Employee Wages

Mello Living

LawnSite Member
Location
Burlington NC
he’s mowing more like 23 lawns per day. I’m not sure I would be able to get another $5-10 per cut though. We work in a very high income but as a result there’s also a lot of competition. Average lawn takes him about 17 minutes and a lawn like that will be $35. Nobody and I mean nobody is going to get away with $40-45 per cut which is what raising $5-10 would result in. I’m not trying to say he’s not worth a pay increase but my question was really more about how much is too much. I’ll probably just go with $26 and see how he feels about that. Whenever I look at job posts online I see people hiring foreman anywhere between $18-24. So the $26-28 was why I was so surprised. I already pay him 40 hours sick leave and 4 holidays so it’s just getting pricey.
Sounds like this guy is one great worker . You say been working for 2 years at $20 . So no raise in 2 years ? I would pay him as much as I could afford . Lots of places can't get workers . You not going to replace this guy right now . You was going to give $23 . You say $23 $24 is average ? Sounds like a above average worker . Got to give him $24 . Again if you can afforded it ,Give him as much as you can afford .
 

kemco

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Memphis TN
We are in a type of poverty area and the low ballers are coming out in full force this year. Still seeing $25 mows. But we haven't lost any. But next year's prices going up... A lot.
 

Tn Turf

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Spring Hill, TN
he’s mowing more like 23 lawns per day. I’m not sure I would be able to get another $5-10 per cut though. We work in a very high income but as a result there’s also a lot of competition. Average lawn takes him about 17 minutes and a lawn like that will be $35. Nobody and I mean nobody is going to get away with $40-45 per cut which is what raising $5-10 would result in. I’m not trying to say he’s not worth a pay increase but my question was really more about how much is too much. I’ll probably just go with $26 and see how he feels about that. Whenever I look at job posts online I see people hiring foreman anywhere between $18-24. So the $26-28 was why I was so surprised. I already pay him 40 hours sick leave and 4 holidays so it’s just getting pricey.

I use to worry about what the "competition" charges until I realize my best customers come from being burnt over and over again by the cheap competition. At the end of the day people want quality work, great customer service, and reliability they can count on. It's rare these days that the cheap $35-$40 guys can offer that. Read our online reviews and you'll see our clients praising our reliability, quality of work, and customer service. Customer service is obsolete these day, provide that and you just weeded out 95% of your competition. Now you're in a league of the top 5%.

I would say 40% of our calls come from folks that got screwed over by their previous [cheap] lawn guy. We land 80% of those calls by $10 to $15 more on average....and they are excited to pay it because they see the value.

For example, Friday we knew it was going to rain, so we prepared and mowed our Friday yards on Thursday so our clients knew they are taken care of before memorial weekend. Monday we are mowing and will be paying time and a half to our guys.

Our phones were blowing up Friday after the sun came out from folks saying "my guy hasn't showed up and won't answer his phone... we are having a party, please can you mow us?!?" Sure can, we are accepting weekly mowing for the remainder of the season. "pay us to worry about your lawn so you don't have to".
 
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sagesove

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
on this rock
@spitfire3416

If I may ask, your mowing season where you are located is roughly averaging 32 weeks of work? So if you give him guaranteed 40 hours a week at 26 dollars an hour plus one week paid that is 34,320.00 a year. Did you mention netting 125k from his labor? You also stated nothing about winter work. Does your guy collect unemployment over the winter? Seems there are a few variables missing from your thoughts.

What is this gentlemans age? How long can he keep this work pattern up before he is permanently used/burnt up? This guy is literally destroying his body and soul for 20 bucks an hour? Not only would I call that greedy, you are a slave driver(most business owners are).

In my opinion, pay him 30 an hour no if ands or buts. Sounds like if you don't, you are going to be doing those 95 lawns yourself pretty quickly.
 

Grnsthcs10

LawnSite Member
Location
Canada
@spitfire3416

If I may ask, your mowing season where you are located is roughly averaging 32 weeks of work? So if you give him guaranteed 40 hours a week at 26 dollars an hour plus one week paid that is 34,320.00 a year. Did you mention netting 125k from his labor? You also stated nothing about winter work. Does your guy collect unemployment over the winter? Seems there are a few variables missing from your thoughts.

What is this gentlemans age? How long can he keep this work pattern up before he is permanently used/burnt up? This guy is literally destroying his body and soul for 20 bucks an hour? Not only would I call that greedy, you are a slave driver(most business owners are).

In my opinion, pay him 30 an hour no if ands or buts. Sounds like if you don't, you are going to be doing those 95 lawns yourself pretty quickly.
I agree with this. He deserves 30/h. When I used to work for a company I kept asking (not only me but my supervisors/manager asking for me) to get a decent raise. No matter how much I busted my ass year around performing fast and quality work it was never more than 0.50 raise/year. I got fed up and started doing it part time and the rest is history. One day I gave my uniforms and keys to my employer and told them I quit. Funny thing is that he was acting all surprised as if I wasn't asking for a decent raise for 3+years..Anyways now I'm busier than ever with a great name in the area and last I've heard he had to downsize a lot since he couldn't find someone reliable and fast enough to replace me. Imo you should've given him a raise the first year as well. He proved for 2 years that he's worth it. If I was him tbh I'd either look somewhere else for 26-28/h or start doing my own thing. There's no reason not to make great money if you're that good and reliable. Very rare in our days..especially 2021.
 

