Paying spray techs?-Salary or hourly???

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by loser135, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. loser135

    loser135 LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 36

    Just wondering about compensation packages for employees. Finally grown my business enough to keep two applicators for next year and am pondering how to pay them. Hourly wages now seem to produce slower results and a very relaxed pace and occasional milking the clock. I'm afraid that if we go with some sort of salary package, they'll just race through the lawns to get back to the shop faster. I guess I have to trust them but I am thinking about how to motivate them: Salary + bonus/incentive, etc. (?) Any thoughts would be greatly apprieciated. Thanks!
     
  2. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    I am in the predicament of hiring my first full time spray tech in the spring and have seen the pains of both salary and hourly. I am considering an hourly with a performance bonus at the end of each month. I think some posts have been made along these lines in the past. I will have to look.
     
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Check your state regulations it may be illegal to pay someone salary for labor tasks. In Az it is, salaried employees must spend the majority of their time in a supervisory capacity and have at least 3 employees to supervise. I would suggest 10-99 them and lease them your equipment for use. Then they can also reap some tax benefits if they are inclined to do so. They would also be responsible for warranty work and your equipment. Would likely cost you a bit more but theoretically take some burden off you enabling you to sell more. Should also create some motivated employees. Check with your lawyer and CPA of course.
     
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,957

    payup

    Since these are out side employee, Straight Commission is the best way to pay them. Give them a route to build and back charge them any lost customers as well as a perk for selling new customers. Part of their responsibility should be accounting for materials and other costs. The best way to keep a good employee is to let them make money. The best way for a employee to keep his job, is to make money for the company.
     
  5. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,202

    i'm with ric!
    pay them on commssion only, and in the winter you can either pay them a salary or lay them off. some people on here don't like the commision idea, because of the fear that they will fly thru the apps, this is true, however an employee that is making great money and wants to work, will soon learn after a few FREE service calls, it SUCKS not to get paid! you could also charge that employee back for the service call, though you would not be able to leagly take it out of his pay check.

    as for the 10-99 of the employee.. that is a fine line. there are several things that need to happen. 1) you need to at the least lease him the equipment. 2) he will have to have his OWN liability insurance 3) he will also need his OWN commercial auto policy (VERY VERY EXPENSIVE) 4) have an employee that will want to do ALL this for YOU, after all if he has to do all this, he might as well go in business for himself. and even if you did all this if he breaks your equipment, he can still just quit and you will have to sue him.
     
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,957


    teeca

    Read my whole post about pay. I am basically saying Set them up like it was their business. Charge Backs, Expenses Etc Etc. But keep close records on them. Too easy to steal. Watch Chem Costs especially close. Some of the Big Boys actually have GPS tracking and Know where their trucks are every minute of the day. They will actually keep records from the GPS.
     
  7. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,202

    i just feel that if i went to work for a company and they wanted me to work for an avg. of $15hr, and i needed to do ALL that work and pay out ALL that money, i would do it myself. another question is how much is the company charging for an app to pay an employee that needs all this extra stuff? heck if you paid him $20hr that would not only f*** company, but the employee also. and if you leased him the equipment, he would have controled interest in that, so if he did other apps on the side and used his own products, what real recourse would you have? tell the judge that it's your equipment and you rent it to him? i guess i've heard a lot worse in court before (like not knowing that the coffee in the cup is HOT and will burn you)
     
  8. josh mcguire

    josh mcguire LawnSite Member
    from ma
    Posts: 29

    Paying com. only is a recipe for disaster. I kjnow that there are plenty of people out there who do it that way but when you pay like that the quality goes way down. The best way to pay is hourly w/ a bonus plan that takes into consideration production, customer service, customer retention, and new sales. If you wan't to suceed in this business and continue to grow that is what needs to be done. We did it that way for 25 years and never regreted it.
     
  9. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,202

    i spent 15 years in the auto business, 10 years as the service manager and 6 years in the lawn business and paying these LOADS by the hour is just plain wasted money. sure you will get the roadrunners, but you will have a better chance of finding a motivated person when there production directly effects their pay check. if you pay them by the hour, milking the clock starts and overtime kicks in and you start paying for 1.5 times their pay. if you do pay by the hour and offer bounes' whats the difference? they get 40 hrs pay rush thru jobs, get the bounes' + overtime. they could do this in 1 month before the service calls start comming in. truth is there is a way to BEAT any system that you put in. i used to have mechanics that did 'side jobs' every night at home when they were paid by the hour, put them on commission making $28 hr and heard them talking to people on the phone telling them to just bring it to him at work (he no longer did work at home, made more doing it at the shop then he was at home) and the shop went from a $75k per month to $85k + and just kept growing and i say it was because their attitude got MUCH better, and after 1yr i was pumping out over $120k per month. now i know they were'nt doing $10k a month at home, but their attitude made the differance. i guess the best answer is to find an individule with the same goals as you, and treat them like a part of your business, and not a liability or number and you can go far.
     
  10. josh mcguire

    josh mcguire LawnSite Member
    from ma
    Posts: 29

    Well I disagree but I guess it comes down to the quality of your personel and the quality of managment. When we sold to scotts we had close to 30,000 customers and almost 100 employes we paid them by the hour plus bonus and we ran close to 20% profit Before you listen to anyone out here find out who they are and what they know
     

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