feel better about him driving your truck.

    Hiring good people is the key and sounds like you believe he is a good guy. Invest your time into him.

    As for the OSHA posters and such...where are you working out of? Your garage or house? Just post it anywhere, review the posters with your employee(s) and you should be fine.

    Good luck!
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,245

    The employee issues are all you.

    You’re manufacturing issues
    It’s like surfing, skiing or snowmobiling
    If you are imaging a wreck , you will wreck
    If you are looking at the tree you will hit the tree.

    You have to look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.
    It’s all about the proper focus , while being prepared for the inevitable risks.

    There more you focus on the negative
    The more it will be negative for you.

    Don’t start with such a low pay scale
    Just don’t do it.

    I don’t care the kid doesn’t have a license

    Make a list of qualifications, reasonable ones
    Having a drivers license is a reasonable qualification
    Then pay reasonably well
    If you think the pay is “ok”, raise it a buck.

    There is no “probation pay”
    Pay the position, not the applicant
    Hire someone who meets the requirements
    Don’t lower the pay to 3/4 of what they could make because they don’t meet the requirements, don’t hire them in the first place until they meet the requirements.

    A person who doesn’t have a license at a minimum isn’t a self responsible person, if they can’t manage their own accountability , how will they ever meet the accountability expectations of your customer base?

    Non drivers
  4. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,236

    I wouldn't move so quickly to higher pay amounts. Move up in small increments to give an illusion that they are getting raises more often. Before to long you will be flat lined on the pay scale and it will catch up with your wallet.

    Also those things you listed as possible things that worry you.....those should only be an issue if you leave him alone on properties, won't you be there too? If you are with him train him constantly. Show him how to do it, let him find his own rhythm and nudge him one way or another as needed. He will only be a slob if you let him

    My guys have been known to leave a mess. Every time I find a truck left with crap all inside I pull my guys over like they are a dog that pooped on the floor and make them clean it up.
  5. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,438

    An 18yr old with no drivers license would make a perfect "trimmer guy".

    As for the fast pay raise, vacation time and driving next year? No way.
    weeze likes this.
  6. JMK26

    JMK26 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Missouri
    Messages: 8,916

    Why such low pay? Your laborers don't fall under the same reasons you repeatedly give for everyone needing to charge more?
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,582

    It will be much worst than you could ever guess. Don't waste time thinking about this simply hire the first guy that calls.
    sailfish27 and grassmonkey0311 like this.
  8. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,273

    28? dude you aren't old. i'm in my 40s and many guys on here are in their 50s and 60s. :laugh:

    i'm just curious. why do so many people not have a driver's license? it seems like every thread i read about employees one of the guys doesn't have a license. that's a huge red flag to me. something is wrong with a person that is 16 or older and doesn't have a driver's license. i dunno i don't get it.

    i guess that's why i'll always be solo. i can't put up with someone not showing up, showing up late, smoking, drinking, doing drugs, stealing stuff, breaking stuff, or whatever.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
  9. wbw

    wbw LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,402

    If you are happy with the money you make and are funding your retirement there is absolutely no reason to have employees. Unless you get hurt. Or would like some time off during the season. Or your body starts to wear out. Or...who am I kidding, I couldn't imagine not having employees.
  10. AL's

    AL's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,047

    He asked for 10 so I bumped I told him 11 after some basic training as a sign that he will be valued and hopefully this will be reciprocated by him in the form of quality work. Will discuss the pay a little further down in my responses as well.

    The only thing Im worried about him with is the driving. I would be like that with anyone but more so with him being 18. He can go get his license tomorrow if need be.

    Alot of young guys dont have their license for w.e reasons.

    Personally I didnt get mine until a month after my 18th birthday bc my parents said thats the way it was gonna be.

    Yes I work out of my house. Dont have a garage :(.... yet!

    Do I need to add him specifically to the commercial insurance or does commercial already cover any driver?

    I got you man. I'll tell him he needs to go get his license and I'll stop worrying so much.

    These 3 responses back to back to back having me scratching my head.... am I low balling this kid or being too generous with the pay?

    Well by god I'm feelin' old right now lol I dont even wanna think about how I'll feel in 20 years if I keep going at the rate I am solo.

    As for the license thing for me it was what my parents said goes. For him i dont know. Could be parents, money, w.e. around here (when I was at license age anyway) nobody would go to get their license until they had a vehicle. They also had to have money for that vehicle. Could be a no money no car type deal I dunno!

    Yeh I need to lighten the load on me a little bit and like a week off end of july first of august would be AMAZING!
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018

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