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P.O.S employee...one of my good friends

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jim163, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. jim163

    jim163 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    This is my second year mowing lawns. last year i had 6 lawns this year i have allmost 60. I originally planned to do all the work myself as just getting started out. one of my good friends was looking for a job early in the season and he had experience so I figured I'll take every lawn I can because I'll have someone working with me. turns out hes worthless and I need to stop working with him. He absolutly drags ass. when i stop and get out of my truck to unload the z, hell sit in the truck 30 seconds longer. Complains constantly about the ***** yards with alot of wackin....THATS YOUR JOB DO IT. NEVER WAKES UP ON TIME. i like waking up at 8 being at first job 8:30. he usually gets up at 9:30 or so and if i call his phone 14 times in a row it doesnt matter. very frusterating. now that I have 60 lawns I cant do them myself and im stuck with this kid. I do what i can without him but Its faster with 2 people. Its just frusterating I cant wait till plowing season. NEVER WORK WITH FRIENDS. I need employess i can take a whip to.
  2. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    thats the quickest wayto breed contempt among your employee's and get even less work out of them.

    do you swap jobs with your employee? I realize as the boss its your perogotive to ride each and every day...and each and every lawn, do you? I know If i was stuck walking with a string trimmer for 8 hours a day, I'd have no desire to work either.

    Once you let him get away with the "sleep-in routine" or the draging feet to get on the equipment more than a couple times, Now you are to blame. You allowed the behaviour and the beheviour is a learned and percevied as being not a big deal to him. If he's not at your doorstep ready to work take off with out him....if he catches up to you durring the day and wants to work tell him to show up on time tomorrow and he can work.

    Obviously if you had fired him after the first 2 weeks of his lack of work ethic, you would not be 60 yards to the good. Now with the offseason coming up it will give you time to find a replacement employee.

    Rather than pay him hourly, have you thought about paying him based on the amountof work accomplished. lets say he gets 400 per week and you cut 60 yards in a week... maybe you pay him a flat wage of 7 bucks per house that he helps you complete in a week. so if you get all 60 done he gets his full pay and youre not stuck paying by the hour while he drags his feet?

    Just some thoughts. Tardiness and attendance are my hot buttons....
  3. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 867

    Fire his ass and find someone who will work. Friend or not, business is business. I had a friend who helped me a few times, and afer that I told him I was faster alone and joked about it, but he understood. If he is a real friend he will understand where you're coming from. Explain it without insulting him, and explain that you are still friends, but ut time is money and you need someone faster!
  4. AlleganyLawnCare

    AlleganyLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    At the beginning of this year, a friend of mine needed extra cash - so I hired him part time. He would ALWAYS show up late, have to leave early, at the last moment call in saying he was sick, or had to go do something else. One time, I left him at a property that takes about 2 hours for one person. I went and did 4 other properties. I go and check up on him. His car was moved, it had me puzzled. And he just got started on the grass! But to top it off, as I was walking by his car, I found out he went to lunch the whole time I was gone. I was pissed. But I didn't show it. We finished the job. After that, he came up to me and said that this just wasn't his type of work. I accepted it, thanked him for the work he did do, and credited him it for only 1 hours worth of work that day. I hated to lose an employee, but I rather lose him as an employee instead of losing him as a friend.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Hindsight is 20/20...think about it...if someone is unemployed and needs a job, typically they have some sort of problem keeping a job. Always a red flag for me, if someone is not working.

    Regardless of whether it's a friend or not, once you begin to tolerate tardiness and absenteeism, it's hard to all of a sudden lay down the law months later. Been there and done that myself.

    If I were you, I'd secretly start looking for a replacement...sounds like the friendship is going downhill anyway.
  6. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    I hired a friend but we both have a very similar work ethic, he just talks too much some times when we need to leave. I do see what you are expereincing as I know friends of mine that I certainly would not hire. I expect someone to work as hard as I do and they are paid well for it, if they don't then they can go on somewhere else.......ask my last guy.

    Have you tried just laying out things and explaining how the situation is bad and work on getting back on track? I would suggest not yelling and leaving out 4 letter words or you may not have an employee at all.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    You first need a business before employees.

    Your a grass cutter who hired a so called friend to help. AND you let him dictate when and how he will work. This is all your fault for letting it continue and is not a business in any kind of form
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Yeppers....60 lawns a month-say.. 30 days a month-
    8:30 start time? Get started at 6:30, do three lawns a day and you might even get a weekend off once in a while if you hustle.
  9. jazak

    jazak LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 843

    Get rid of him and get a mexican:clapping: :clapping:
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yah, ditto that.

    You are right, though. Hiring friends or family is almost always a bad idea. They almost always feel they can get away with more crap because you are friends or family and they almost always end up resenting you for "ordering them around" even though you are their boss. Never a good idea to hire friends or family, IMHO.

    That being said, there are ways you can help improve the situation if you don't want to fire him. First off, empathize with him. Before I started my company I never enjoyed yard work. I never liked mowing lawns. But that's because I wasn't getting paid well for it. When I started by business and was all of a sudden making $30 or more per man hour, all of a sudden I was pretty excited about it! And you were probably too! But when you are making $8 or $10 or $12 an hour, it's not all that exciting. So you gotta look at it from that perspective first. AND you gotta let him know you get that. Something like, "Hey man. We gotta talk about your performance and energy level lately. Look. I understand this isn't fun work. I get that. I pay you as much as I can afford to and I know it probably doesn't seem like much for such hard work. Furthermore, it's probably not much fun having your friend order you around. But here's the deal. The reality is you agreed to take on this job. And I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to hire a friend. I was afraid work would get in the way of our friendship. And maybe you wouldn't respect me like you would a real boss. But despite my reservations, I hired you anyway because I wanted you to have a good job and I was in the position to offer you one. If you have better options for jobs now and want to take a job elsewhere, that's cool with me. But if not, let's try to work together here and get this stuff done as quickly as possible so we can get home sooner. Deal?"

    Something like that should help. And you may have to have a similar discussion every week or two if he starts to slack again.

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