To keep or not to keep...

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Red Shed Landscaping, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    It's time to be a boss, employees are not your friends.
  2. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    The days they didn't come to work don't include all many many rain days we had off as well.

    They both took today off as well.

    I usually start new people off in the $11-12 range and both are getting $12 and $12.40/hr. The one guy going to the dentist all the time has his cdl so him and I are the one who can drive the trucks so that sucks a little if I let him go.

    Sometimes I wish I could hire some Hispanics but they only want to work in the factories around here and we don't have many in this area.

    When in the hiring process they all seem like they are going to be good workers when I talk to them and say they are hard working and willing to do whatever it takes but then there is reality.
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,619

    12.00 / hr

    Right there is the problem.

    They can make more than that waiting tables.

    In 1995 my mowing guys were getting 14 / hr. and they mowed with nice John Deere tractors.

    Would you get out of bed to do strenuous physical labor for $98 / day? Even less after taxes
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  4. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I will gladly pay more when they prove to me they deserve it. When they don't have experience and don't know their work ethic at first that's what they start out at. If they have experience I will gladly pay more. For the good people I have had, I paid them at least $14-18/hr.

    Most of the other landscape companies around the area start at $8-10/hr for a laborer. Our area is fairly cheap living since all the construction, mechanics, and other service businesses charge in the range from $38-65/hr.
  5. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I wish I could be paying guys in the $20-$30 range so that they could make it more of a career and not just a job. That is hard to afford when only charging $42/hr though. Not one person so far has showed me even the slightest bit that they want or can take on responsibility or initiative. If I am not there they won't do much. When someone will show me they have the drive to try and get stuff done then I will gladly pay more or is that thinking backwards? Should I start out paying more? I put an ad on craig's list twice and only got 6 replies.
  6. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I pay my best guys 26 an hour and they only do their day, not more than that. My hardest workers are making 16. They all do what they're told though.
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,619

    Redshed, I'm finding as we talk back and forth here, more and more info is coming out. Like therapy!

    You tone of your posts sound negative. That's the first strike.

    "If they do this" and "if they do that".

    It works both ways.

    You gotta give employees incintive to want to be with you. You gotta give them incentive to want to come push a wheel Burroughs in 100 degree heat for you. That's the first step.

    What we're going to do Redshed is first examine you. So many employers whine and whine about their workers - when really the problem is the employer himself.

    If you want good people you have to offer them
    Good reason to be there. Good people go where good opportunities exist. Bad people scrub off the bad opportunities.

    Red shed - you did not answer my question. Would you do that work for $12/hr??

    Next question Redshed - tell us about the work. You mow grass? Alotta wheel borrough work? Hand carry block and pavers?? All machines?
  8. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    Yes I think I need some therapy. :laugh:

    First of if I was just starting out and had no experience I wouldn't mind working for $12/hr and know that with time and proving my self that I should be able to make more but has to be earn. That is my mentality and will pay more for experience but haven't had anyone with experience yet.

    We mainly only do hardscapes and softscapes. Once in a while we trim shrubs and trees. This type of job like many of you know takes a lot of knowledge to do right. Have to know about the different types of soil and how water affects the landscape, know about construction of houses and the list goes on.

    I mentioned in the job posting that hard work and an interest in the job they do will be compensated. I have mentioned to both of them many times that if they work hard and make the company money than I can afford to pay them more but has had little effect on them. The one guy is constantly making mistakes that could be avoided. For example being lazy to move an extension cord out of the way of the skid loader but instead "thought" it was out of the way and was turning all over it to chew it up.

    I would love to be positive and try to but when they are constantly letting me down its hard. I keep trying to remind myself we all make mistakes but 2 or 3 times a day can be overwhelming.
  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,619

    There is a little company called Coca-Cola. Every person they hire starts out on the bottom. Setting up store displays. The pay is rock bottom low. Coca-Cola does this on purpose, because they see it as a test. A test where only the strong and the determined survive. Coca-Cola is a great company to work for - once you move up. The pay is great, plenty of room for opportunity, and you can relocate to ANYWHERE in the country.

    There is a little company called United Parcel Service (UPS). Most of their employees start on the bottom, loading delivery trucks from 4am to 8 am. The pay is terribly low. Once you start moving up - the pay gets much much better. Again, UPS starts out low, starts you at a crazy work shift (4-8 am), as they see it as a test. A test where only the strong and determined survive. UPS is a great company, the drivers make great money and benefits. Room for advancement, and you can transfer to ANYWHERE in the country.

    OK, I agree with this mentality.

    But it won't work for a small or a medium size employer. And that's because - we offer very little room, if any at all, for advancement.

    Yes, I would go to work at UPS or Coca-Cola for $12.00 / hr.

    But I would NOT go work at a company like mine or Red Shed's for $12.00 / hr. And this is because me and Red Shed offer little opportunity of advancement. The only one that has a chance of advancing at my company is my 9.5 yr old, who knows our work, and is encouraged to one day run my company.

    With UPS or Coca-Cola, I know I have the opportunity to make $60-80K per year.

    If you want good people you gotta offer some sort of incentive. Mark my words - unless you change something, whether its hiring Hispanics, or coughing up more dinero - you will ALWAYS face this problem
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  10. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I finally figured out why this year is so much worse. Every other year or employee I have had all been referrals from someone I know or already knew them. This year I have had to hire complete unknowns.

    The second guy that I asked you guys about quit yesterday after I gave him a 90 day performance review and an Attendance warning letter. Guess he didn't like me suggesting the things he needed work on.

    Now I hired a different kid today that was referred from my sister and he did an awesome job. He has a construction background from his family business. The only problem is that he is just working for a month or 2 until a job opens up on the windmill farm. I will see if I can pay him enough to stay but is pretty hard to compete with the wind farm.

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