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Best Pay Method - Quality vs Quantity

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Just wondering what others around the country are doing with employees who work on unsupervised crews.

    Do you pay hourly with overtime? Is there a bonus for getting done faster? Is there a bonus based on customer retention?

    Right now, I've got my only employee on hourly pay ($8.50/hr). When he reaches 40 hours, he gets time and a half ($12.75/hr).

    I get the feeling our quality is where it needs to be when I'm on the crew, but our quantity is too low. However, when I sent him out with a new guy this last week (because my back was out), both the quality and the quantity slipped. Of course, there was time spent looking up mapsco, and my employee is more familiar with the line trimmer aspects than the mowing apsects...things like that...so I do expect to see improvements. But what I really need to figure out is how to really motivate my employee(s) to do a good job and a fast job.

    How can I get quality and quantity? Both are important issues in this business. If quality is too low, customers will cancel. If you don't produce enough revenue during the day, the owner doesn't make any money.

    If all we did was mow lawns, I think it would make sense to pay a lower hourly rate and a per lawn bonus and a customer retention bonus. For example, $6.00 per hour & $9.00 per hour over forty plus $1.50 per lawn mowed plus $35.00/week for zero customer cancellations. Something like that. If all I did was mow lawns, I could figure out a fair solution. But when you do anything other than just mow lawns, like cleaning up beds or trimming shrubs, for example, the entire idea falls apart.

    Thanks for any advice on the subject. My bad back is going to force me into the "crews running around without me" business sooner than I had anticipated. I'm still optimistic I can make this work, but I need to figure out a good pay plan that's fair to the employees and fair to me.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    $8.50 to run your mowing crew? I wouldn't be too motivated either. My crew leader makes $15 an hour. You want someone to bust a hump, pay 'em better.

    Sit him down, tell him he's now the man, your back is junk. Tell him he needs to step up to the plate and help you out. Of course you will need to pay him more than peanuts.
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    $8.50 per hour is his pay as a line trimmer man. He also gets paid lunch each day and a 12 pack of Corona each Friday. I have made it clear to him that his pay will be increased if/when he is promoted to crew leader. But first, he's gotta get a drivers license.

    There's no way I can pay $15/hr. Maybe $11 top for the best of the best crew leaders. I figure a two man crew should only be able to gross $400 to $500 per day mowing lawns in my area. $500/day would make for a long day...probably 11 hours or so.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Man I'm really sorry to hear about your back, hope it gets better soon. But 1st things 1st don't have a man run a crew or drive around unlicensed. That's just craziness. Have you ever thought about a strictly comission system? When I used to work for an HVAC company we paid a fair hourly wage and 10% of net on new work. We got the guys to hustle through the day and they liked the extra income so it was win / win.

  5. NC Big Daddy

    NC Big Daddy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    $15 a hour for a crew leader?......Not a chance in this market. No one and I mean NO one pays that. Irrigation Tech's bring that on the high end of the scale. But they are billed out at almost 3x's the rate of a crew leader. If you guys are paying that it's no wonder so may of you bithc about how much you make or should I say dont make.
    As for the question....DFW I thought you were going out of business?
  6. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

  7. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    If your two man crew can only make 500 dollors in 11 hours your billing at 22 a man hour. Thats your first proablem.

  8. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    This isn't necessarily true, you have to consider drive time between accounts. All of the hours in a day aren't production hours. I bill @ $40 per man hour and we average $500+ per day. With drive time thrown into the equation, we average $30 to $35 per man hour, depending on how tight that days route is.
  9. pcnservices

    pcnservices LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    BS baffles brains. Anybody/employee that accepts this package deal is probably not even qualified to legally work in the USA.
  10. Duramax99

    Duramax99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    On Long Island you can't even get a crew leader to talk to you for $15.00. If you want the best of the best you need $20.00 to $25.00 with benefits but we are also billing $1,500.00 dollars a day. A bit of a difference.

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