View Full Version : pay for manager of lawn service

02-04-2001, 12:07 AM
We currently gross 400k a year. 100k of this is chemical lawn care. I started out ewith on guy then proceeded to two as growth was anticipated. The original guy is the manager. he has been injured and is unable to do any physical work, even snow plowing is to much. He is reliable, but clealy is not busy enough just managing one guy. I have been pushing him to do cold sales in order to build the chemical lawn portion of the business. He is not in to doing the cold sales. He does help out with alot of errands and other things when Im busy.

He curenntly makes 27k on basically 40 hours, he doesnt care for overtime. he has approached me for a raise to 30-35k and would like a percentage of profit. Although he is reliable, trustworthy, and honest, this has got me contemplating looking for a more motivated individual that is able to do physical work and think.

Please share your thoughts with me and what your manager does and for what money.

02-04-2001, 07:24 AM
Why not a percentage of the profits? That's what he's asking for, so obviously that's what's going to motivate him. Then he'd have the incentive to make the cold calls you want him to. As it stands now, there is no incentive for him to make cold calls, he draws salary regardless. Seems like a Win-Win situation to me. A lot of large, successful companies are doing just that.


02-04-2001, 09:14 AM
How was he hurt, is it a W/C injury? I couldn't give him a raise to run errands, he would have to contribute to the bottom line.

mowing king
02-04-2001, 10:34 AM
did you read pro mag? Vander Kooi ,beware of egg-sucking dogs. read this article.

Why would you give this guy a raise? sounds like he wants more money for sub par performance. Make a you need pay for performance program. not just on sales but his entire performance.

if you were him would you expect a raise?

lawrence stone
02-04-2001, 12:46 PM
I would have cut him lose on UC when he got hurt.
If he cannot work in the field if needed he has no value IMHO.

02-04-2001, 12:53 PM
You need to find someone that contributes. This guy is not willing to do what it takes.

Up the money and incentive and you can find someone capable.

02-04-2001, 01:54 PM
Don't throw good money after bad.

If he isn't motivated now, giving him more money won't inspire him to work harder.

If he really wants a cut of the profits, let him put some skin in the game. Offer to share profits, but cut his pay. Set it up so that he has to maintain current performance to keep current pay. Work harder, bring in more $$ for biz=more $$ for him. Work less, bring in less $$ for biz=less money for him.

John Allin
02-09-2001, 06:32 PM
According to ALCA 2000 Salary Survey the high end pay rate for an experienced applicator in a company grossing under $500,000 is $26,000. That takes into account all of the USA. Midwest regional numbers are a touch lower than that - like $25,000 per year. People managing one "crew" (not managing one applicator) makes $27,500 (average). Managing multi crews gets $34,000 (average).

Sounds like your guy has a rather high opinion of himself, and given what you describe - he's the only one with that opinion.

02-09-2001, 07:34 PM
Sometimes the toughest decisions occur when dealing with lonetime employees. I think you need to sit down with him and explain the reality of the situation. Hell my hunting dog is reliable but the day he quits producing and is afraid to jump in the water for that extra duck is the day I see my breeder.

Bottom line is point out his positives and be honest with him how you see things. he might not like what you have to say and feels he has helped you build the business, but keep in mind it was'nt his money he has been asking for.

Good luck keep us posted

MJM Landscaping Inc
02-16-2001, 02:02 AM
Hey John,
I saw your info on ALCA's wages and thought I would share this story.

Do you think my employee has a high opinion of himself.
He has been with us 2 years. Last year was his first year running a crew. He was in charge of 1-2 men. No benefits, plenty of ot and layoff in the winter. (except when it snowed.) Jan-march $9 hr;April raised to $11 hr. (did I mention he had only been in this buisness 1-2 months prior to coming to my co.)

Here's where it gets good. Major problems with employees last year, get rid of 7 guys keeping him and 1 other. The 2 guys go out together, my brother goes out by himself and I go out by myself. Were busting a hump but getting it done. Now the 2 guys are talking to joe fly by night and they feel they need a $3hr raise. (this is around Oct.) Joe fly by night is paying his guys $14 hr and they 4-5 men on a crew doing $30 lawns.The foreman just doesnt show up 1 day, no call no nothing but he wants this raise because he "deserves it". After all he only has 1 other man on his crew. (I have a rider for every crew member, its unprofitable for me to have more than 2 men on a crew, same with joe fly by nighter but he just doesnt know it.) So, we give it to him, no choice. Well we realized we needed to make some changes this year. We sat him down a couple days ago and explained to him what the changes were and what we were offering him. Our offer: $14 hr NO OT. We will not have ot this year. 40 hr work week year round, no layoff. 1 week paid vacation and 4 sick days. 50% medical paid by company. This package equals $32,000.00 yr. ( he made 26,000.00 last year) He also has chances to earn bonuses throughout the year, which we want him to because it will mean we are making more. Well he came back with his offer yesterday, he wants $18hr, 75% medical paid, 2 weeks paid vacation and 8 days sick pay. This equals $43,000.00!!!! I wish I could get raises like that (66%).

When he gave us this counteroffer, (I can tell it is all his wife's doing) I asked him where he came up with this offer. He replied it was what he felt he deserved. So I asked him 3 times why he felt he deserved it and never got an answer.

