Piecework System

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawnmower2005, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. Lawnmower2005

    Lawnmower2005 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 2

    Currently paying employees hourly and looking to pay them on a piecework basis. Looking for the key hurdles/issues to consider before the switch and what the typical process/steps others have taken to ensure a successful switch. Thanks for any help. Below is kind of what I'm looking for.:

    1) any adjustments in pay per job in the winter/sring, how is the change in workflow managed with regards to the piecework basis
    2) dealing with equipment delays and keeping time sheets, other issues?
    4) how much of a problem is overtime, is it abused? if so, how?
    5) how was is the switch initially presented to employees so they're not scared away from being paid less overall (this may not be true, in fact opposite for the best employees, but some would interpret it as a scheme to "rip them off")
    6) what was to done to get acct/admin/legal issues in order? how troublesome was this?
    7) what are other ongoing issues you've had to face to make a smooth transition?
    8) would you/have you gone back to paying hourly, why?
    9) anything else i'm completely missing or haven't touched that you feel necessary to address?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Everytime a thread comes up about this it is never really supported. What I haven't seen are any responses that say they pay a base hourly plus a commission as an incentaive. Worked for a carpet company that used to do that. Got bonuses also if you could find a way to speed up the work and drive down costs without sacrificing quality. Employees that wanted to make more could by bringing in more work and by selling different programs etc. Maybe consider this instead of just piecemeal so they don't rush through just to get ot the next job? Rushing will drop quality and lead to speeding tickets, accidents and as a consequence increased insurance costs. jm.02
  3. jamo1911

    jamo1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Here is my plan.
    I wanted to put together a 2 man crew that only does cleanups and lawn cutting.
    For the lawn cutting I wanted to do something to motivate the team leader.
    Let's say I figure out the maximum # of lawns they can cut in an 8hr day is 30. I would pay the team leader a small hourly wage ($8/hr) plus $3 per lawn for the first 20 lawns. Now for lawns 21 thru 25 I would pay him $6 per lawn and 25 and up I give him $9 per lawn. Theory being that he will want to move up to the next level and push his helper to make it happen. For the helper I would give him a better hourly rate and no bonus. One stipulation, there would have to be zero complaints. Any customer that complained would lose him his bonus for that day. This would hopefully keep quality up as well as speed.
    With this system my leader would make roughly $200 per day and the helper would get $80. I'm just toying around with this idea and wondered what you guys thought. My average lawn cut is $50.
  4. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Hmmm. Do they get anything for selling fert programs or weed control or a finders fee for adding more accounts, or a recruiting bonus, efficiency bonus? The thing is to try and figure out how to get more work in less time. As they get more efficient maybe a move up into equipment that gets it done faster, bigger ztr, multi-function tools, proslide for walk behinds, dunno just throwing out some ideas for ya.
  5. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    I was a Chemlawn manager in the mid 80's when we were first bought out by Ecolab.
    The start of the downfall was that they split up job responsibilities. One crew did production, one did sales, one did service calls. Needless to say because production was incentivised, the weed control hand can was not pulled off the truck. Service calls increased. Sales were commisioned so production had to spray undermeasured lawns. It turned into a downward spiral.

    The best service came from ownership of the route with the technician accountable for all. The hand can got pulled because he didn't want to come back and cancel rates were accountable. Sales were measured correctly because the same person had to spray it.

    Bonuses work best for new business added on to the existing customer base or route area. What is your cost to add a customer? If your mowing crews drop off an estimate for the 2 next door neighbors and the one across the street, they might land some because of the quality of your work, your routes tighten up, efficiency increases. Give that $ cost to your crew. LCO's typically pay one app price to acquire new accounts from other LCO's. Make that your bonus plan to the crew.
  6. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    There's a member on here that uses that method. His name is 'justmowing'. He has about 12 trucks and grosses about 1.4millon a year. He pays a small hourly wage and then a set amount per lawn. They pay for damages and answers to compliants, I think on their own time. I think he has about 2000 accounts and, if I remember correctly, he averages only about 3 complaints a month....which would be incredible. They also pay for busted sprinkler heads and such. You will have to find the thread yourself, but it was very interesting reading.
  7. jamo1911

    jamo1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Thanks for all the input.
    I will be offering a commission on any new business they drum up - neighbor's lawn, seeding etc.
    I also like the idea of them going back to fix complaints on their own time and paying for damages. How legal is all of this in NY? I'm sure they would say damages should be paid by my insurance or more likely just by my wallet. Thanks again, I am new to this site and have found it very helpful.

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