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A groundskeeper must be competent and knowledgeable about many different aspects of the land. That’s because their role involves maintaining the outdoor areas of a property. Competency ensures they can effectively care for lawns, gardens, and outdoor facilities. Knowledge about soil types, plant care, pest control, and equipment operation is important for maintaining the property’s aesthetic appeal and functionality.

The groundskeeper should also be knowledgeable about adapting to weather conditions, especially conditions that are specific to certain areas of the country, such as heat and drought or over-abundant rainfall and cold.

how to hire a groundskeeper

Why Hire a Groundskeeper?

A groundskeeper’s duties typically include mowing lawns, pruning trees and shrubs, planting flowers and other vegetation, maintaining irrigation systems, applying fertilizers and pesticides responsibly, cleaning and maintaining outdoor facilities, and ensuring the overall cleanliness and safety of the outdoor space, such as city parks.

When a property is not in a skilled groundskeeper’s care, it can begin to lose its beauty and allure. The expertise of a groundskeeper can transform an outdoor space and keep it in prime condition.

how to hire a groundskeeper

Where to Hire a Groundskeeper

Some good websites where you can post a groundskeeper job include Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, SimplyHired, and specialized landscaping job boards like Landscaping.Jobs. You can also explore job platforms to find qualified candidates.

You can also check out local classified Work Wanted listings to find an experienced groundskeeper. The Hiring Process: Step by Step. Each step of the hiring process is important. Attention to detail with these steps can help ensure that you get the right candidate for the job.

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how to hire a groundskeeper

Crafting the Perfect Groundskeeper Job Description

A groundskeeper job description should outline the role’s responsibilities, required skills, qualifications, and any specific expectations unique to your property. The job title is important because a groundskeeper position is different from a landscaper or gardener.

For example, your property may have a pond that features flowering aquatic plants and fish, which would require specialized knowledge.

Or, you may have a property that requires extensive irrigation, and your groundskeeper should be skilled in maintaining such a system.

Will you need a groundskeeper on a seasonal basis? If so, will there be additional duties that the groundskeeper can perform during the winter months, such as snow removal and equipment maintenance?

how to hire a groundskeeper

Groundskeeper’s Toolbox: Tools and Skills

A groundskeeper should be skilled in operating lawn care equipment, have knowledge of plant care, and possess basic maintenance skills. The groundskeepers should be skilled in operating the equipment that is specific to your property. Knowing how to onboard new employees is crucial for success.

The skill set should also be specific to your property. For example, you may need someone skilled in pest control, such as fire ants or moles.

Typically, the property owner provides the tools and equipment. Should you opt for a training plan template to assist in this process, you can find templates and more information.It’s important that the groundskeeper knows how to operate the equipment properly or has an employment background that proves their ability to be trained.

Even more important, the groundskeeper should be diligent about the equipment maintenance and have communication skills – to relay information to other workers on the property and the employer. For example, the employer should be notified about any change in the condition of the various equipment that may need repair.

how to hire a groundskeeper

Screening Applications for the Groundskeeper Job

Key Considerations Questions to Ask Evaluation Criteria Additional Notes
Experience Level How many years of groundskeeping experience do you have? Prior experience in a similar role Consider apprenticeships for entry-level roles
Equipment Proficiency Are you familiar with various groundskeeping equipment? Ability to handle specialized machinery Training may be necessary
Horticultural Knowledge Do you have experience with plant care and maintenance? Knowledge of plants, grass, and trees Essential for estate or botanical garden jobs
Problem-Solving Skills How would you handle a pest infestation in the garden? Practical and efficient solutions Must demonstrate proactive thinking
Pesticide and Fertilizer Use Are you certified to handle chemicals and fertilizers? Proper certification Safety training might be necessary
Teamwork and Leadership Have you ever managed a team of groundskeepers? Ability to work well in a team Leadership experience is a plus
Availability and Flexibility Are you available for weekend or holiday work if required? Flexibility in scheduling May require early morning or late-night shifts
Physical Stamina Can you perform physically demanding tasks? Physical fitness Regular physical tasks will be required
Attention to Detail How do you ensure the grounds are kept immaculate? Keen eye for detail Quality of work is critical
References and Recommendations Can you provide references from previous employers? Quality and relevance of references Contact references for additional insights
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Review resumes and applications, checking for relevant experience and qualifications. And make sure to also reduce hiring bias during this phase.

Remember that even though an applicant may not have all the skills you seek, an experienced groundskeeper has demonstrated an ability to learn to operate different types of equipment. Look for the length of time of previous employment in related fields.

how to hire a groundskeeper

The Interview Process

As you interview candidates, ask questions about their experience, problem-solving abilities, and approach to landscaping challenges. Ask questions about elements of the job, such as adapting to weather conditions and providing maintenance for equipment. You can follow interview rejection letter guidelines if you need to reject an applicant.

As you evaluate the answers, keep in mind that your best candidate may not have all the specific skills you seek. However, the candidate, through the work history, has demonstrated a desire to work in the field and an ability to learn to operate equipment.

how to hire a groundskeeper

Practical Tests and Evaluation for Groundskeeper Positions

Have candidates demonstrate their skills in tasks like mowing, pruning, or using equipment that are specific to your property. If you are considering hiring a family member, weigh the pros and cons carefully. Should I hire a family member?

For example, will the groundskeeper need to prune fruit trees or evergreens? Handle snow removal to include driving a plow truck and operating a snow blower. Will the applicant need to set up irrigation systems or maintain one?

how to hire a groundskeeper

Background Checks and References

In addition to calling past employers to confirm dates, ask those past employers to confirm that the candidate has the experience that is claimed. For qualified candidates, you may want to conduct a criminal records check and also a driving record test if the groundskeeper will be using a vehicle to pick up materials and supplies.

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how to hire a groundskeeper

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Groundskeeper

Common mistakes employers may make during the hiring process include not conducting thorough background checks and neglecting to check references.

Often, a groundskeeper is needed quickly. An employer shouldn’t rush the hiring decision without evaluating candidates properly. Also, make sure the groundskeeper understands completely what the job duties will be and agrees to do them. At the end of the day, you can also look into more unusual ways to promote a job opening.

how to hire a groundskeeper

FAQs: How to Hire a Groundskeeper

What’s the difference between a Groundskeeper and a Landscape Architect

A landscape architect typically designs outdoor spaces and landscapes, while a groundskeeper maintains and cares for those designs.

Landscape architects focus on planning and landscape design, , whereas groundskeepers are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance.

How does the role of a groundskeeper differ from a general gardener?

Groundskeepers have a broader scope of responsibilities, including maintaining lawns, outdoor facilities, and large properties.

General gardeners primarily focus on gardening tasks such as planting, weeding, operating lawn mowers and caring for ornamental plants.

What’s a competitive salary for a groundskeeper?

The salary for groundskeepers can vary based on factors like location, experience, and the size of the property.

The average annual salary for a groundskeeper in the United States ranged from $25,000 to $40,000. In some areas of the country, the groundskeeper position may be largely seasonal, which accounts for the salary figure on the low end.

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