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Paying based on job time?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by seabee24, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. seabee24

    seabee24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    Just wondering,

    I have a big problem with the guys tracking hours and jobs. They turn in time sheets that show ten hours of "punch in time" but show 6-7 hours of billable activity. There is loss in the morning, coming back, even driving the routes, and then some that just isn't tracked good at all.

    I worked at a steel shop once, we had "time cards" for each job. If we stopped or switched jobs, we punched out of one, and then into another. The idea being that all of your time was either billable directly to a customer Job, or at least tracked as an over head expense.

    My routes have less than 15-20 mins travel in the morning, then less than 5-7 mins between jobs and we end up back at the shop. Average should be 90 mins travel for 8.5 hours worked billed.

    Does anyone have experience with paying guys a higher wage per hour, but only paying them job site time, in an effort to get them to track time better, and stop the goofing off doing the day, and taking the long way to the jobs?

    I know larger companies that do this, but most of their work is very large and they only do 1-3 sites per day.
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Not sure you can legally do that. Look into job clocks and gps tracking. Each has an upfront cost, but it will pay off. For us vehicle mobility is decent, but we found there was a lot of rounding off that equated to $30-50 per guy per week. A few minutes in the morning a few more in the afternoon, round everything up,etc. Then on top these guys wanted cost of living increase. I showed them the actual hours and they had been getting that raise all along. I watch it much more closely now.

    On the other hand though I see every day competitors trucks show up and no one works for 5 or so minutes. At the end of the job there is also 1-2 guys standing in the trailer for another 5 minutes while one guy blows off the entire property.

    Not sure what your policies are, but freaking smartphones have a lot to do with this. My guys will be fired if caught picking up the phone during work time, but while driving they can do what they want, except the driver. I have one guy that is generally pretty good, but he probably gets and sends 100 facebook items and texts a day. It starts at 6:30am when he starts and never stops. I find it annoying, but he leaves his phone in the truck so I know he isn't doing it while working. If one of my friends texts me at 6:30am and it was not an emergency I can't say we would have much to talk about.

    What blows my mind even more is that labor is not a high paying career. Some of these guys are spending 5% or more of their yearly earnings just to have a smartphone. Likewise, a customer likely spends more on their family phone plan than they spend on groceries or lawn cutting. Let that one sink in the next time that new lead asks you for your best price while holding their Iphone 5.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I'd definitively look into GPS tracking.

    We have a Sprint rep in our BNI group, and Sprint is really starting to push for fleet services such as GPS tracking. Pretty amazing the numbers that this guy comes up with for the amount of money saved in fuel costs for companies with 20+ trucks.

  4. seabee24

    seabee24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    What about the tracking time part? I mean the GPS would help with the travel but not time logs.

    Example. My mechanic recently put in a time card 7-4:30. Remarks under work completed where " fixed broken line trimmer trigger, then r/r air compressor, changed spark plugs on dingo"

    Like problem is just try and do equipment maintenance costing with that info. You can't.

    Plus if I read that time card, would you pay some one 8 hours at $15.00 to change a throttle trigger (which you have instock), change 2 spark plugs on a dingo, and look into a repair for a cheap 200 air compressor?
  5. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,762

    Does your mechanic have a certain list of jobs to accomplish? Also tracking can be used to pinpoint when the truck stops and for how long. Some more advanced systems used by trucking companied can pull up a truck and check speed, braking and time the unit sits idle. If you know how long a truck should be at one lawn and there are 10 min. extra.... well you get the idea.
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    All I can say is in Texas which is employer friendly, you can not go below minimum wage no way no how even with piece meal work.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Ditto on that.

    You can see if they are also going off route, stopping at places they shouldn't be, etc.....

    That and if you got guys at one job-site for the day, you can put a geo-fence around that property. As soon as a truck leaves that site, it will automatically inform you that it has left.

  8. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    Like someone pointed out above, legally you may not be able to pay them for only the time working and not the travel time. Here in MA you must pay them while in the company vehicle as they are not free to do as they want.

    Here is something that has worked for guys I know. Have the guys log their time at each site. After a few weeks, start to randomly go out with them to observe only. If they get the jobs done quicker with you observing than they normally do, then you know something is up. Same with drive time, if their drive time is substantially quicker with you fallowing, then you know they have been making extra pit stops.
  9. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    This is why the "employee tracking" business is huge.
    You cant do what you want to do. I wish you could. I would love to do the same.
    It drove me nuts.

    I had to adapt things in my business to minimize that problem.

    Trucks used to fuel in the morning. 4 crews waiting in line at the gas station. 3 guys in each truck. One guy fueling each and the rest eating breakfast and standing around. An easy 12 man hours lost before they hit the first job.

    Changed that to having one part time guy come in for 2 hours a night. He took each truck and fueled them up. So in the morning the crews went straight from the shop to the first job. No stops allowed.

    Used to have a 30 minute lunch. Which meant to me. Turn off the machine. 30 minutes later turn it back on. Most of the crew brought their lunch so they stopped. Ate, and went back to work. Half though wanted to eat out for lunch.

    So that meant 12:00 turn off machine. Load trailer, drive to food place, get in line, order, come out, eat, drive back to job, unload trailer, go to work.

    For a while i would watch this and 30 minutes would be up by the time they first got in line at the food place, so I would turn them around right there and send them back to work.

    Changed lunch to 1 hour. And watched it. Saved a lot of money there.

    And finally. The overall idea is, if you say no stops, and give them a time to complete the work, and they cant do it. Replace them with people who can. Plain and simple.

    Sometimes thats the only answer.

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