In some areas, the population of illegal immigrants is higher than in others. Because of this, certain areas have more of a problem with competitors hiring undocumented workers to gain an advantage. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, one entrepreneur wonders what he should do about this problem and how he can stay competitive all while complying with the laws.
In my state almost every lawn care / landscaping company that I know hires illegal immigrants to some degree. From what I can tell, they are usually paid between $9 and $12/hour as laborers. They might get a few more dollars here if they stay with the company some years and learn to operate heavier equipment.
This is not an issue for me yet, as I work alone. However, in the past I’ve worked for other companies alongside these guys. Most of them work extremely hard, harder than most Americans I’ve ever worked with actually. However, there’s obviously a moral concern to hiring an undocumented guy vs. a taxpaying American citizen.
It seems to me that once you need to hire a few guys, it’s impossible to stay competitive if you don’t hire the undocumented workers. If I don’t do it, I know my competitors will. Most Americans I know don’t want to get paid $10/hour, especially when there are taxes coming out of that money. So how can I survive and grow without hiring illegal immigrants as my labor force? Especially when, in my opinion, even if I pay an American $20/hour he’s not going to outwork the undocumented guy getting paid half. And since I’d still be on every job, language barriers would not present a problem.
I’d especially like to hear the opinion of those who actually work in areas similar to mine, where the illegal immigrant population makes up a lot of our workforce.”
A second lawn care business owner said “I live and work in Florida. If I can prove that any of my competition is using illegals, I turn them in. I will call the Sheriff and demand they arrest the worker, the supervisor, and the owner of the company. I have also filed lawsuits against companies for using illegals. I don’t and won’t hire them. I also get a criminal background check on everyone I hire. I won’t hire a felon as my liability is too damn high to take a chance.”
A third shared “illegal aliens do pay taxes when made to pay taxes. Here in California you have to give your employees w2 forms even if they are illegal. So if you do hire an illegal alien, it is your responsibility to make him pay taxes, it is a misconception that since they are illegal they can not pay taxes at least here in California all illegal aliens have to pay taxes if they are working.
Now about hiring them? Well it is illegal and you can get a $10,000.000 fine for hiring them. If a business owner hires them knowingly I think it is irresponsible since they can lose everything they have but if you do hire an illegal alien without knowing (if they present you fake I.D’s) then I would say it’s not your fault. I would never discriminate anyone simply by the way they look.”
A fourth said “first off, the majority of today’s American youth are pure lazy and would sooner go on welfare and public assistance than work for a living. American kids today are attached to their phones chatting and texting back and forth all day as if it is their birth right. They dream about making it to the big time without doing a dam thing.
The undocumented workers show up ready to work and they don’t complain and they are kind of the same mindset as American’s were not too long ago.
They know they have to work and they don’t have a desk job so they just deal with it.
If I were to use these guys I would apply for the work visa route. I am not 100% sure what it’s exact title is and is does cost a pretty penny but at least you won’t go to jail.
Undocumented workers are a problem and it does keep people from getting jobs but as time progresses there are less and less legal people who want these jobs. Undocumented and illegal businesses are just as big as a problem and put just as many people out of work .”
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