The biggest thing to me is that this is a seasonal job for most parts of the country. Looking long term it's going to be hard to keep a guy from year to year if you can't give him a reason to come back every year. I figure the expense of having to re-train a different new hire every season comes at a hirer cost and more importantly...a higher risk as to the expense of some additional overtime if a guy is wanting a bit larger of a paycheck. Outragous amounts of overtime kills any hope of profit in this business and on top of those two things...any damage or callbacks that occur cost lots of money. Mowing a $40 yard all season and on one occasion to break a sliding glass window or a fancy storm door and you're basically mowing that lawn for "fun" for the entire season. So you need to balance a fair wage, whether it be hourly or incentively, with a bonus program that rewards people for being safe, attendant and efficient, and also a third incentive to keep people coming back year after year. Knowing your numbers is key. Because you only have X amount of dollars to pay your workers. Fair wage + quarterly safety/attendance/performance bonus $200-$250? a quarter (only three quarters in a mowing season here) + end of season larger bonus $500 ish? Plus additional $500 if they come back next season??? Just thoughts I've had on it. I will add that I currently work for one of the five largest trash haulers in the country. On top of our nominal wage (incentive for me) we get quarterly safety bonuses, plus a yearly bonus if we have no incidents all year, plus if the entire company stays under X dollars in damages/claims we get an additional bonus which goes to the employees that had no incidents. The company plans on spending money on damages every year and puts that amount into their budget. If i have an incident in any one quarter I lose the money for that quarter, the end of the year, and the honey pot bonus, but still have the opportunity to get other three quarter safety bonuses. If I have no incidents I get all four months + yearly bonus and IF the rest of the company stays under budgeted claims those who had no incidents get additional bonus. All together I'm eligible for around $2500 a year in bonuses. I also get $100 a year for a "boot" expense bonus. Do you all budget for damages?