Stop breaking my equipment!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bunton Guy, May 9, 2006.

  1. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,909

    How do you stop employees from breaking equipment? I mean careless accidents?

    We have had a hard time comming across decent laborers this year. So getting rid of all employees isnt a answer to our issue.

    Today a guy didn't feel like putting a blower up into its rack so he left it next to a mower on the trailer. In commute to another acount the mower shifter violently because he didn't tie it down either and it broke through 2 loops where the back straps are tied to. Not only that but the throttle trigger assembly was torn off of the tube. Last week another guy forgot to tighten the trimmer trap and 1 trimmer took a trip on the highway. Few weeks before they did the same thing only one side of the trap was closed and the engine of the trimmer popped out of the rack and onto the spinning trailer tire. Which ground right through the fuel tank on the trimmer.

    I could go on for an hour of damage this season from workers. As is they come and go so quickly due to lack of motivation or personal problems. What do you guys do to prevent damage to your equipment?:hammerhead:
  2. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,004

    hire salvidorians
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This issue has been discussed before and it appears the solution of choice is a bonus-based pay scheme. Basically, all employees get x-amount of their check as a bonus, but should they break something due to whatever reason, then a percentage of their bonus is taken as compensation for the company's loss.

    As a rule, owners don't take out the entire cost of the repair or the replacement, but they do take out a percentage the employee can feel and remember, and this seems to help.

    Money talks, lol.
  4. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    tell all new emplyees and present ones "you pay for anything broken." If no one owns up, charge the whole crew. It will make everyone conscience about what they are doing. Been doing it to golf course workers for a couple of years. hope this helps.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    This may not necessarily stop the breakage, but at my old job we logged every repair. Our mechanic would list each part used and it's cost, plus his labor expense, and we'd itemize it so they could see just how much their ignorance cost the business. Then we would post a running tally every month, aka "The Damage Report" so they could see who was costing the company the most a little embarrassment never hurt.

    In cases of clear stupidity we would go over the repair with them, and show them why it was making less and less sense to keep them employed.
  6. sikagrass

    sikagrass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    My expierience has been that it is usually the same bonehead trying to mulch up stumps etc. Have a meeting with everybody and at least threaten to take action if such careless things occur again, make an example if you have to.Had a guy the other day leave the trashcan and the grabber (30.00) clear across town the other day, he wont forget that chewing soon.
  7. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    Have a meeting with all your employees present. Tell them that there is way to much equipment being broke due to not having equipment handled corectly, neglect or incompitence. Tell them that any future equipment breakage due to neglect or inconpitence or that could have been avoided by putting it away correctly or damage due to useing it incorrectly will be deducted from their paychecks.
  8. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,459

    Welcome to the real world.

  9. Jnamo

    Jnamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    I love the idea of the damage report.
    Anytime you can make people feel like they are a part of the company and not just an employee, it will help in their attitudes and work ethic. Each week a different guy on the truck is responsible for checking everything before the truck leaves. Could be the shotgun guy. Make a game of it (with bonuses) whoever has no accidents gets x amount of cash or maybe dinner out (them and their lady, you and the wife at a nice steak joint)- something? Be creative- ask them what type of action you should take-this gives them ownership of the problem and the solution.
    If it is always the same guy-"Step into my office...because your f****** fired man!"
    Equipment is too expensive to be lazy with.
    Just some ideas! Good luck, be safe.
  10. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    Just so you know, that is illegal and will cause DOL to shut you down with fines.

    Now if you set up a bonus system you are fine. I pay my employees less than I normally would and make it up in bonus.

    Here is my plan:


    Each person in a crew is able to earn a $25 bonus each week.
    For each week that no equipment is lost, stolen or damaged due to user error or neglect, the bonus is accumulated. The bonus is paid in the last paycheck of the month if the entire month has no operator caused equipment losses or failures. If there is a problem, the bonus money is used to fix the problem and any remaining money is issued as a bonus. This includes vehicles.

    Example #1: Crew 1 leaves a blower on site and it is stolen in June.
    5 Mondays in June $125 potential bonus per employee
    3 man crew total bonus $375
    Replacement blower $423
    No bonus issued Lost bonus per employee $125

    Example #2: Crew 2 backs over an edger and destroys the shaft in May.
    5 Mondays in May $125 potential bonus per employee
    3 man crew total bonus $375
    Replacement shaft housing and labor $135
    Bonus issued $245 or $81.66 per person Lost bonus per employee $43.34

    Doing this puts the power in their hands and you don't have to be the bad guy deducting from their check and have DOL all over you. They will self police. Johnny ruins an edger, the other guys will ride him into the ground over costing them $43.34. I mean that was beer money for the weekend and that is hitting them where it hurts.

Share This Page