Stolen Equipment - what would you do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jason Pallas, Nov 9, 2001.

  1. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    My second crew had a 5hp Giant Vac stolen from the job site this week. All 3 guys walked in the backyard for 2 minutes (idiots) - and it was gone. Here's my dilema. It's the 5 or 6th piece of equipment that this crew has lost this year. The first couple of trimmers and stick edgers I paid to replace. This blower was about $450.
    The crew consists of a crew chief that is paid about $700 for 30hrs and 2 other workers that make about $300 ea a week.
    I told them the blower would have to be replaced - whether they found the stolen blower (yeah - good luck in Detroit!), purchased a comparable used one (hard to find) or bought a new one.
    They're all quite indignant as they feel "it wasn't their fault". The crew chief has been with me for 3 years but the other two have only been here for a couple of months and this IS the first piece of equipment that they've lost. The other stuff went missing earlier in the year.
    Here's my questions to you, my fellow LCOs:
    Is it unreasonable for them to be accountable for the replacement of this blower?
    If so, what percentage should each pay? (i.e: 100% crew chief, 33% each, more for the guy that left the trailer unattended, 50% crew chief and 25% for ea. of the others).

    Your input is greatly appreciated as the wife (co-owner) and I have been fighting like mad over this. Thanks
  2. stick9

    stick9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    Decide for yourself if these three people are worth the cost of the missing/stolen equipment. If they are, tell them "the next one is on you" obviously meaning that anything else that is 'missing/stolen/lost/blown up/confiscated' is THEIR responsibility ...

    if they aren't worth it, charge 'em for it! I would say 50% crew chief [since you're paying him to be responsible for YOUR stuff], 25/25 for the other guys. You should tell them that you will take a certain percentage out of their checks until the debt is payed in full. And if they won't pay,it's unfortunately time to hit the want ads.

    Where are you in the detroit area?

  3. keifer

    keifer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    That is a hard one did you tell the cheif up front that he was responable for theaft or lost tools. Where the workers aware of this. Did you have insurance?
  4. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Eastside - Harper Woods, Grosse Pointes, etc... it was stolen 11/5 on the far northeast side - (Cadieux and 1-94 area).

    No insurance for theft - I made the chief pay for the last $200 trimmer they lost (he admitted it was mostly his fault). I never explicitly made them aware that they'd be responsible - but after 5-6 pieces gone this year I thought they'd know their "freebies" quota had been met.
  5. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :blob3: if the crew left with the equipt. and did'nt return with whose fault do they think it is? If you shorted them 2 hours on their pay it would be your fault, maybe not done on purpose but still your fault and your problem to fix.
    Had this happen about 5 years ago, guys did'nt come in with a backpack, 3 guys on the crew i asked were it was nobody knew and i told them they bought me a new blower.
    Since, i think we may have lost a shovel, the reason being is i inventoried each piece of equip. and made a sign-out sheet. I let them know that if the equipt. does'nt match there sheet they are responsible, i think the missing tools will come to an end T

    P.S. if anyone would like a copy of my sign-out sheet just e-mail me your fax # and will be happen to send, and help you get started.
  6. keifer

    keifer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    One other little tidbit I have a trimmer trap on my trailer that locks plus they make alot of stuff to lock up your tools like backpacks and so on.
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    "My second crew had a 5hp Giant Vac stolen from the job site this week. "

    The thief did you a favor. Now you have the opportunity to replace that small-frame homeowner unit with a mid-frame commercial 8hp or 11hp that will improve productivity.
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    JP it sounds to me like someone is doing just that "confiscating" your equipment to save themselves the cost of the machinery.

    I would almost guarantee that they have also (a). stolen 50-60 ft of line at a clip to stockpile in their own garage to fill those empty circular dispensers (b). refurbished your trimmers (c). and stick edger ,,,

    Seriously sounds to me as though they are going to nickle and dime you out of the necessary hand helds needed for their own outfit. I bet they figured the wheeled blower was a better grab this late in the season than your bp.

    I would do some serious searching and then do some deadly ass-kickin.

    I also agree with Bill that you now have the opportunity for better equipment, however this is not the best way of going about it I will agree with you there.

    Good luck my friend.
  9. Chuck Sinclair

    Chuck Sinclair LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 336

    You might want to check your laws in your state, here in ca we can NOT charge them for it unless the sign a statement saying we can deduct from their pay.
  10. a1 lawncare

    a1 lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    whenever i purchase a new piece of equipment i engrave stolen from my name/biz name , even on the blowers in the plastic, on the shaft, where ever, also in several places, it takes time and it does not stop the stealling, it does however slow it down, can you imagine the sick sob using the equipment for personel use, man i hate a thief. i don't understand a thiefs mind but maybe just maybe seeing the name/company name he realizes selling this, what seams to be machine that has just been run because its so warm, won't be so easy..

    good luck man i hope your stuff shows back up,


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