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greenskeeper44
11-03-2010, 05:40 AM
After 3 seasons I have realized that I am maxed out and am now going to hire someone to do the applications so I can work on the business and grow it.

My main question is how do you guys pay your techs. Hourly, Salary, Production?

I heard larry talk about a 2% production bonus. If he would elaborate that would be great.

Thanks

Ric
11-03-2010, 10:15 AM
Greenkeeper

IMHO I think your pay plan should be in line with your Business Plan. Production bonus and sales commissions are tools of Companies like TG/CL who have 3,000 accounts but who have to continually advertise on radio and TV to replace accounts gone bad quickly.

I always paid Salary plus quarterly Bonus based on company profitability. This takes in factors like Call Backs and Customer Retention and Sales. It also goes in line with Our Work is Our Advertisement. Word of mouth is not only powerful, it is inexpensive.

rcreech
11-03-2010, 03:09 PM
I always paid Salary plus quarterly Bonus based on company profitability. This takes in factors like Call Backs and Customer Retention and Sales. It also goes in line with Our Work is Our Advertisement. Word of mouth is not only powerful, it is inexpensive.

Ric,

Great post!!!!!

That only makes sense to pay someone on profitability as if you are paying a guy on on how much he gets done he may screw up. But if you are paying him on what you make he will do a good job!

I also like what Larry is going but think this may be a better way just do keep mistakes down and quality up.

I just pay my guys a good hourly rate and no bonuses! :)

JD2320
11-03-2010, 03:17 PM
Ric,



I just pay my guys a good hourly rate and no bonuses! :)

Exactly.

Have a safety bonus , sales and retention bonus, but production commissions are asking for trouble in my opinion.

Ric
11-03-2010, 06:27 PM
Greenkeeper

IMHO I think your pay plan should be in line with your Business Plan. Production bonus and sales commissions are tools of Companies like TG/CL who have 3,000 accounts but who have to continually advertise on radio and TV to replace accounts gone bad quickly.

I always paid Salary plus quarterly Bonus based on company profitability. This takes in factors like Call Backs and Customer Retention and Sales. It also goes in line with Our Work is Our Advertisement. Word of mouth is not only powerful, it is inexpensive.

Exactly.

Have a safety bonus , sales and retention bonus, but production commissions are asking for trouble in my opinion.


Guys

I think you all might be missing a very valuable part of my post about employee Pay scale. Your pay plan must be in tune with your business plan.

Take the TG/CL type operators who only know how to BS Customers and have no real Horticulture Knowledge. Their Blow & Go type treatments fit the Production incentive commission perfect. The company makes $ 400 an hour one day and then $ 2500 the next on a one Minute TV advertisement to get replacement customers for the ones they just lost due to the poor Blow & Go treatments.

JD2320
11-03-2010, 07:00 PM
Guys

I think you all might be missing a very valuable part of my post about employee Pay scale. Your pay plan must be in tune with your business plan.

Take the TG/CL type operators who only know how to BS Customers and have no real Horticulture Knowledge. Their Blow & Go type treatments fit the Production incentive commission perfect. The company makes $ 400 an hour one day and then $ 2500 the next on a one Minute TV advertisement to get replacement customers for the ones they just lost due to the poor Blow & Go treatments.

I was agreeing with you and Rcreech. I just don't think production bonuses are a good thing. If blow and go is part of your business model then fine. Give a production bonus and set a goal.

Otherwise just pay the man a fair wage and offer incentives so he is careful, willing to sell the service too, and do good applications and service calls which boils down to good retention.

ted putnam
11-03-2010, 07:00 PM
Guys

I think you all might be missing a very valuable part of my post about employee Pay scale. Your pay plan must be in tune with your business plan.

Take the TG/CL type operators who only know how to BS Customers and have no real Horticulture Knowledge. Their Blow & Go type treatments fit the Production incentive commission perfect. The company makes $ 400 an hour one day and then $ 2500 the next on a one Minute TV advertisement to get replacement customers for the ones they just lost due to the poor Blow & Go treatments.

