• How has the weather been in your neck of the woods?
    We are looking for feedback from our membership to see how/what the weather has been like in your area. Please Click here to take our Winter Weather Survey, we would appreciate it.

employee wages


LawnSite Member
SE Kansas
What do you guys pay out for starting wages and when do you give them raises. And how much are those riases. DO you have them start out as a weed wacker and bring them into more sophisticated machines. What do you offer to these guys to come back next season.


LawnSite Silver Member
I am fortunate enough to have several acres available at my discression to "test out" an employee's expertise. My parents have 3 acres for mowing and extensive landscape beds for edging. If they say they can mow or trim we can see their performance before we put them out in the field.

We selected our employees from the best "visuals" at $7/hr.
They went on probation for 90 days. If they made the string then they were given a raise to $8/hr. Raises are given out every 3 months in .25 increments up to $12/hr for our grounds crews.

As an incentive to keep them coming back we provide and wash a full uniform for them (pant/short/shirt) from a local uniform shop and reinburse them 50% of the cost of their steel toed work boots up to $75. Company sweatshirts are also provided. Last year everyone received a $50 gift certificate from their fav restaurant or local pub for their b-day.

Hope this helps.


LawnSite Fanatic
Beaverton, OR
It all depends on their qualifications. If they don't speak any english, don't have landscaping experience and don't have a valid Driver's license, they are probably only gonna get $8 to start with our company.

Before I continue, I should point out that I live in the wealthiest part of the state and wages are higher here. Furthermore, in Oregon, the minimum wage is about $1 higher than the Federal min. wage and we have even a lower unemployment rate than most all of the other states have. So good help here is hard to come by and expensive.

To continue, if a guy speaks decent english and has some landscaping experience, I will start him out at $8.50 or $9.00.

If a guy has a lot of experience, a valid DL and a good driving record, I may start him out at $10.00 an hour if I have a position open where he can be worth that amount.

As for raises, I play that different than most people do. I don't really believe in raises based on duration or time spent at the company. I believe in giving raises based on merit and work performance. For instance, I have one guy I hired this April at $8.00 an hour. Within a week it was very obvious that he was worth way more than that. He quickly became my hardest worker. For any given job, he can do it about 1.5 times faster than any of my other workers. And he'll do it just as well. It also soon became clear that he had a wealth of knowledge about irrigation systems. So today, 8 months later, he is making $10.50 per hour and $13.50 per hour when he does irrigation work for us (which has a lot higher profit margin.).

Point being, I pay people what they are worth. I gave this guy his first raise after 3 weeks. I give people raises when they produce results for me and make me money. I don't care how long they've been with our company.

I also pay people more because I want to keep from losing them. I know there are other landscaping companies who will be offering my guys jobs when I am not around. It's happened over and over this year. My biggest competitor offered my two top guys jobs this year. It was sweet to hear that they both turned them down and said "No thanks. Jim treats us very well."

My top guy, my foreman, makes $12.50 now. But he is well worth it. He has a great eye for detail and can start and finish a job without any supervision from me at all. He has his own expense account, goes and buys all the materials, finishes the job and brings me back the check from the client if I can't be there at the end for some reason. And he's good with people.

One last tip - some times bonuses are more effective than raises.



LawnSite Member
One of the guys that works for me now was started out at $7.oo hr..He's been with me for 2 yrs now and I'm paying him $10.00 hr..We mostly do lawn maint..If I started doing more landscape installation I would pay him more.You can only pay so much for mowing a yard..Profit margins in mowing are kinda slim ,especially if you do alot of residentials, so you can only afford so much..I provide my help a shirt and they provide all other attire..I usually give them 1 day every 3 mths with pay and a $100.00 bonus for christmas..And I usually start them out trimming and blowing off..Clean-Cut


LawnSite Senior Member
i do black top i get 12shirts 13 pants they wash and replace them every year when they wash they come cleaner
than i can get them no charge to me. this is like a
raise to me if i wore my own clothes it would ruin theme
i could not aford to by new clothes to work in just from
not coming clean
uniforms look great on whole crew
names on them & company name no telling how many times
people ask about company just from my shirt
some of the guy on my crew &me would proubly wear some
nasty clothes(stained up)that wouldnt look good for company
people dont know who the boss is when we pave every body
looks like pro<s even thou some of them or all are not pro.s
they do alot for this company and emploees
i like thim alot(saves me money)
with out uniforms we look like we should be doing time

thats all hope it helps

[Edited by rdh on 01-06-2001 at 11:34 PM]