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Finding decent farm help...

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  • Finding decent farm help...

    Strike two so far...paying $8/hour cash and want someone to come in daily and clean up manure in common areas. It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.25 hours depending on the time of year. We provide an ATV and cart to do the job with. First person was taking 2+ hours because of all the cell phone breaks and the fact she insisted on coming after dark most days. Needless to say, we had to fire her. However, based on that experience we decided to go to a per-cart rate for next person.

    Right now it takes a little less than an hour to fill the cart. We decided to pay the new person $10/cart to make it worth her while and to allow some leeway. At first, all was great. Then, carts started coming in 3/4 full and manure left in areas. When we tried to address it, person said it was supposed to be $10/hour and that was all she could do in an hour. When I referred back to the written parameters of the job that she had been given at the beginning, she had mysteriously "lost" her copy and looked at the new copy I had available like it was from another planet. She hasn't shown up since.

    Suggestions? Neither the per/hour nor the per/job approach has worked thus far...is it just the type of work or our approach? I'd like to be able to add on some other responsibilities eventually, but if you can't show up regularly and follow simple directions regarding manure removal, how can I trust you with feedings???

  • #2
    Seriously..theres not enough money to be made to cover the cost of gas..if it takes 45 minutes to 1.23 hour..just do it your self.
    I pay way more to get 11 stalls cleaned.

    Comment


    • #3
      You are offering a low wage, very part time job that involves manual labor....what kind of people will be attracted to that? Either make the job have enough hours to be viable -- who needs $10 - 20 a day when gas is approaching $4 a gallon or pay better wages. Honestly, you can make more babysitting and it's easier work.

      If this is all you can pay, then I think Otherwise, you'll be spending all your time trying to manage a string of unsuitable workers who won't last.
      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
      http://www.ironwood-farm.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I am a "Jill of All Trades" I do all sorts of jobs to earn money to supplement my income. No way would I be able to afford to work for you, it's just not worth my time to travel to your place for $10 - $15 a day. If you really want someone to come muck out your stalls, and it only takes about an hour, pay them $25.00 a day and be done with it. I would come and do that for $25.00 a day if it really only took about an hour. If you can find someone, then don't stand over them and watch their every move. So what if they are on the cell phone? People call me all the time to book a job, I am charging you a flat rate, and honestly, I will give you your money's worth.

        Comment


        • #5
          Pay versus gas cost...no wonder you can't get or keep good people. I wouldn't even apply.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is NO WAY I am paying someone $25 to muck four stalls...um, minimum wage isn't even $8/hour and taxes get deducted out of THAT. Let me put it to you this way...most substitute teachers that I know in my area get paid $100/day for 7 hours...that is less than $15/hour. And then it gets taxed. And those people have at least a B.A., if not a Masters degree. And no one pays for THEIR gas. You are all correct - it is unskilled, manual labor. So, $8-$10 hour cash is like $14 on the books. As far as me paying you to talk on your cell phone... No wonder there are so many illegal immigrants running around this country "taking all the jobs".

            I'd like to give someone more hours, if you read my original post, last line. I guess I need to rephrase my question: Hourly rate versus a per-job rate? Most farm owners I've talked to say the per-job rate is the better approach but that didn't work out any better for us...

            Comment


            • #7
              I too have the same problem-with needing about an hour a day to muck out pastures. Fortunately I have a wonderful woman that does this. I really do NOT want to do it, have done it for 5 years, and I clean the ten stalls in AM, so I hire it out. When she isn't able to work, I have a teenager come after school. I mean, $10.00 for 1 hour of work 5-6 days a week, that's not bad!

              Comment


              • #8
                I think what people are trying to say is that the job is too small for anyone to be interested in. Therefore, you will have to overpay to get and keep a person. I've been in that position before also and that is what I had to do.
                Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by alter4areason View Post
                  There is NO WAY I am paying someone $25 to muck four stalls...um, minimum wage isn't even $8/hour and taxes get deducted out of THAT. Let me put it to you this way...most substitute teachers that I know in my area get paid $100/day for 7 hours...that is less than $15/hour. And then it gets taxed. And those people have at least a B.A., if not a Masters degree. And no one pays for THEIR gas. You are all correct - it is unskilled, manual labor. So, $8-$10 hour cash is like $14 on the books.
                  Substitute teachers are paid a day rate, so that is worth their while to show up. I am talking about the 1 hour a day rate.

