As your lawn maintenance business grows, you’ll need more lawn maintenance business employees to keep it going. Here’s our quick guide to hiring the right people.

Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about the ABCs of hiring for your lawn maintenance business. Hiring is a highly personal process, and only you know what type of people you like to work with. But I’m going to share what I’ve learned over the years with the hope that you can pick up a few tips as well.

Be prepared to learn—and to be humbled.

Hiring is tough. It’s an art as much as a science, and it takes a while to master it. No one hires the right person on the first try every time, and that’s okay. Each time you post a job opening, conduct an interview, and manage a new team member, you learn something incredibly valuable, even if it doesn’t work out. So go easy on yourself. Over time, you’ll get better and better at hiring excellent team members who make your business better and your work easier.

Offer a competitive wage and other perks.

With labor shortages all over the country, you have got to know your competition when it comes to hiring. Take a look at the other entry-level jobs in your area, see what they’re offering, and find a way to make working for you the more attractive option.

The easiest strategy is to pay a better wage. Even just an additional $0.25 per hour can give you a leg up. Get creative about some other perks you could offer:

  • A retention bonus. Pay an extra $250 to employees who stick around for at least six months.
  • Reimbursement for supplies. Cover the cost of work boots, sunscreen, and other things your employees need to do their jobs.
  • A monthly stipend. Give your employees a monthly allowance to spend on something specific, such as health and fitness, childcare, or professional development.

The more appealing your offer, the more applications you’ll get, which means you get your pick of the litter when it comes time to hire.

Think about what your business needs right now.

When you’re a start-up business, you can’t expect to hire a whiz who can tune up your equipment, manage your books, plan your routes, price your services, and mow like a pro. You just need someone who knows how to cut grass. Hire people who do a good job maintaining lawns, and you’ll build the reputation you need to grow your business and hire a bigger team.

Your needs will change over time, as will the type of employees you attract. People who thrive in a start-up or small business environment may not like the complexities of a larger company. I had a woman on my team for ten years who truly excelled on a small team. But as the business grew bigger and more complex, she decided to move on. I was sad to see her go, of course, but she was happier on a small team, and I was ready for someone who loved the intensity of a bigger business.

Here are two things I always look for in an employee:

  • A real interest in lawn maintenance work. Someone who likes sitting at a desk all day won’t do well at mowing lawns. You need someone who likes to be on their feet and spend their days working outside. Lawn maintenance work is gritty and hands-on. For some people, that sounds like a blast. Those are the people you should hire.
  • The spirit of an entrepreneur. In other words, the best employee is someone who wants to start their own business but can’t. Maybe they don’t have the capital, maybe they don’t know a thing about managing a business, or maybe they have too many other demands on their time. Whatever the reason, a person with an entrepreneurial attitude can make for a great employee. These folks will share your zeal, your dedication, and your creativity. They can be tough to find, but once you do, do everything in your power to keep them on your team.

The best way to hire is through people you know.

Like most businesses, the beautiful business, networking is your best asset. You’re almost always going to find your best hires through your connections. Tell your friends, family, and community that you’re looking to hire, and encourage them to spread the word. You can post ads as well, but don’t be shy about approaching your own network.

Remember why you’re hiring.

Of course, you don’t have to hire a single person if you don’t want to. Many entrepreneurs don’t. But the point of this series is to help you build a business that can keep earning money even if you step away from it. And you can’t do that without the right people.

If you have days when you’re frustrated with the hiring process and exhausted with the nitty-gritty details of managing a team, remind yourself that this is an important investment in your future. Growing your team is what will get you closer to the freedom and flexibility you dreamt about when you started your beautiful business.