Employee Pay Idea

Discussion in 'Employment' started by scoobydu73, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. scoobydu73

    scoobydu73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    So last year I ran into the all to common issue of employees breaking equipment and not showing up to work on time.
    I was thinking of a way to give an employee more responsibility of his pay, hoping this would weed out employees who just are here cause its a job and motivate the employee who respects the equipment, shows up on time, and wants to grow in his career.

    I tell my employees all the time that if they take care of the equipment then that money that would have been used for a repair could go into their pockets instead. I work hard and most of my employees do too and I believe that hard work should be rewarded. The employee respecting equipment and showing up on time should get more than his coworker who constantly shows up late and doesn't take care of equipment. But how do I motivate these good habits?

    The Idea:
    So I thought of a hourly base pay plus a 25% equipment bonus (paid monthly) and a 10% on time bonus (paid weekly). The percentage of bonus is based off the hourly rate.
    Example: Hourly rate: $10.00+ equip (25%) $2.50 + on time $1.00 (10%)= $13.50
    If equipment breaks from misuse or disrespect or they are late then the bonus would not be paid and they would have to wait till the next bonus cycle. You can also use the equipment bonus to help pay for repairs if something was broken that month.
    The motivated employee would be able to earn $13.50 while the other employee would make less or just the base $10.

    What do you guys think?
    Also to my understanding bonuses are optional and this is all legal but if am in error please let me know before I implement this. I am in Maryland.
  2. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    If you catch someone abusing your equipment or property, they should be let go.

    The 'reward' payment for doing what any employee should be doing anyway is like a foreign concept. As an owner, you will spend more minutes throughout the day micromanaging to 'enforce' this policy.

    For 4 employees, that would be an extra 560 a week

    I would look into other ways to make employees feel valued, team building exercises, motivation techniques, etc that don't always have to be about money.
  3. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    So if you don't replace a worn part and it breaks and causes more damage the employee is responsible?
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    We are starting a production/quality bonus program this year. Before I gave my guys a bonus for showing up to their job on time and not abusing equipment... I'd hire different people. Also, you can't force employees to pay for damages to YOUR equipment.
  5. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,358

    Bonus money is very different the taking money from an hourly wage.

    To the OP I would consider doing the bonus qtrly or mid season. Why? Things will average out more. If a guy is on time everyother week does he deserve a bonus? If a guy puts gas in a 2 stroke and causes $500 blower loss earn a bonus the next month? Turnover is a problem in the industry, do you want to pay a bonus to a guy for 2 weeks then he never show up again?

    Doing it qtrly or mid season rewards consistant and loyal employees.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. scoobydu73

    scoobydu73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I knew someone was going to mention this but worn parts and everyday maintenance items are not where i'm looking. Obviously at some point in the machines life its going to give an operator some trouble. What I am looking for is neglect. I know that accidents can happen but a lot of times most can be avoided. (Example: I used to pay my guys a bonus for finishing a job quicker than what it was estimated for thinking this would save me on labor and more profit. In reality, harder to keep track of, lower quality jobs, and more accidents when employees rush to finish work and load equipment back into the trailer.) I quickly stopped that idea.

    We are putting together a safety training coarse for this year and it will go over proper procedures when driving the truck, hooking up the trailer, using mowers and other hand held equipment.
    Last year I had 2 major repairs. One employee went up a steep hill which he was informed should be done with string trimmers. I know that the hill is "possible" with the mower but I know that it is not safe. Unfortunately he tried it while it was a little wet in the morning hours and slid down and the mower jumped over a concrete drain at the bottom. It busted off a piece of the transaxle casing and cost about $1000 to fix.
    Another example is when an employee jackknifed and damaged both the truck and trailer. He was not paying attention to his mirrors and for the tight space that he put himself in, he should of had his coworker get out and spot.

    Basic non powered hand tools, shovels, rakes break more often and I don't think I would include these in the agreement but at the same time if you know the tool use it properly it should last at least a season. Example: If you see the shovel handle bending and the tree or bush that your digging up not moving you don't just try bending it harder. You get out a mattock or digging bar.
  7. scoobydu73

    scoobydu73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Great Idea!
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Paying somebody to show up for work on time can be likened to some school districts paying their students $0.25 for each day they come to school. The payments are made for people to do what they need to do on their own.

    Not to divert, but these are markers of our society. Doing what is right and necessary is considered insufficient reasons for behavior. We think that something extra is needed for motivation -- the extra is usually $$$$. Please, no talk about "greedy Wall St," when we are paying school students to come to school!

    Pride can be a very bad character trait. However, it can be a good one, a trait that provides self-motivation to do tasks right, on time, and with greatest effort. External motivations for doing the simple things, the bare necessities, is removing any opportunity for being proud of doing a good job. Holding one's head high because the behaviors are done rightly, and through proper motivation.

    How would we ever have entrepreneurs? How would we have high risk-takers? How would we have adventurous ones tackling new problems and new ideas? How would the pioneers ever crossed the plains to explore the West?

    Stop the enabling.
  9. scoobydu73

    scoobydu73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    We are working on putting together team building exercises and safety and procedure courses.
    As far as enforcing the policy, I agree, I don't want to be spending a lot of extra time record keeping something that an employee should already be doing.

    Keeping track of time: I am playing with a cool iOS app/ website (www.mytimestation.com) that lets employees check in and out. (Before anyone responds well what if they don't have an iPhone. All my current employees have Iphones so it works for me now.) (Giving them an iphone as a bonus after a year or so is another idea.) I currently do this with one employee who I have had for a while. He got my old one when a new iPhone came out. He still pays a portion of the cell phone bill but it turns out its cheaper for the both of us to be on and share the plan.)

    Keeping track of tools:If I were to assign tools to each individual they would have "ownership" over it. So if something happened to tool number "X" I know who is responsible. Employees may be more hesitate to let coworkers borrow their assigned tool because it affects their bonus if something would happen. You could just keep a checkmark system when you do routine maintenance and look over the equipment. This could also be a good reporting tool in the long run to see who costs you the less repairs.
    Example: Obviously tires are a wear item but if you notice that one employees assigned equipment tires are wearing quicker, you could work with them to improve operating habits.
    This past year 2 of my new employees left tires had flat areas on them. After watching them load the trailer after we cleaned them off one afternoon I noticed they take the left turn to go up the trailer ramp a little fast and on concrete that wears the tires. I informed the employees and helped them improve their habit. We rotated the tires instead of buying new ones since the right side still had plenty of tread and the worn tires were still ok and were not loosing air. At the end of the season you could tell by the tires that they have improved their driving habits and saving the company money from buying tires more frequently.
  10. scoobydu73

    scoobydu73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Good point but I see it as worker #1 and worker #2 are both hard workers but worker number #1 costs you less in equipment repairs and doesn't delay a whole crew because your waiting on him. Basically the money that worker #1 saves you goes back into his pocket. Rather than paying them both the same. You shouldn't have to do this but I see it as positive reenforcement. Also by doing it this way may help with cash flow. You can't take away from a wage to pay for a repair but you can decide to give or not to give a bonus.

    Question to add to this thread.
    What motivates your employees? What makes working for you different from working other places?

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