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Mowing production incentive idea. Discuss and share yours.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JDUtah, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Hey guys,

    Quick background goes like this. Built business (full service) with brother in law. Broke off and started over, just fert. This year I am adding mowing. Workload should cause me to hire help again. I want the help for mowing and will do the fert.

    I am putting an attractive production incentive program together and was wondering what you guys have done and what suggestions you have for mine.

    Mine is pretty simple.

    Each property has an estimated completion time. Each day has an estimated drive time and equipment set-up/lock up time. Add those together and you get the estimated time it should take your guys to do the work that day.

    If they complete the work faster than you estimated, you pay them for the estimated time. IE, you assume the work will take 16.25 man hours to complete (8.125 hrs each for a 2 man crew). They complete it in 14.75 hours (7.35 hours each). Thus each worker did 8.125 hours of work in 7.35 hours time so you pay them for the 8.125 hours.

    To keep the quality up you reserve the right to remove the over-production incentive if a client has a valid complaint, or if you check on their work and it is unsatisfactory. In that case, for that day, they get paid only for the time they worked, and not for any overproduction.

    To keep overproduction attractive you will make the estimated times relatively beatable. That way they feel like they can make some good money and stay motivated.

    This is based off an incentive program I came across in a certain warehouse. It seemed to work very well.

    What do you think? What questions do you have? What suggestions do you have? And most importantly, what other ideas do you have to promote production?
  2. Skyking

    Skyking LawnSite Member
    Messages: 216

    How are you going to keep the driving speed down and abuse on your equipment?
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Good questions. I'll have to think on that.
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I think its very difficult to create a perfect incentive program for a couple reasons...

    If you give the employees an incentive when they finish their work early, they are more likely to abuse equipment and probably to things a little more unsafe. They may try to drive faster from job to job, which as you know isn't too safe when towing a trailer with thousands of dollars worth of equipment on it. Now your guys may be more prone to get ticketed while driving or get in an accident. You also have to think about how they are operating your equipment. Are they going to be bumping into stuff, throwing stuff around?

    But at the same time if you tell them to take their time while on the job, they are going to be milking the time for all its worth. I know one company in my town that dumps grass clippings at the same spot I do, take their sweet little time. I can be in and out relatively quickly. But I've seen the guys just sitting around their trailer drinking a coke and just talking...and they did that the whole 15 minutes I was there.

    The best thing I think you can do is hire employees who are trustworthy. Give them incentives for getting no complaints, no damage to equipment or no accidents. Tell your employees about how long things should take for the day and what you expect of them.
  5. ELS LLC

    ELS LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    When it comes to the mowing division I am typically inclined to keep the guys happy. Whether it comes in form of a cash bonus or a stocked Gatorade cooler I try to do my part. When a company has formed an extremely tight maintenance route it is fairly easy to calculate your daily hours. This is averaged out from prior time sheets throughout the season. I have found that by having new equiptment every season also helps boost the crews morale and boost productivity. Bottom line is keep them happy!
  6. SDLandscapes VT

    SDLandscapes VT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581

    So we used to pay on a system similar to what you discussed--different situation though as I was in high school and college and it was my business to earn money for college-so we were looking to maximize earnings.

    Take charge for the lawn (ex. $100) and divide by 20 = 5 then multiply this by a hourly wage (ex. $10.00) and if you mowed the lawn solo your wage for the lawn was $50.00 if you mowed with another person you got 100/20/2=2.5 times your hourly wage and employee got 2.5 times their hourly wage. This number included drive time. Granted this is super generous to the employees and without trying I could pull in almost $75.00 per clock hour without speeding between accounts.

    We have gone to paying straight hourly time as what we do has changed and the hourly model works better, though we are investigating salaries. We see the need for motivation, but the rushing really defeats what we are trying to build our business around.
  7. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    My thoughts exactly.
  8. Showpropserv

    Showpropserv LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Messages: 242

    how bout this "theres 50 guys right now that will take your job" and as always quantity doesnt equal quality 99% of the time "The law of equal and opposite reactions"
  9. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    OK first run of ideas. Sorry if scattered, this is a brainstorming session.

    Remember, in no way do I assume I can achieve a "perfect" incentive program. But one that works well is better than none.

    Initially safety and quality starts during the hiring process. Especially the lead. Making sure I have the right guy(s) is the first step.

    Then, a season end bonus incentive for no tickets and/or abnormal equipment damages with weekly status updates reminding them of their "Christmas bonus" to keep it on their minds.

    Also, IMO you have to assume some equipment abuse when allowing employees to use your equipment without "you" there to crack the whip. With or without an incentive.

    I may work in a subtle compensation for this expected "extra" abuse. IE, work out a way to pay them for 70% of the overproduction. This way any abuse can be at least partially subsidized by the reduced extra pay.

    This would mean that for my first example, I would retain .45 of 1.5 hours overproduction on that day.

    Thus for this crew, at those production numbers, full time, $12/hour, for 30 mowing weeks, I divert $810 of their incentive pay to offset extra equipment "abuse". (The same crew is still getting paid $1,890 more than they would if I had no incentive for the year)

    Combine the offset with the chance that if they damage the equipment due to neglect, they loose all incentive for a time period. We should be ok.

    To make it simple, for that day they are effectively getting paid $12.85 an hour when without the incentive they would be paid $12 an hour.

    My goal would be to build the numbers so they could run at around 130% productivity. Which would cause their pay to go from $12 an hour to $14.52 an hour, and give me and EXTRA $1.08 per hour in my equipment cost budget.

    Effectively for a mowing season they would make..
    $17,424 each with incentive
    $14,400 each without incentive
    (thus over $3,000 more than if I didn't have the incentive in place)

    And I would have an extra $1,296 per employee ($2,592 per 2 man crew) EXTRA for equipment purchases/repairs every year.

    Thanks for the thoughts and questions! Please keep 'em coming! What do you think of it so far?
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    bump si days e

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