Labor rate , what do you pay ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Wright48, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Middle Tennessee Lawn

    Middle Tennessee Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 220

    First point pay varies across us drasticly here in Nashville, TN hourly pay has dropped so much since 2008 one example is nursing my wife worked for large hospitol used to start all nurses at 20-22 hr they have slowly been getting rid of all in that range and up and hiring new ones out of school at 14. But get this they let all cleaning staff go and nurses now clean rooms.
    This is one of many examples
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  2. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    I start my guys at 10 and assuming they become competent and follow procedure they get bumped to 12 and if I get compliments from clients about how they work and carry themselves I pay them in the 14-16 hour area and give them a fair amount of overtime which they love.
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,072

    I know a guy who pays $12/hr.

    He's got HUGE repair bills on his walker fleet...I spit out my fruit juice all over his table when he told me what his mower repair bills for a single season were when we were doing his financial evaluation/forecasting.

    $12/hr high school kids trashing 15,000 walkers.

    I was like dude, buy some walkbehind mowers, and make those jokers walk (with more durable less likely to bust through abuse mowers)

    but oh, no..he had to have the best equipment.

    running 'the best equipment' with low end employees does not = good results.

    also for people with think "X property can only be done in Y one can do it faster..." use better paid, better trained employees that have incentive to work in unison.

    My $15-$17/hr guy will run circles around your $10-$12 guy or we wouldnt be getting paid that.
  4. zwhit81

    zwhit81 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    I pay $8 per hour. I am a part time guy so I am sure I have lower overhead than most on this forum. I am also in a low income rural area so it keeps wages low as well. Around here you are lucky to make $18 with a college education and several years experience. My employees are all high school students that I know and in 9 years I have never had a piece of equipment broken because of the way they use it.

    If I were sending a crew out and I was not there the watch over them I would sure be paying the crew leader a good wage. You may get buy with paying the other employees lower wages but a crew leader has to be a really good wage if you want quality work out of them. Managing a crew is not easy as we all know!
  5. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 780

    There is no 'set range' of pay for people in certain positions. I use to higher people and pay them right off the bat good wages. Especially for those I had high hopes for. I have been screwed so many times, that I don't do that anymore. Every employee now starts at $9.00 an hour, no matter what position they are working in. I am very clear to people when I hire them now, that if you work out good, you will be treated well, if you don't... you won't be around very long.

    I have become very slow to hire (interview at least 30 people for every job opening), and VERY fast to fire.

    One employee of mine started at $9.00 an hour less then a year ago, and now makes a base wage of $15.00.. ($19.50 an hour for his snow removal hours).

    Most of last year, the employee mentioned above was a lawn mower. Once his wage got to $14.00 per hour, he was moved from a mowing crew to a landscaping crew. For my company, I could never afford to pay someone $14.00 or more an hour for lawn mowing. There is just not very much money in mowing and its so cut-throat.

    I do agree that you can not have an idiot mowing lawns, but also know that you can only pay someone so much to do it.
  6. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 780

    I VERY strongly disagree with this statement. What I have learned about employees over the years is that 'quality people' are quality people no matter what they are paid. Its about who the person is. Lets face it.. 90% of the employees we hire this day in age are going to be ****. That's just the fact. However, for the 10% that are not.. if you don't treat them well, they won't stay around very long.

    So... It is my belief that you will get quality employees starting them at $8.00 an hour... but you won't retain them if they feel that's where they are staying.
  7. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    To clarify you live in AK where you can't go to a restaurant of any kind withhout spending 15 a plate.
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  8. Peter Burn

    Peter Burn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Last year I had a nasty time with two 23 year olds whose Pavlovian text message obsession resulted in them spending four man hours at 20 CAD/hour on jobs that I at 59 years old can do in two man hours. So I calculated how much each type of service would take me to do alone and came up with fixed prices per job. They stopped spending two man hours mowing and trimming a single lawn and actually made up for a lot of the money they were overpaid.

    When my son and niece got out of school for the summer I thanked the two young men and let them go.

    This year I am paying two different guys by the job for aerating and dethatching and same with broadcast Spraying lawns for weeds. They will make more than 20 CAD/hr and I will not feel robbed.

  9. eggy

    eggy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    I think it depends on what benefits are offered as well. 12 a hour with health insurance,retirement, sick days. , vacation and a steady 40 hour week year all year does seem ok . However if you offer no health Benefits , seasonal schedule, no sick / vacation days, no retirment plan and even have rain days Etc you are going to have to offer a lot more. The smarter people we hire ask what the will make for the year verse for the hour and about benifits, I feel you should at least pay what a entry level factory job starts at and around here it is 11- 13 hr with full benifits
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  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,072

    a restaurant of any kind?
    ANY Kind? Wendy's, McDonalds, Subway. I win!

    Olive Garden seems to be the same price as the lower 48.

    we don't have $5 subs, they are $6 subs.

    Oh and Dennys, I can get out of Dennys If I drink water for under $15.00

    What kind of restaurants did you go to up here?
    Gwenny's? Mama O's? Sullivans? I think only tourists go there :laugh:

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