:laugh:Damn Ric, you enjoy walking the tight line!
I am against production bonuses also because I believe it promotes the "blow and go" mentality and worst case scenario..."ghosting". Sales and retention bonuses are great when a tech has his own route that he's responsible for. Also, quarterly profitability bonuses are great tools as well because if a guy doesn't make it at least 3 months, you're out nothing and it's a great indicator of work quality and could be a deciding factor on whether it's time to cut the guy loose or keep him on. Great ideas here guys :clapping:

americanlawn
11-03-2010, 08:06 PM
Okay here's a little. We have to pay overtime after 40 hours per week. This is one reason my guys rarely work more than 40 hour per week. To accomplish this, one has to be extremely organized & efficient. Conversely, if the majority of one's pay is based on "incentive", you can work them as many hours per week as you wish and not have to pay overtime. (at least in Iowa)

We base our rewards/pay on quality. We have NO quotas. We base our pay on a 20 -step program. This includes personal cleanliness, and many many other important issues regarding dealing with the public. This has done us well over the years.

If anybody wants a list of important factors that we use to reward employees, please let me know.

ric -- you were told by moderators to lay off my back, but each post you make, attempts to make mention of MY business and my team by quoting from my posts and associating me with TruGreen/ChemLawn. Why???

At age 70, I thought you would be more objective. Shoot me in the foot if you want. No hard feelings either, cuz nobody needs that. *trucewhiteflag*







After 3 seasons I have realized that I am maxed out and am now going to hire someone to do the applications so I can work on the business and grow it.

My main question is how do you guys pay your techs. Hourly, Salary, Production?

I heard larry talk about a 2% production bonus. If he would elaborate that would be great.

Thanks

Ric
11-03-2010, 10:00 PM
:laugh:Damn Ric, you enjoy walking the tight line!
I am against production bonuses also because I believe it promotes the "blow and go" mentality and worst case scenario..."ghosting". Sales and retention bonuses are great when a tech has his own route that he's responsible for. Also, quarterly profitability bonuses are great tools as well because if a guy doesn't make it at least 3 months, you're out nothing and it's a great indicator of work quality and could be a deciding factor on whether it's time to cut the guy loose or keep him on. Great ideas here guys :clapping:

Ted

The Point I am trying to make is from top to bottom there is Athletic Turf, Fine Turf on upscale homes, Utility Turf on working class homes and Ground Cover for erosion control and even Pasture Grass. Each has it's different market and business plan. Therefore Each should have a pay plan based on the goals of the Business Plan. I would like to think my Business plan is Fine Turf. However I am now looking at Utility turf and ground cover weed patches with the Idea of Chemical mowing. My pay plan would be different than fine turf.


Larry

If your Business is a carbon copy of TG/CL then the shoe fits! WEAR IT. Because they have the worst reputation in the Green Industry. If not! don't be paranoid.

ted putnam
11-04-2010, 12:21 AM
Ted

The Point I am trying to make is from top to bottom there is Athletic Turf, Fine Turf on upscale homes, Utility Turf on working class homes and Ground Cover for erosion control and even Pasture Grass. Each has it's different market and business plan. Therefore Each should have a pay plan based on the goals of the Business Plan. I would like to think my Business plan is Fine Turf. However I am now looking at Utility turf and ground cover weed patches with the Idea of Chemical mowing. My pay plan would be different than fine turf.


Larry

If your Business is a carbon copy of TG/CL then the shoe fits! WEAR IT. Because they have the worst reputation in the Green Industry. If not! don't be paranoid.


