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Spanish speaking employees?????

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

  1. apowell18

    apowell18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    Lawnworks---I know what you are saying...I don't plan on ever having an employee, so if I can snag 20 accounts from you guys for speaking English then great. My first customer I got because she could not get them to understand that she wanted bids on several projects in her yard. Just like what was stated before (I can't remember who), these employees do not get messages back to you, the owner. I just made $990 from one of "your" customers (meaning you bigtime LCOs).
  2. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    Unfortunately, you will have to hire employees to make big money. You can only bill out for so many man hours w/ one person. I rarely lose customers b/c some of my guys don't speak fluent english. Usually my guys will call me directly and let the customer speak to me over their phone. And I emphasize to all my customers to call me directly if they want extra work done. Overall the customers are satisfied, because my crews are on time every time, and do an excellent job. It is almost a plus having the language barrier in one reguard, in that there is no time lost in meandering conversation. Time is money.
  3. Waterscapes By Design

    Waterscapes By Design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    This sure is a busy thread.....Whats weird is that everyone keeps stating how they (Spanish speaking employees) are cheaper. The only ones who are cheaper are the illegal aliens though.....If they are legal immigrants then they want the same wages as any other normal American.

    What I see happening quite a bit now is that these Spanish guys get their foot in the door, and start up their own companies themselves (which isnt too hard to do when your living expenses are so low due to living in multiple family homes, and they save save save.)

    Whats gonna happen though, is these people will in turn go back and take your business within a few years. THE GOOD THING...., is that if they refuse to learn the English language we will get the customers back in time.

    Something I see with the Mexican's who are starting their own businesses and who have been here a little bit longer are that they are starting to raise their prices as well, and when they start to raise their prices, and cant communicate very well with the customers it is only hurting them, the reason everyone brings them here and supports them is because they are cheap labor, take that away and once again they just become illegal aliens.

    Greed is everywhere and in everyone of us....Everyone wants just a little bit more, and when these immigrants start wanting that they are shooting themselves in the foot, the only thing they are gambling on is being here long enough that when this type of work is over there will be something new to get into...Problem there though, is that if there isnt, we have more of an influx in crime rates...
  4. DLG

    DLG LawnSite Member
    from fay.nc
    Messages: 9

    Hi! it's true that I'm new here but I have been reading for a couple of month this site. Some of you know what your'are talking about, some of you just said your though (even when is wrong) ,but lets take a look to the original question shall we. What do you think about spanish speaking employee? how the performe? REALITY HITS*trucewhiteflag* spanish speaking doesn't mean illegal or just mexican:nono:
  5. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    The lawn business is the only occupation you've ever had, isn't it? If you had experience in other trades, you'd know that your statement is not true.

    If, in your original "white people suck" post, if you had spoken of the difficulties of motivating American citizens, of any color, to work in the lawn business, when you offer lower pay than many other industries,and no benefits to speak of, I would have agreed with you, and we could have discussed how to find and motivate good people of any color. But no, based on the time you hired your friends,(mistake) you decided that white folk just can't do it.
    Of course, now that you have a mexican crew, what American would want to work with people who don't understand him? Not many.
    Historically, immigrants will take a demeaning job, because they need to make ends meet, and feed their family. They will work hard at a dead-end job for a long time, when an American will strive for something better. Apparently, most of the motivated white folks in your area already have something better than working for you. Like maybe a job with benefits such as health insurance. Do you give health insurance to your guest workers? A paid vacation? Sick days?

    Good luck learning Spanish.
  6. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    Other labor intensive industries such as brick laying, framing houses, highway construction, and many other industries are turning to hispanics... just so they can get the job done.

    Oh believe me I did not mean to single out whites.... I am referring to americans of all colors.

    I have actually had hired and fired 10 other caucasions before these guys. The guys that were my friends actually worked out better than the rest of the white guys I had hired. One of the guys, I paid 33% of whatever he made, and he had a hispanic helping him doing all of the trimming, edging, blowing. Well he couldn't handle the hot work in July, and he WOULD NEVER work on Saturday, and he really hated putting in overtime. The other guy was the same, he NEVER EVER wanted to work Saturday. Then he started getting lazy(even though his crew had two hispanics doing everything but the mowing!). One day he scalped 10 yards b/c he did not go to the dealer and get the mower deck fixed, because he knew it would put him behind and he would have to work Saturday! The other white guys/black guys I have hired are even worse, they don't show up on time, take smoke breaks, and mope around w/ a trimmer!!

    Truth is they don't mind, they know their job will be alot easier w/ a hard working hispanic at there side. In fact, all of the guys that have worked w/ the hispanics have almost developed a friendship w/ them. lol They end up talking spanglish!

