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A better way to pay.

Discussion in 'Employment' started by kasper48, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. kasper48

    kasper48 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi Everyone,

    I had 100 clients last year, hoping to grow to 120 this year. My business is mainly small residential grass cutting. I have the two crews taking care of the lawns and I do the business admin, fertilizing, and most of the extra gardening.

    My question: Does anyone have any experience in paying guys a combo of hourly + bonus?

    My plan is to do what works for some other service industries.

    1) Set a quota for each crew as to what they should bring in / hour. (Lets say $75 / hour for arguments sake.)

    2) They go out, cut the days lawns and come back. If they have cut 12 lots, at $40 / cut, we are looking at a revenue of $480.

    3) If it takes them 10 hours to do this work, they pull in $48 / hour and get no commision. If they do it in 5 hours, they pull in $96 / hour and have made $21 dollars / hour over my quota. I multiply this by the number of hours they work (5), and come up with $105. I would then give 10%, 20%, 30% of this towards there monthly bonus. On the days when they come in less, I would subtract from there monthly bonus (as long as it was above $0).

    If there is work for them to do when they finish, great, I will pay them to maybe do some fertilizing, cleaning up, or even some of the next days lawns for people who have flexible service dates. Sometimes maybe they go home early.

    I'm just tired of guys dogging it when they need the money, only to shave hours off the same work load when they don't feel like taking a long time for whatever reason. I want to build an incentive to work quickly. Of course QUALITY is a big one, but I have found with good leadership, a clear employee manual, and fair treatment guys will do a generally good job.

    Anyway, the end goal must obviously be to save a bit of money on wages / generate more revenue by using labour more efficiently.

    Has anyone tried anything like this? Any thoughts would be very welcome - I'm really hoping to cut a lot less this year and focus on running and growing the business. This is one of my plans to make that happen.

  2. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    This is something I thought about doing with employees last year (my first year with them). however when you start having to calculate pay on each day/week/mo its going to become a real process. There is no "perfect answer". Last year I paid my guys straight hourly and had no major issues with productivity, granted I was out there with them most days. However there were days/week in the fall where they were out there by themselves and they pulled in consistent numbers. Another one of my guys spearheaded one division of our company and returned solid numbers all year long.

    I think your best bet is to continue to pay them hourly with a monthly review. They should be able to complete the tasks week in and week out without complaints from customers. While its not ideal, If they're dragging their butts a little but still getting the work done with quality up to par I wouldn't have much of an issue with it. Now, if they turn in good work week after week I would offer them a monthly bonus too. Some guys will drag to get the hours, but when you have them start working on Saturdays and they lose a day off most guys will bust ass to make sure they're done by close of business Friday. When legitimate complaints come in then the bonus is reduced or it disappears. They're still paid their "good wage" but they lost out on the bonus. That bonus is crew-wide too, not just paying the foreman. If you offer the low guy on the totem pole the same bonus as the lead guy you're going to see everyone watching each others work to make sure they get that bonus.

    During the spring/summer/fall last year we worked hard mon-thursday (38-44hrs already), I only scheduled a 3hr-4 day on fridays. The minute the last blade of grass was cut on Friday morning at my house I sent the guys home. This meant that if we had a normal week they worked ~50 hrs by 10 or 11am friday they had a 2.5 day weekend while already getting a lot of OT. Productivity was very high on fridays as you can imagine.

    The other option is make it a friendly competition between the crews, see who can wrack up less complaints. Again, you need to make sure they are legitimate complaints. Set your benchmarks and stick to it.

    As you can see, lots of options, not all are right for you.
  3. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    Just hire hispanics... these american kids/slobs aren't worth there wait in salt.
  4. droptine

    droptine LawnSite Member
    from troy Mi
    Messages: 50

    salt is $150 a ton right now. that brakes down to $15 for my weight in salt
  5. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    LMAO ... way to go droptine !!
  6. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    Some good ideas ... take advantage of them !!
  7. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407


    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    i guess you one of them, the word is weight not wait.LOL
  9. Mimowerman

    Mimowerman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    that is one hellof a funny video ... wonder why he works at mickeyd's
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Lets skip the boring part of this movie and cut right to the chase.

    Pay them on commission, they'll rush the job(s).
    The End.
    (credits scrolling)
    Oh, and the bad guys got away lol.

    But I like the idea with the monthly review, this could serve you well over time for advancement purposes as well,
    it is professional and can be tailored to suit your needs while it should also fit the needs of the customers and the employees.

    Did you see the order I put those in?
    You first, customer an immediate second, employees last.
    Well, do they need a job or how goes it?

    If anything I might move customers up a slot to first.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009

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