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How do i thank my guys.

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by toptech72, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. toptech72

    toptech72 Member
    from 21078
    Messages: 61

    Well as you all know the East coast got hit hard. We run 7 truck of ours and had 14 subs ready for this year just in case.Well we had all of our trucks out plus all of our subs. I even worked my personal truck to death for these storms. I borrowed 3 loaders and 2 skid steers from a friend. I even ut some boys with their tractors to work.We picked up 18 large (5 acre or larger) commecial sites that the current contractors couldnt handle. I never recieved 1 complaint from a driver about the hours or working conditions. And have not had a complaint from any of our customers yet. These boys worked themselfs to death. I understand that there was a agreement with every one as to what and how they would be paid. But now i do not believe that i am giving them enough. I had 4 of my guys try to hand me the "extra" money they picked up doing a driveway or 2 between stops. But i just let them keep the "extra". As long as my contracts got done i really dont care what "extras" they got. One of the contacts that was picked up before the storm was concerned of our ability to keep the lot clear so they could keep their trucks moving.The contractor before us couldnt keep up with the storm we had in December making it impossible for the trucks to get in and out of their lot. Forcing them to shut down for almost 2 days. I was informed today by the president of that company that they were so pleased with how we handled the site that they will be giving us a bonus. So after talking with my wife we decided that that bonus would be split between everyone that worked that site. We also decided that every one that helped us did a great job and deserves something extra. When we had the auto repair business we always did a extra bonus if the shop made more money than the goal we set for the year. The 2 times that we beat our goal we gave all of the employees a cash bonus plus a trip. One year we did Vegas and another year we did Florida for Disney ( we take employees and their family). Now we are not sure what to do for the guys since more than half of them are subs. Do we just give everyone a cash bonus or do we offer the bonus and trip to everyone. My wife thinks i am crazy most of the times with the way i do things. But she does understand that without these guys out working hard for us none of this would be possible. I own the company but the workers make it happen. I just see so many companies that never tell thier workers Thank You. So i guess what i am asking is if you subbed for me what do you think would be a good thank you, some extra cash or some cash and a little 3 or 4 day vacation. As i sit here writing this i have a friend who also does snow removal sitting next to me telling me i am nuts just for considering any of this. His opinion is i should bank my "extra" money, the guys are getting paid what we agreed to and thats all they need. But as i stated before without these guys working hard for me none of this would be possible. I was always told you have to treat your people good if you want to keep good people. So please give me your opinions. I have a week before they get paid so i would like to be able to give them there bonuses in whatever form with thier paychecks. Thanks for your input
     
  2. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    cash bonus for sure, i give my guys bonuses whenever they work their @ssess off for me, sure bank some money, but hard work, and no complaints is always worth a bit extra, what i have done in the past is gotten everyone together for lunch/supper with families,etc, then handed out envelopes with a little cash incentive for them. Amounts depend on how much work they had to do, an example last year, we had the most snow since 1978, and in about 2 weeks, most of my guys had logged in about 150-200 hours , and right through Christmas too, so i took them and their families out for a great supper, and padded all their Christmas bills with $1000 each, subs, employees, didn't matter. Although i had one guy who told me to my face that it was chump change to what i made doing the snow, he never received another bonus and ended up fired. You don't have to do anything, You choose to do something for them to show respect to them for their hard work
     
  3. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    And as far as your friend sitting beside you is concerned, he probably has problems with employees, and issues finding great help, really looking out for your employees is what sets some employers above others, JMO
     
  4. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Congratulations on your preparations for such an unexpected event toptech72.

    I can respect your integrity and honour. Your right. Your team came through and made a positive impact on your company image I'm sure.

    I think bonus money is always appreciated by most everyone. The only problem is after it is spent the gesture is forgotten with time. So in addition to the bonus I would ask the president of the company (That is very impressed with your company) if he would be so kind as to write a short letter of appreciation to "Your company " on 1/2 page of their company letter head. Let him know what your intentions are. Then you do the same for each sub and employee showing your appreciation on a half page of your company letterhead (preferably hand written and, or at least, personalized) explaining how you couldn't have done it with out them on the team.
    Get some picture frames and place the letter addressed to your company above your letter addressed to each individual team player. Take them out for a nice dinner and present the framed letters to them there.

