Find the Best Employees for Your Lawn Care or Landscaping Business

Published on November 18, 2015

Every owner gets to a point...

...where you can't do it all on your own.

You realize you could make more money, in the long run, if you hired some extra help.

You need people with real work ethics and experience. How do you find great employees?

This post will show you where to find the best lawn care and landscaping employees - and how to hire them:

1. Find the Best Lawn Care or Landscaping Employees: "Where do They Live?"

Landscaping employees trim trees - they don't grow on them.

You have to go to them. Picture your ideal employee; someone who is punctual, and cares about the quality of their work.

What do they do in their free time? Where do they go every day?

  • Apartments
  • Churches
  • Community centers
  • Hardware and garden supply vendors

It's hard to find fish in the desert, so get your butt to the sea.  Canvas the likely areas - if you're looking for landscapers, check out the local landscape supply stores. Put up flyers advertising for work. Ask your Vendors if they know of anybody looking for a job.

2. What is the Easiest Way to Find More Employees?

You hear other lawn care/landscaping owners complain all the time, "I can never find anybody to hire!"

That's because they're not exhausting ALL of these easy resources:

  1. Ask your friends and family. Some people think this is a terrible idea, especially once you start getting larger. They argue that it's important to keep your personal and business life separate. However, if you're really in need of some extra help, and you've got a good handle on your emotions this can work out well for you.
  2. Ask the groups you're a part of: Church groups, community groups, etc. These places are prime targets, since you will already have some kind of rapport with these people.
  3. Ask your Employees. Offer them cash bonuses for every person they can recommend (if you decide to keep them, of course). This is one of the easiest, most effective ways to get new employees that will really work hard - and it makes your current employees happier.
  4. Ask Your Vendors. Ask the owners or department managers if they know of anyone. A great way to start this conversation is to bring them some food - donuts, or pizza, or something healthy and tasty. Be friendly with these people, and when the need arises, you can ask them for help with finding new employees. Maybe they don't know anyone yet, but if you promise to pay them for references, they'll keep their eyes peeled.
  5. Last Resort: ask employees at Walmart, McDonald's, Home Depot, etc. if they have family members who need work.

Related: Hiring for Your Landscaping or Lawn Care Business: the Ultimate Guide

3. Get Any Employee on Your Team by Asking This One Question: "What is your problem?"

Selling your services requires a complete set of marketing skills.

You can bet your best riding mower that great marketing skills will also land you the best employees.

How do you get future employees to respond to your marketing?

Think about the rocks in their shoes. What do they hate about their current job/employer/situation?

  • Feel like they are not being compensated for their efforts?
  • Did their last boss not show them respect?
  • Do they feel trapped, like they'll never be able to turn this job into a career?

The first rule of marketing is to "sell the benefits, not the features. In this case, a paycheck is a feature. Anyone can give out a paycheck.

But a great job with the opportunity to advance is a benefit. You can get the best employees on your team by showing them that - if they put in the time and the effort - they will move UP.

When you marketing a job opening, keep the biggest pain points in mind. Talk to them about their problems, and they will apply to your business in droves.

4. Are You a Good Gatekeeper?

There are good apples. There are bad apples.

When you start hiring - when you shake the branch, you will always get both.

You are the gatekeeper. It's up to you to make sure only the right people get in. You won't get stop all the bad apples, but this will make the process better.

Ask them to jump through hoops for you. In your application process:

  • Ask them about their experience.
  • Make them explain why they would be a good fit.
  • Throw in a question about mowing, or landscaping, or something that will prove they know what they're talking about.

This will weed out the employees who just want a fast paycheck, so you don't have to waste your time interviewing them.

Note: make sure applicants know they won't be graded on their writing skills - you don't want to prevent the right people from applying either!

Lastly, interview potential employees them more than once. Phone + in-person is usually good enough.

5. Speak Their Language (No Matter What)

Here's something most people don't know:

"What is the Official Language of the U.S.A.?"

Answer: there ain't one. While English is the most common language in the U.S., there is no law that makes it our official language.

10% of the U.S. population speaks Spanish. In fact, some of our Members own landscaping and lawn care companies where more than 50% of their employees don't speak English.

Are you willing to miss out on 50% of your employees, just because you don't have a way to talk to them?

Our advice is simple. You don't have to go out and learn Spanish tomorrow (although it probably wouldn't hurt). Instead, use online translation tools to write your ads in English AND Spanish (or whatever language is most popular in your area).

And if you can, try to hire someone who can speak both. That way, you'll have a permanent solution to the language barrier.

This little sign of respect goes a long way with employees who have trouble speaking English.

Don't Give Up on Your Future Growth

Hiring ain't easy. Finding the best employees for your service business, be it lawn mowers or landscape professionals, can be a tough job. But it's worth every minute.

If you need more help with hiring, and how to do it legally in the U.S., check out the Department of Labor's website. And for our Canadian Members, here's the Labour Department's website.

When you build your business with the right employees, you will get loyalty and a happy company culture.

Related: Hiring for Your Landscaping or Lawn Care Business: the Complete Guide

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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