Mowing crew pay: Commission or hourly?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by CHC, Feb 8, 2001.

  1. CHC

    CHC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Has anyone had any success with using a commission scale or piece work to pay mowing crews; as opposed to hourly wages. If so, what sort of percentages or rate schedule do you suggest. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. zimm4

    zimm4 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 106

    Im new to this business. But I would think there would be A possability of poor work. If the guys get min A hurry to make A buck. The quality may suffer. Just my opinion.
     
  3. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    What happens on a callback? Can you legally have them redo the lawn for free? Or charge back to them?

    I would think a bonus for exemplary work would be a better option.
     
  4. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    The only time that I paid someone on a per cut basis was my younger brother worked with me one summer when I first started out on my own. I paid him $4 per lawn for 50 lawns. we cut about 12-13 a day.

    I would have to agree with Bill that the bonus check for exemplary work is the way to go. Afterall at 4$ a cut if they are too tired the might skip it.

    Just my .02
    Kris
     
  5. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,415

    I think the hardest thing to look at is if you have hourly workers will they milk the clock. My partner actually worked for some one else many years ago and the people he worked with would milk the clock to get overtime each day. Just something to think about.
     
  6. CHC

    CHC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Thanks for the input. The reason we are looking at a pay system other than hourly, is that we know the crews are milking clock. Our feeling is that they might work better/faster if their time is their own. If they milk a $40. lawn for an hour, they still get paid an hourly rate; if they do it on a per cut or commision basis, and get it done - to standard - in 1/2 an hour they actually make more $$. I know that this concept has been kicked around a good bit by the CLIP people - just wondering if anyone has actually tried it. Thanks again
     
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    A couple more ideas: Set minimum standards for amount of work you expect them to do. Maybe pay them for the full 8 hours if, say, they finish the assigned route in 6, and they can also be paid for the other two hours they will be working on something else to finish the day? Or send em home early but give em the full days pay? Usually on condition that there are no complaints due to a "rush" job. Easy to work out esp if you hold their pay a week.

    I think clock-milking is a symptom of something bigger; are they underpaid compared to others in the industry in your market? Are they usually sent home at 2pm and only paid for the 5 hours they are there?

    I dont run a crew, but notice just as many other co's crews running like their azzes were afire as I do those who poke along like they are waiting for the electric chair after the last lawn is cut. Wonder what the difference is.

    Sorry for asking more questions when you came looking for answers.
     
  8. gr8 1

    gr8 1 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 41

    Do like the XFL where they get paid so much, but get paid more if they win a game.
    You could pay so much then if there are no re-dos then they get the rest.
     
  9. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I have to agree with Bill that there is probably more to this situation than meets your eye.

    Here are some examples of giving bonuses to the crews on a weekly basis during the season to keep them motivated and on their toes.

    *** When temperatures rise above 85* we can often complete the mowing schedules in a 4 day time frame. If we do not get any negative response to that weeks work schedules, then come payday (which is Mondays), they receive a full paycheck.
    *** When temeratures rise above 90* we cut back our mowing schedules to irrigated clients and high-end residentials. This too can be completed in a 4 day schedule. If we do not get any negative response to that weeks work schedules, then come payday, they will once again receive a full paycheck.
    *** During the hottest summer months when temperatures exceed 95-100% we cut our mowing schedules back to basically irrigated clients. We start mowing about 7am and finish by 2 in the afternoon. Same rules apply, if we do not get any negative response to that weeks work schedules, then come payday, they will once again receive a full paycheck.

    We figure that what we have done is given them an incentive to continue working to their maximum potential. Afterall, how many employers do you know that would give a full weeks pay for a half to three quarters of a weeks worth of work.

    By being more than fair, we have had to deal with a bare bones minimal for turnovers.

    Hope this helps.
    Kris
     
  10. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,415

    Kris how you withold pay for complaints? If so is it legal? Do you have them sign a contract? We don't have any employees yet (well any outside the family; Family business)
    so I wouldn't know how you would be able to handle it that way.
     

Share This Page