Crazy 4 grass

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Minnesota
The thing that struck me, was he has been working for you for two years and has never had a review or raise. You may want to consider running your operation more similarly to a larger operation. My company is small( 5 employees including myself). However, we hire everyone on a 90 day probationary period. After that there is a review and a raise if we decide to keep them. There is another review at 6 months and then annually from then on out. Typical raises are $1 per hour. The lowest paid employee currently makes $20 an hour.

If you had a system like this he would already have had a few reviews and most likely raises and be at $23 hr already. Bumping him to $26 wouldn't seem like as much of a shock, had there been incrimental raises all along. In my opinion you are behind on giving him raises and this is just a correction all at once. I'd give him $27 and a list of things to work on and review him in a year. Good people are hard to find. He is making you a lot of money, share some of it. Good luck
 
OP
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spitfire3416

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Central Jersey
@spitfire3416

If I may ask, your mowing season where you are located is roughly averaging 32 weeks of work? So if you give him guaranteed 40 hours a week at 26 dollars an hour plus one week paid that is 34,320.00 a year. Did you mention netting 125k from his labor? You also stated nothing about winter work. Does your guy collect unemployment over the winter? Seems there are a few variables missing from your thoughts.

What is this gentlemans age? How long can he keep this work pattern up before he is permanently used/burnt up? This guy is literally destroying his body and soul for 20 bucks an hour? Not only would I call that greedy, you are a slave driver(most business owners are).

In my opinion, pay him 30 an hour no if ands or buts. Sounds like if you don't, you are going to be doing those 95 lawns yourself pretty quickly.

we work closer to 40 weeks out of the year because of cleanup season. he also gets over 15-20 hours of overtime per week so he would be making alot more than $34k. and i'm not saying he's not worth more. i'll gladly pay him more. how much more was the question. i'm just trying to be in line with the industry. i haven't heard or seen anyone around me paying that kind of money.
 
OP
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spitfire3416

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Central Jersey
The thing that struck me, was he has been working for you for two years and has never had a review or raise. You may want to consider running your operation more similarly to a larger operation. My company is small( 5 employees including myself). However, we hire everyone on a 90 day probationary period. After that there is a review and a raise if we decide to keep them. There is another review at 6 months and then annually from then on out. Typical raises are $1 per hour. The lowest paid employee currently makes $20 an hour.

If you had a system like this he would already have had a few reviews and most likely raises and be at $23 hr already. Bumping him to $26 wouldn't seem like as much of a shock, had there been incrimental raises all along. In my opinion you are behind on giving him raises and this is just a correction all at once. I'd give him $27 and a list of things to work on and review him in a year. Good people are hard to find. He is making you a lot of money, share some of it. Good luck

i don't disagree with this at all. i'm not saying he doesn't deserve a raise or that I should have given him a raise earlier. I meant to last year but I was concerned about covid and wasn't sure how it would affect business. he just always seemed fine with $20 and to my understanding $20 per hour has been the going rate the past 2 years. apparently i was wrong about that. I thought I was already at the peak or pretty close to what top pay in this field earns. i tried posting an ad on facebook earlier in the spring trying to get part time work at $25 per hour and one guy even called me out and said I was a scammer and that no way anyone in this field would pay $25 per hour. i'm not surprised by him asking for a raise as much as i am to learn that $30 per hour is all of a sudden the going rate for cutting grass. Is that what you pay your foreman?
 
Hi I think what you are learning is that $30 an hour is the going rate for a guys who is a go getter works alone and makes you a good amount of income per hour. It’s less about what he’s doing ( cutting grass ) and more about what he’s bringing to your company in value. I know where I am we can’t find quality new hires no matter what we offer for pay.
 

sagesove

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
on this rock
@spitfire3416

I apologize for the hard headed employee/slave comment. When you really get down to brass tacks, it is what this society really treats most employees as. Expendable persons.

Straight off the bat I don't care what the state says, the fed says or the labor market says about hourly wages or a yearly take. I have no contracts with those entities. I always tell them stay the he!! out of my private doings.

What if I told you each of my hired help starts at 65k a year? That is lawn maintenance and winter maintenance. Can you learn to run a trimmer, learn a stander, a backpack blower? How about a shovel, a snow blower, a tractor with a broom or blower? Okay, starting wage is 65k a year. If each chunk of your help can produce double or triple their take home, then they deserve high reimbursement. Plus a lot of other perks. Guarantee no one in this country or state pays a line trimmer that well.

The help being shown they are as vaulable as any other human worker brings great rewards for themselves and the benefit of the community and buisness also. I want them to be the best they can be. Pay them to do so. Why can't a mowing company keep help for 25-30 years? A career? Why not. They should be able to afford a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. They should be able to retire after 25-30 years. It can be done. It is being done. Run the show they way it can be run and the possibilities are endless.
 

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