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  • Employee job training step by step (not handbook)

    So, I am trying to put some systems in place to train new employees how to trim or cut etc., a lawn efficiently and use the equipment properly. Basically a manual that a foreman can use for a standardized way to train new hires to do the work the way it needs to be done for my company. Has anyone attempted this and has any advice or maybe a sample I could turn into my own? I am going to turn over the reigns to a foreman this year and I just want to make sure everyone is doing things the way that I have found after years of experience to be the most efficient and highest quality. I am not looking for an employee handbook which seems to be the only thing I can find as I have tried to research this subject. Obviously its not rocket science but it would be nice to compare notes so to speak.

  • #2
    We all do things a little different, sometimes a lot different! lol If you trained the foreman, he should be able to explain how things are to be done to new employees.
    Not everyone is a good teacher even though they can do it good themselves. Wont know what you have until you have him try and train a few new guys.

    Keep in mind, new guys with so called experience tend to have their own way of doing things and can be difficult to bust old habits.

    More "rocket science" to this than most think! lol
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    • #3
      I want to point out there are two lawn care employee manuals here that you can download and see if any of the content can be used in your guide.

      There is another lawn care employee manual located here.

      A discussion here on eye safety for your manual.

      A discussion on step by step procedures for employees.

      There is just a ton more information on here about how what pattern to mow a lawn, if you should trim before or after you mow, how to deal with mechanical breakdowns etc etc.



      What you might want to do is to reflect what you do through your day and start taking notes. As you do this, you will create a documented process of how you handle the different aspects of your job. Then it can be handed to an employee to recreate it.

      I'd love to hear some of what you focus on and that may inspire others to add to it.
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      • #4
        Brookline,
        Here's what I do. All new hires who come on board must go through my 2-day training period. Basically, they agree to train with all necessary equipment needed to maintain one's grounds at my residence. If they nail it in only one day, that's great but they get no more than two to prove themselves. I pay them minimum wage in cash while training. Upon completion, they immediately receive a $3 to $5 an hour raise depending on how they performed.
        Please note that this training period does not cover pesticide application, weed/plant identification, or equipment maintenance. It only covers how to properly maintain turf and shrubs using the tools available. The tasks where most people have failed is edging a concrete driveway with a string trimmer at a walking pace, and trimming shrubs with a 2-stroke hedge trimmer.
        integritylawnpro.com

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        • #5
          Basically, they agree to train with all necessary equipment needed to maintain one's grounds at my residence.
          Any tips on the best way to train them? And how do you break up the training throughout the day?
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          • #6
            This is interesting. I am a "check list kind of guy" and think this could be helpful to eliminate a LOT of training and "I didn't know" problems. While this particular topic is outside my area of expertise, I completely understand why you would ask.
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            • #7
              I have been planning to do this also. The plan is to put systems into place that will help staff learn more efficiently and be able to carry out tasks.

              I am working on creating check lists for daily tasks that need to be fulfilled, like maintenance on equipment, cleaning and basic routines. These are things that when we get busy seem to be less likely to be completed.

              My other plan is to create simple training VIDEOS that we can use for all new hires to view. Videos only have to be 1 or 2 minute videos covering specific tasks ie.. mowing, string trimming, blowing off walks, drives, patios. Hedge trimming etc....

              You can create a private channel on youtube that is password protected. When you hire a new person, they view videos and know what is expected.
              Then take them out and see what they can or cannot do.
              If they suck, then let them go somewhere else.

              I think videos are easier to create than writing all of this down. We all have smart phones with video capabilities. Creating and loading them to youtube is seemless.

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              • #8
                Any tips on the best way to train them? And how do you break up the training throughout the day?
                I train them first on how to mow. This includes knowing the proper height for the type of turf, and they MUST mow pretty stripes that are ARROW STRAIT with MINIMAL OVERLAP. Next comes string trimming, and then edging with a steel blade. Blowing down follows. I call these the Essential Four.
                Once the new hire is proficient with the aforementioned, we move on to edging with a string trimmer, and trimming shrubs. This is where nearly everyone chokes because these two tasks are the most technical. They require a steady hand, good balance, a sharp eye, and focus. Pass these two, and you will be offered a permanent position, a hefty base pay raise, 5% commission off the gross everything you sell (you can create your own overtime with this one too), and a COMPANY FUNDED PENSION after 3 years (look up "SEP"). Other perks include Christmas bonus, company cell phone, and performance bonuses. For a newbie to earn $35K to $40K their first year is achievable. They just have to want to win. I have yet to get a candidate who makes it through training, so should I end up staying solo, so be it.
                integritylawnpro.com