    I think it may be talked about like the great storm of '78.:nod:

    subscribed (I'm Curious to see some of the suggestions):drinkup:
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    What ever you do make sure they all know this is a one time bonus ,tell them that the company that they plowed out gave a bonus and your just passing it along to them.This way they won't except onre every year,But you could surprise them if you want to need year.
     
  6. snobgone

    snobgone Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 122

    You are obviously a great guy to work for and your guys must appreciate that. If you can afford it, I would do something for them considering it is a rare circumstance. We have not just given cash, one of our managers actually had t-shirts made up that had some funny stuff on them about the event and the guys loved em. It was a nice idea seeing how money comes and goes.... We also invited all the employees and subs for an evening out to dinner, drinks and the casino to show our appreciation.
     
  7. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,537

    where are you located and how do i become a sub...lol
     
  8. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,161

    I think a nice night out all inclusive dinner/drinks at a nice steak house (cabs home of course.) Shows great appreciation, you can work a deal with the restaurant as well (specially if you plow it.) Oh yeah, and upgrade some of the older equipment. New toys make it fun to work.
     
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Always give them a membership in the jelly of the month club. It's the gift that gives all year.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. ff610

    ff610 Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    I have said before, and I say it again, take care of your employees! I just got back from a 5 day snowmobile trip to the great UP in Michigan with 3 of my lead guys, and a sub. I paid for the trip as an appreciation for what they do for me. Trust me this is not easy taking half your crew away in the middle of our busy season, but we made it work! Also, my customers expect and deserve good service, that's what they pay for, when they get good service usually the phone doesn't ring. The problem is rarely do they recognize GREAT service! Currently if I get a comment or phone call from a customer about exceptional service, each guy there gets a $50 gift certificate (limit 1 per event) to somewhere like a steakhouse. This way we keep the wives happy too for all the long and disrupting hours away from home. Money bonuses are great, but I think the guys really appreciate it all! Now the guys are competing to see who can do a better job!
     
  11. toptech72

    toptech72 Member
    from 21078
    Messages: 61

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I always try to have more help than i think i will need for the snow season.I got caught back in 96 with to many contacts and not enough help and decided then that it would never happen agian. The last couple of years around here we could handle with 2 or 3 trucks at the most.We just havent had any real snow. All of my trucks are used for my roadservice/ recovery business. So usually if it is snowing my guys would be dealing with getting people out of ditches or changing flats or jump starting vehicles. At those time i would have to rely on subs to pick up the slack. I consider all of my employees as family and most of the have been with me for what seems like forever. So today i asked my employees what they would like to see me do. I had 2 people give me the same answer instantly. They dont want me to sell the business. After their statement reallity hit me. I sold my auto repair business Jan 14th and the way sale was structuredin August the buyer of the repair business will have the option to buy the recovery/roadservice business. So if that happens i am without vehicles to plow with for next season besides my personal vehicle. So now i have to figure out how to prepare for next year. I cant just go buy somemore trucks and start another roadservice/recovery business. It would be against the agreement i made with the buyer of the repair business. So after talking with the lawyer i now know that the plowing has nothing to do with the roadservice business and that i do not have to sell the plows with the trucks. So now i have to figure out a solution to this issue. The sale was split into 3 parts. 1 Auto repair business 2. Roadservice/recovery business. 3 The actual sale of the building and property that the auto repair shop is located. Part 3 is not supposed to happen until January of 2011. My lawyer told me i could always sell off my older equipment and replace with new and then adjust the sale price. But most of my truck are 2003 and newer and in great shape so i really cant justify the cost of doing that.Or i can try to work something out with the buyer to be able to keep the trucks and he just takes the business name and all contracts that the business has. When he bought the repair business he got the towing busines and the 2 rollbacks and 1 wrecker. I just have always ran the roadservice/ recovery business seperate from the towing business because it dealt more with going into places we shouldnt go into to help get people unstuck from mud pits they should have never been in. So now i find myself trying to figure out how to reward my employees and subs for their hard work. And i also need to figure out how to keep trucks that my employees have depended on as their eveyday vehicles for years now. I think i will just start thinking about the little snow storm 4-8 inches that they are calling for on monday.
     