BTW he called out sick today!! (I guess he is showing us why he deserved it!!)And no were not giving it to him. I just cant beleive what he was asking for and on top of that I think he really thought we were going to give it to him. Thanks for letting me vent a little. :)

Mark A Musolf

02-16-2001, 09:13 AM
I guess there is always a place for negotiation, but here is how I see it, you are talking about spending between 32-40k per year to this potential employee, and all you have described in your post is what you will do for him. It sounds to me like you need stress what job requirements and goals the employee will have, otherwise he is going to continue this habit, and negotiate with you all year round on every issue until he is sitting in a chair doing nothing all day.

He has been with you for 2 years, not 10 or 20. I'm not saying that time buys more respect, but in this case, it does not appear that this particular employee is helping further YOUR cause. Let him shop the package that he wants with a few of the other companies in your area. If you let him go with an open door policy, you can accept him back, on YOUR terms. It sounds like you can handle the management responsibilities that he is supposed to anyway, so why not buy two 20k laborers for yourself and spend more time managing?

Furthermore, how are you going to respond when he asks for another 30% raise next year? What else can you give this guy or others?

Mike Nelson
02-16-2001, 09:32 AM
Well I had a employee in a similar situation.I made the tough decision to let him go and it turned out to be one of the best moves I ever made in business.
It is a tough decision to make,but being a nice guy in business is not going to put money in your pocket.
The funny thing was my guy was grossing about 35k a year and always complaining and upsetting the crews. I replaced him with a guy who does ten times his work with not one compaint.Cost me about 50k a year for the new guy,but it is the other best move I had ever done.
Good Luck :D

02-16-2001, 09:46 AM
Thanks for the reply!

Your right I didnt explain his responsibilties in my post and that was only because I saw that it was getting rather long. :) He does know what we expect from him and to be honest it really is not a whole lot.

I also realize that there is room for negotiations but, we feel that his performance did not warrant a raise of any kind. ( remember I did ask him why he felt he deserved this and he could not tell me) If he was able to explain himself then maybe negotiations were possible. Secondly, we DID give him a raise anyway. The reason we did this is because we are basically starting off new. We do take some responsibilty for what went on last year and that is why we are making changes. The changes will benefit the employee tremendously.

Your right he does not appear to be helping our cause. We explained to him that everything we were doing was going to benefit the employee's. We built an employee room this winter and for the first time we will be having weekly paid training meetings for all empoloyee's. We also told him that we will no longer hire anyone untill HE interviews them. We are trying to get everyone involved. We knew when we changed over to this new system that we would lose some people and thats alright. In the long run it will make us a stronger company. We told him he could go look else where if he felt he could get what he was asking for or if he felt we were unfair. We were very nice and professional about it. I really doubt he could get what he is asking for, I could be wrong. I dont see him as ever running more than 1 crew. We will (are) willing to train him to move up in the company but it does take two.

Now the other problem with this is, Do we really want him back if he should chose to stay? Whats his attitude going to be if he feels we are taking advantage of him? I can say with all honesty that I beleive we are being MORE than fair with him, but then again I could be wrong! :)

BTW: It's now 8:30, no call no show.... day 2, suppose to be in by 8:00.

Mark A Musolf

02-16-2001, 10:00 AM
I feel I must add this:
I am not opposed to paying high salaries if they are warranted. I just don't feel that he deserve's it and like I said he couldn't tell me why either.
Oh the fun never ends being self- employed!!

Mark A Musolf

Mike Nelson
02-16-2001, 11:05 AM
After reading your posts I honestly thought you had my old employee working for you.:D
I sometimes felt that his wife was working for us.She made all his decisions,telling him he needs to make more money,and he always needed time off to go away on vacation.
Thanks for the bad memories :D

02-16-2001, 11:41 AM
Does this guy have a bonafide offer from another company, or wage data to support his request? If he doesn't (and that's what it sounds like), I'd never consider paying this.

After no calls/no shows and holding you over the coals for such a huge pay increase, I'm surpised he didn't need surgery to remove your boot from his behind. :mad:

This sounds like a guy that will always be playing you for more money. With the cooling economy, there may be a larger pool of people to hire from, which drops his stock considerably. So show him the door, and if/when he asks to come back later in the season, offer him less than he's making now.

John Allin
02-16-2001, 01:46 PM
Bend over... guess who's driving by the "feel"....

Man O Man.... I was burned just READING this whole thing... I can only imagine the frustration actually being there going through it.....

We have 50+ employees. I think you gotta take a stand. We finally put together a pay rate scale based on job position/title/description. You can't get past the upper end of the pay scale unless you do something (get promoted, get educated, buy into the company....). Everybody knows the range for their job. End of discussion.

Still creates some problems, but not nearly as many...

BTW - just kidding on the "buying in" crack.....

MJM - I think we're all "feeling" for you. We've all been there in some way or another (although probably not to the exent you've just experienced).

Good luck dude....

02-16-2001, 01:51 PM
come on John, I was already getting the checkbook out.

Mike Nelson
02-16-2001, 02:35 PM
I was ready to buy in also,John don't joke like that.

Can't wait till they go public,hope he lets us in on it when he does :D