safe drive bonus/penalties

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by GreenI.A., Nov 14, 2011.

  1. GreenI.A.

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

    So I have had a rash of issues with my guys driving the trucks. Back in August one of my f250's was involved in an accident (other drivers fault) but my dump was falling to close and then colided with my 250. Both trucks were totaled. Employees getting speeding tickets, written out in their name and does not effect my comm insurance, but my truck pulled over on a busy highway during rush hour is not an image I like people seeing. This year alone, roughly 3,500 in fines from the State Truck teams pulling the trucks over for inspections. The fines have been mostly for oporator issues such as stacking materials to high and not properly securing items in the trucks or on the trailers. Plus plenty of parking tickets, these I usually expect as we often have to parking in restricted areas when on jobsites, on one install this summer we racked up over $4,500 in tickets but I planned for that on the estimate.

    One thing I am thinking is to implement a bonus/penalty system to encourage safe driving. Here in MA we can not penalize a driver financially if he gets into an accident but we can revoke his rights to drive the company vehicle. What I am considering is to pay the driver of each vehicle a bonus each day, say 1.25 an hour or $50 a week. If the driver breaks my vehicle policy then they will have their driving rights suspended for a given time depending on the infraction and will loose that $50 for the week. Say one of my Fert Techs looses his right to drive then he can't perform his duties. He would then be put onto an install crew as a laborer during his suspension, the physical labor would probably be more of a punishment than loosing the bonus. I shecked with my attorney and he said this can be lagit as long as it is written right. I'm just curious what others think.

    with 4 trucks other than mine on the road each day, and a 40 hr week that would be $200 in bonuses paid each week, if the drivers aren't backing into things or are driving safer this could well be worth a try
  2. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I have a fairly large fleet, and deal with this on a daily basis.

    I don't pay speeding tickets period. I have a lead foot, so I'm not one to talk. I don't know what roads you travel, but the MSP is not very creative where they run speed traps. I may be the only person to get a ticket for doing 80 on 93N.

    I do pay parking tickets. If you got $4500 in tickets I'm going to assume Brookline? I once had a bunch of equipment parked on Atlantic Ave. in a work zone ticketed for illegal parking. I didn't know an excavator could illegally park. But it had wheels and a plate, so it got hit.

    Now onto the question of bonus for driving. Do you expect them to be professionals and not get pulled over like idiots? I'd say you're being generous with your $10,000.00. Now if paying the bonuses would SAVE you $15,000.00, I'd say go for it. I've driven by my trucks pulled over and it puckers my sphincter. Back in the 90's when we had 200+ trucks on the road on my way to a meeting in a single hour I passed: one pulled over for speeding, one in an accident, one at the Golden Banana, one at TGI Fridays and one at the NH State Liquor store and one blew by me doing what had to be 90 because I was doing 75 and passed me like I was standing still. I was not pleased because this was a Wednesday at 2pm.

    I would have an issue if the MSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Team was constantly finding issues with my loads and tie downs. This summer almost every time with Titan was coming back from NY with a machine I swear they were on 84 in Sturbridge just to annoy us. I'm fortunate we haven't been hit for any violations from the this year.

    I don't know what you expect from your employees. I'd rather send them on a second trip rather than be OOS'd be the MSP. I will admit, I have no medium duty trucks, so I'm not usually having a problem with weight, height or tarping.

    My laborers have a company truck to take home with a gas card to get them to and from my shop. They also make $46.75 an hour. I believe my collective bargaining agreement would prevent me from paying that kind of bonus. I was shocked that four the guys who live in the New Bedford/Fall River area and commute to the shop take turns doing the driving. They came up with the carpool option on their own. They don't get a bonus or special treatment, and it saves me wear and tear on 4 trucks that otherwise would do the same drive daily.

    As you have mentioned before, I have a vastly different set of standards than most people on here. My problems are magnified because of size. I've dealt with employees who have had DWI's, refused the Breathalyzer, accidents and the mundane gravel chipped windshields.

    On my scale, I would be out $93,600 a year just in good driver bonuses at 50 bucks a week per.
  3. GreenI.A.

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

    Wow you were right on, we got nailed on a site in Chestnut Hill.

    $50 is a number I was just throwing around, I am trying to find a way to work it in more as their pay so that i would look at the bonus as a part of their salery, but be able to deny it like a bonus. One thing I am thinking is to do it instead of their pay increase this year. instead of a pay increase every employee would get a weekly safety bonus, if they do something unsafe (driving or not) they could loose that weeks bonus. If it is a big safety issue then they could loose a portion of their bonus for multiple weeks. This way they are potentially getting a bonus, but it is in their control
  4. seabee24

    seabee24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    logically speaking, not everyone is perfect. I do like the idea of performance based bonuses. But what your really talking about is a safety issue. and in my business safety violations are grounds for termination. Their bonus is keeping their job. $50.00 isnt a very good bonus that would make me drive slow home when its already late in the day. Besides how will you know? you will pay out the bonus until another accident occurs.

