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Payroll Options for employees

Discussion in 'Employment' started by BrianD24, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. BrianD24

    BrianD24 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hello, I'm looking for new ways to pay my employees mainly for mowing crew, (not just per hour) to get the most out of them and for ways they can make more. Does a weekly salary work? Incentives? Have you paid per lawn if so can you give me examples? For landscape jobs I give them their goal and tell them that if they hit the goal I give them a bonus. Lets say they have a 4 hour job and if they get it done in 4 hours or less the foreman will get an extra $20 or $5 per hour. It helps them stay busy.. But now I want to do something for the mowing crew to get the max out of them as well... Thanks for feedback & Ideas
  2. rclawn

    rclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 723

    I'd be careful about piecework payment... Guy around here was paying a couple bucks per lawn but got in trouble when it was said he dodged a few minimum wage guidelines...... I would look at doing something similar to how your landscape is done. Maybe set up a weekly productivity bonus. Such as a target time for each day's route (with no call backs) that will pay a bonus ONLY if they hit it for the entire week. That way you can encourage a productive week instead of just one job or day. Welcome to LawnSite I'm sure others will have better insight.
  3. OP

    BrianD24 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thank you for your feedback! I get what you are saying... but how would you do that in the event you had a mower go down or or something like that?
  4. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,306

    That’s where you have a base pay and then bonuses for completed goals. The base pay is guaranteed but they can make X amount more if they achieve the goals you have laid out.
    rclawn and BrianD24 like this.
  5. snomaha

    snomaha LawnSite Bronze Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 1,519

    We pay our managers and key people bonus dollars for hitting quarterly stretch goals. That being said, I’m not a fan of trying to bonus/incentive people into being efficient - especially per job or such a short time frame. In my experience, trying to substitute bonus dollars instead of fair wage, leadership and management doesn’t work. Kicking someone on a crew, who has gone above and beyond for the day or week a gift card seems to work just as well.
    TPendagast, maelawncare and BrianD24 like this.
  6. Griffinlawn

    Griffinlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    This year we are trying a bonus for maintenance issues. Each crew will have a budget based on last years repair costs. An whatever is remaining from the budget the crew will get a percentage of that. I am hoping that it will go well. Interested to see what others do as well.
    maelawncare likes this.
  7. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,441

    Sorry in advance for the long post, this is based on my experiences with only mowing...

    When I started hiring, I paid by the hour. Big mistake. Jobs that normally took me 15 or 20 minutes by myself took a 2 man crew 40 to 45 minutes. I GPS'd the truck and caught them taking long breaks, equipment was being left so they had to drive alllll the way back to get it. It was normal to get a phone call "oh hey, we um.....we mowed the wrong house by accident". Were they paid cash or just wasting time? Who knows.

    Next was incentive. Some call it piece work or by the lawn. I paid a percentage based on the weekly route revenue. So it didn't matter if it took them 5 hours or 10 hours....the pay was the same. Production shot through the roof. Jobs were always completed on time. To minimize complaints, I had a rule that if they screwed up the lawn, they had to go back first thing the next day and fix it. It usually took 1 screw up to realize how much their mistake throws off their week and sets them behind. A normal 35-40 hour work week they would earn $700+ in 4 days (we only mowed M-Th). Here is where things get complicated- the law states they MUST make at least minimum wage. At the time, my counties minimum wage was $11.50 an hour, so a 40 hour work week means they would have to make at least $460. Anything under is illegal. Feedback from employees was they loved the pay. They can work at their own pace. Most would show up 10 to 15 minutes early everyday so they could load up and be ready to pull off by their start times. The downfall to this is the pay is great, but they get laid off in the winter. 99% of the time, they would quit near the end of the year. They would rather opt to find another job rather than collect unemployment.

    This year I'm switching everyone to salary. The pay will be consistent and more importantly, they will be getting paid in the off season. I'm hoping this will entice them to stick around and not quit so unexpectedly like they did with incentive.

    I'm not a firm believer in a bonus program or other incentives to get their work done. I hire them to do a job and I expect that job to get done. They get paid weekly, they are left largely unsupervised, I'm not a micromanager, and I try to provide a good working environment. "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"...I'll do what I can if they ask for a favor, but they also know I expect the jobs to be done on time and exactly how I want them done or they won't work for me.

    Hopefully this helps a little.
    GRANTSKI likes this.
  8. Griffinlawn

    Griffinlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Very helpful not sure if that would work in our case.

    Maintenance jobs were part of the percentage as well or figured differently
  9. TColemanP

    TColemanP LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    I agree with paying hourly for your maintenance employees but offering a bonus incentive for their production rates that week/month/quarter. If a mower breaks down or you get a rain day, that's just part of it and your guys have to understand that.

    If you have 20 mowing jobs per week and you have tracked the man hours it takes to complete these jobs to you and your client's expectations then that is where you start. Now give them a stretch goal to beat it by say 5%. Just make sure it is clear that if you catch they skipped areas just to beat your hours or if you take any complaints of have any damages caused by rushing or carelesness then it voids their bonus for that week. You can set it up per week, per month, per quarter, however you want.

    I've had several guys working with me for the last 10 years and have done this for them for a long time. They enjoy the challenge and the financial benefit they can receive. I also offer the supervisor more than the others on his crew- this is between him and I and I've learned it helps that supervisor motivate his guys more and more and he keeps a very close eye on their crew's quality because it affects his bonus directly.

    Biggest downfall with this is the tracking. My managers have to track hours very closely per crew and it's a little cumbersome, but well worth keeping my crews happy.
    BrianD24 likes this.
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,593

    Salary isn’t an option
    That’s actually illegal for a direct labor position in the service industry.
    Unless of course they only work 39 hours and pay them 40 hours for example.

    Peice rate (paying by the lawn) works like this

    Let’s say you charge $50 an hour
    The most you pay is 18/hr
    The lawn should take 1 man hour
    So the lawn is worth 18 bucks

    Doesn’t matter if he takes an hour to do the lawn, half an hour to do the lawn or two hours to do the lawn, he gets paid $18 for the completion of the task to customers satisfsction.
    So if the customer calls back he goes back , he doesn’t get paid more he gets paid $18.

    Law says you cannot pay him less than minimum wage plus any ot he works.
    So he can make $18 plus per hour by performing or $9 an hour plus any ot if he really drags azzz

    He will quit in his own if he can’t produce
    No one will do that much work for that little pay and stick around
    So peice rate weeds out the weak links on its own

    That’s how it works
    BrianD24 likes this.

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