Ric,
I agree. I take care of properties for doctors, lawyers, public officials and even used to do the former middle weight boxing champs yard. But I also take care of lawns for "working class Joes" like me. They want nice lawns too. Neither one would stand for "blow and go" much less "ghosting", so I'll never use a production bonus per say.
In my opinion a production bonus would be in line when I have 10 miles of Utility easment for a vegetation control contract if I did ROW work and I told my guys "you get it done in XXX amount of time and I'll give you XXX% of invoice in addition to your hourly wage". IMO, that's where a production bonus would be best used with the least amount of headache. Otherwise, the possibility is too great for catastrophe...at least with my "business model"

Ric
11-04-2010, 01:18 PM
Ric,
I agree. I take care of properties for doctors, lawyers, public officials and even used to do the former middle weight boxing champs yard. But I also take care of lawns for "working class Joes" like me. They want nice lawns too. Neither one would stand for "blow and go" much less "ghosting", so I'll never use a production bonus per say.
In my opinion a production bonus would be in line when I have 10 miles of Utility easment for a vegetation control contract if I did ROW work and I told my guys "you get it done in XXX amount of time and I'll give you XXX% of invoice in addition to your hourly wage". IMO, that's where a production bonus would be best used with the least amount of headache. Otherwise, the possibility is too great for catastrophe...at least with my "business model"

Ted

It breaks down to the type of work. Do you want to be a rocket scientist with 3.000 accounts or do quality work on 300 accounts. IMHO the smart operator with 300 accounts will have a better bottom line that the fool (see Below) with 3,000 accounts. It is old Skilled Tradesman verses the Big Box store. We get better prices at Wally World but they don't have all the Name Brand merchandise. Buy a Shirt at Wally World and it screams Wally World because every cheap fool in town is wearing the same falling apart shirt. Whether it is Wally World or TG/CL wannabes the business model is the same, volume over quality.

humble1
11-04-2010, 08:52 PM
Just to add to Ric's post, I don't think anyone comes away from McDonalds saying wow that was the best burger I have ever had. The plain fact is that when ever a company grows big, the quality always suffers.

As an owner operator late in the day Fri probably around 7:30 on my last lawn one week this summer, I ran out on my backpack sprayer on a lawn with a small gate. I only had a few weeds to spray. Now as the owner of the biz and quality paramont, I went back to the truck, measured out the herbicide, and re filled the back pack. I walked out back and sprayed the rest of the weeds. Now, if I had an employee who was late for dinner with his girlfriend, maybe that extra 10 min of work might have been skipped over and the customer might not have been too happy.

I take care of a lot of high end stuff, people who can afford the fertilization, the mosquito control, the tick control and the ant control. The question I have is do you grow and risk losing these customers, or do you take care of them yourself, I get a lot of comments from people likeing my personal attention to detail, and that goes out the window when the 20 something employee is late for his date friday night with suzie cream cheese...

americanlawn
11-04-2010, 09:05 PM
We use I.P.A.S. (Integrated Personal Assessment System). It was developed by the Duke brothers over 30 years ago in central Ohio, yet it still holds true today. Has nothing to do with TruGreen (which I have never been associated with).

1st part is in regard to employees. 2nd part involves management/training.

Don't really want to share it, but I will.... if anybody really wants me to post it. (first part includes about 25 criteria, so I'd have to type a lot) Like personal cleanliness, dealing with customers, knowledge of stuff, equipment, etc.

You will not find this on the web anymore, but I will share it if there's enough interest.

Finally -- Even lawnsite.com moderators advertise how to "grow a business". I thought that was a good thing instead of being a one-man-show all your life. My 2 cents.

p.s. Why can't the GIE be held in Florida??? Holding it in Kentucky is not good cuz we can never attend.

Hissing Cobra
11-04-2010, 09:50 PM
The "Blow & Go" mentality should be left for the bigger companies that we all know about. Those companies have very low customer retention and have to spend millions of dollars on advertising to replace those lost customers. Their business models are terrible! They also don't pay overtime to their emplyees for anything over 40 hours, yet they load up those same employees with 50 or 55 hours of work per week and expect them to get it done in 40. Most cannot and end up working the 50 or more hours with each hour over 40 at HALF THEIR SALARY PAY! These companies are going after the almighty dollar in an effort to appease their stock holders. That's all!

