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How to pay employees? Better by lawn?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by BestImpressions99, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. BestImpressions99

    BestImpressions99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 491

    Hi guys,

    I know there are MANY threads and postings regarding what to pay employees or subs but I tend to think 4th dimentionally (not always a good thing. :dizzy:)

    If I pay a guy by the hour... He can take as much time as he wants (6 hr day to me can if he wants to go for the money take 8 hrs or more). Then if he's abusing it, he gets fired and the cycle goes on. An idea I had was this...

    Pay the employee per yard. That way you only have to worry about quality of cut and production will go up because he wants more money, he has to do more yards. I think this would be a good way to pay a sub or employee (even though if it was an official employee it would have to make the average minimum wage) so they don't end up eventually taking advantage of the system and start slacking off...

    Does anyone else pay their sub/employees per yard?
  2. gladi8r

    gladi8r LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Quality will suffer with piecework. I pay by the hour, with very clear expectations on productivity and professionalism.

    If I would ever consider paying by piecework, there would have to be a 'performance bonus' incentive (and/or penalty system) to keep quality standards up, and very thorough follow-through by supervisor for quality control.
  3. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    By the hour. I know how long my route takes. You try to stretch it out or ride the clock, thanks for your service! Here is yur check, hit the road.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    The time it takes to mow a particular can vary a lot for me depending on time of the year so employees would be making less in the spring and fall. I would worry that they would rush through the route and quality would suffer. I think hourly pay is pretty standard for employees. I could see paying per lawn for a sub, but not an employee.
  5. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,922

    I have given this some thought also.

    Depending on how many are on your crew, paying by the hour is the best I think. You could also set a performance goal with a bonus, but also a penalty attached to complaints. I find that with a good hour pay rate and clear goals and expectations that you can find a nice common ground between speed and quality.

    Seems one guy around here gave his guys a yearly bonus at christmas, but deducted some from it for every complaint he got.
  6. Grassman67

    Grassman67 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Don't get into trouble with the labor board. It can be very expensive paying back wages if your not legal. You are required to pay at least minimum wage by the hour, but in addition to that you can pay a bonus or such based on number of yards mowed.
  7. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Messages: 1,389

  8. branchoutshrub

    branchoutshrub LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    We mostly pay by the hour when trimming shrubs and doing landscaping work etc... When it comes to mowing, we try to pay by the job. My crew and I work very fast and they make more money this way. We can pack the day full of work and everyone is happy. www.branchoutshrub.com
  9. BestImpressions99

    BestImpressions99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 491

    Yeah, I know that if the by yard rate doesn't equal minimum wage I could very well be in big trouble. I do agree that per hour will most likely be the best way. I'm considering 10/hr for 2 guys while I'm still at my full time gig until the business grows enough that I can be full time on a crew of my own.

    Here's another question then... how many have official legit employees and how many fill out 1099's at the end of the year and give it to their guys?
  10. gladi8r

    gladi8r LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    1099's are asking for trouble... the criteria for 'subcontractors' has gotten much tougher.. essentially, if the 'subcontractor' isn't a licensed, insured (their OWN policy) person with all their own equipment, who NEVER works under your supervision, then they are an Employee in the eyes of the IRS.

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