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                • #9
                  I train them first on how to mow. This includes knowing the proper height for the type of turf, and they MUST mow pretty stripes that are ARROW STRAIT with MINIMAL OVERLAP. Next comes string trimming, and then edging with a steel blade. Blowing down follows. I call these the Essential Four.
                  Once the new hire is proficient with the aforementioned, we move on to edging with a string trimmer, and trimming shrubs. This is where nearly everyone chokes because these two tasks are the most technical. They require a steady hand, good balance, a sharp eye, and focus. Pass these two, and you will be offered a permanent position, a hefty base pay raise, 5% commission off the gross everything you sell (you can create your own overtime with this one too), and a COMPANY FUNDED PENSION after 3 years (look up "SEP"). Other perks include Christmas bonus, company cell phone, and performance bonuses. For a newbie to earn $35K to $40K their first year is achievable. They just have to want to win. I have yet to get a candidate who makes it through training, so should I end up staying solo, so be it.
                  Like that

                  When I was in construction, we had a booklet, actually several of them depending on the level we were working at.
                  It had every skill needed for that level, with some information on what that skill really was. You had to learn the skill, and have a supervisor sign off each skill as proficient. When you finished one booklet you got a raise and a new booklet for the next level. Supervisors or someone who was a skill level above you were required to train you for each skill. This was also one of the things required to get out that book.

                  This is some thing that seems logical to someone who has experience in the field. Also included is doing things safely according to OHSA.

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                  • #10
                    I have been planning to do this also. The plan is to put systems into place that will help staff learn more efficiently and be able to carry out tasks.

                    I am working on creating check lists for daily tasks that need to be fulfilled, like maintenance on equipment, cleaning and basic routines. These are things that when we get busy seem to be less likely to be completed.

                    My other plan is to create simple training VIDEOS that we can use for all new hires to view. Videos only have to be 1 or 2 minute videos covering specific tasks ie.. mowing, string trimming, blowing off walks, drives, patios. Hedge trimming etc....

                    You can create a private channel on youtube that is password protected. When you hire a new person, they view videos and know what is expected.
                    Then take them out and see what they can or cannot do.
                    If they suck, then let them go somewhere else.

                    I think videos are easier to create than writing all of this down. We all have smart phones with video capabilities. Creating and loading them to youtube is seemless.
                    That's a business idea for someone. Make videos and charge a few bucks per month for unlimited access. There are non-landscaper models of this idea out there.

                    Either way, great plan on the videos.
                    One of a dying breed; the servicing dealer. A Servicing Dealer services what they sell and are factory certified to make these repairs. Find & support them.

                    B&S Master Service Technician, Kohler Expert Technician & Honda Engine Technician. Website

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                    • #11
                      Pass these two, and you will be offered a permanent position
                      Ok so otherwise are they kept on with a temporary status or are they just cut loose?
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                      • #12
                        Ok so otherwise are they kept on with a temporary status or are they just cut loose?
                        They are cut loose. I used to be one to give them more time to become proficient, but that ended up costing me money and customers. It's five pieces of equipment, Steve...five. Not twenty, not ten, not eight, FIVE. If one can't learn how to use five tools in two DAYS, something is lacking in the trainee.
                        integritylawnpro.com

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                        • #13
                          They are cut loose. I used to be one to give them more time to become proficient, but that ended up costing me money and customers. It's five pieces of equipment, Steve...five. Not twenty, not ten, not eight, FIVE. If one can't learn how to use five tools in two DAYS, something is lacking in the trainee.
                          I hired one guy who could mow straight as an arrow, could not trim worth a ****, scalped and missed a lot. I kept him on to mow, I and another guy did all the hand work.

                          I had to work harder than I wanted to, but this guy could mow any yard, any slope, and never left a divot. Fast as scat too.

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                          • #14
                            I hired one guy who could mow straight as an arrow, could not trim worth a ****, scalped and missed a lot. I kept him on to mow, I and another guy did all the hand work.

                            I had to work harder than I wanted to, but this guy could mow any yard, any slope, and never left a divot. Fast as scat too.
                            I can see how that may work for you, but efficiency is the name of the game for me. Efficiency equates to higher profit margins, thus, higher profits.
                            integritylawnpro.com

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                            • #15
                              I can see how that may work for you, but efficiency is the name of the game for me. Efficiency equates to higher profit margins, thus, higher profits.
                              You will need to hire guys with the basics down. To be efficient with your men you will need skilled men and to have skilled men you will need to cut into your profit's, and pay them well enough to keep them.
                              Higher efficiency does not always equate to higher profit margins. We as owners can be right now kinda people and this is not as good as some might think.

                              My 2 cents, I would look for guys with the basics down and pay no more than 8.00 per hour to start. Yes a little less efficient, but may become a profitable start.

                              As far as a training manual I feel it is a waist of time, a crew will do what they do, it all comes down to if your happy with it.

                              An old old saying from the old timers I grew up around fits this to a T.

                              You can't train a deer dog to run rabbits.
                              And If you did..... you would be plain damn stupid.

                              Not calling you stupid dude, just passing along some wisdom.

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