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Staffing Companies For Sidewalk Crews

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by born2farm, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Has anyone ever used a staffing agency for sidewalk crews? We are having a hard time finding enough laborers to fill our crews. We have a few good guys that we place as crew leaders, but seem to go through quite a few laborers over the winter. Right now we only need 12-15 depending on the storm, but with the way the company has been growing, this number can easily double every year. I was wondering if anyone has had any luck using staffing agencies/temp. agencies for general labor work? I am in contact with one now getting some more information on what our options are, but just wanted to see if anyone else was doing it successfully.
  2. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    It sounds like a good idea if you can find an agency to work something out with. Honestly I never thought about it, following to see what people say.

    Good way to get a list of names, then you will have a surplus, and when one guy doesn't show call the next!
  3. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    I believe merit hall staffing out of detroit does seasonal landscape staffing
  4. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    You probably have thought about this already....but we've had good luck having the crew leaders "recruit" their own helpers. It makes them feel valuable, and in our experience they don't want to work with guys who suck...we will be running 8 dedicated sodewalk crews this winter.
  5. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,110

    I find this interesting, who would be liable if there is a screwup, you or the staffing agency. You already have a comfort level of risk, but if you contract out your staffing do you feel it's necessary for the temp agency to assume some of that risk. If they send you a dud or there are no shows what happens.
  6. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    We do use this, and it does help but we pull out of a very small community. The people running my walk crews know the same guys as I do. As we grow we are just trying to find a more reliable source of help. When a big storm comes, how nice would it be to make one phone call and get 20 guys.
  7. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    I was a crew leader, and i found that hiring my friends or people I recruited worked better than the randoms we found. They performed better and were always prepared.
  8. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    This is all things I need to discuss with the agency. There would be some level of risk assumed, but generally the staffing agency has already done background checks ect and screened the help to a certain extent. As far as no shows, im thinking that of someone takes the time to sign up with a staffing agency that there is a good likelihood they will show up atleast one night. If they dont show I believe they get booted off the agencies list for possible job opportunities.
  9. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,968

    Company that I subbed to(friends company) would hire laborers from a temp agency (labor ready) It was ok,actually hired many of the temps that showed promise.No paperwork,just billed for hours ,labor ready would take care of taxes, comp etc.Very interesting characters! Worked with murderers,shooting victims(one guy had 7- 9mm wounds,another shotgun to the face),ex druggies etc.Best was a guy Allan Dias,ex bassist with John Lydons(Johny Rotten) band P.I.L (Public Image Limited)He had it all,Scottish wife,a nice bed and breakfast place in Scotland and a nice 325k sports car,cocaine did him in,lost it all! Very humble guy who put his life together,nice guy,I think he's arranging shows in NYC now.I'd give it a shot.
  10. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,719

    We use a staffing agency for mulch installation labor and have had minimal issues. Buying a blower next year to get rid of that issue.

    I wouldn't have any hesitation to use a staffing company for sidewalk labor.
  11. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 786

    I have thought about this before, but never looked into it. It's an easy way to build your crew(s). My only worry was what about the storms that don't happen during their business hours. How do you get a hold of an agency at 2am? Maybe I'm just an idiot and it doesn't work that way.
  12. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    I have a meeting set up for next week with a local staffing agency. I'll report back with my findings :waving:
  13. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 786

    Please do, I'm very interested.
  14. Easy Outs

    Easy Outs Member
    Messages: 36

    We use staffing companies for some of our mowing contracts when we just need people to run string trimmers for a couple days. It's frustrating at times, but I feel better using temps than stressing myself bringing someone on who I can't keep busy enough for full time work. Just keep your expectations LOW.
  15. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    I've tried it in my market, but with snow so unpredictable here it is expensive because of the min call out hours. My best source has been concrete and asphalt companies I know, but the last few years all want off the books due to unemployment. Just will not due anymore. Unemployment benefits are so easy to get anymore-need to go back to the system before the recession.
  16. iceman1

