It takes all kinds of workers to run a successful lawn care business.
Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to get a little philosophical. We’re going to talk about different types of lawn care workers—and which type you really want.
We’ve all heard that age-old expression: “Work smarter, not harder.” And you know I’m a big fan of creative thinking and streamlining your responsibilities with smart systems. But there are plenty of jobs out there that don’t need critical thinkers. Just good workers.
Think about McDonald’s. They hire people with zero work experience and integrate them seamlessly into smart systems. They don’t ask their people to reinvent the wheel. They just need them to get the work done.
However… someone had to create those systems, from a fast onboarding process to an easy-to-learn workflow. The person who designs the system and the person who works the system both have value. The success of the final product relies on both of them doing their jobs well.
So this begs the question: When you’re hiring lawn care employees, do you need smart workers or hard workers? Here’s how to determine what you’re looking for, so you can hire the right candidate.
Know what you need.
If you’re looking for an office manager, you probably want someone who can create and improve systems. This person can streamline a lot of processes and make your business run much more smoothly. For a role like that, you want a smart worker, a creative worker.
But, in the lawn care business, you also need plenty of people who are happy to just do the work. If you’re hiring a crew member, you don’t need a Rube Goldberg. You need someone who can and will get the job done.
So think about what you really need in the role you’re hiring for. This moment of reflection will help you pick the right type of worker.
Know what your people want.
Some people are perfectly happy to do their work, take a paycheck, and head home. They’re not looking to move up—and that’s okay! Others are eager for bigger challenges and greater responsibility.
Both of these folks are valuable for your lawn care business. Neither is inherently better than the other. But it’s good to have a sense of which category your employees fall under. This makes it easier for you to figure out where to invest your development resources.
You can train and work with the ones who want to move up, and let the others do their thing.
Here’s a what-if: Let’s say you have a real quiet guy or gal on one of your crews. This person keeps to themselves, so you never really considered them for a future leadership role. At your next all-hands meeting, you share a little about your leadership structure and what you look for in a leader. You also mention you’ll be hiring a new crew leader soon.
This person approaches you immediately after the meeting and asks what they need to do to earn that job. Three months later, they’re the best crew leader you’ve got. Next year, you’re considering them for more of a managerial role.
Here’s the lesson: People can surprise you. If you’d only mentioned the new job to a select few people, you would’ve missed out on a fantastic leader. So, yes, every single one of your workers should know exactly what’s expected of them.
But I’d argue they should also know what’s available to them. They should be aware of what they need to do more of if they want a promotion, a bonus, etc. Some people may not be interested. But those who want more—and again, those people may surprise you—will go for it.
In lawn care as in life, it takes all kinds. You don’t need a pack of rebellious Einsteins to run a great lawn care business. You just need good workers—and the right workers for each position.
Think carefully about what you need, get to know your workers, and create opportunities for them to do more. With intention and an open mind, you can get the perfect person into every role.
Until next time, keep clipping!