what to do with employees in the winter

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawn dogg, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. lawn dogg

    lawn dogg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    Just wondering how everybody keeps guys busy this time of year , we are doing a couple of small jobs a week but not enough for a full work week. been finding small things to do , but you dont have but so much service work to do. just getting tired of finding things for them to do. our work pool is not very deep around here and cant afford to let them go , since im going to really need them soon. what does everybody else do,just keep paying them and hope the weather breaks soon.
  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,203

    The last couple weeks we did some tree jobs and mulch jobs and cut down some bushes to size. We have a wide variety of commericial like HOA, hotels, resturants, and retail. Got a landscape job at one resturant that will take about 3 weeks. Got a lot of irrigation work that we prefer to do in the winter so we do very detail inspections looking for stuff. One advantage of having a good size customer base is you can put out some advertisement that you are looking for work and usually you get it.
  3. lawn dogg

    lawn dogg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    Im going to do some advertising next week just waiting on print co to get things finished . we feel that everything we can get now is a bonus , really just trying to keep all the guys happy with enough hours. I would imagine there are alot of LCO's in the same boat as i am . just getting tired of the break ready to get wide open again.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,933

    If you are of the mind set that wishes to help others, you may consider an idea of another local contractor.

    He didn't want to lay off his people, but had lots of extra time. He volunteered to do some work at a local facility that works with people of low income. It operates with only volunteer labor of those in the community, and monetary donations from various benefactors. The facility needed work done, such as organizing, and building racks and shelves. The facility offers some meals, and donated clothing for those not able to pay. A few part days with a couple of men did a great work to provide them a building upgrade for storage and organizing their clothing donations.

    This was a way of providing some much needed services of labor, and provided the facility with a much needed upgrades to meet their needs. The slack time for a couple of employees was wisely utilized. It was a win-win.

    Don't ask me about tax write-offs; I have no idea how in-kind services are handled.

    So, rather than a couple of people sitting around, playing cards, make some use of their time. Look around. I'm sure there are places that need this kind of help.
  5. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,131

    I don't have any employees so I am just speculating here. Can't you lay them off and let them collect unemployment until you need them again? Hopefully they won't find anything and if you are honest with them they should understand.
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,933

    I don't have any employees either. But, I am told by another contractor, not in green industry, but other seasonal services, that he did what you suggest -- the first year in business. After the unemployment insurance was collected by those he laid off, the insurance rates skyrocketed, never to return. After that, he opted to keep his people on payroll, despite little or no work. This kept them from collecting from the insurance -- apparently, the practice thought to be less expensive than paying higher insurance rates.

    I know some on LS have commented that their rates don't go up because their laid off employees collect. But, that assessment begs the question about what the rates might be if no employees had ever collected off the insurance. In other words, once a practice of seasonal collection is followed, the rates will be adjusted high enough to cover those collections.

    Why are those drivers of "high risk" paying higher premiums to insure their vehicle? Or conversely, why are those who have exhibited safe driving records given breaks on their insurance rates for their vehicle? The insurance that pays out has to adjust rates to cover the expenses of those payouts.
  7. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    Hiring only temp workers though a temp agency eliminates all those "how do I keep them busy?" worries.

    It's got it's own set of problems but temps eliminate workers comp, cash advances, sabotage of equipment or some types of theft, payroll hassles, keeping them busy hassles, how do you fire the dipstick hassles and the list does go on.


    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    The irony is...most of the year when you have work, they don't want to work. Then when there's no work, they want to work. You can't win, and can't shoot 'em.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This is seasonal work ...
  10. stick9

    stick9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    When I worked in the biz, it was assumed I was going to get 3 or 4 months off living in Detroit. People plan on working thru the winter months in the north/east? Weird.

    I was always offered the opportunity to plow, but always really enjoyed the time off. I made enough during the 8/9 months to take 3 or 4 months off.

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