Just finished reading, then re-reading the article on B14 of Turf Magazine concerning employees. With little exception, I could have written that piece with my past experiences concerning labor. We completely changed our business model in late 2003 and in doing so were able to eliminate all employees and the troubles they bring. Do I sound a little negative? Just a few examples; 1 employee went to a client's lake home and made off with $5000.00 worth of HH goods. He got caught and used the excuse that he wasn't making enough money working for me. Another employee stole about $3000.00 worth of plant material over the course of 3 months and was "landscaping on the side" at his church where he was a deacon. I suspect every member of that church testified in his behalf. Hard to dispute 3 game cameras showing him gathering plants. He got jail time and had to make restitution. The church held several fundraisers to help with that restitution. Numerous employees had drug and achohol problems that came to work with them. Found drugs in company trucks several times. Started drug and acholol screening and were unable to find a clean applicant. Most applicants did not have a drivers license. Those that did "just got them back". Uninsurable. Another employee attributed a badly cut and broken thumb to being an on the job injury. He went to the jobsite first thing instead of shop that day. Finally were able to prove what really happened in court. A fight the night before. Nearly every "quit" filed for unemployment. Some of the reasons were hillarious. A number worked less than 1 full day. We always contested claims. Women were our best workers but also had the most baggage, usually a beer swilling old man at home watching TV while preparing to beat her after she got home. Had 2 instances of their old man showing up at a work site to "teach her a lesson". One showed up with a gun. 1 employee announced that he was going to have his way with my 14 year old daughter. His tenure with us was very short. Another grabbed her and got his nose broken and a badly cut ear. I nearly got arrested for that. That same ex-employee raped the bookkeeper at another nursery less than 2 months later. 10 years in the nursery business and I had 6 good employees, but never at the same time. Believe it or not, I seemed to have less serious problems than my competitors had. We sold the nursery several years ago and now have no employees, the costs, or troubles that go along with them and a commericial location. We handle about 75% less money than before but yet now keep more.