                  As far as me paying you to talk on your cell phone...
                  If you are paying a rate as opposed to an hourly wage, what do you care?

                  No wonder there are so many illegal immigrants running around this country "taking all the jobs".
                  Really?

                  I'd like to give someone more hours, if you read my original post, last line. I guess I need to rephrase my question: Hourly rate versus a per-job rate? Most farm owners I've talked to say the per-job rate is the better approach but that didn't work out any better for us...
                  Per job would probably work out better for you.


                  Exactly Bird4416! No way am I driving to your farm for an hours work and getting paid $10.00. It barely covers my gas and wear and tear on my truck.

                  If you have other jobs/more hours, then that's a whole different ballgame, but you won't get anyone that's reliable or good based on .75-1.25 an hour @$8-10 only.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alter4areason View Post
                    There is NO WAY I am paying someone $25 to muck four stalls...um, minimum wage isn't even $8/hour and taxes get deducted out of THAT. Let me put it to you this way...most substitute teachers that I know in my area get paid $100/day for 7 hours...that is less than $15/hour. And then it gets taxed. And those people have at least a B.A., if not a Masters degree. And no one pays for THEIR gas. You are all correct - it is unskilled, manual labor. So, $8-$10 hour cash is like $14 on the books. As far as me paying you to talk on your cell phone... No wonder there are so many illegal immigrants running around this country "taking all the jobs".

                    I'd like to give someone more hours, if you read my original post, last line. I guess I need to rephrase my question: Hourly rate versus a per-job rate? Most farm owners I've talked to say the per-job rate is the better approach but that didn't work out any better for us...
                    Yes, but OP the substitute teacher spent much less of the per diem rate just getting to the job.

                    Maybe you do need to make this job bigger, not smaller, from the beginning in order to have it make sense for someone to take.

                    But please (please!) don't imply that the working poor are stupid, lazy or unethical. What they are is constrained in a way that really isn't quite like the middle-class farm owner. In this case, the poor SOB spending, say, as much time to get to the job as he is doing it has to make a calculation: What will I earn by the time I consider my expenses? And the stakes are high because the pay is so low! They have the same 24 hours to make enough to pay for food, shelter and all as everyone else. They simply can't *afford* to take little jobs like this one.

                    But the suggestion of having a teen come do this job after school might work. I think you'd need to make it more than a cash gig and maybe create a Working Student-like position. They clean up four or five days a week after school for a lesson on Saturday mornings. The kid can afford to do this low-paying job and also get something more out of it.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I feed/muck/etc. at up to three farms a day. The smallest of them I handle two days a week minimum, two trips a day for a total of maybe 1 1/2 hrs. I get paid $30/day now and I'm about to ask for a raise, because like any business, I need to maintain my profit margin and gas is expensive. Moreover, I have to look at the big picture. If she decided she only needed me one day a week, I'd likely give notice. I could take the time I'd alloted to her, and find someone with more work to offer.
                      The last time I checked folks were paying for degrees, not getting paid for degrees. Wages are not immune to the law of supply and demand. There's a pretty high demand for competent manual labourers. I know this because in addition to owning a construction subcontracting company, I co-manage one of the aforementioned barns and have struggled with hiring help myself. You'll always get your money's worth. You have to decide whether you want the bargain or the work done.
                      Frankly if I were you, I'd bite the bullet and find another hour in the day to do it myself. Unless you are really averse to mucking, I don't think it's worth the hassle or money to fuss with an employee.
                      "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
                      http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alter4areason View Post
                        Strike two so far...paying $8/hour cash and want someone to come in daily and clean up manure in common areas. It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.25 hours depending on the time of year. We provide an ATV and cart to do the job with. First person was taking 2+ hours because of all the cell phone breaks and the fact she insisted on coming after dark most days. Needless to say, we had to fire her. However, based on that experience we decided to go to a per-cart rate for next person.
                        In the first post the OP clearly states that they went from a "per hour" to a "per cart" rate BECAUSE someone was talking on their cell phone. Therefore, they were paying that person by the hour to talk on their cell phone, which isn't right no matter how you spin it. They then changed to the per cart rate, so the person could talk and scoop and it didn't matter how long they took to do it. I know we are all busy people and probably skim posts, but people have been taking shots at OP when they misunderstood her post.

