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Labor rate , what do you pay ?

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

  1. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 741

    from what I have seen before I went into business and again now as a business owner that as far as helpers go (not foremans) that starting guys at 13 or 14 bucks doesn't make them any better than a guy at 9 or 10 to start. Ive been through enough people to see already that I can pay a guy 14 and he can totally suck and whines all day, and I can pay another guy 10 and he can be a real workhorse and never complain. I think it boils down to eventually paying that workhorse enough to stick around. But initially I don't think starting pay will necessarily find you a better employee. some guys care and some never will.
  2. clydebusa

    clydebusa LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,660

    This has been my experience also.
  3. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Posts: 3,597

    We talk hatefully about cheap a$$ selfish customers but there are a lot of us that are exactly that way too. I pay 20 an hour for everything except shop work which goes down to 15 because I'm not getting paid for it. Also pay for lunch every day and we eat good, not fast food. I used to pay 15 for mowing days but now I'm paying the extra 5 for experience and efficiency. You have to bust balls to get the work you expect. Guys don't know how you want them to work or act just by instinct, if they did they wouldn't be working for you.
  4. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    You charging like 80-100 a hr to do that?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,669

    He might actually get the efficiency he's paying for.

    I always see guys on here saying you can't do this or you can't do that, it takes longer , you can't do that many lawns or sq foot in a day.

    Balder dash.

    Every time I see some ridiculous youtube video of some guy with his new equipment or his mowing business, I watch in amazement at how much time they spend setting up the dang camera, and how much time they waste trying to do the job they are filming ineffectively.

    How many smoke breaks do your guys take? How many smoke breaks do the OWNERS take?

    Ive seen guys hang dry wall like lighting, Ive sen guys stand around and complain all day you can't make money hanging drywall when getting paid by the square foot…. this was happening in two different rooms of the same house!

    a well trained, motivated, properly treated work force is easily twice as productive as winers complainers and break takers. And that goes for the workers as well as owners and/or solos.

    How much time do you spend texting? checking emails? talking on the phone.
    sometimes people comment I'm rude to my wife when I tell her "not right now Im working" and hang up.
    1) Id never get anything done
    2) Id never have anything to talk about at the dinner table if she already told me earlier.
    I'm happy she called incase it's an emergency, but otherwise Im already doing something.

    Maybe this guys just rewards people who are efficient and hard working?

    Besides, there are guys on here who say they ARE charging $85-100/hr (yes to mow lawns!)
  6. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,669

    Well, I don't know…. I used to buy guys meals all the time, I gave cash bonuses and most of them were paid $15/hr, and that was 2003-2004.

    The guys that weren't worth it, I either gave them a chance at $12/hr…or I thought they would work out and was paying 14/15 and I ended up letting them go….
    But i wasn't estimating $85/hr either.

    True fuel and such was cheaper then, machines cost lost as well.

    But the main point is everyone's situation (overhead) is so much different from area to area and company there is no way to forecast that their costs are.
    One guy can afford X the other guy can't.

    That's the whole point of a franchise, they tell you "THIS works, DO this"
    and it gives you the whole package and what to do to make money (even after paying them their piece)

    There is this company in town, who ALWAYS loses every commercial bid they go to… I always see their prices…they are so far out of the beaten path (in some cases twice as much) I'm surprised they keep bidding.
    I know where their shop is, I see how many trucks, employees and machines they have.
    I can guess their basic costs, because I know how much all the sq ft rent and ear costs.
    I know about what their employees get paid (scuttle butt)
    But Ive never seen them win a job…. except for one, they way under bid me on a residential install…by a freaky amount.
    Which has me boggled.
    They have nice trucks and equipment (better than mine)
    they pay their guys well (at least as much if not more than I do)
    Their shop is a tiny bit less expensive than mine.
    They never win commercial bids I go to, and they under cut residential.

    I can't figure out their pricing structure.

    They are hiring for an estimator right now… I almost want to take the job, because I'm dying of curiosity to see how their numbers work.

    but like I said…there is just no way to figure out how a com pay is making money, based off what equipment they have and what they pay their employees…. there are just too many variables.
  8. Bryan27

    Bryan27 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 148

    I'd certainly agree with you here. One of the best lessons ever taught to me was when I was working in a car dealership back in my teens by the GM of the dealership. Long story short, it was time to clock out and a salesman pulls a new car into the wash bay to be cleaned up for the customer. Two guys I worked with said screw it and complained that they don't make enough to be putting in extra time. Two minutes later the GM of the dealership comes back there in his dress cloths and him and I are washing the car while the two of them watch. Then, to dig themselves in a deeper hole they make the remark about how they're under paid. The GM looks at them and says, "If you can't do a $9/hour job well, why would I pay you $12/hour?", dead silence. They were both fired. You can't ever pay a good employee enough, you can't ever pay a bad on too little. I think it's good practice to start people out at a low, but fair wage and raise their pay as warranted or fire them because keeping the bad ones isn't worth it.

    Another old boss I had when I was in college didn't pay much, but he made it so those of us who worked for him and his wife always felt appreciated and they were always doing special stuff for us. I was 800 miles away from my closest family while I was in college, but they always made it a point to celebrate birthdays and holidays with me. The business he was in, he was ALWAYS getting invited to go on hunts. I can't count the number of duck hunts I got to go on at some incredible duck hunting clubs in Mississippi and Arkansas while working with him. Everyone who worked there WANTED to do every job to the best of their ability and it had nothing to do with our paychecks, we had a good boss who knew how to motivate people. Money is a poor motivational tool.
  9. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

    $20 an hour? Are you hiring?
  10. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    I would like to have year around help and well payed help with benefits, but I would be pricing myself way out of my competition.

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