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Hiring Help

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Old 05-28-2010, 11:48 PM
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
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Default Hiring Help

An earlier post brought on this idea to discuss with everyone the topic of hiring help.

It's so EASY to find workers for this job, but almost impossible to find HELP for this job.

The idea is to hire someone who is worth the money you spend to have them around. While paying them enough to stay around!

There are so many things to consider when hiring for this type of job.

Our work is physically demanding, & many people who hop on board expect to make a great salary, but that's really not the case.

What you pay your employees may be the same amount they would be making flipping burgers at McDonalds. Though, your hired help automatically expects more money considering he/she will break a sweat during a work day - unlike working at McDonalds etc... McDonalds will seem more convenient to him & be the number one thought on his mind during the tough days. Workers will always feel underpaid.

I DO understand the above... While doing lawn maintenance for another company in my past I felt pretty low. I was being paid peanuts for sweating my arse off & exhausting myself daily. It was hard for me to figure out why I wasn't being paid more, they promoted me up several times, just more work no extra $$$$. I got to have the fun with training employees & being responsible for them, but I should have declined doing such a thing without a raise.... That's why I started my business! I'm now being paid well myself, but trying to manage hired help & explaining how things work to them seems impossible, even from experiencing what they are currently going through.

The thing with lawn maintenance is, you start off low. The more work you can do, the more you get paid. It's as simple as that. You learn this when managing your own company. The more money the company receives, the more money you have to spend on helpers. Rocket scienceeeeeee. Though hired help will never think of this, lawn maintenance is unlike other jobs.

In other words, you can't really pay a helper the dream amount he desires, unless he's able to manage X more lawns or do X more work.

Hiring help is very difficult in our field. Every bit of effort our guys do, is required to the full extent. Slacking off hurts the business fast, you can't get away with it & it will always catch up to you.

If a guy is weeding a garden that generates $100.00, & takes 4 hours to complete, that's alright.

If the same guy does that same garden during the next month, but takes 9 hours... that hurts! What a waste! Your guys time there is paid off, your gas may be paid off, but then you have nothing to put towards the company.. a complete disaster in several ways I could go on about.

Another thing about hiring is what to look for?

If the person does have, or doesn't have a license.

I prefer hiring those who don't have a license, & will be far from getting one. A person with a license has the opportunity to grab a mower, throw it in their vehicle & compete - while knowing where all of my properties are. It's even more scary if they were the ones doing the work on these properties & customers remember them. "I worked for X, but now I run my own show... I was the one who did your lawn before. Here is a better price - my price"

So I suppose the best way to keep an employee with a license from going up against you, is to make their life a living hell while with you. You may have to play good cop / bad cop.

You can't let them know they are doing a great job all of the time, though every now & then it would be wise to let them know they are doing alright - or else they become discouraged enough to quit... especially during the tough days.

For example.... with my worker.

My guy helps me with lawns... Every time I get a chance, I correct him. It aggravates him, but makes him feel as if he'll never be able to do it properly on his own. I never say more than, "it's alright for now, next time do this & that" my words are good enough for him considering my positive criticism seemingly means a lot, because it's very rare - it's always appreciated. (I'll be an awful father, haha)

Without the work, & while traveling from job to job.. This is my chance to keep a good impression. While in the truck, it is my job to keep him happy. I might be the person he wants to kill on the job, but being his best friend in the truck will keep him from quitting.

In the truck I focus all my attention on his lifestyle, we only discuss things he likes & I never discourage him.

Back on the job, "your doing it wrong, again.. like this.. do it this way.."

ANOTHER THING, which works best for me.

Never pay your guys by the hour, that's just asking them to slack off & watch the clock all day.

Give them a set pay & you'll see them rushing to get the job done in order to make it worth it to them.

I paid my guy by the hour & I've never witnessed such a slacker. When I told him he's now being paid $XXX every 2 weeks... He's always in a pissy mood now, but he doesn't stop moving!!! And that's what I'm looking for!

Though now how do I find a way for him to do SMART/quality work instead of zooming through the job carelessly? I ran out of patience a long time ago & just can't deal with it anymore.

For me to say, "you missed a spot, go do it" makes him the most uncomfortable person to be with. Because he did crappy work, & I told him to do better... I now have to sit around with a punk with a nasty negative attitude.

I suppose hiring someone who is able to take criticism is also very important.

One of my customers had a word with him about his sloppy trimming... My worker then told me, "He's lucky I didn't punch him in the face" <- pisses me off big time.

It's being a poor loser & not accepting or correcting your faults. If a customer ever tells me I missed a spot, all I'll say is, "holy crap, you are right! I'm going to get right on it!"

My attitude is:

I advertised it, they paid for it... I have to do it!

My workers attitude is:
I wanted the job, I got the job, I'm not doing the job properly ... I'm going to blow up!

What am I paying you for dude? Do your damn job, don't cut corners & everyone will appreciate you & we'll all have a happy day. SO SIMPLE!!!

He'd rather spend 10 minutes running the trimmer in someones backyard where I can't see him.. Then actually running the trimmer & using it for it's purpose for 10 minutes. It's SAD. He still has to do it when I get in the backyard anyway, so what's the damn point, what does he accomplish????

Anyway, he's about to get his arse fired.. June is a new month & kids get out of school soon for their summer break!!!

My point to this post is very simple, give me your input on how you find & manage your hired help. How do you keep them from leaving, & how do you keep them from being miserable??? Etc...

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 05-28-2010 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:48 PM
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Scott you hit on so many good points.

The thing I wonder is, how much time is spent on interacting with the employee to try and keep them from becoming a competitor.

At what point does focusing on that issue become counter productive and start to back fire?
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