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Spanish speaking employees?????

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by turfmagazine, Oct 18, 2006.


    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    We employed many at my old job. Overall they were better employees than their American counterparts. But I agree with some of the earlier points mentioned, like the lack of loyalty and how some of them just work and work and work with no concept of if there are doing what they are supposed to do. We learned to only send them out with the tools they needed...no extra hedge trimmer for example...or else if the customer asked them to touch up a bush they would spend 6 hours trimming everything in sight :nono:

    Probably the biggest problem was few of them had cars, so they would all carpool in one or 2 cars and the drivers quickly learned this gave them some power, like if they were upset with something they wouldn't show up the next day and there went half the workforce.

    Overall pretty good employees, just some unique quirks they had that Americans don't have.
  2. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Messages: 251

    boy that is a BIG problem....also the guy with the car will some times try and charge the others WAY too much for gas...and it leads to arguements that carry over to work
  3. Waterscapes By Design

    Waterscapes By Design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Ohhhh this is such a touchy situation. I feel that if they are legal (and not using a fake I.D. either!) Then there shouldnt even be an issue. And if they are wanting the pay that white folks get they are more than entitled to it!

    What I do have a problem with is company owners who knowingly employ the illegals. There is no excuse for that, I would love to hire the cheapest labor I can get but as a young American I do feel that this is wrong. I also feel that if you ARE going to hire a legal Spanish speaking employee there should be some responsibility on you as an owner to help these people (and your company as well) learn English.

    Retention of customers is very important, especially in small business/lawn care. There isnt a lot of loyalty from the customer side and if they can find someone who will listen to them, charge less, and do what they say they will go there. If you have a lot of illegals or Spanish speaking employees you do add the risk of that happening, and although you may not mind because you have cheap labor and continue to pick up as many as you lose, you're still not living up to your full potential as a businessman.....Having a bi-lingual employee is far better than a language barrier in my opinion..

    And that also goes for the employer learning to communicate in their (employee) language as well, the older someone gets the harder it is for them to learn and truly understand another language, so being able to explain to someone in a different way can only help you more...
  4. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    Yeah the language barrier is a real pain... especially on the phone... work order change is pretty difficult. One of my crews has GPS, so I never have to worry about them getting lost or finding a job. It is pretty sweet. Luckily most of my guys have been pretty loyal this year. I try to help them any way I can... I will let them borrow anything, truck, power equipment, even loans. I really wish I would dedicate myself to learn more spanish... that would probably make my life much easier.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    El idioma nunca me ha creado un problema, lo qué encuentro problemático son los precios pues los inmigrantes generalmente no se han familiarizado con la esquemática norteamericana.
    Yo no tengo empleados y no pienso que tendré cuales en el futuro, aunque el español si tiene sus ventajas con algunos clientes.

    El único otro problema es el teclado norteamericano no tiene los caracteres especiales como el acento y la ñ. :laugh:
  6. corey4671

    corey4671 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,931

    I don't get it. WHY should WE as AMERICANS be forced to learn a foriegn language?If we were to go to Mexico, do you really think folks there would bend over backwards to learn English just to acomodate us?
  7. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    I need to change my Co name to All American lawn service.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    In my line of work, residential service the language barrier is both a blessing and a curse. The good thing is Spanish speaking labor does not talk to the customer. I see this as a plus clients may not. I don't like anyone other than the foreman on the job talking to clients beyond a hello, nice day etc. I dread labor talking to clients besides loosing productivity can only cause problems. With that said I really have little problems with Spanish speakers now as everyone in my company speaks English.

    In the past I have worked with hundreds of Spanish speakers. You have only asked for the language issues so I will try and keep to those, typical problems are;

    Different dialects from one part of the country to different countries.

    Clients tell Spanish speaker something and the only words they know is Ok and they say it very clearly giving the impression that they understood what was said. The information is never passed along and client feels ignored.

    The culture in general does not like to acknowledge their shortcomings and will not ask questions.

    They are easily embarrassed and will not even try and speak English even though they may understand it very well.

    Even if they can speak English reading is a whole other problem, so you are limited to what they can remember. Punch lists unless they are phonetically written, written in Spanglish or hieroglyphics will not be completed. You will be limited to doing a walk through explaining each item on the near worthless punch list and then doing the same thing over again after they have completed what they remembered.

    All this is generalizations of course and there are exceptions to every rule. The younger guys seem to be more willing to adapt even though the older workers may be the better employee.
  9. twj721

    twj721 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    Big problem I do not speak spanish and I donot live in Mexico this is America nd English is the language here so if they don t speak English there is a language barrier and thus we try not to deal with them . INMOM IF YOU WANT TO COME TO AMERICA AND LIVE AND WORK LEARN THE LANUAGE WHICH IS ENGLISH :usflag: :usflag: :usflag: : IF NOT GO BACK TO TO MEXICO :usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :usflag: :usflag:
  10. gilatplc

    gilatplc LawnSite Senior Member
    from FL
    Messages: 330

    In a nearby county the elementary school’s there are trying to adopt some of the Hispanic culture traditions because it is over run with the Hispanic population there I, E, more Spanish speaking teachers, all sigh’s at the school to also read in Spanish, (I stop watching the news after that)

    I do not currently employ Hispanic’s at this time (I'm solo right now). But me and my business partner have discussed this extensively and I believe the best solution that I'm going to try is having a non-Hispanic foreman over looking his crew and equipment.

    I have head a lot of complaints from homeowners that the last company just had a crew of Hispanic and I just didn’t like that so I fired them.

    In one hand I think its best if “I” stay out there with all resadencahl customers and get crew’s to work on the commeracl’s accounts, but I will cross that bridge when I’m there.

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