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Intro

It’s one thing to attract new clients to your lawn care business but how do you get new lawn care employees!?
It is crucial to figure this out before you can scale your lawn care business.

The Trick?

Treat the two the same.

SOLUTION / STRATEGY

My solution to this problem is to be proactive and build systems to attract employees.
I like to use similar systems to the ones we use to attract clients but use them to attract staff.
Why do we reserve our special treatment for clients exclusively when it’s staff we are struggling so hard with to find and keep?

How many times have you heard entitled lawn business owners grumbling about the lack of quality staff?
The hard question is; Is the staff the problem, or is the strategy the problem?
I like to take responsibility for my problems, I guess I like the control. Hence, proactive hiring systems – woo!

It would be nice if we could snap up employees at will but this is just not the case.
I believe the key is in consistency.
Be constantly running systems to bring in fresh new hire leads, whether we need them or not.
Always on the lookout – just like you need to be to find great clients.

We build perks into our companies to draw in clients.
We also need to do this to attract new workers.
Culture, professionalism, reliable, well-maintained gear; these things go a long way!
Make the job awesome and then use marketing techniques to spread the word.

Soon you’ll have a constant stream of applications.
This will give you the confidence to grow your company and the abundance to scoop up the best guys.

Best of all, you can cross lack of guys off your list of challenges.

DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

I reached out to 7 industry experts. They had really insightful points. If you are serious about this, please read these carefully.

Chris O'Donohue

Chris O'Donohue

President at The Great Canadian Landscaping Company Ltd. North Vancouver, British Columbia

There are two main things Employees care about in this era: (1) Purpose and (2) Culture. If you have neither of these figured out good luck attracting or retaining good long term employees.

Purpose: The Why? Why do you do landscaping or landscape maintenance? Employees want to know why they do what they do, Day in and Day out and that it matters. Our purpose is to “Build Community” and landscaping allows us to do that. Each day we are out there improving people’s lives and surroundings by creating new spaces to live, relax and enjoy every single day. The second is your culture. Culture is a lot broader of a subject but it really comes down to how you care for your employees is how they will care for your clients. If they feel like they are appreciated they will show their clients through their work that they care as well. Your employees’ persona or character is also important, if they have a great character, you can train them how to do their job, but you can’t change who they are in life. Another item that builds culture is solid relationships. Every single person that works for you should also be welcome in your home, family BBQs or business events. If you wouldn’t bring someone that works for you to these type of events they might not fit into the culture you are representing.

Lastly, the choice to care about your employees or not. Everyone wants to have a place to call home. More than just a job, but a career and that is what we build at The Great Canadian Landscaping Company is careers. This all leads to retaining and attracting solid reliable employees.

Chris will be appearing in the first season of “The Otherside” – Lawn Care TV

Jonathan Orcutt

Jonathan Orcutt

Founder at Driven Landscapes, South Walpole, Massachusetts

There are a few keys making sure you have adequate staff to service your clients and continue to grow and scale a business.
One of the most important ways to attract and retain good employees is growth. A growing company with opportunity for advancement within the organization will always attract good employees. We have had employees leave “Jobs” at a stagnant company to join us and start to build a “Career”. Growth is hands down the best recruiting method to attract good help.
In addition to growth – I think a lot of companies make the mistake of “Hiring” employees when they need them. Instead of waiting until we need help and try and hire on the fly like many companies do – we recruit talent all year round and network with potential employees around the clock. Even if we are not currently hiring, we are still conducting interviews and spreading the work about our company.
It drives me nuts when guys say they can’t find good help. They say they have tried “Everything”… First questions I ask is “Do you have “Now Hiring” signs on your truck?” The answer is 100% of the time no. Then you have not tried everything.
It is amazing!! If the number one problem is finding help, and there is plenty of work out there why are guys not spending more time and money hiring?

Brandon Alexander

Brandon Alexander

Lawn Care Marketing Success, Joliet, Illinois

When I am preparing to hire and or bring in new employees I look at the three key aspects I need; want, drive, and will power.
I always seek candidates who have all three qualities. If a candidate shows want, need and will power and you can train you will get quality. But 50% of that responsibility is providing your employees a map to success.
If you can be successful it will drive your employees to succeed!

Chanthavy Singvongsa

Chanthavy Singvongsa

Owner at Singvongsa Landscaping, iMobile Solutions, Singvongsa Photography, Wishy Washy Laundromat LLC, Jackson, Minnesota

Set high standards and clear on what you are looking for.
When doing interviews, I have to connect with the person and has a positive attitude.
If they start talking bad about their previous job guess what, they will do the same in your job so find people who aren’t afraid to work, don’t be afraid to let people go.
Set a positive example when you are the boss.

