Labor

RyanElite

LawnSite Member
Good afternoon everyone,

I have a question and it’s something I’ve been curious about for years. When it comes to paying your employees, is there anyone out there that pays salary instead of hourly? When I was younger, i worked for Scott Lawn Service fertilizing, we were paid salary. So if I were to “milk the clock” I’d be wasting my time and not the companies. Just wondering if that can work in landscaping. Thank you
 

Brucey

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Upstate NY
I don't see how you could classify someone running mowers all day as exempt. An operations manager with real responsibilities and decision making capabilities? No problem there.
 

grass man 11

LawnSite Senior Member
Salary really doesn’t do anything for you without the exempt part. In order to be exempt, they should manage a min of two people under them, be a “professional or executive”, and make above the required minimum for salary exempt(which is just under $36,000 per year)
 

knox gsl

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
knoxville, tn
The only way I've found around this is to have a base pay rate of minimum wage with overtime if needed. Now each property or task is worth a known amount that would give a highly productive employee close to $25/ hour to complete. This will give them incentive to hustle but still do quality work but and not milk the clock. Any call backs is just making their day longer or working toward them loosing a bonus. This system would work best on solo or 2 man crews. Most owners would balk at $25/ hour but if the routes are tight and you have a guy grossing you $80/ mowing you should come out better than $15/hour plus overtime for slow poke grossing $50/hour mowing
 

hal

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Georgia
Do what mow daddy does and hire them through a temp agency.
 

grass man 11

LawnSite Senior Member
The only way I've found around this is to have a base pay rate of minimum wage with overtime if needed. Now each property or task is worth a known amount that would give a highly productive employee close to $25/ hour to complete. This will give them incentive to hustle but still do quality work but and not milk the clock. Any call backs is just making their day longer or working toward them loosing a bonus. This system would work best on solo or 2 man crews. Most owners would balk at $25/ hour but if the routes are tight and you have a guy grossing you $80/ mowing you should come out better than $15/hour plus overtime for slow poke grossing $50/hour mowing
this system is debatable, I can understand the logic that the OT would only be on the base pay, however under federal law, OT is determined by dividing the total pay by the total number of hours worked during a period. That includes bonuses, so your paying the OT on both the base pay and bonus money. The only way the bonus can be excluded totally is if there is NOT a mathematical way for the employee to figure out the amount, so $xx per house will not work. It has to be a true surprise bonus.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Good afternoon everyone,

I have a question and it’s something I’ve been curious about for years. When it comes to paying your employees, is there anyone out there that pays salary instead of hourly? When I was younger, i worked for Scott Lawn Service fertilizing, we were paid salary. So if I were to “milk the clock” I’d be wasting my time and not the companies. Just wondering if that can work in landscaping. Thank you
That’s no a legal form of payment

acccording to the department of labor a non exempt employee (which is what you were and are describing) performs more than 20% of his on the clock time performing billable labor.
That means if he works 40 hours , 8 hours or more spent laboring means he gets paid an hourly wage plus overtime for anything over 40.
Mechanics are a gray area , if you don’t charge for your mechanics time (like he icky fixes your stuff) then it’s not billable you could effectively pay him a salary; most mechanics work on a Piece work scale where they are paid for the value of the completed work , not the actual hour they worked.
However a good mechanic performs/completes 20-100 percent more hours of billable labor than hours he physically works, so he’s getting paid more than he would on strictly hourly.

I did pay my guys (before I sold my business) a form of salary
They got paid 40 hours even if they didn’t work 40 hours, assuming they showed up to work everyday they were scheduled.
If they worked more than 40 they were paid OT, but it was rare (it happened during spring and fall clean up)
But if they completed their routes, they could go home... if they only worked 35 hours
They still got paid for 40.
If it rained , they still got paid 40
All that mattered was my routes were completed.
If I got call backs they went out to fix it, I had already paid them for that time that week, so they were effectively doing this on their own time, there for there was rarely any call backs; they would rather do it right and get paid to relax or do their own thing then have to drive back into work and fix something.

we also only worked 4 days a week (10 hour days)
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
this system is debatable, I can understand the logic that the OT would only be on the base pay, however under federal law, OT is determined by dividing the total pay by the total number of hours worked during a period. That includes bonuses, so your paying the OT on both the base pay and bonus money. The only way the bonus can be excluded totally is if there is NOT a mathematical way for the employee to figure out the amount, so $xx per house will not work. It has to be a true surprise bonus.
I don’t know where you figure that bonus i formation from?
The per house thing isn’t a “bonus” It’s piece work which isn’t figured into OT.
As long as the piece work would equal or exceed minimum wage plus OT, it’s legal to figure the payroll in that mAnner.
but the way you’re Explaining it in such a way that a waiter would have to be paid OT including their tips. Which isn’t true.

you can pay a base “salary” plus piece work , it’s legality is figured on its equality to minimum wage, not whatever the wage would be if it were monetized by the hours.

on a strictly hourly system
The hourly rate must be 1.5 for anything over 40 hours (or over 8 in a day in our state)

there are ways to do that “wrong” like saying well I’m paying you $15 an hour , which Is more than 1.5 times the minimum wage , so I dong have to pay you $22.50 when you work over 40... that’s not how it works.

essentially you have to pick one system and measure it against the “gold standard” of minimum wage plus OT.
BUT IF you pay a salary AND they work over time you have to pay the salary PLUS OT, NOT that the salary is already 1.5 times minimum wage... make sense?
salary plus OT is legal, there’s just rarely any advantage to it in terms of being favorable to the employer.

piece work is totally doable but it’s frequently a PIA in paperwork for the employer to figure the payroll every week
 
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