                        OP, I agree with the poster who said to make the job a bit bigger so you can pay a bit more to make it worth someone's time to come. I also like the idea someone put out about giving a lesson or two on the weekends as an incentive. I would try to find someone VERY LOCAL, so that gas is not such an issue. Call the high school counselors and see if you can advertise a position there. Of course, if you get a teenager, you want to meet the parents and get their permission

                        If you find a horse crazy teen and let them have an opportunity to learn about horses, that may be your best bet. When I got my first horse, I boarded with a friend of my mother's. She and her family were big into the barrel racing scene and also had Quarter horse race horses. They all also had outside jobs (the wife was a nurse), and since this was Michigan, the horses were in a lot in the winter. My parents used to drop me off Saturday morning early and pick me up at dark. I would also go out any other time I could. After I rode my horse and played with her, I would clean all the stalls for about 12 horses. I LOVED doing it, and did it for free and without being asked. Needless to say, they loved having me as a boarder! I was so horse crazy that cleaning stalls was fun! I learned so much from those people, so I got a lot out of it too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm with mvp on this one. The job isn't big enough for the low wages to justify the expense of going to it.

                          Comparing manual labor rates to teaching rates is silly. Teachers are underpaid for the education requirements of their job. They also don't work for one hour a day.

                          As for cell phone use -- welcome to the modern world! People have cell phone conversations all the time at work. I run a non-profit and every person in my office has a cell phone and makes/takes cell phone calls while on the job. That includes me. The younger people like to text. It's not something to get excited about.

                          The question about per hour versus per job -- sometimes that works but the job needs to be defined. I don't think a "per cart load" measure is particularly good. There was a disagreement about the cartload size. So just pay $X for cleaning manure in the common areas and be specific at where these areas are located and the amount of cleaning to be done.
                          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                          http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Unless you have a teenage neighbor (and I wouldn't think of paying less than $10/hour), you're probably going to continue having a problem.

                            Gas is $4.00 a gallon! How are they supposed to get to your farm, pay for their gas and have anything left over?

                            My daughter has a job that is 40 (correction, 50) miles away. She figures it takes her 2 1/2 hours just to pay for the gas to get there and back (vehicle choices are a jeep and the farm truck) and she doesn't have the money to pay for a more fuel efficient car. I'd be mucking it myself, or at least have someone come every other day (if the paddocks are large enough that it's not a problem). Up the pay a bit, and problem solved. Or, do it yourself.

                            Why should some poor hourly worker take a loss or work for free because what you pay barely covers their transportation?

                            Oh, and by the way, since it sounds like you're paying them under the table, what happens when someone gets hurt and needs workmen's comp?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do you have any kids at your barn (clients) in the lower income range - i.e. the ones struggling just to afford a horse or better yet the ones who can afford lessons, but no horse? Find one who's really keen, that will do anything to just be around horses, and who is hanging out at the barn anyway. Then, stress the importance of hygiene (poop picking) to the overall health of the horses and the pastures and how important it is to do a good job of this. Then, be prepared to offer little extras, every once in awhile, in addition to the regular pay. Extras like a free lesson, or a chance to ride a better horse, a day out with the trainer/barn owner at a show or sale. A lesson in the finer points of horse care - eg show braiding. I know when I was an early teen, 12-16, I would have picked poop until the cows came home for that. I hope there are still a few of those kids around (I know there have been a few at the various barn's I've boarded at).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                                As for cell phone use -- welcome to the modern world! People have cell phone conversations all the time at work. I run a non-profit and every person in my office has a cell phone and makes/takes cell phone calls while on the job. That includes me. The younger people like to text. It's not something to get excited about.
                                .
                                Wow, I have a problem with that if the cell phone use is private but on company time. Just as I would have a problem if co workers were conducting private calls on a lan line. Where is the work ethic???

                                Toirider, thanks for pointing out the erroneous attack on the OP.

                                OP, a 10 an hour job seems like decent pay, and it is when you are paying for 4 - 8 hours a day, but to expect someone to come to work for you for 1 hour a day and get 10 is somewhat unreasonable, unless they live very close by or was a hs kid with a job to do after school.
                                I pay the boys who help me two days a week, 2 hours a day 40 bucks. Yes, that is good for hs kids, but I also want to beat out the competition by paying them more so they stick around. Hiring new people and the training involved is time consuming.

