When employees take on jobs without you knowing.

Even when everything is running smoothly with your lawn care business, employees are still an X-factor. You just never know what they are going to do. Unless you are there, on the job site, supervising everything, something is bound to go wrong. Here is a fine example, from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, on how an employee decided to take on a job without the owner knowing. You wouldn’t think an employee would even consider doing this, but after reading this story, it will make you think about your operation and how you can avoid such problems with your staff.

This lawn care business owner wrote “Alright, so my employee and I just had a little argument. Apparently he agreed to take on a job I was unaware of. Supposedly it was for one of his ‘friends.’ This ‘friend’ lives way OUTSIDE of my service area.

My employee wants to use my vehicle and tools to drive out there to bid & complete the job. The conversation trying to explain why this is a no go, lasted an entire hour. The crap he said makes me want to pull my hair out. I am so frustrated. It’s beyond me how employees just don’t understand!!!!

So I yelled at him. Here is list of the few points I hit on.

1. How do you plan on pricing this job?

2. What if it rains during the job?

3. What if your ‘FRIEND’ doesn’t want to pay for what you charged?

4. What if my tools get damaged or lost? Or what if you damage something at the customer’s house?

5. What if this job takes you longer than expected? You can only receive payment once the job is completed and you will never finish it because I have you on schedule to work for my regular customers!

6. Is what you are going to charge really worth going that far out of the way to perform?

7. What if you do a poor job? By you being unorganized, underbidding or overbidding & not doing it right, your ‘friend’ will spread a negative review about my company!

Furthermore, taking on side jobs is jeopardizing my business. You need to cancel this job immediately & do the work you are assigned to do. There is plenty of it!

I hung up the phone & he called back. I was about to fire him but he is an efficient worker. I’d sure hate to have to replace him now. Finally, when I couldn’t handle the argument anymore, I just lost it and said “SURE, go and do this job on your own time & maybe you will learn something. Maybe then we will finally be able to see eye to eye. I told him to not wear my uniform and to not perform this job under my company name.

I hope it rains when he gets a 1/4 of the way through the job and his friend refuses to pay him until the job is finished. Running a lawn care business isn’t as easy as he thinks it is. Furthermore he is lucky to have a job. After this experience, I think I need to institute some kind of employee contract and have a non-complete clause in it.”

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