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Employee Pay: Per Yard or Hourly?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CRQualityMowing, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. CRQualityMowing

    CRQualityMowing LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 73

    I was just wondering which way was being used the most in the industry. It seems in my area that the lawn care guys are paying their employees on a per yard basis with the going rate between 20-30 percent per yard. Some are of course paying hourly in the $10 range. Keep in mind these are employees who will mow a little and will mostly have handhelds in their hands.

    I was wondering if anyone could share any thoughts on the disadvantages or advantages that they have had with either and which way you prefer. Last year I paid hourly, but this year I am considering going to a per yard basis to ensure my yards are getting done since I won't be with the crew as much. Thanks in advance.
  2. prezek

    prezek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 293

    Watch quality if you pay per yard. Has to be some checks and balances for complaints.
  3. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,293

    Just pay hourly. Ain't worth the headaches per yard. Legally you'd have to pay drive time as well
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. CRQualityMowing

    CRQualityMowing LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 73

    That's really the one thing I was worried about since I've worked hard over the last couple of years to create a niche in my area. People are noticing my yards rather than my competitors.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. CRQualityMowing

    CRQualityMowing LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 73

    Have you ever had problems with your employees "milking" their time if you weren't with them throughout the whole day? That's what I would be concerned about. I will of course keep an eye of their progress each day.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    It depends, I think setting quotas is better. You can try paying minimum wage plus a percentage of gross. Call backs are unpaid. Trugreen does this. And you can't just leave a bill for mowing when you haven't cut the grass so it may work for you.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,030

    It's called piece work or flat rate in other industries.

    Like mechanics… look it up in a chiltons manual….thats rated as a 3 hour repair.
    Good mechanic can whip it out in two.

    The 'RATE' is $20 per hour… so the shop pays the mechanic $60 to complete the repair.
    If he kills it in two… he makes $30/hr.

    Here's the problem when it comes to lawns.

    Do you have nice equipment?
    is it productive?
    Don't go expecting guys to 'slam out' lawns with your 21" put put mower.

    if you have good equipment this will work, if you don't…guys will just quit on you in the middle of the day….vanish like a wet dream when mom calls you down for breakfast.

    It's more office hassle to track as well..

    I could go into it…but I'm just going to advocate hourly.
  8. onadraw

    onadraw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    My opinion, Hourly and don't hire until you can fill their day.
  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Let's look at this from a legal perspective. You can pay them any way that you like as long as the effective pay is at least the Federal minimum wage per hour with time and a half over forty. Some states and localities have higher minimum wages so be sure to check on that.

    Before anyone asks... Lawn servicing is NOT an agricultural business as defined by the IRS. You cannot pay them farm wages.

    The real question here is how to motivate the employee to complete the tasks to your satisfaction, in the minimal time that is possible.
  10. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,293

    You cannot really compare mechanics to lawn care. We got a flat rate and then an hourly rate. If our flat rate for the week was less than hourly pay, they paid us hourly. I got $30 flat rate and then I think $8.50 or 9 for hourly. I never had low enough hours for the hourly pay.

    But see the difference is, I could make $3k a week. There is no chance in hell you can do that cutting grass for someone. No matter what you'll always have the same houses every week to cut. If you can get done earlier that's just less hours for you for the week. If i got done early being a mechanic I can go get another car.

    What are you going to do knock on the neighbors house and cut their yard with your bosses equipment? :laugh:

    There is absolutely no point in paying per yard. You still have to pay drive time so what's the point?

    You just have to learn how to manage employees and not expect them to work like yourself

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