                                Sooo, I would expand the job, groom each horse, or scrub water buckets, put hay in stalls, fill horse buckets with water, rake the yard, etc, etc.
                                Have the person work at least a couple of hours, or pay them 20 bucks a visit, with expectations of what is to be done.
                                Ie, entire paddock(s) should have manure picked up. If it takes them a half hour or 3 hours...not your problem, you are paying by the job.
                                Be reasonable with your time it takes to do the job. In my previous life, I use to do job task anaysis, so I am fairly accurate about job flow, average time to complete a task/job.

                                Also, treat them like gold, and really appreciate them...that helps keep them around.
                                If they do any extra, give them more money, if they need a hat to keep the sun off...buy them one. If they need gloves, etc
                                The days of finding plentiful help to do manual labor is long gone. Most Kids aren't brought up to work manual jobs, and most adults just won't do it.
                                You have to give them an incentive...pay is one, and being kind and appreciative to them is a bonus.
                                Good luck.
                                save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It sounds like the part-time job would be well-suited to a young, high school teenager, one who cannot get a local minimum wage job in town. It's not easy for teens to get work, as there is too much competition from adults who have been displaced in the work place. So that is where I would tailor this job to if I wanted to successfully fill the position.

                                  If an adult is looking at getting a job, they are looking at all of the parameters to see what they are getting into. If it's only mucking common areas (I thought that meant pastures) and then there are four stalls to be mucked, that's not a lot to keep someone in what is essentially a dead end job on any farm. Young teenagers don't look at things this way, though, and if it is an after school job, someone might just be willing to take you up on it. That would give you the latitude you feel you need to expand the job into feeding based on their mucking performance, or leave the job as it is. If you remain pleasant as a boss, the teen might stay on for a while, or add it onto a second part-time job. Good luck in filling the position.
                                  "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                                  http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Is this an everyday job? And is it just stalls, or pastures/padocks too? I agree with everyone else, it's just not profitable enough to keep any good help around. If I were you, I would see how I could shuffle things around to get the help to come out every other day or twice a week, and pay them two or three times as much. It's the same amount of money for you, but less time for them, which makes it more profitable.

                                    Also, this isn't a job for an unemployed, looking for work type person. This is a job for a highschooler (or a middleschooler within walking distance), college student who's conveniently close. Are you paying someone to come out to your personal farm, you don't have boarders or lesson students who would be interested in working off some of their money owed?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by alter4areason View Post
                                      There is NO WAY I am paying someone $25 to muck four stalls...um, minimum wage isn't even $8/hour and taxes get deducted out of THAT. Let me put it to you this way...most substitute teachers that I know in my area get paid $100/day for 7 hours...that is less than $15/hour. And then it gets taxed. And those people have at least a B.A., if not a Masters degree. And no one pays for THEIR gas. You are all correct - it is unskilled, manual labor. So, $8-$10 hour cash is like $14 on the books. As far as me paying you to talk on your cell phone... No wonder there are so many illegal immigrants running around this country "taking all the jobs".

                                      I'd like to give someone more hours, if you read my original post, last line. I guess I need to rephrase my question: Hourly rate versus a per-job rate? Most farm owners I've talked to say the per-job rate is the better approach but that didn't work out any better for us...
                                      Definately the per job rate is better for you. I've been ...done over a few times by the per hour thing. last time by my stepson and he did a royal job of it.
                                      Never again.

                                      With the gas thing the way it is you ARE going to have a hard time getting someone unless you pay a reasonable amount unless they live just right down the road or next door.

                                      Good luck.
                                      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I pay my farm sitter...

                                        $25.00 per visit (so usually 50/day for am and pm checks). That is for 3 - 4 horses that in most cases are out on pasture full time. No stalls to clean, just check/fill troughs, sometimes depending on the time of year and if the pasture needs supplementing, throwing some hay or grain. Look at each horse and make sure they are ok.

                                        I am relatively sure it takes her less than an hour -- maybe less than 1/2 hour a day. But she has to arrange her schedule around it, drive here and home or here and to work, and as everyone says has to be worth her time and effort. $8.00 or $ 16.00 an hour wouldn't be.

                                        The high school kid that cuts my inlaws small lawn at their river cottage gets $30.00 a week for what probably amounts to less than 1 hour a day per week. But he is concientious and plenty are willing to pay it for the piece of mind.

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