Lance Forsee was having trouble finding employees for his Central Washington landscaping company so he decided to think outside the box.
Forsee, who runs Colonial Lawn and Garden in Yakima, said traditional recruitment methods had failed. He's in peak season now and needs quality employees.
"In our community there's been several panhandlers working the area for quite some time with their cardboard signs - you know the typical 'will work for food, a dollar, everything helps,' he said in a Thursday interview with ABC News. "So we thought 'hmm, why don't we play off that?"
Forsee, 53, decided to break out his own cardboard sign.
"Desperate business owner will give $ and benefits to outstanding workers!" his message read. "Every employee helps. God bless!"
While some people were "conditioned" to stare right past his sign and so missed the message, many others read and appreciated it.
"Several people would pull over. Some would have resumes in hand," he said.
Standing at a busy intersection - the corner of 40th and Summitview avenues - he displayed his sign three times. On his third outing on Wednesday, KIMA-TV featured a story about his efforts. The response was startling.
"We're overwhelmed now with applicants," Forsee said. "We're swamped. I mean people are coming in. We've got hundreds, probably more than 200, since 11 o'clock (Wednesday)."
The starting salary for someone without experience is $10 an hour, Forsee said. That's higher than the state minimum of $9.32, and far above the federal minimum of $7.25.
Forsee said the hourly pay goes up to at least $12 for someone with experience. The average $12 per hour worker who'd been employed for a year or more received more than $5.50 per hour in benefits, including health insurance, paid holidays and paid vacation, Forsee said.