Take home vehicles for employees

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by POPO4995, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    I leave em around back, unlocked with the keys in the ignition. If one of my guys needs a truck they just come over and get one. Long as they don't take my truck I'm cool with it. My guys live 2 and 4 streets over, it's not like they're going to be hard to find.

    Both of them are in farming families, so sometimes they need an extra truck/trailer. Especially around harvest.

    My biggest peeve is if they bring them back empty, there's a CFN card clipped to the visor for Christs sake. Just fill the damn thing up.
  2. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    No, for reasons to vast to list, but their has been rare occasions and emergency's
  3. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 38,107

    Never said you had to bend over backwards to be Mr. Nice Guy. Tough love, like your kids. My dad would do anything for me, but if I screwed up, I knew it.
  4. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    One of my guys keeps bugging me to take one of my trucks and use it for personal use because it "Just sits there." (its a spare plow truck).

    I keep telling him no, because I see no good coming from it.
  5. DuallyVette

    DuallyVette LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,865

    I think that a great way to lose an employee, is to give him a vehicle for his personal use. A friend loaned a truck to a crew leader who's car was broken. A month later...still no repaired car. Now you OWE the employee a vehicle, insurance, and fuel. Why WOULD he fix his car...yours is a better deal.

    I have a new policy about loaning out my trucks and equipment after some things came back abused.. NO
  6. mudmaker

    mudmaker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 156

    To me it depends on the job and the employee. If the employee has to come to the shop in the morning anyway then there is no use unless you are trying to offer him/her a pickup as a fringe. If it saves a trip to the shop in the morning it may lead to a more productive employee.
  7. 11hourharvester

    11hourharvester LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Company use of a vehicle is a taxable fringe benefit as declared by the IRS. Also, the company is liable for any accidents or damages during that time, so it increases your insurance rates if you are honest about it. There are lots of pros and cons but you would be best advised to discuss what's best for YOUR company with your accountant.
  8. 360ci

    360ci LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 998

    I think there are a lot of factors involved here.

    First off, if an employee, or crew chief is assigned a vehicle and it's parked at the shop every night, it depends on his/her attitude. If he seems respectable, honest, cares about vehicles, I would allow a few days use if necessary. I also believe in proper pay for the work. I look at the value quotient. How much is that worker worth to you, as compared to what others are getting in the industry? I've worked upper management and know how it works. Take a CEO for example. He's given a salary based upon the amount of revenue that comes into the company. If the company nets ten million dollars in a year, and there are no more than fifty employees, I'd work out a salary figure of roughly 3%, not including sales/yearly bonuses, etc. $300K you say? Yes. They manage the whole works, and VP's would get 0.75-1.75% of the net operating profit, plus bonuses, etc. The average employee might get $40-60K, but if one of them came to me, or another manager, with a way that we can increase production, better handle product, etc. I would give them a percentage of the profit that the procedure in question would add to my bottom line at the end of the year, should I decide to implement it. There's no better suggestion box than the general employee to obtain ideas.

    As an example; if this employee mentioned I could save money by getting a cordless headset for the key warehouse personnel, saving time from them going to and from the shipping/receiving office to answer the phone, I'd save hundreds of dollars a year in otherwise wasted man hours. Say I saw a deduction of man hours and overtime (overtime especially can get costly) of 100 hours a year at a combined rate of $2175.00 saved, I'd give that employee a bonus cheque (one time) for $217.50, or ten percent.

    It helps build trust, plain and simple. This also encourages other employes to find ways that we can be more efficient.

    So getting back to lawncare: If I knew an employee of mine wasn't cautious, or more or less a 'hot shot' after he became more comfortable driving and working for me, I'd discourage any after hour vehicle use. If he was still well mannered, easy to get along with and can be reached at any time, I wouldn't have a problem 'loaning' out my vehicle.

    Keep in mind that if the employee does take the vehicle home, you'll be liable as all the employee has to say is "Um, well, judge dude, um, he loaned it to me!"

