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How much should I be making? / How much would you pay me?

Discussion in 'Employment' started by captrus, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. captrus

    captrus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi everyone.

    I'm a young landscaper in Vancouver Canada and I was hoping to get some input from some of you about my wage.

    I started working my my boss 10 months ago. I had previous experience but just mowing and trimming back when I was a teenager. Now I am a fast, and artistic worker. I am a very hard worker and am a smart proactive thinker on the job. I love working outside and genuinely love my job. Except for my wage. My boss started me at $12/hour, which I thought was a fair starting wage considering I didn't have much experience, and I am still making the same wage today.

    The company is fairly new, actually just over 1 year old. Last summer was good business. All of the customers love me and are always very impressed with the hard work. More often than not, I am doing all the work on my own while my boss goes off and does handyman jobs or gives quotes. He took his honeymoon last summer and I took care of all the regulars and stratas' for 12 days while he was in Europe. We now have got a ton of new clients and manage 4 large commercial properties now. I have stuck it out with my boss and stayed through the winter when he couldn't give me very many hours. He just bought a brand new second work truck and plans to have me running one of them with another laborer.

    I am starting to lose all my motivation and feel like hell all the time because of how broke and tired I am all the time. I have a second job at a liquor store which I more often than not have to go straight there after finishing the day with my boss and work till 1130pm and then wake up the next day and do it again. Vancouver is an expensive city to live in;) But Vancouver's economy is also booming and there is a lot of wealthy people here that want there yard's looked after.

    I've asked my boss for a raise and he said he will but not for a month or 2. I feel he's really taking advantage of me. I don't want to quit because I'm scared I won't be able to find another job...

    Anyway.... just from what I've said and my description of my abilities and responsibilities, how much should I be making up here in Vancouver doing what I do? How much would you pay a good trusted worker?

    Thanks a lot guys. Cheers:drinkup:

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,525

    most places only give raises once a year, if you get one i would be thankful.I know alot of people who havent had a raise in years. i think $12/hr for someone with very little expieriance is not all to bad.
  3. kodak mowing

    kodak mowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    a faithful trusted workers are hard to come by around here,but $12 an hour is also good pay here to,i would stick in there and prove to your boss you are worth the money.
  4. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 943

    From what I understand, Vancouver's wages are generally higher than most other areas (similar to NYC). That being said, I'm willing to bet that you're probably worth more than you're being paid. As you said before, though; are you definitely going to be able to get another job? If not, you may want to stick it out awhile longer and see what happens in a month or two (like your boss promised...)
  5. AzLawnMan

    AzLawnMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    Had a talk with an employee of mine that has been with me for 6 years on friday after my crews got back to the shop. I took him in the office and asked whats up with his attitude, he responded "I think I have been with you a long time and I think I pull my own weight. All the customers seem happy and I have been doing good work. But i dont like the new crew leader, I would like the old crew leader back. Also I think we need to get done a little sooner." Anyways, he had some other things as well, about things he had to do that he normally shouldnt do. Well here is my repsonse to my employee and you my friend, and this is coming from a owner of a company that has not only survived but florished in this tough economy. Dont wanna get into numbers but I have showed significant gains in the last 3 years:

    "Listen, you are an employee, sorry but you are. This is MY company and I WILL run things the way I want too. If I choose to go home and go to sleep, well I WILL. I didnt hire you to have concerns, I hired you to work. If that is now too hard for you, let me know and we can shake hands and part as friends. If I ask you to sit in the truck all day, well then thats what I am asking you to do, your job is whatever I ask. If I decide that on mondays you will go to my house and walk my dogs, well then thats what you will be doing on mondays. Take a moment this weekend and think about how you would like to proceed with my company, because last time I checked, thats my name on the trucks and on your shirts, not yours. I wont have this conversation again, next time just start looking for another job."

    Well monday morning he showed up and shook my hand and got right to work.
    Point is, you work for your boss as an employee, not a partner. Now I worked for my dad for 12 years and thought just like you did. I felt the same way you did. When it was 7:30pm and I called him to tell him we were done for the day and he was having dinner with my mom at a nice restaraunt, how the hell do you think I felt!! Im out busting my a$$ and he's having a nice dinner while my wife waits at home for me. But it was his company and thats how he choose to do things. $12 an hour is a hell of alot more then I would pay you. My crew leaders top out at $12 an hour and they know every piece of equipment and can manage 4 other crew members. If you feel you are under appreciated and you are working to hard for this person, then get some cash together and go out on your own. His company, his laws. Sorry bud, but you are a "dime-a-dozen" and you ARE replaceable, with the snap of a finger at my company.
    Jeff@diyokc likes this.
  6. OP

    captrus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hmmm thanks for the imput. I have a great business sense too. I cut lawns on my own one summer and made almost $3000 (i was 16). I manage 2 bands and do marketing and promotions for artists and musicians.