    iceman1 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    At Oberson's we have used a staffing company and it was not very successful. This issue is predictability. Staffing people had a 4 hour min like all of my guys but the staff they hire is looking for a pay check every week and with snow in Cincinnati being an average of 24 inches a year you just do not get the hours. This is the cheapest way to do walks if you can do it. I was paying $18 per hour plus sales tax. Yes temp labor is sales taxed in Ohio!!! At the end of the January we left the Temp agency to just find our own sidewalk labor and it has been a challenge, but we always seem to find them. I would look into it again if I need to use this service. By the way in the $18 all of the taxes and workers comp are in that number. If they get hurt it is the Temp agencies issue. If they hit a car with a shovel or break a window it is Oberson's problem.
  17. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    If you have kids, have them hire their friends if they are old enough. Not many jobs for high school or college aged kids paying 10-20 an hour. Although I'm sorry to say kids in those age ranges seem to want to sit on our asses all day.
  18. John143

    John143 Senior Member
    from NEPA PA
    Messages: 254

    We used a local temp company a few years ago. I will say. NEVER AGAIN! Not sure how they work in your area but here's how it works in mine.

    1. Anyone that can show up at the temp company for 6am has a job for that day.

    2. They pay CASH / reload a usable credit card for each day worked at the end of each day.

    3. We had to sign a waver leaving the temp company off the hook for any accident.

    4. They claimed to do random drug test but (I found out the hard way)!

    5. After 2 weeks we started missing: blowers, shovels, tools and much more!

    6. Found out the workers were being paid min wage by the temp company. But they charged me $15.00 bucks an hour per-man.

    I can keep going.... But I would try craigslist before a temp company! :nono: Good luck! Thumbs Up
  19. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    I tried to use a temp agency ONE time several years ago to help out on a big landscape job I had gotten. The job was to replace ALL mulch in landscape beds at a Long John Silvers. They wanted all old mulch (brown) dug out and replaced with red. I don't remember how many yards of mulch it was other than to say I had two large dump truck loads sitting in the parking lot for me when I arrived at 0600 on a Saturday to begin. I'm a one man operation, so there was NO WAY I was going to get this job done on my own. I made the arangements several days in advance and even called the temp agency Friday afternoon to verify that everything was a go for the next day. In addition to this being a big job money wise for me, it was also about a 1.5 hour drive to the job site. Needless to say, I was there at 0600 and they weren't. I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to get a hold of someone with the temp agency trying to find out where my helpers were. Of course, it was after hours, so no one was answering, I had to leave a message. About an hour into this fiasco, I finally got a return call from their after hours person who advised me that they weren't able to find anything in their computer about my job order, but that they would make some calls and try to round up some help. They finally got back to me about 2.5 hrs after my first call stating that they had two guys lined up to send my way, but that it was a 4 hour minimum charge per guy regardless of whether they worked 4 hours or 4 minutes and that their time started when they were in their car headed my direction. I said nope, not paying for their drive time after they had completely screwed me up on getting the job done in time because of course, LJS wanted the work done and me gone before their lunch rush started and that obviously wasn't going to happen since it was now going on 0900 and they hadn't even left yet and it was a 1.5 hour drive. Well they wouldn't budge and neither would I, so I told them to go pound sand, I would figure something else out. I hung up with them and called my wife in a panic and she jumped in her car to come help me. I went inside and explained the situation to the store manager who was aggravated but understanding. While speaking with him, one of his employees overheard the conversation and came over and said she had two boys at home that would like to make some money. I said I'll pay them what I was going to pay the temps. She called them and they were there in 20 minutes ready to go. It all worked out in the end, but was extremely frustrating for me and I vowed never to put myself in that position again. Then I still had to call the temp agency on Monday and argue with them to get the charges on my credit card refunded. NEVER EVER AGAIN.
  20. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,396

    Our company uses temp like water, theres a company called One Source with a branch in KC. They are somewhat of a national company. They will supply you good workers.