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How do u motivate ur employees?????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by afftandem, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. afftandem

    afftandem LawnSite Member
    Posts: 196

    This yr just myself and 1 employee.. playin around with getting another crew together... question is:

    When youre not with them, how do you ensure theyre doing their job and being time efficient???????

    Im considering partial percent of profits that they get from their routes. 7% each for 14% total.. is this too much?? or just a bad idea all together.

    Ive also considered their pay plus a $1 per lawn = $2, but i thought that may work out about the same as the percentage ideas, not to mention, its not very motivating if i pull down some bigger lawns. percentage of profit sounds more motivating.

    any other ideas?? this is all i can come up with.
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    First off, I am not the best in this department. I will admit that. I probably do NOT do a good enough job motivating my employees. I am often way too busy to worry about that. I know I should, but I just don't have the time to do everything I'd like to do. So take my advice with a grain of salt.

    That being said, even though I don't do a lot right now, I think I have some good ideas about what motivates employees. So I'll give you my 2 cents.

    First of all, I think giving a percentage as high as what you are talking about 7-15% is way too high. I think for the money, you wouldn't be getting much more. Do you think they will be 7-14% more efficient or do 7-14% more work??? If not, than what's the point? Seems like wasted money.

    If you are going to give employees an incentive, make it goal oriented. For instance; Track the crew's times for one month. Suppose they are spending 51 hours per week doing their route. Well, obviously, that's costing you some big bucks because they are getting 11 hours in overtime. Assuming just $9 an hour for wages, they are costing you $297.00 per week in overtime. That doesn't take into account matching taxes, worker's comp., etc. So let's suppose when we add those two things in, that it's more like $350 per week. Assuming just 4 weeks are in a month, that's $1400.00 mo. they are costing you.

    So in this scenario, you make them a deal. The deal is that if they can get their route done in 40 hours or less, they each get a $400 bonus at the end of the month. Also, quality can't go down. If complaints increase or lawns start looking worse, they don't get the bonus. But if quality stays the same and they can cut the hours that much, they each get a $400 bonus. That's a BIG incentive for them! And you would save yourself $600 per month. Now you've inspired your employees to work harder and faster AND you've saved yourself a bundle.

    If you are going to give monetary incentives, I think this is the way to do it.

    Now realize too that there are lots of other ways to motivate employees rather than money. Back when I had more time, I used to do an "employee appreciation day" every month or two. I'd go out to the shop and have all sorts of great breakfast stuff ready for them. I'd have coffee, orange juice, donuts, croissants, etc. all laid out for them. I'd serve them myself. I'd also have a lunch ready for them, in sacks, along with a few drinks.

    Another thing I still do at least every month is take the guys out to lunch. There is a Godfather's Pizza over near where we frequently work. And they have a lunch buffet that is like $6. So I'll take all the crews over their and buy them all lunch. We all get to socialize. I let them take a little longer than their typical 30 minutes, and we all have a good time.

    I also buy them a Honey Baked Ham at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and I usually give generous Christmas bonuses.

    There are other little things I do to try to give them a few extras too. For instance, I will often let the crew leaders take my work trucks home with them. They are mostly hispanics and often don't have many vehicles in the family. So if they can use my truck to go to and from work, that saves them a lot of money and frees up their car for another house member to use. That's an incentive I only give to responsible crew leaders.

    There are tons of other things you can do. There are entire books on the subject of motivating employees without using money.

    Regardless, I keep my guys on a short lease. If they don't perform, they are gone. I'll give a few second chances. But I keep tabs on my guys. Even if they are not being motivated, they are still expected to do good quality work and hussle. If they don't they are eventually canned. And when I can someone, I make it clear to everyone else, why they had to go. That's motivation too. Makes the rest of them understand that I am not going to be a pushover and that I will hold them accountable.

    Well, that's my 2 cents.
  3. bartlc

    bartlc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    What would you pay them per hour? I'm only solo, but I would give them a list and say these need done today. Make sure the # of hours they put in is doable to the workload. Say the guys works 8 hrs a day. You can cut say, 20 lawns in that amount of time with a helper. Figure they probably aren't going to be as motivated as you and might only cut 18 in that amount of time. If they can complete what's on the list for their amount of hours worked, tell them they'll get an incentive of say 2% ($.50 a lawn each depending on what you charge and your overhead) of the profits if they meet incentive goal. (you figure what you want it to be) Make it clear that the work must be done correct and if there are complaints you will cut the bonus. Just my 2C
  4. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    you are starting to confuse me. Are you saying that in 2004 you had you and one employee? Then why did I spend a good amount of time replying to a post about getting started and hiring employees that you started. One of the questions was how would you pay your employees as for as WC and unemployment. But now you are saying that you already have an employee and you are thinking about adding a crew. I also read a thread were you said that you are full time student and cut some lawns with a 21" mower this year in your spare time.

    Please don't wast people's valuable time answering fairy tails. I'm sure Jim had better things to do with the time it took to answer your question. At least someone else might benefit from it.
  5. bartlc

    bartlc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    aaahhhh...ssssooooo...????? ;)
  6. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    % of profit or do you mean % of the gross revenue on the job? It can be very difficult to try to figure out every week what your profit was per job and then divy it to your employees. There will be many weeks that you will not make a profit on paper. This can cause many disputes with employees thinking they are getting screwed out of money.

    If you meant % of gross revenue than that will be ok.

  7. afftandem

    afftandem LawnSite Member
    Posts: 196

    This year, as in '05... this will be the first year with an employee. Any idiot couldve figured that one out from reading previous posts of mine. So technically, I spoke correctly, being that this year is '05. I'm obviously not wasting your time for you to reply. I hope you wear a helmet when you leave your home.
  8. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 997

    Hey afftandem - Good post. You are thinking ahead when you consider ways of rewarding employees. It is hard to find good ones that will be trustworthy and dependable. You will need to know your true profit before you can figure what you can spare for a bonus. I suggest that your first year working with an employee will be a learning experience. In the end, you will know what to do.

    Like Jim Lewis said, try to tie the bonus to performance. I like to tie it to showing up, so I use an Attendance bonus and a Longevity bonus. Someone once said that showing up is 88% of life.
  9. tx_angler

    tx_angler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278


    Sorry, guys! I just couldn't resist.
  10. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    No my friend, you plainly said that this year it was you and one employee and was kicking the idea of adding another crew. Besides maybe some members have not read you other post.

    I have given you valuable advise in the past and have the right to know why you mislead people?

    It is great that you are thinking ahead, but do a search for crying out loud.

    By reading your post, you ended 04 with a few lawns that you pushed with a 21" mower after school. Now all the sudden you have an employee and thinking about adding another crew.

    Here is a post you started 3 days ago (first time hiring an employee) talking about your plans and how you want to hire one employee for 05 and that it will be your first year in business. In 3 days you have an employee and now thinking of adding another crew? http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=92235

    You don't even know what you are saying. You change your mind every 2 seconds. You started a thread saying you just bought a 52" stander and then come back and say that it is a sentar (sp). In one day you can't remember what your first commercial mower is called?

    I was not trying to start a fight with you. I wanted to know what your intentions were on this site. I think I have the right to know since I was really going to give you any help I could (why I replied to your past threads). But now that you called me an idiot and made comments to wearing a safety helmet. You have turned it into more then it should have been.

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