That being said, the small locally owned company that I worked for had a great plan as far as bonuses and pay were concerned. It all went to hell when the company was sold to Scotts and production based bonuses arrived.

Before the buyout, we all were paid hourly with the ability to earn bonuses twice per year (July & December) based on goals for the entire company. These bonuses ranged anywhere from $100.00 to $2,000.00. It all depended upon your customer retention, cleanliness of your truck, your work attendance, service call history, length with the company during the season (new reps were on a sliding scale and could not earn max amounts) and a few other areas that I no longer remember. There would be percentages earned in all areas and they could really add up. If you smashed up and broke your truck or equipment, you may as well kiss your bonus goodbye. If your customers were cancelling at a high rate, kiss it goodbye (and be worried about your job as well). During my first season, I started in April and in July had earned a bonus of $750.00. In December, I got $1,300.00. Many I was stoked! The way that the company was set up encouraged you to come to work on time, have pride in your work and wear the company issued uniforms proudly.

By the way, our retention rate for all 3 of our branches was 90% yearly and we had well over 20 people who had been with the company for over 20 years. Something to think about when it comes to creating a good working environment for your employees.

ted putnam
11-04-2010, 09:55 PM
Just to add to Ric's post, I don't think anyone comes away from McDonalds saying wow that was the best burger I have ever had. The plain fact is that when ever a company grows big, the quality always suffers.

As an owner operator late in the day Fri probably around 7:30 on my last lawn one week this summer, I ran out on my backpack sprayer on a lawn with a small gate. I only had a few weeds to spray. Now as the owner of the biz and quality paramont, I went back to the truck, measured out the herbicide, and re filled the back pack. I walked out back and sprayed the rest of the weeds. Now, if I had an employee who was late for dinner with his girlfriend, maybe that extra 10 min of work might have been skipped over and the customer might not have been too happy.

I take care of a lot of high end stuff, people who can afford the fertilization, the mosquito control, the tick control and the ant control. The question I have is do you grow and risk losing these customers, or do you take care of them yourself, I get a lot of comments from people likeing my personal attention to detail, and that goes out the window when the 20 something employee is late for his date friday night with suzie cream cheese...

I feel your pain Humble. I have a handful that insist I do it myself. And there are a few that are so picky I want to do it myself to avoid a phone call. I can almost guarantee a 20 something yr old late for his date with Mary Jane Rottencrotch would have left the back lawn unsprayed and hauled azz... JMO

Harley-D
11-05-2010, 09:09 AM
It's about percentages of numbers, not the numbers themselves. Look at it like sales gained and lost. If you are in a yearly sales position that applies to continued yearly resales like in lawn care, you can apply a percentage to the gain (or loss) of the budgeted number or goal. "We expect great work and a gain of 6% over last year" Make sure the employees know that tools and equipment cost money and comes out of that 6% goal to gain. They may take better care of the stuff they use.

Another idea is a list of positives and negatives. End of quarter and bonus are based on where employee is on the list numerically.

If you hired the kid and are worried he may leave the job early for the date, you hired the wrong kid. I was 20 once and the job was why i could take the girl out and she waited while i did my job.

Ric
11-05-2010, 11:19 AM
It's about percentages of numbers, not the numbers themselves. Look at it like sales gained and lost. If you are in a yearly sales position that applies to continued yearly resales like in lawn care, you can apply a percentage to the gain (or loss) of the budgeted number or goal. "We expect great work and a gain of 6% over last year" Make sure the employees know that tools and equipment cost money and comes out of that 6% goal to gain. They may take better care of the stuff they use.

Another idea is a list of positives and negatives. End of quarter and bonus are based on where employee is on the list numerically.

