Finding Employees

danny

New Member
The far and away toughest part of this business for me is finding the right people. I've tried the local papers, word of mouth, hung notices at climbing shops, and more recently, posted on this site. Almost all of the people that end up getting hired have to be let go immediately because they grossly overstate their abilities from the outset and then fail to deliver. I've worked with some great guys in the past; I know they're out there. Are there some recruiting resources that I have not tapped into? (I'm offering good wages and we're not expecting superhuman performance.)
 

vharrison

Member
Location
Florida
Danny, I know what you are talking about! I have even tried an ad in the TCIA magazine and mostly the response from that is from guys that are freezing up north that want to talk about whether or not it is warm in the winter in Florida! Finding employees in this industry is hard, as it is such a specialized field.
Finding a man or woman that is qualified is not an easy task. By the way, we are looking also.
 

treegig

New Member
Location
Portland, Oregon
We have been focusing more of our effort in training young/new arborists from the ground up. Eliminates bad habits from the start, but it is a time consuming job. We do a combination of on the job, in house seminar, and saturday training sessions. Our three newest guys are approximately 4-5 months in and are doing well. The only bad part is the extra overtime, but it is worth it.

-Goggle
 

danny

New Member
I pay my best climber 25+. I'd venture to guess that most around here have a hard time putting down anything over 20?

I agree on training from scratch. We've tried a couple guys who did excellent, but the motivation to become well-rounded arborists just wasn't there for them and they have moved on to pursue other careers. It is an option, however, that we have not completely abandoned.

Danny
 

Colin

Administrator
Administrator
Danny

What I have found about training them from basics is a loyalty issue.

You take long periods of time out, lower productivity, train them then they piss of anyway. After the input you may want so output and this is where they get bigger ideas.

I was just having this conversation tonight with another tree company's boss. I was just saying how long it's been since I hired some-one who actually brought skills to the business, that may even show me some new tricks, and may even know a few trees names.

I've had a few visitors from overseas and they were exceptional arborists, but the run of the mill guy around here is an idiot. College was full of pretty good guys too but they're all answered for ... many of the good ones have their own businesses.

It's been a long time since a real tree man worked here ... a long long time, and they're getting more scarce. I get "legends" telling me how good they are and on their first day you have to show them how to tie a knot or what a lifeline is! One after another, wankers. Cant file a chain sharp, cant rig, some had never seen a block before let alone a throw bag or bigshot, ground guys who couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery double handling everything, tangling your ropes, spilling oil all over your saws then sending them up and I've even had an idiot send a saw up with the bar nuts loose.

Frankly, it's a tough road. Today the EWP driver I was working with said he knows of a couple who have packed it in, in their 50's and still busting themselves as no-one to help or do the job ... at times you think the only people who end up doing this job are those who cant get another job doing something else!

Keep looking, your fortunate enough to have a bigger island with a bigger pool than ours here in Brisbane (cowboy county) ... TAFE here dont even run Arboriculture, what's that they reckon? It's private colleges and tuition around here and that's only if you have the bucks.
 

FTLTreeman

New Member
Fellows I feel the pain, we have hired several men some good others not so good. The thing that kills ya, is the time and treasure you spend training and teaching just to see a guy decide that you aren't paying enough and go work for the competition.

It seems to me every one that has experience in tree work that fills out an application has 10 to 12 years in the business, yet don't know climbing hitchs or how to stack brush.

We are always hiring, but never find the people worth keeping in large numbers. I feel blessed if I get one or two strong players a year.

Then, of course, some that you hire have no loyalty, no matter how much you give, all some want to do is take!
Then use time as a chance to find other employment.

What's the answer? I don't know, but I do love this business and the majority of the people that perform this work of the trees.
 

TreeCo

Well-Known Member
It's no mystery why it is hard to find good help. Most good tree people can earn several times what a company offers them working for themselves.

Why labor just to buy the owners new equipment and trips to ***** when they can keep a bigger piece of the pie for themselves?

The ISA and TCIA meetings usually have classes on business management. All of the equipment anyone would need to get started is right there on the sales floor. Duh.
 

Colin

Administrator
Administrator
Yep, your right Dan

Then they realize they cant do it on their own and even try poaching your staff. So be careful, imagine your climber starting out on his own flogging your groundys'.

Then in some really bad cases they even try to flog your customers, be careful.

Some tree companies around here had them sign contracts with conditions to cover them in the event of up and leave plus poaching resources.

I binned a guy for exactly that, started advertising and poaching, asked the climber to do side jobs for him ... when I found out I binned him on the spot. Untrustworthy conduct. In this particular instance as I had a suspiscion when hiring the guy I had him sign a conditions of employment contract. In that contract it said that it is to everyones benefit that jobs be refered to Palm & Tree Services as we all do the work and share in the wages etc of doing it. In unusual or special circumstances a fee may be negotiated for the referal but each case to be assessed on it's own merits. This guy never refered one, and if a neib came out during the job asking for a bid he would give out his own details.

