Show Employees Appreciation Without Pay Increase

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Sean Adams, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,319

    Yea, I tried the cell phone idea twice and that didn't work. The first guy would go to a job and spend most of his time talking to his girl friend and not getting the work done. The second guy would end up talking to his girlfriend for night , going over his minutes, and then I'd get stuck with roaming charges. Then, when I'd try to get in touch with him, he wouldn't answer the phone!!!!!!!!!!:hammerhead::hammerhead:Yea, that idea didn't work at all. I can see letting him drive a company truck being a total disaster also...I agree with everyone else. For some reason(It may be me), the better I treat an employee, the more he takes advantage of me. I've taken them out to lunch/dinner to show appreciation, bought them drinks/snacks/cigs, picked them up/dropped them off, taken them to probation. They just end up crapping on you and taking you for granted.
  2. PremierT&L

    PremierT&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 224

    I tend to agree with the Grassman that money really is the bottom line with employees. I also think that if you do some of these little things and don't pay your employees well it tends to come off insulting and doesn't work.

    Having said that, if you do pay your employees well(I'm told by other I overpay my guys but I believe they are well worth it), then it is good to do other things to remind them that you consider them a very important part of your operation. I like to pull the guys aside individually and just tell them they're doing a good job and ask them how they are doing. On cold days I might surprise them with new gloves or something like that. These things do go a long way, but Grassman is right that they only go along way if you are paying your guys well.
  3. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    I am not disagreeing with anyone - everyone has their own opinion and you guys know your businesses and employees better than I do.

    That being said, the reason I know these things work is because I have done them and still do them today. The difference here is simple...

    If you are held hostage by your employees, yes, none of these things will matter. Only money will matter, and even then, they will probably find ways to take advantage of you.


    If you know you can hire new people any itme you want - and people you know you want who will be good employees, appreciate their job, and give them opportunity for advancement, then it is a different story.

    The key here is being able to find, hire, train, and motivate the very best employees. If you know how to do that, you will not have to deal with anyone taking advantage of you because you will always know the minute they cross the line, its time to hand them their final pay check.
  4. PushnSnow

    PushnSnow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    You pay with peanuts and all you get is monkeys. That's what my dad said when I was a kid. He had a very small construction business. Put in 18 hour days. Paid his employees better than union wages. He had one of the best crews around. The bottom line is minimum wage, $10/hr and even $15 an hour are not livable wages. You want a professional crew, you must pay them a livable wage. If this industry can't support livable wages for employees, then it's time for the industry to die off and the grass to grow wild. If you don't pay a livable wage to your employees, where they can survive and live in a house and buy food for their family, you will never have the kind of employees you can trust to drive your truck home. You will never have the employees that put your interests first and want to take care of you, their boss and friend. As a business owner, I'll never pay an employee inadequately. I'm a new business with over 20 years of management experience. Last place I worked, they paid the kid that washed their paving trucks over $20 an hour. He put in 12+ hour days all summer long, sometimes 6 or 7 days a week. Every employee that works for that company would do just about anything for the company and the owners. I'd still be there if medical issues with my wifes family hadn't forced me to move to Minnesota. And when they call, I'll always do whatever I can to help them out. Over 100 employees feel that way towards that company, and I'd say with no doubt that not one of them would take advantage of the brothers that own it. That's how you get quality employees. Take care of them. They are the greatest asset your company will ever have.
  5. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    I agree with this statement.
  6. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    monkeys don't eat peanuts. they eat bananas lol. i don't believe you can afford to pay livable wages in this industry. most crew guys around here make $8-$10/hr. that's nowhere near a liveable wage if you are talking about owning their own house and everything. a living wage would be more like $15-$20/hr which is double what they get paid now.
  7. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    Four out of the six suggestions involve more money to the employee though indirectly. The last company I worked for tried the giving me more responsibilities without a pay increase, that's why I no longer work there. I do like the idea of employees having more input, it makes them feel more connected to the day to day operations. I try to put myself in their shoes, if I wouldn't do it, neither will they. Give them a good wage, treat them with respect and you'll get it in return.
  8. PushnSnow

    PushnSnow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    From my experience, when you pay someone $8 an hour, you get an $8 an hour employee. Pay $16 an hour and you get an $16 an hour employee. They may not produce exactly twice the work, but they will be twice as valuable to the company. They will be more professional. They will take better care of your equipment. The quality of work will improve, therefore enabling you to get contracts that pay better. If the industry can not support livable wages, then the public will continue to see lawn maintenance contractors as something other than professionals. This in turn keeps the industry as a whole down. Like I said, if I can not provide an adequate wage to an employee, then I will not have an employee. When you are known as the contractor that pays well, better quality employees will be available to you. I hear the constant gripes about employees that don't care about the job they do or the way they take care of the equipment. Would you care for $8 an hour? Would you care when you work full time and can not provide meals for your kids or a house for them to live in? Would you care when you work full time and still require the government assistance just to live? The people on this site that like the employees working for them and have positive things to say about them and their work ethic and how they take care of the equipment all compensate those employees well and appreciate them for the value they provide to the company.
  9. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    I agree with the premise but the numbers are not hard as income is very regional. I think mowers are always going to be on the low income level.
  10. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    I believe you should create a company where the employees are proud to say they work for "ABC Landscapes" I study the top 20 companies to work for and there practices. (Publix, Car max, Zappos, Whole Foods, etc) and see how they treat their bottom feeders.

    You can also read reviews from employees at as they review the job and how they like working for the specific company.

    I believe the OP was referring to the type of employee that is a linchpin to the company. If you lost him, it would make life hell as he is not easily replaceable.

    There tends to be a large amount of micromanaging in this business. How do your guys behave when your back is turned?

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