Saturday, March 5, 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

I thought I might take the opportunity to tell you a few horror stories I have witnessed first hand from working in the lawn care industry.

I have seen a lawn fertilized against a customer's wishes. I have noticed an application performed on a wrong house. I have been there when a newly seeded lawn was sprayed with chemical weed control. I have seen an aerator take out a shed. I also saw one puncture a sprinkler line, destroy a fence, damage a newly sodded lawn. I've witnessed a ramp fly off a truck on the DVP and subsequently get run over by several vehicles. I have noticed directives from a lawn care company to disregard the pesticide bylaw and spray Killex anyway.

Right place at the wrong time perhaps? No. I have seen these things happen because I was the culprit, ignorant of proper procedures and protocols.

All these mishaps took place when I worked for one of the bigger lawn companies in an industry I knew nothing about when I started.

How is it possible that I should now run a successful lawn care business with asinine mistakes such as these?

First let me tell you, that all I have done was early in my first year and the product of one day training. That's right! One day of training until I was given my own truck and told to go hone my skills on your lawn --- to make mistakes on your lawn. And no one checked up on the work I was doing.

However, I learned from my mistakes. I listened to the veterans around me in an attempt to gain knowledge and I took an interest in doing the job correctly with moral obligations. I wrote for my licence and passed top of my class. I worked with pride and efficiency until I was counted as one of the top technicians in the company. Someone able to train others guessed day of my undivided attention before we cut the poor bastards loose.

To my knowledge, this is the way things are still done by the big guys. After all, time is money. Unfortunate for the home owner mostly, but sadly, for the technician too. I have viewed the results of lawns burned by the wrong applications and far too much product after it was discovered the technician had mixed up his valves and was spraying Merit (for grubs) to control weeds and Par III (for weeds) to kill grubs, for over a month before anyone caught on. He was a nice enough guy, but after a mistake like that was fired on the spot. Another victim of the one day train.

Yet others I knew filled out invoices, but failed to complete any work and were rewarded. After all, they were returning at the end of the day with forty plus work orders done. What company is going to question a work ethic like that?...until the customer calls to complain that his grass is still full of weeds.

Look, I'm not trying to tell you what to do with your hard earned money and I'm not painting all in the lawn care industry with one brush. There are reputable lawn care providers out there who take the time to train their staff properly. I'm simply pointing out the shortfalls in a flawed system too many still use. You as a home owner paying for a service, should be aware of the possibilities.

Is your lawn company sending out a technician with little training to learn on your lawn?

Do you want to put your money down on the roulette wheel?

Personally, I'd rather let them try, try again on someone else's property.

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