Then some want to come back with their tail between their legs, the glorious vision of having their own business made them realise that cutting the tree was only a part of the job ... the behind the scenes and breakages, customers, collecting the money, paying the bills kills their ambition.

Then you have the saboteur, the one who gets themselves into the position of importance and starts to manipulate the business. I used to have 2 climbers all the time, in fact tried to have an all climbing crew. Once as soon as we were down to one climber that guy would get to be a bugger. demands for money, give the groundies a hard time, piss cutomers off etc ... when i binned him he said " ha, who's gonna cut your stuff down now, your F'd without me"? That's all they know, small brained wankers. I replied, " you didn't know I can climb and wont be held to ransome, I'll cut it down."


I say to them, who can make a better burger than McDonalds? Most people. Who can build a better business than McDonalds? Very few people. A lot of tradesmen fail in their own businesses as they lack the neccessary motivation and skills to survive.

It's a round-a-bout. Good staff that are trustworthy, competant and responsible will always be looked after, every boss needs them and they should know that, just remind them if they dont and do your best that's all you can do.
 

Eric_E

New Member
Location
USA
I've been on both sides of the fence and it both sides stink. As an employer it was difficult to find good people in any position. I wouldn't have minded paying someone what they were worth, just difficult to find someone worth much.

The job market isn't any better. After 20+ years of ongoing education in most areas of arb., and multiple certifications I can't find a job worth taking. I've found decent $ at the larger companies but safety was lacking as was good tree care. They talked A-300/Z-133 but that was it, saw lots of the terrible pruning and multiple Z infactions on a daily basis. Couldn't find copies of A and Z in some offices. "Safety" people didn't do anything about it and didn't seem to care. Even had guys talk trash about me cause I wanted to do things right. ( I know you're out there lurking)

There aren't many places out there for someone that wants to do it right and make a good wage.
 

TreeCo

Well-Known Member
It sounds like you go through the same things we in the state put up with. I've been hiring people for 20 years now and I've had it all happen. Must be at least 6 tree companies operating right now that sprang from our crews over the years.

One of my favs was when a climber I had put in a yellow page ad in a nearby town. He was in business with his brother for several months before we knew about it. Oh well. He acted shocked when I let him go the day I found out about the ad.

I use to rent apartments to some of the crew. It was in their lease that if the no longer worked for me that they were on 30 day notice to vacate the property. That set up was a mixed can of worms but quite profitable. Some places tree worker after tree worker would move in.

I've always been self employed in the tree business. Never have worked for anyone else.

Did I tell you about the time one of our climbers who was renting a house next to our office got in an arguement with his girlfriend in the morning before work? As she drove off he took a couple of shots at her with a .22 rifle. He didn't try to shoot her....just scare her good. It worked. Then he skipped to Florida but they got him. He's still in the slammer. I hate talking to the State Police before 7am because on of my employees took a shot at someone. Noon is much better.
 

FTLTreeman

New Member
TreeCo, are you saying that talking to the Troopers is better after noon, or talking to them about one of your employees that just took a shot at someone is better after noon?
Just wondering and always looking to hire good help in South Florida.
 

Shayne Picard

Member
Location
Massachusetts
Here's a question from the other perspective.

I'm looking to get into the business, and certainly intend to run my own as soon as I can.

On the other hand, I need to get some experience first. Seems to me the only way to do so is to work as an employee for a while. So, knowing that I intend to go out on my own someday, what are your thoughts about the appropriate course of action?

Do I tell the guy I'm asking for a job that I intend to start my own business someday? Do I tell him that I hope to do so as soon as I'm competent (that is, the moment he's trained me enough to make me worth anything)? Will I get a job that way? Is there another option?

If you don't mind saying, how did you get to the place you're at (those of you who have your own businesses)?
 

Colin

Administrator
Administrator
[ QUOTE ]
Here's a question from the other perspective.

I'm looking to get into the business, and certainly intend to run my own as soon as I can.

On the other hand, I need to get some experience first. Seems to me the only way to do so is to work as an employee for a while. So, knowing that I intend to go out on my own someday, what are your thoughts about the appropriate course of action?

Do I tell the guy I'm asking for a job that I intend to start my own business someday? Do I tell him that I hope to do so as soon as I'm competent (that is, the moment he's trained me enough to make me worth anything)? Will I get a job that way? Is there another option?

If you don't mind saying, how did you get to the place you're at (those of you who have your own businesses)?

[/ QUOTE ]

No offence but that's a perfect example of what I'm on about. I wouldn't hire you, waste my time to train a competitor ... no way.