  12. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Well that just kinda sorta changes everything now. Doesn't it?
     
  13. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    sounds like you have a lot to think about, if i can hazard a guess, you were thinking of retireing given that you must have been all set to sell everything off at one point. i would think that you are looking at this in the wrong light, what about helping your guys set up as subs and run a more centralized management company style of service, seems like you are half way there already. just a thought
     
  14. toptech72

    toptech72 Member
    from 21078
    Messages: 61

    When i decided to sell the repair business i never thought it would be for me to retire (i am only in my late 30s). I just had an offer that i felt i would be stupid to pass on. I made the deal right before the economy really went downhill. I knew it would allow me to spend more time with my family.And i have had a part time job for years doing training classes for a automotive technical training company. Also my kids had just talked my into starting a business for them about a year ago ( they decided they wanted to haul scrap metal and collect aluminium cans) Most oldest child is 12 and the youngest is 16 months so the 4 to 5 grand they make a year is great for them. But i have created monsters. My 5 and 7 year old will put their rubber gloves on and walk around the neighborhood picking up cans everyday. My 12 year old daughter calls all of the places we get scrap metal from atleast twice a week to see if we need to do a pick up. So i guess they are learning a good lesson early in life. So now my wife and i are trying to figure out how to merge the snow removal in with their business. But i would also have to find more for the business to do so it could support some employees. We have been doing house clean outs and evictions so i guess we can add that to the list. I guess the normal thing to add would be grass cutting. But that is a business i really know nothing about. I have listened to alot of people talk about how easy it is cause all you have to do is go cut grass. But i am not stupid enough to believe its that easy.Most of the people that have told me how easy it is are the ones that didnt make it in the business.I believe i would be a low baller just because i know nothing about the business and how to price the work. One of my employees said we should try doing onsite small engine repair. My wife and i have decided that we are going to give our current employees some time to think of a business for us to try. If we cannot decide on a viable business we will help the guys buy trucks for next season if they want. I have just never counted on the snow business to make me money it was just something to help with some extra hours for the guys in the winter.
     
  15. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    lol, fair enough, (i was just guessing at the retireing thing) but in all seriousness, it sounds like you want to start a handy man buisness, you need to pool your talents with your guys, and see what everyone has skills at, then advertise some handyman group, (around here an example would be a company called the Odd Job Boys) just don't over extend yourself into areas you aren't comfortable with, and as far as learning lawn cutting, it isn't that hard, but does take time to do well and make money on, i would aim more towards yard cleanups, fence painting, small landscapes, garbage hauling, etc, and see what developes, you guys well learn very fast what you do and don't like, and hone on the things you and your guys like to do. and as far a learning about things you aren't sure about, there is always forums like plowsite, lawnsite, etc, and don't be afraid to take courses through your local college, you don't need to aim at a degree to learn how to cut lawns, prune shrubs, and do light landscaping well.
     
  16. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    and if you ever want to PM me i can throw a bunch more ideas out there, my buisness does a very similar approach, LCW (Landscaping, Construction, Welding) in the welding shop we also run a mechanic shop. keeps us on our toes
     
  17. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    My employees are just as loyal as a dollar bill. If there is better opportunities else where, theyre gone. Dont bend over backwards for your employees. The employee hasta fit the job not vice versa. Just my humble opinion.
     
  18. suzuki0702

    suzuki0702 Senior Member
    Messages: 649

    youve got the wrong guys working for you...or maybe they r working for the wrong guy. i wouldnt give you 2 minutes of my time. if theres a better oppurtunity somewhere and they are worth saving what are you going to do? lol your a real piece of work! :gunsfiring:
     
  19. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    good point!
     
  20. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Just running through all the threads on plowsite and ran across this. Thems fighting words. Not even gonna defend myself, you just did for me, better opportunitys exist for you where you are at and gladly for me you are gonna stay there. Take Care/God Bless.:salute: