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Labor rate , what do you pay ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Wright48, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Wright48

    Wright48 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242

    So here i am again another season about to be underway in april and once again looking for good employees to work for me. Ive made some connections threw the years but now they experienced well trained reliable help wants a starting salary of 15 per hour. I dont have a problem paying it if there worth it. Oh and hardscaping most guys want 18 plus an hour, just wondering what everyone elses labor rates are in my area or wherever im up in north nj.

    Seems as the years go on the labor wants more money because they know its hard to get guys that show up and work there ass off.
  2. walkerway

    walkerway LawnSite Member
    Posts: 208

    $8 an hour till they prove the can stick at it and get the job done.
  3. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,480

    I'm not sure how rates where I am compare to where you're at, but I feel in general 15 is a good area to start at. I only have 2.5 employees, but they all make more than that.

    Many people think landscaping is a low paying, entry level job. And some employers view it that way too.

    But to attract decent employees, that can do a physical job at a good pace, while still maintaining quality, and show up every day, is a lot more rare than you would think.

    You can pay top dollar and get a shyt employee. But you can't pay bottom dollar and get a good employee.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,670

    Hardscape guys get paid 17-23

    Equipment operators get paid 20-25

    Lawn crew gets 12-17

    Snow truck operators are 15-20
  5. beeker1

    beeker1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    you guys aare out of your mind if your paying any more than 12 an hour to ride on a lawn mower
  6. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MD/NC
    Posts: 2,294


    My brother-in-law told me once- "Your employees don't give a shyte about you or your business. Don't overpay for a shyte employee."
  7. GQLL

    GQLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 846

    You all must not have quality employees. I start people off at 10 an hour. (soon to be the new minimum wage) and after 60 days if they prove them selves they get put up to 12. My Foreman at the end of last season was making 15. an hour And was going to get a raise but a national company took him for more money then i could offer. If people pay a decent wage you get quality people, but if all your going to pay me is 8 an hour I'm only going to do what i have to get by.
  8. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,480

    This is what I was thinking. For all the threads on this site bytching about crappy employees.....honestly how much can you expect out of someone for 8-12 dollars an hour?
    Not to mention 8-12 an hour is about the same pay as any convenience store, retail store or fast food place. All of which are significantly less demanding than a landscaping job.

    Like I said before, while high pay may not guarantee you a good employee, low pay will most definitly guarantee you a poor one.
  9. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MD/NC
    Posts: 2,294

    Re-read what you just said. He bailed on you for more money. So that proves my point....employees don't give a shyt about your business.

    There was a post comparing lawn care employees to fast food workers. There is really no skill in lawn mowing, and there is really no skill working the french fries at McDonalds. The only difference is the lawn employee gets a small break between jobs AKA travel time. If the pay was that bad at a fast food place, how do they still employ anyone?????? We all say we wish we were more profitable, well stop hiring guys at $20 an hour only to complain he took advantage of you/called out too much/started drama/etc. Posting jobs starting at $20 an hour will only get you a lot more deadbeat applicants who want $20 an hour, half of which will only tell you what you want to hear to get their $20 an hour.
  10. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,480

    I agree to a certain extent, and disagree as well.

    Most people view lawn mowing as a low skill/no skill position. If that's all you want is a guy to sit on a mower or run a trimmer then maybe that's true. But to learn how to truly do a professional, quality job at a good pace.....I believe it takes more than a 2 or 4 week training period to get to that point. If it's such a low skill job...lwhy are there so many potential hires out there that plain old suck? I want and seek employees that are more than just "capable of doing the job"

    Regarding "overpaying"...I touched on it a few times but since you mentioned it ill go a little more in depth. Paying more definitly DOES NOT guarantee you'll get better help. Your interviewing and hiring process will determine the quality of employee you end up with.
    However, higher starting pay will attract higher quality people to apply, as well as help to retain these employees later.

    I guess in the end it all depends on your expectations. I run a small company that (I believe) does high quality work. I want employees that I don't have to babysit. I don't like when customers complain. I don't want employees that stop to take a cigarette break as soon as I leave a job. I want guys that can problem solve and resolve any random problems they encounter during the day without having to call me and ask what to do 40 times a day. I want guys that respect my expensive equipment.

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