    Company writing on the vehicle or not, it's still YOUR property. I'd rather have my company logo on the vehicle if I loaned it out. This way, if anyone you know sees the vehicle in a not so good location (ie bar), you'll know about it. However, you use this for future use. If the employee asks for the vehicle for a second or third night after you found out he was out late at night with it, you can lie and say you need it. You don't have to give employees any excuses. As I used to say; **** might go down, but the smell most definitely rises!

    It also brings up other issues as well. Such as workman's compensation or WSIB (in Ontario). Should the employee get into an accident with a tree or pole, is he liable to take time off work for his injuries at the company's expense (premium goes up). Sometimes an accident is all it takes to know how someone is truly composed. Once you be the nice guy and let them take the vehicle, they can, and sometimes will try, to take more. Putting a limit on company vehicle use is what I would do. Allow it if they seem confident, and if you plain don't trust the person, say no. Just don't allow yourself to let them abuse the system. The best thing is to create a policy on the matter and file it away, or give the staff a copy after they sign it. Making any misuse after hours their own liability. Obviously you'll need a lawyer to get it done right so you protect your own behind should the inevitable happen.

    Going back to upper management and my factory worker example above:
    Upper management staff generally travel. If the travel is extensive enough (30% or more) I would grant them, and lease a company vehicle for their own use. If it's less than 30% but greater than 10% I'd grant them a lease as well, but with limited use that they cannot take home. If travel is less than 10%, I'd give them the going mileage rate, and ask they use their own vehicle. If they quibble about it, I'll allow a car share plan where two managers have use of the same vehicle that neither can take home.

    Now, the average worker who goes to work, does his job and goes home, doesn't require a company vehicle. If I required something right away, and a staff member had the time to go and run this errand, then they would get to use a company vehicle for this purpose, as it's no overhead on their part and their personal vehicle stays parked. Never would I just allow a staff member a company vehicle who didn't need to use it for work. Perhaps if it was an emergency I would, but I'd want to keep in contact with this person (ie cell phone). If they didn't have a way to keep in contact, I wouldn't allow it, period. I value my assets and go out of my way to better serve my employees, but just don't go to far, or it'll be expected of you, and more staff will want the walking shoes to imprint your face with. Cleats hurt!

    I would allow my brother to use my vehicles, only because I know where he lives, and not only myself, but my dad would definitely rough him up! Any other employees know that you cannot touch them, talk them down, etc. I would use your own judgment on whether or not to let a staff member use a company vehicle.

    As for fuel, and maintenance, that goes with the 'loan' deal. If a trusted staff member wishes to use a vehicle, I'd politely ask them for cash towards fuel use, or keep track of mileage used that's not on company time, and get them to reimburse you if it's that big of a deal. UHAUL rate is $0.49/km in Canada, so you could easily charge $0.45/km and if they don't want to do that, tell them to go to Uhaul, rent a vehicle for the night for $19.99, PLUS mileage.

    As I am my own accountant, I wouldn't mind someone borrowing my vehicle for a night or two until they get their personal vehicle back on the road. If they decide not to repair their vehicle, then do not allow continued use of the company truck. If they whine and complain, tell him that it's your truck, you pay the lease. If the employee lived in town, I might extend an extra courtesy of another night or two, but fuel does add up fast with a big V8, not to mention tire wear, etc. Roads with low traffic also generally carry more debris, such as nails, etc. Loaning out your truck could result in a new tire or two, something that can't be done through insurance and is essentially a regular maintenance item anyhow. Besides, as I don't have a truck to spare to anyone, my answer would be no.
  9. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,797

    We are a service company ( irrigation) My guys have been with me for 10 yrs. They start their day from their homes and end it there.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    it would be great for the employees bt i do not think it would be good for the company. i see company trucks being beat on all the time. the employees do whatever they feel like cause its not thier truck

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