Marvin Salcido

Marvin Salcido

CEO at Salcido Lawn Tyler, Texas

The #1 way that I attract good employees, is I like to create a great work environment for the employees to come to each day. I don’t have employees that work FOR me, I have team members that work WITH me!

We are a family, and we tackle out work together!

Even though I am not in the field each day, I am not afraid to jump in, and help the guys out, and I think that has helped build good morale amongst the guys. I support my guys and they know it.

Marvin will be appearing in the first season of “The Otherside” – Lawn Care TV

Judith Ross

Judith Ross

Regional Sales and Marketing Manager at Wright Commercial Products

Does your company have solid management in place that recognizes and rewards hard workers with training and growth opportunities?

Are you the successful company that others look up to and want to emulate?

That reputation and structure will attract quality employees that want to stay and build your company with you.

At Wright Commercial Mowers team members are encouraged to be a part of the process. When everyone is engaged in making a positive contribution to overall productivity and to high-quality work we win and our customers win. I work hard for Wright every day. My team is counting on me to do my job well and I am counting on them. This creates a positive work environment and a great place to work.

Judith has been in the OPE industry for 24 years and at Wright for 5 years this October!

Bryan Ring

Bryan Ring

Owner-operator at Ring Lawn Care, WP Website Building, Stillwater, Minnesota

I am not certain if I am one that can speak about “Attracting Employees”, but maybe I can speak on what it was like as an employee and my vow.

For many years I felt unappreciated, under-valued & under-paid. Yes I worked my butt off & slacked off as well, from age 14 to 32.

When Ring Lawn Care was established in 2002, I had no real business sense. It literally took me the first nine years to realize I knew no where near enough about business as I should.

The very first hire I made, I set out to pay what an employee deserved. Thinking back to all 18 years prior to Ring Lawn Care, it was clear I need to make a difference.

Great wages for great work. Pat on the back, great equipment, trucks and environment was the ticket to having happy employees.

My vow was to not be like every (most) managers, bosses & owners I have worked for in the past. My goal is to provide a safe environment with fun & pride in mind.

GETTING TACTICAL – ACTUALLY DOING IT

A Proven System For You To Implement

Adwords, Craigslist –> Website Landing Page –> Dedicated Voicemail

It consists of two parts; getting attention using Pay Per Click (PPC), local classifieds, and using a special voicemail to collect your new employee leads.

Getting Attention

Adwords & Facebook Ads (PPC) vs Craigslist

Both are good here, but I’ve found that the competition is quite low for these keywords for PPC (meaning they are pretty cheap) and can attract sometimes better leads. I think this is because it’s a different person who will Google for a job than a person who looks for one on Craigslist. It’s an entirely different person who will come across your ad on Facebook, here you can get attention from people who might not even be looking for

It’s an entirely different person who will come across your ad on Facebook, here you can get attention from people who are not actively looking for a job.

This is an entirely different person who will come across your ad on Facebook. There you can get attention from people who aren’t even be looking for a job. You could use this as a way to get the attention of your competitors’ best guys.

How To Write An Ad For Finding Lawn Care Employees

Just like writing ads for lawn care you need to try and get inside of the head of the person you want to hire. Why is it better to work for you than other places? Think far beyond $/h. Things like weekends off, or well-maintained gear go a long way in getting attention from top workers.

Website Landing Page

If you use Adwords you’ll need to make a landing page to send the traffic to, if you use Craigslist you could put all the info in the ad but I’d still suggest a landing page. We’re looking for TOP employees here. These guys really care about who they work for and won’t just apply to any old classifieds ad. This landing page is an opportunity to show prospects what your company is all about. Right down to the design of the site, this fist impression should leave them feeling like they will be in good hands working for your company.

The Application Process

Is a resume really the best way to apply for a landscaping job? I’d say for the most part; no.

Resumes and long job application forms are steps that hinder your worker lead generation systems.

Sure, once you think you’ve found a good one you’ll want to dive into their work history, but I’d suggest it’s not the best way to collect worker leads. You wouldn’t make a prospective client jump through hoops to start the conversation, why do this with prospective employees?

So what is the best way to accept applications?

The phone!

“But it sucks to answer!”

You’re right. –> Automate this using a dedicated phone number and voicemail. Use an online system like RingCentral or Grasshopper.

It’s easy for the person applying and it tells you so much more than the resume their mom made for them.

The inflection in their voice will give you a lot of insight that you’d never get in a resume.

The way they present themselves on the phone “IRL” will quickly help you identify the good ones.

Having to do this live will help filter out the guys who are less confident. It’s much easier to send email all day to find a job compared to actually leaving a well thought out voicemail. It puts them on the spot!

Interested in having me set this up for you? Let’s start the conversation.

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