What I did was started on my own and got training, paid for private tuition one on one with a climber, then hired a contract climber to work with.

At no point did I suck off another employer, use him up and leave when I got my fill. I borrowed books from the library, did some courses on pruning etc so the theory of how and where to cut was done, the practical comes after.

What's a good education in this business worth? One staff member said what i had taught him was worth atleast $3000

Last year i paid $4500 in education fees to learn, there's even more opportunity in the USA to learn than here, invest in yourself but certainly dont waste employers time in low productivity and high time use in training to walk away when you're done ... that is disgusting, pay your dues.

Like I said previously, seldom does anyone bring new skills or even good solid skills and productivity to my work place. I'm forever training and then the new recruit with half an idea pisses off .... now I'm a lot fussier who works here.
 

Nathan

New Member
Location
Austin, TX
[ QUOTE ]
I've bought a couple books.

[/ QUOTE ]
Me too, but I didn't get the crayons to go with them.....




It is not a crime to learn something on your job and carry it with you to your next job. Also not a crime to have ambition.

You owe it to an employer to stay on longer than the training period though. After that, you had better take care of people of the will take care of themselves or your competitors will take care of them. Not a crime to make $$$
 

Colin

Administrator
Administrator
Books are an excellent source of info, mind you I dont get the crayons part.

It's a real sigh of relief for a boss or employer etc to have high skilled, trained staff (competant people). And you'll pay them well.

I work with another crew from time to time and I love it. The boss just points at the tree and says "that one, and that other one over there" ... that's it, he pisses off and we smash it down, blitz the job coz everyone knows what they're doing and hardly has to talk to each other. Over here in a crew like that the groundy gets $170 a day, the climber $250 to $350 a day. And if it's an exceptional day perhaps a bonus ontop.

Sometimes I climb, most the time the other guy climbs and I set the rigging and stuff up. By the time he's ready to go up the tree Hobbs is on, bigshotted a crotch rope set, saws fuelled and show ready to rock ... groundies are moving pots and obsticles, getting machinery ready ... it's like an operating theatre waiting for the surgeon.

In simple words dont assume that because you are working for some-one you will earn less than if you were working for yourself. When you work for yourself there's overheads and lots of stress. I know the climber out earns me every year. /forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

Nathan

New Member
Location
Austin, TX
[ QUOTE ]
In simple words dont assume that because you are working for some-one you will earn less than if you were working for yourself. When you work for yourself there's overheads and lots of stress. I know the climber out earns me every year. /forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

True that Ek. The grass is always greener. I have never had the experience of guys going out on their own after training. More just the thing where they moonlight on Saturdays.

I have far less revenue as a climber than when I ran my own show, but it is the 1st time I am able to put some serious money in the black ink for a rainy day.
 

Jay

New Member
Location
Hotaka, Japan
The behind the scenes underhanded stuff sucks, but you can't blame a person for wanting to go out on their own, if only to then realize the before unconsidered merits of being an employee. It seems that if you have taken somebody in to train them, or to supplement their previous training, then it is fair to expect them to remain with you for some required period of time. I don't know if there is some contactual way to hold a person, but expectation should be real if you are dealing with honorable people. Believe it or not, over here a person would never go out on their own until they were informed by their master that they were fit to do so, and wouldn't tarnish the reputation of their teacher by being incompetent. Sure, there was some degree of exploitation, but what goes around comes around, and some day would bring your turn to be the chief. Having been patient through the years as the underling of someone with a good reputation, would bring the promise of your own success, as word got around about such things. It worked, people endured, and fine work was the standard as traditions survived. Different times now....alas.
 

Shayne Picard

Member
Location
Massachusetts
[ QUOTE ]
No offence but that's a perfect example of what I'm on about. I wouldn't hire you, waste my time to train a competitor ... no way.

[/ QUOTE ]

Of course it's the perfect example; that was the point. Obviously no one enters into a discussion with a potential employer by laying it out in terms so black and white as I did above. People are generally much less forthright than that. I certainly do not intend to approach an employer intending to learn and burn.

My circumstances make running my own operation more feasible than working as a full-time employee, so that is why I'd like to start my own business. I'm all about reading books and getting training, but people's reaction here on the buzz is such that I really should work under someone. I'd don't disagree with that, but intending to run my own business as soon as is practicable makes that difficult. I do plan to attend some ArborMaster courses this summer.

Anyway, Ekka, I'd greatly appreciate any more details you could give about your training, especially about your agreement when you "paid for private tuition one on one with a climber," and "then hired a contract climber to work with."

Also, if anyone else struck out on their own like Ekka, I'd like to hear about your experience. Don't worry, I will not interpret your comments as a suggestion or recommendation that I go out and "try this at home" without first gaining adequate experience.
 

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