    The thing I love about my boss is that he is new to the business and we are learning together. He always listens to what I have to say and lots of the time, I come up with a better idea or plan. I've almost been with him since the beginning and cant help but feel like a partner. Ive been his right hand man and honestly i dont think the company would be where it is today without me. I dont care how he runs his business and ill do anything he wants me to but there has to be some give with the take. If the company is making good profits I want to see some of it. Ive been thinking about going on my own. I have a solid work truck & van, a stihl combi system with 5 attachments, chainsaw, all the hand tools, a wheelbarrow and a br600 blower. Believe me i got side jobs last summer:p all i really need is a mower amd im good to go. I just dont have the time at the moment to dedicate yo starting a business. All i really want to do us work my ass off abd make some good money.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,141

    We start guys off at $12 an hour. crew leaders make $15-$18 and for plowing the rate goes up to $20-$25. I understand that guys in other parts of the country pay considerably less but cost of living is a big factor. If you can buy a nice house for 150-200k than $12 an hour is probably a fair wage but when cost of living is real high it is hard to make a living on that. That being said you aren't entitled to a raise just because your boss is doing better. Tell him you really need a raise and if he says no, look for another job that pays more. It is that simple. As AZlawnman said....you ARE replaceable. If I had a nickel every time an employee of mine or anyone said things like "they would be so screwed if I left" I wouldn't be landscaping anymore. It makes me laugh every time I hear it. There are employees I have that I would hate to see go. Been with me a long time and good workers. That being said....if they need to go or they aren't happy...goodbye. I don't care what business you are in....employees always think they are worth more than they are. You may leave and your boss may fail....but it isn't because you left. Long story short....if you need more money and he wont pay it...leave.
  8. AzLawnMan

    AzLawnMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    The things that you say made me laugh. You are not a partner and you are in no way entitled to profits. Ford Motor Company did awsome this past year and rewarded their CEO's with huge stock incentives well they weren't the ones on the floor doing the manual labor, so why not give that money to the "help"? Because that'd the way things work. Laborers are just that, you get paid to do manual labor, he gets paid to run his company. So by your thinking because I don't run a crew and haven't for years, my employees are entitled to my profits!? Sorry but I don't think so. Once again, you are not an partner, president, vice president or an officer, you are an employee!! Makes no differance if you have been there when he started out that you think you have better ideas than he does. Oh, and most of the time when I ask my guys for ideas or input I will usually go with what they say, it makes them feel all warm and cuddly inside. You = employee, your boss = your boss.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Turfgod007

    Turfgod007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Captrus Keep your head up man it sounds like your a good guy. A hard worker a loyal employee, a lot of times those qualities are hard to come by so that might give you an edge with your boss might not. I have worked for a company for ten years went from part time new guy to the bosses right hand man and i started at $9 an hour in July and went to $11 by October. I got a dollar raise every years since and now am salaried very well. I'm in the process of buying the company from him. Sometimes at some point people may outgrow the job they were hired to do some guys are just fine working and doing exactly what they are told and that's it.Other guys are go getters and eventually think they should run the place. What you do have to understand is just what Azlawnman is saying You don't own the place and your not the boss. If you do go out on your own then maybe you will run the ship a little differently but there is a process in building a business and you just have to be patient and you will get yours. You sound like a bright kid if you did decide to find a new job i'm sure it wouldn't be that hard. Take er easy and keep working hard
  10. fivestarlandscapes

    fivestarlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    I was in the same position you are in now a few years ago. I was the best, hardest working and most dependable employee at a medium sized company. I was the only one on time every day and the only one with reliable transportation. I was the only one that did not have accidents. The managers told me that my pay was "maxed out" for my position and there was no advancement oportunities. I immediately quit and started my own business. I still talk to a few old co-workers that work there and to make a long story short the company is now near uninsurable due to the constant accidents, operators driving with suspended licenses and property damage due to lack of experience. The guy that replaced me has had 3 major accidents where people were hurt and vehicles were totaled. He also had no drivers license and had warrants for his arrest. The company is now being sued. It just makes me laugh. Moral of the story, start your own business and take as many of your current boss's clients with you. They want you anyway.
    hort101 likes this.

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