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How to Hire Landscape Employees for Your Business: 6 Steps

Profile picture of Hillary Walters, freelancer writer for Jobber Academy
Hillary Walters
July 18, 2024 7 min. read

Adding landscape employees to your team might seem like a huge step. But a bigger team frees up your time to manage your business better, serve more clients, and expand your lawn care services.

To accomplish this goal, you’ll first need to know how to find and hire skilled workers who represent your company and perform work to your standards.

From creating job descriptions to onboarding new employees, this guide helps you hire the right candidates and get them up to speed quickly. 

1. Decide what kind of employees you need

The type of positions you open should directly relate to the support your business needs most. 

Landscape business owners often choose to hire permanent or temporary field workers.

  • Permanent field workers are long-term partners who know your brand, grow their skills, and start to build strong relationships with your customers. These full-time roles might cost more in wages, but they can also save time and money when compared to constantly hiring part-time workers.
  • Temporary or seasonal workers let you scale your team when you have sudden spikes in customer requests. These roles are perfect for busy seasons (like spring and summer) when landscape work is in high demand. Temporary positions give more flexibility and prevent layoffs when and if you become overstaffed. 

Should you start with permanent or temporary workers?

When hiring your first employee, part-time field workers can be a cost-effective way to start growing. Once you and your part-time employee have more work than teams can handle, you can gradually grow the team and complete more jobs.

For certain jobs, you might need a subcontractor instead of a part-time or temporary field worker. Subcontractors help fill in the gaps for one-off lawn care jobs you wouldn’t normally do, like pruning or snow removal.

READ MORE: Subcontractors vs. employees: what’s the difference?

2. Create a lawn care job description

Once you’ve decided what kind of employee you want to hire, create a job description. This description tells job seekers what skills, experience, and traits you’re looking for.

Remember to add these sections to any new lawn care job description:

  • Summary – Give an overview of the position, including the purpose of each job and how it fits into your lawn care business plan or growth plan.
  • Ideal candidate – Describe your ideal candidate, including traits that could help them succeed on your team (e.g., supportive, focused, creative).
  • Expected responsibilities – Outline what a team member needs to complete on a daily or weekly basis. For example, a new hire might need to operate lawn care equipment, interact with customers, or provide quotes for hardscaping.
  • Specific qualifications – If you want to find an individual who has previous lawn maintenance knowledge, landscaping experience, or special certifications, outline that clearly. Clarify whether these specifics are “must have” or negotiable.

Pro Tip: Avoid hiring inexperienced employees just to save money. Experienced lawn care and landscape professionals will end up saving you training time, reducing costly errors, and improving the quality of your jobs.

Network with home service professionals

Talk to industry contacts and other contractors who know where to hire lawn care employees and landscapers. The more people you know and interact with, the more likely you are to find a qualified candidate with reliable references.

You can also join Facebook groups where local landscapers share job opportunities or groups for trades and home service professionals.

Start Connecting: Meet lawn care and other home service pros in the Jobber Entrepreneurship Group on Facebook.

Ask current employees for referrals

Advertise the job to your existing employees, too. Someone on your team might be ready for a promotion, or they might have a recommendation.

Referrals from existing employees can also help you attract and retain more qualified workers, since they’ve likely already earned your trust. Consider starting an employee referral program that rewards your employees for recommending candidates.

4. Interview your top candidates

Once you’ve collected several good resumes and have reviewed for basic qualifications, it’s time to have real conversations. Schedule interviews with your qualified applicants to move forward in the hiring process.

If you’re unsure about what to ask in those first-round discussions, here are some interview questions you can use right off the bat.

  • Can you tell me about yourself and about your background?
  • Please describe your past experience in lawn care and landscaping.
  • What made this job posting stand out to you? What motivated you to apply?
  • What type of lawn care or landscaping equipment have you used? 
  • Do you feel comfortable operating powered equipment such as mowers, tractors, snow blowers, electric clippers, chain saws, sod cutters, and pruning saws?
  • What are the most effective methods for mixing and spreading fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides?
  • Describe an experience when you followed planned landscaping designs to sow grass, lay sod, or plant foliage.
  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer or coworker. How did you handle the situation?

READ MORE: 10 questions to ask a new employee before you hire them

Although your role in the interview is primarily to get to know the candidates, you also want to communicate important information about yourself and your landscaping business. 

Explain why your company is a great place to work. You can prepare for this by knowing what attracts employees to a company, and then previewing any benefits you can offer.

To further verify a great interview, ask candidates to send professional references. Let them know that you might call these contacts to learn more about working history or past performance.

5. Extend an official offer to your chosen candidate

After the application, interview, and vetting process, you get to do the fun part. Phone your top candidate, and congratulate them on securing the job. 

In addition to calling or texting, always put an official offer in writing. You might send a brief email or attach an offer letter, which should outline their starting date, job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and the conditions of their employment. 

Always have your new employee read and sign this document to show that they’ve agreed to meet your expectations for the specific role.

6. Start the onboarding process

Finally, start preparing for your employee’s first day or first time on a job site. This is when you’ll welcome them to your company and introduce them to their team and responsibilities. 

Before an employee’s official start date, you should prepare:

On their first day, walk your employee through your company policies, and discuss their work schedule to make sure they understand days and requirements. 

You can provide an onboarding mentor or make yourself available throughout the first week to help them adjust to the role and know where to go with questions or concerns.

Pro Tip: Document your company policies and get new team members to sign. This official agreement comes in handy if an employee fails to meet your requirements and needs minor correction or disciplinary action.

Grow your team and your lawn care business

Choose the right kind of employee for your specific goals, make an eye-catching job posting, and fine-tune your interview and onboarding processes. 

By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to hire skilled landscape employees for your new contracts, projects, and jobs. Providing guidance and support will allow your new team members to contribute to your booming landscaping company and find an enjoyable role.

FAQs

Hire lawn care and landscape employees when you’re struggling to keep up with demand. You can also start hiring landscaping employees and lawn care workers when:

You need workers with specialized expertise to expand your services (e.g., arborists, horticulture specialists, irrigation technicians)

You get new customers in seasonal surges and high-demand times of year

You start winning large commercial lawn care contracts

Your landscaping clients request bigger and more complex projects

Before you make new hires, your cash flow should be steady enough that you can afford to pay employment wages and still have money left over.
In most small business settings, a part-time administrative assistant can help you field calls, publicize your job postings, and even organize employment paperwork to help you stay compliant. 

If you have more budget available, you might also be able to outsource the employment search to a third-party platform or staffing agency.

After you’ve successfully added more team members, you might consider a bookkeeper or accountant to manage the financial aspect. This individual can also help with payroll and employee-related finances.
Before or during the interview, you can ask candidates to provide a criminal record check and motor vehicle report. These verifications are usually public records, and they can confirm whether an applicant has a safe driving history.

If you have certain disqualifying factors, make sure you’re in compliance with any local, state, and federal labor laws. For example, it’s never permissible to disqualify a job candidate due to unfair discrimination.

You can also fall back on the job description or professional referrals to verify whether a candidate is the right person for the role.
You should pay lawn care field workers and landscapers hourly. Experienced lawn care and landscape managers, on the other hand, earn an annual salary.

The median hourly wage for lawn care employees in the U.S. is around $17 per hour, according to data from ZipRecruiter. The highest income for landscape employees is often found in the western or northern United States.

Wages can also vary greatly based on previous experience, certifications, and regional factors.

Want to learn more? Take a deep dive into lawn care salaries based on experience, job title, and geographic location.

 Originally published May 1, 2023. Last updated on July 18, 2024

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