    I don't think it is a demeaning job. Some people are made to work w/ there hands. All the sorry ass whites/blacks will work for another lawn care company b/c I am not going to hire them. On a hot summer day, I actually saw a black guy smoking a cigerette and weedeating... I would fire him on the spot if I ever saw that... how productive can that be?

    I don't have health insurance benifits, paid vacation, or sick days. Sorry I not a huge lco, and cannot afford these things, and apparently I don't need them b/c I have some great hispanics working for me.

    Good luck learning Spanish.[/QUOTE]
  7. Eakern & Dog

    Eakern & Dog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    I agree somewhat. However, to expect the same work ethic that you have as an owner from any employee regardless of nationality, is an exercise in motivation. You have to figure out what motivates your personnel on an individual basis. In essence, you learn to become a manager of people rather a manager of work.I think that sometimes it's easier to bring on Latino labor because one believes ( and sometimes falsely so) that Latinos will work harder because they really need the money and have fewer alternatives.
    Culturally,Latinos tend to work in such a way that the "collective family" is the work group and work outside the home is merely a group effort and means to support this collective.......that is why they live together..........ride together..etc... There is less room for the individual in there collective efforts.

    On the other hand,American youth are TOLD that the individual is king and that if you work hard and smart you will be rewarded. But what we SHOW our youth, is a glorification of instant gratification and idolizing a "Living Large " type of wealth. We watch the Paris Hiltons of the world with bated fascination and pay homage to robber barons.We do our youth a disservice when we promote based on friendships rather than merit,award praise to conniving and " back stabber" employees and favor more attractive individuals. All of this we do at sometime or another and this contributes to the erosion of personal work ethic. I have a young nephew that works for me and I listen to him belly ache quite a lot about how sore he is or how tired he is that day. I'm a 40yo woman and have never complained this much ...now... or when I was 23 years old. I watch my in-laws hobble their elderly bodies(72) to work every day and then listen to the excuses of a neighbor's 25 year old son about how he can't work because he was in a fender bender and his wrist was twisted...........the fender bender was a over a year ago ! It's not that American youth can't work hard........it's that they have never been motivated with the intrinsic rewards that come with hard work and starting at the bottom because......well, they don't have to because we are all too busy working our middle aged butts off for them so they can lay around wathcing MTV YO raps.
  8. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I like that theory and I can relate. I tried to install a work ethic in a 18- year old white kid this summer, but after 6 months and poor results I gave up... for now. Parents fail to install work ethic in there kids and make to many excuses for them. They don't want to hurt the kid's self esteem. They don't want to push them, b/c of the self-esteem b/c they are afraid he might fail. This guy constantly moped around everywhere... did things at a slooow pace. 6 months of moping!! Why is this cool? I just can't stand that... I don't care if you do it wrong in training, but I want guys to hustle, and actually work like they give a damn, and try to use there heads and not wait for someone to tell them what there every step should be. I guess the part that pushed me over the edge and made me fire him was that he would constantly tell the other workers he had completed a task... and he hadn't touched it... he lied to the crew leader a few times and refused to admit it. My business is not going to be undermined, while I am trying to help the kid... so I fired him. When I have more money than sense, I really would like to try to install a work ethic into kids. Evidently it might take years b/c of what they have been subject to all their lives. Video games, sleeping in till 12, never knowing responsibility, never being pushed to achieve. I believe if you put your mind to something and work harder than hell at it... anything can happen.

    I think there is some truth in motivating emloyees to succeed. But in my case, I do everything I can... pay good wages, let them borrow whatever tools they need, borrow trucks while theirs is down, loan them money for emergencies, let them off when they need off, treat them like capable people, and I don't know what else I need to do... but this is enough to keep the hispanics around for years.
  9. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    I have seven spanish-speaking employees. I've learned spanish because it was going to be a whole lot faster than waiting for them to figure out enough english to cross the language barrier...took about six months for enough to get by on. I can speak well enough now...can make a joke or two, talk about plans for the weekend etc...but I still need more time to become fluent. In my area, any white, black or other non-hispanic member of the available labor pool comes with some heavy, serious baggage. I'm talking about poor work ethic, drug or alcohol addiction, criminal tendancies etc...my employees know where I live (with my wife and two small children). I hire GOOD PEOPLE, and teach them to become good workers, period. It's unfortunate around here they all happen to be from another country. Having spanish speaking employees often makes my days harder - not easier. Having only white/black employees would make my business...non-existent.
  10. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I agree. It seems that solo operators like to tell the employee driven businesses how to operate. Unforunately I know exactly where you are coming from.

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