RE: hiring help

dlbk(6a)May 30, 2014

I've been the sole gardener at an estate for 15+ years and recently made the decision to make fine gardening my focused career (I left a previous vocation). I now have a number of clients and have come to a place where I need to hire help if I want to expand my business. There are a myriad issues it seems with hiring and after searching for info at length online with little success, I thought I might find some advice here.
Our season here runs from about mid-April-end of Oct., with May and June being very busy, as is September. Summer is slow.
How to hire someone when work is sometimes sporadic is my dilemma. I could possibly keep someone busy 5 days a week May into June, but once July heat hits, things can be very slow until fall cleanup starts.
Would a semi-retired person be an option? (though a young guy would have better stamina and a stronger back)
Where do you find seasonal help - Craigslist?
Are there landscape job boards?
Do you hire as independent contractors or 'work-for-hire' ?
What about insurances? Necessary?

As I'm just starting up, funds are tight and currently am not making enough to pay benefits, etc., but I also cannot expand the business without taking on new clients, which means I'd need to hire. I feel a bit like a cat chasing its tail.
How do other small fine gardeners/landscapers (1-3 people) deal with this issue?
Thanks for any insight.

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Still looking for thoughts on hiring.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 12:43PM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

I hire high school kids. I have to supervise them. I get set up during the early afternoon, and have whatever mob I can get for 2-3 hours after school. The more reliable ones get weekend hours too.

Talk to your local school -- they may have a work-study program. Here the school carries the workman's compensation payments.

The best ones get called in more often, and some are hired for the summer.

I like working with young people.

One thing that helps: Have a bunch of jobs that can be started and stopped easily. E.g. Make cedar planter boxes. This is a task that can be used to keep people on when the jobs are slow.

In your case the afternoons probably wouldn't work very well. Can you do the mob approach on weekends. That is, you have 6 kids for Saturday and Sunday, and you come in and work as a mob. 1 with a mower, one with a weed eater, 2 weeding, 2 helping you. During the week you do the skill jobs.

Another idea: Contact your local garden club, and try to hire moms part time. Lot of moms who would jump at a job that they could do during school hours. Again, hire twice as many as you need, since you will only get them for 4 hours a day.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 11:45AM
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I work as a gardner part time and have worked with other Master Gardeners. The county extension program in many communities could put you in touch with the master gardeners in your area.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 8:06PM
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They're all avid gardeners and some will want to work.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 8:07PM
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