If you hired the kid and are worried he may leave the job early for the date, you hired the wrong kid. I was 20 once and the job was why i could take the girl out and she waited while i did my job.

Honda D

Look at what those percentages cost to generate. Not just a Line advertisement in the yellow pages but a Double Page Spread. One Minute TV commercials cost thousands every time they Run. Newsprint advertisements, etc. etc. Then add in they charge less.


There an old saying "Be careful what you wish for, You may get it". IMHO the Big Box TG/CL Wannabe Business plan is a loser loser all the way around.

Harley-D
11-05-2010, 12:56 PM
i agree 100% ric. I guess i was thinking more toward an incentive plan that would make sense to the tech guys. Do good, make more money...do bad and break stuff, no more money. The incentive has to be there and often if possible for the tech to really appreciate and want to do better for themselves and for the company.

The big box companies are clueless and everything else is lost in their numbers. You get too big and its more about managing people and inventory than it is quality control or personalized service.

americanlawn
11-05-2010, 05:59 PM
Displays proactive initiative on route
Follows customer's special instructions
Leave accurately/complete invoice in an easily accessible spot
Completes route on a timely basis
Ensures that management is aware of progress or problems
Organizes route to maximize efficient use of time & resources
Demonstrates knowledge of the proper application of products
Demonstrates ability to correctly identify weeds, grasses, diseases, insects, etc
Treats lawns without streaking, burning, missing areas or damaging ornamentals
Applies proper amount of product based on square footage
Fills trucks accurately (I personally do this every morning for all my guys)
Assists other specialists in solving technical lawn/ornamental problems
Completes all necessary sections of invoice
Demonstrate effort to diagnose truck & equipment problems
Performs required daily maintenance
Carries tools & parts required to correct minor truck/equipment problems on route
Washes truck & equipment as needed and keeps the cab clean
Demonstrates ability to use hand sprayers/spreaders & other equipment to solve problems
Completes & maintains accurate customer records on route card
Drives in a safe & professional manner at all times
Takes necessary action to ensure the safety of customer's property, children, pets, etc
Wears clean (A.L.C.) uniforms during the production season
Keeps hair & mustache neatly trimmed & clean
Presents professional image when dealing with customers
Reports to work on time
Complies with company policy regarding absenteeism
Contributes positively to team spirit

The above lists most things. We use a 1 to 5 rating for each one.

We have another section that deals with lack of effort, lack of proper training (management's fault), etc. It's good too, but I prefer not to share it....don't want to give away all our secrets.

IMO the Duke brothers were truly the pioneers of professional lawn care. The I.P.A.S. was developed by them -- not us, and I never considered them as a "Big Box Store" type of outfit. I'd also like to add that our local TruGreen is a fine outfit. (don't know about other markets)

Ric
11-06-2010, 09:27 AM
i agree 100% ric. I guess i was thinking more toward an incentive plan that would make sense to the tech guys. Do good, make more money...do bad and break stuff, no more money. The incentive has to be there and often if possible for the tech to really appreciate and want to do better for themselves and for the company.

The big box companies are clueless and everything else is lost in their numbers. You get too big and its more about managing people and inventory than it is quality control or personalized service.

Honda D

Life and Business are all about attitude. With the right attitude and a little intelligences you can do any thing. The problem is the Intelligences part when it comes to the green industry. You can try and be GMC and make all kinds of rules for your workers. But a Living wage and the right attitude about the Company goal and business plan is the better way to go.

I hate to say it but I think we can tell what kind of work different Lawnsite members do because of their Attitude. Those asking or answering Questions about Application and plants etc have the DO A GREAT JOB Attitude. Those who post about how much money they make or how fast the make it Have the BLOW & GO Attitude and are a TG/CL Wannabe.

MacLawnCo
11-07-2010, 04:49 PM
thanks Larry. Duke is a big name around here... my parents house was only a few blocks from Paul's house...