Lawn Care Hiring: How to Find The Best Employees
Mowers, trimmers, and other landscaping gear are all essential components of your lawn care business. When you have all this top-of-the-line equipment in place, together with adequate marketing efforts, you'd expect your business to thrive, but in some cases, it doesn't. While all these components are essential for the success of a business in the lawn care industry, your business will likely never grow without the right set of lawn care and landscape employees. In this article, you'll be learning hidden secrets that will come in handy when you need to add to your staff as a new lawn care business owner.
When to hire lawn care employees
Every new business owner's goal is to build a successful business empire that thrives even in their absence. You want to be able to go on a vacation without your business losing pace, and you need people with the same level of drive and dedication to achieve this. But when is the right time to bring in these people? When can you be confident that your business has attained a milestone and requires extra hands for development? Below, we will discuss factors that indicate the right time for your lawn care business to grow.
Before busy season
One terrible mistake that most lawn care business owners make is delaying the hiring process until too late. Most people think that they do not need extra hands until the company gets busy. This can be a risky move because it forces you to rush through the hiring process and you might have to settle for people that do not meet the company's standards. Or perhaps you fail to find new people to hire; then you're faced with problems like delays in delivery and overworked employees.
Transition out of fieldwork
Most businesses start small, but not everyone intends to remain that way. When you started your lawn care, you might have the chance to work on the field, spreading mulch and mowing the lawn along with a few other workers, but as time goes, you may want to transition out of fieldwork and take on more administrative duties. This isn't to say that all the work should be left to your employees, but the additional time off the field allows you to develop the business. Hiring new employees takes some work of your hand, so you can strategize for the development of your company.
When a job demands a specific skillset
Being the founder of a lawn care business doesn't mean that you're expected to know how to do everything. Like other career paths, certain activities in lawn care require the attention of a professional. Don't be scared to bring in a specialist to do the work you can't do. You can consider bringing this professional employee in on a full-time or a seasonal basis as a subcontractor. This helps you keep your client happy and grow the services the company offers simultaneously.
To scale your business
Another time when it becomes essential to bring in new employees as a lawn care owner is when you're looking to scale your business. As the business grows and demand for your services increases, you'll need more professionals to work on the field with you. Also, you may want to look into handing over the paperwork, business expenses, and payment part of the business to an expert. Other issues that demand attention in a growing lawn care business are customer care, accounting, and book balancing. These can all be done by administrative assistants and receptionists in the company.
How to hire lawn care employees
Hiring employees often feels like a thankless task that becomes even more difficult in the lawn care industry, where not everyone is eager to work. If you're burdened with this same employee-hiring challenge, the two questions on your mind will be "How can I reach the right applicant?" and "How can I determine the right candidate to hire?" Although hiring in the lawn care industry comes as a unique challenge, finding top-tier talent may be easier than you first imagined. Below are some essential tips that can help you find team members to develop your company.
1. Application process
As with hiring employees in other sectors, lawn care hiring starts from the job posting. Your job posting is the major determinant for how many leads or applicants you will get for the open positions. Many business owners fail in this first step of the hiring process because they do not take job postings seriously. In the same way, marketing helps you pull in more customers, a good application post can help rake in more potential employees. The application process can determine if you need more applicants or fewer applicants. If you are getting hundreds of applications, you need to add more stringent requirements such as experience levels and licenses.
On the other hand, if you fail to pull in enough applicants after making your application post, you may need to look at the posting to find what's wrong. Some questions that you need to ask yourself at this point are "am I disclosing too much information?" or "am I making it difficult to work for me?" In this case, rather than raising the requirements for potential employees, you can remove requirements that are not necessary. So basically, you need to see the application process as an employee filter; if you're getting too many applicants, you need to make the filter stronger, and if you're not getting enough, tone down on the difficulty level. One way to screen more people is by requiring them to come to your website to fill out an application. It helps get rid of applicants that randomly send resumes to several companies hoping that a few reach out.
2. Interview questions
After completing the application process and you have gotten a decent number of applicants, the next step will be to invite them over for an interview. One important interview question you might have heard before is, "Why did you leave your last employer?" This gives you an insight into their character and behavior when working with you. You don't want to hire people who trash-talk their previous employers because they might do the same to you. As good as you think you are, you'll get the same reaction if you hire someone that blabs on about how "terrible" their last manager was and how everyone was against them at the company. Although this person's statement might be true, bringing it up during the interview is a red flag.
3. Put more weight on the references
Another important tip for hiring the best lawn care employees for your business is placing more focus on their references. These are people you will call to ask how your potential employees performed when they worked for them. In this case, you want to target people they directly reported to at the job, rather than just the business owner. If this person comes from a firm where over 50 people worked, the business owner might not have interacted with them frequently or gotten an insight into their performance. In this scenario, the person you need to speak to is their manager, who they reported to directly.
The manager will help you figure out work attributes about this potential employee, such as a report on their performance, punctuality, and whether they are teachable. References are crucial in the hiring space because they help you figure out hidden characteristics of this potential employee that you usually wouldn't see during a 30-minute interview. Getting this step right saves you from having to fire an employee after a few weeks, only to restart the entire hiring process. Also, you have to ensure that the reference's statement correlates with why the person left the employer. In some cases, certain employees make up false stories about their previous work to paint themselves positively.
Watch out for return questions
One mistake that most employers make when interviewing for a position is not giving room for questions. While you want to ask them important questions that provide insight into the character and talent of the potential employee, the interviewee should also get their turn. As the business owner, you would want to pay attention to the questions that the person throws at you. Questions asked by the potential employee can help you determine their goals and aspirations, which are in line with that of your company. The work schedule, pay, benefits, the company's future, and their role are all questions that you should expect in this instance. These questions indicate that they actually care. If you're okay with someone willing to show up for work and do the minimum to stay employed, that's fine, but if you want someone with future plans, the return questions can help you determine that.
Mistakes to avoid when hiring a lawn care employee
Now that you know what to do to find the right lawn care employee for your business, here are some common mistakes you should avoid.
Hiring for potential rather than experience
When going through the hiring process, you need to be intentional and ruthless to pull in the kind of employees that will help your business thrive. A mistake that lawn care owners commonly make is hiring several inexperienced employees, hoping to teach them on the job. Although inexperienced labor can be a lot cheaper, it affects the growth of a business. While you can train one employee who has the potential and will to learn, a labor force consisting of mostly inexperienced guys often reduces output. Instead, it would help if you went for employees that have worked for other large companies and have years of experience on the job. These guys come trained, know how to complete jobs on their own, and come with good ideas that could prove valuable for your company.
Hiring friends and family
A common mistake made by owners of growing businesses is hiring friends and family members in need of employment. It can be quite tempting for new owners to hire people they get along with, despite not having enough experience in the industry. This common trap can cause your business to stagnate or regress if things go wrong. In most cases, friends and family will not work as hard for your business as you expect them to do and they may feel entitled to a form of special treatment. Also, it could ruin your relationship if things go south. A simple rule to follow is- don't hire somebody if you can't risk ruining your relationship with them.
While you might be able to do it all during the early days, you're going to require help handling the workload for your lawn care business to grow. The people you hire will be the difference between success and failure for your business, so much thought needs to be put into the hiring process. You can attract several potential employees with competitive pay and a welcoming work environment, but deciding who joins your business is a critical step that is often difficult for many. Don't forget to use this article to guide the hiring process and come back for extra lawn care business tips.