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Should I charge the employee something

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SLCINC, Jun 21, 2008.


    SLCINC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    I have a loyal employee that has been with me for over 5 years. However he has made some goof-ups in the past few months costing me around $1400. First off, he accidentally cut a customers shrubs on a slope backyard costing about $175. Then ran over a water pipe and shattered a window with a broken piece of metal shattered a window costing $200 to repair. Also in the winter hit a flood light with the plow costing $200 to replace. The main reason I am angry about these is that he didn't inform me on any of these occasions the customers did.

    Also, recently he got in an accident, not his fault at all, however he is not suppose to be driving but he does sometimes. Sometimes I do allow him to drive if there is no one available with a license but this time someone with him had one and he drove anyway. Deductible cost is $500.

    I am just sick of all these costs that I am being charged for his mistakes. I dont want to fire him because he is very loyal and hard working. I want to charge him for some of the damage, but how much should I charge. Please let me know thanks
  2. KGR landscapeing

    KGR landscapeing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Either fire him or tell him no more chances. your the employer its you job to have your Butt on the line. If hes good you do what it takes but there is aline that if it gets crossd you gotta just cut them loose
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Your problem like most of us is you have waited until you have reached your breaking point before you have decided to take action. How much better position would you be if if you had a talk after the first incident? No way can you reasonably expect to get anything close to compensation for past mistakes.

    Have a meeting, explain your concerns remind him of the damage he has already inflicted on the business. Establish a policy, it needs to be the same for everyone. Let him and everyone else know what it is and then you must stick to it. Its probably not legal but what is these days. You have to run your business and if employees don't want to play by your rules they can move along. I would say all you can do is prepare for the future.
  4. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    So you think he did these things on purpose? If so, you need to fire him. As KGR said, you are the business owner, its your butt on the line. You let him drive when its convenient for you. Sends a mixed signal. The other occurences seem easy enough to have happen to anyone.
  5. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    I agree, it sucks but you still have options :/ Ever think that maybe he had no involvement in some of these incidents but then the customer just calls up to "blame" him for it?

    Ive had clients call up to complain and "blame" us for work that "my guys" must have done, only to tell them, mam, "I WAS THE ONE" on your property and thats just a load of bullshit, it was fine when we left and thats that.

    Ive had clients who defaulted on contracts say "i didnt think your guys came bi-weekly for all of september and october" HAHA, lady, get real, because of your dumbarse bitching from the start, I WAS THE ONE there every week to make sure shiat went smoothly. Her rant ends very fast. As soon as a "bad" client knows your not on site, they'll always try to blame things.

    SLCINC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    thanks for the posts everyone. I am sure that nothing was done on purpose, however I do think that they could have been avoided with a little more care. He fessed up to all of the incidents claiming that he just didnt know that they happened. I didn't buy that. And I still think that there should be some kind of punishment for these actions. Especially because the customers had to tell me about each incident.
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    is is painfully simple. you CANNOT backcharge him anything or with hold wages as well, it is against the law.

    you try and do anything like that and if he files a grievance, the department of labor in your state will be all over you like white on rice, period
  8. Horsepower Lawns

    Horsepower Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    Why did you need to pay the $500 if its not his fault?
    Does he have a DL?

    Did you talk to him to see if he realy did other the stuff?
  9. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 702

    You have to pick the lesser of two evils on this one. Your gut is telling you to give him one more chance, so do it. Don't fire him because in 5 years he has had 3 or 4 mistakes. That's minimal. Just let him know that it won't be the end of the world if a mistake does happen, and that it is better for him to come to you with it so that you can be proactive in getting it fixed instead of the alternative.

    We all have to learn the hard way sometimes, it takes patience and understanding for those mistakes to turn into a learning experience. We all had to start somewhere.
  10. Daily Lawn/Landscape

    Daily Lawn/Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 695

    I tell my guys, If you damage something let me know. If I find out from another employee or customer after they have left the property, they will be terminated.
    Accidents happen, thats just a fact of life. 2yrs ago I replaced the same glass out of an entry door 2 times in 3 weeks at a cost of 167.00. We talked about it and found that when edging along a landscape bed rocks were being launched at the glass so we made some changes to make sure it does'nt happen again.

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