Hear directly from experienced lawn care business owners who have mastered the art of hiring and developing people.

Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about some underrated strategies for hiring and developing good lawn care workers—again. I have a lot to say on this topic!

Specifically, I want to share a few tips from long-time lawn care company owners. These folks have years of experience hiring and managing people. So they have a lot of wisdom to share, ranging from human psychology to plain old business tactics.

Learn what motivates your employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the game regarding entry-level pay. In 2019, Target made headlines by announcing a new minimum wage of $13. As of early 2022, they’re raised it to $24—nearly 3.5x the federal minimum wage. A lot of other big names have followed suit.

The truth is that folks have a lot of options for making decent money. You can’t assume that a paycheck is enough to get them to come work for you. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to understand what motivates them.

Of course, every individual is motivated by something different. Some people want flexible jobs that offer a lot of freedom and the chance to work outside. Others like a tight, predictable schedule. Many people want to work for socially minded companies and care deeply about diversity and inclusion. It’s hard to know where to start!

Appreciate the generational differences

As one CLIP user puts it, “The landscape industry is pursuing Generation Xers. Studies have shown that they are not so interested in the money and insurance benefits, etc. They want to know about freedom in coming and going, working for an innovative and socially-minded company. They will accept challenge, as long as it comes without reprimand for failure. They also want to be appreciated, as is true for every generation.”

He completely changed his hiring strategy based on what he learned. (Please note that he does landscape work, not just lawn care, but the message remains.) “I believe the ads that go into the classifieds need to be as creative as the landscapes the industry is installing. Consider an ad that is out of the ordinary. Use phrases like:

  • Looking for 3 people that can make a positive impact on a company that is making a difference in the greatest business in the world.
  • Come tell us what you like about our company and then decide if you can make it even better.
  • This may be the change you have been looking for… even if just for a short time.


Get creative and try something different. What have you got to lose?”

This CLIP user is onto something. Each person and each generation is motivated by something a little different. Millennials—born between 1981 and 1996—are ambitious and eager for independence, feedback, and recognition. Gen Z—born between 1997 and 2012—are interested in building relationships, promoting diversity, and embracing technology. You can use this knowledge to hire and keep good employees by finding ways to give them what they want.

Of course, you can’t be everyone’s dream job. A person who likes complex engineering problems probably doesn’t want to mow lawns, no matter how flexible the job is. But someone who likes the outdoors, teamwork, and a steady schedule may be the perfect fit!

Learn how to run a good meeting.

It seems like everyone is making the same joke these days about meetings that could’ve been an email. But the lawn care business doesn’t run on email. You may have to run a meeting from time to time—and you’d better be good at it. After all, bad meetings are a waste of valuable time that you could be spending mowing lawns!

One CLIP user uses meetings to get his employees involved in his lawn care business. He says, “Creating the habit of regular meetings and learning how to run a great meeting has a huge impact on a company. What good is a crew of workers out mowing if they aren’t motivated and happy to be there?”

The art of a good meeting isn’t something I can cover in just one blog post! So I’ll let the experts share their science-backed tips for great meetings.

Lead by example.

No one wants to work for a person they find uninspiring. We’ve all had grumpy managers whose bad mood spread around the office like the flu! If you’re cranky and complacent, you can’t expect your workers to be excited and creative. You’re on the hook to bring your A game, so others are motivated to do the same.

One CLIP user puts it this way: ”When we set the example and then help our people strive to set and achieve goals, we help ourselves. They become stronger people, and our companies become stronger also.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these philosophical strategies! Tell us in the comments.

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