Originally Posted by Steve
What kind of issues did you see that others should look out for when they turn their employees loose?
things are a little different now because of the changes i made by having all my workers with me during the day instead of being divided up so that helps a lot.
but i found that when i had two brothers working for me it was a little difficult at times.
the younger brother was the actual landscaper and had a good deal of experience and he got his older bro a job and some of the problems i had was the younger brother had a problem telling his older brother what to do and when to do it.
i had times when i would insruct them where i wanted them to start the day and end up, basicly a planned route so i could know where they were as well as the route was set up like a big loop with no back tracking to save time as well as mileage on the truck.
well, the older brother would to some degree bully his younger brother with the family senority and decide, " lets go this way so i can stop and get lunch " and completely screw up the route and make tracking them down difficult.
i find it is very important for your employee's to get along and have a good relationship but at the same time too much of a good thing can be a problem.
there are so many things that can be a problem as well as every situation is different so it is hard to rattle off a list of things to look out for because i have seen brothers work well together so the two clowns that worked for me do not represent all related employees.
i had one dude that worked for me as a foreman and for the first 3 weeks he did well and after that his days slowly got longer and longer with the same route.
it was late spring so the grass was still growing fast and it also coincided with a fert app from a few weeks prior so with the bagging it took longer which was expected and believable.
but then we got into july and some home owners ( when i still serviced home owners ) were asking to take a week off because the grass slowed down and this dude was still coming in with a hr extra each day and that is when the BS started to flow.
his excuses where, the mower was giving me trouble and the truck was running funny and the string trimmer died and i fixed it.
it got to the point that every day it was something.
keep in mind that i was sending this dude out in a brand new set up it was like three months old when he started.
the truck, trailer, two riders, one walk behind, 3 trimmers and 2 back packs and everything else was brand new.
at first i gave it the benefit of the doubt because i have bought new things in the past that gave me trouble but every dam thing in the set up was brand new and according to him it was giving him trouble.
i knew he was playing games and before i jumped to conclusions i had my trucks set up with the gps tracking and none of them knew about it.
well, as it turns out they were going to his house everyday for lunch 3 towns away from the closest job and once a week he was actually cutting his lawn while he was there.
he also had a little side gig with about ten lawns that he was mixing in with my route.
but in the end i had him and 2 laborers stiffing me out of 2 hrs a day X 3 guys X 5 days a week plus fuel for the cuts on the side and the out of the way driving plus they were sand bagging my jobs to get them done quicker to have more time for themselves and the side work.
i kept a log of all the addresses he was servicing with the dates and times as well as extended lunch breaks at his house and with the gps i could also tally the mileage.
i decided that tomorrow which was friday i would let them finish the route for the week as well as it was pay day and at the end of the day i would send them packing and then give myself the weekend to forget about it and get back to the grind on monday.
what was even more bizzar and coincidental was i saw a new stop on his route, a place he never went to before and he was there a while so i was really curious as to what they were doing and i got in the truck and zipped over to where they were and he actually had the balls to unhook my trailer and leave it at one of my customers houses and take the dump truck and go get mulch and do a mulch job.
i was like, that's it. i pulled into the driveway and got out of the truck and calmly walked up and said, make sure you hurry and get this finished and go back and get my trailer where you left it and make sure everything, i mean everything is done before you come back, and don't come back if it is not done.
and then i left.
come 5:00 they came back all quiet and with those long azzed sorry faces and being that i pay every two weeks and it was friday i told them i would give them their checks and that i would file charges against them for stealing my equipment and truck. the one guy said, your gonna do that for doing a mulch job on the side? then i slapped the log of everywhere they been the last 6 weeks on the desk and said, and for this too.
you want to talk about seeing 3 guys turn white as a ghost in 2.5 seconds. they were floored.
so i totaled up what they made with my stuff over the six weeks period includeing the mulch job and deducted the hours i would have paid them and they still owed me more money then they each had coming from their 2 week paychecks .
so i said, you forefit your 2 weeks paycheck right here and now and walk away with no job and no money and i won't call the cops on each of your azzes or you can take your checks now and still have no job and we can settle the rest in the peoples court.
they chose to cut their losses and run but it is amazeing how you can have 2 guys work for you for a season and they were fine and good and then i add one bad apple and he corrupted them and in the end cost them all their jobs.
my only advice would be don't think it can not happen to you and never say never.