    I would get GPS monitoring....they have means of determining if a truck is speeding. Speeding - no more driving company privileges= which can equal a reduction in pay - and if we have to hire someone else, I guess you loose your job.
  5. GreenI.A.

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

    I have been thinking about GPS monitoring for speeding and security isseus. As far as the bonus, my thought is if the guys are being rewarded for being safe then that should lower the chance of major incidents. Basically I just want to promote safety as much as I can next year.
  6. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    Seebee is on the right track

    You should not be paying a bonus for following the rules and doing what they should be doing anyway.

    I dont pay ANY tickets unless it is a truck maintenance problem. Any moving violations, parking, overloads, straps, and such is 100% on the driver. All tickets are written to the driver here, there is no such thing as the "company getting the ticket"

    Drivers are expected to follow the laws and company rules.

    Their bonus is not getting fired.

    Pass the owner of the company at 90mph? And you want to pay him to slow down?
    I would have caught up to him dragged him out of the truck and left him on the side of the road and called for another driver or a tow truck first.

    At fault accident? Sometimes stuff happens, people make mistakes. But an at fault accident because of recklessness, speeding, texting, or something else like that. They're on the unemployment line.

    I would love to see a line in a bid that says "Parking tickets $4,500"

    Im glad I dont have a need for employees to take home trucks. Im not in an on-call business. I couldnt handle the stress of that. I like to know where all my stuff is every minute. Ive done that in the past with foremen thinking I was giving a "benefit" and all I got out of it was an extra $100+ a week on the gas bill for an employee that lived 5 minutes from the shop.

    Id pull everyone in the office tomorrow morning and inform them of the policy.

    1. You get a ticket its on you
    2. You wreck a truck, you dont work here
    3. You get reported or observed driving like an idiot. You dont work here anymore.

    Plain and simple.
  7. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    As soon as I saw the number, I was betting on Brookline. It's more pleasant to work in the People's Republic of Cambridge, and they are pretty bad.

    I do think you're onto something with the bonus, because at the end of the day, you're asking your employees to do something to lower your cost of doing business and sharing with them the benefit.

    I don't have certain luxuries with my employees. They are covered under collective bargaining. Pass me at 90? I found the person and he was getting a ride for a week until his union filed a grievance. I needed to give him an opportunity to explain and technically, he was in a rush because of an order a foreman gave him. The speeder and the foreman were not employees long when I was getting to the end of the job and needed to lay people off.

    Accidents happen. I accept that. I didn't run the fleet, so it wasn't my responsibility to deal with those issues. Today, I have a much smaller fleet, and still don't like the accident call. I use peer pressure to combat stupid. We have one way of working, and that is our way. New people accept it and do it our way, or my guys will drive them off. Stupid has a way of getting attention of those who like working here. One new guy who didn't last accused us of being a cult. I found that to be both amusing and probably a bit accurate. Out of 60 people here, 50 or more all worked for us when we built bridges, tunnels and highways.

    Today, with all the take home vehicles, my rule is 'don't be a masshole.' I don't want to make a set of rules. If you need a truck to get a load of lumber at Home Depot on a Sunday, use your judgement. If your brother-in-law needs to borrow the truck and you let him, that truck is staying at the shop from now on. I'm happy with the people who work here, and if I were to get much larger, I would have to seriously rethink how I operate the fleet here.

    As I said above, if it would save money in the long term, and more than the bonus would cost, I think it is a good idea. Employees can be either be treated stupid monkeys, or they can be a partner in the success.

    I like to think of my employees as partners in the success we have. I get more for my properties even in this down economy, and my guys are responsible for that with their hard work and attention to detail.

    I'll give you an example; last year one of the guys thought we could recycle the sand we lay down in parking lots because we spend the winter picking it up when the storm ends. He thought we could save money by using our screener and simply screening out the crap and reusing it. Turns out, he was right. The recycled stuff saves us money because we get to reuse it, and the equipment and people to screen it are on the payroll anyway.

    I like the idea of the bonus, I wish there was a sure fire way to implement it to save you money.
  8. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    Safety bonuses are fine in my book but I feel like they need to be in conjunction with a system that deals directly with your employees' wages, or raises, more specifically.

    Safety bonuses to me say "Ok we're aiming for average, but if you go above average then you'll be rewarded". I would want to have a mindset of "We're aiming for perfect but if you have a misstep, no problem."

    Stick with that $50 weekly bonus idea but turn it into a monthly check. More impact in their brain getting a $200 check a month or even better do a yearly safety bonus check and you can then factor in if you stay under your budget for those types of incidents and give them a piece of the leftover.

    And then base their annual raise off of their safety record. Say the company is up for a 5% raise (hypothetical of course) then you can base a fraction of that raise on their safety record. No more than one incident in a season then they get the full fraction that is based on their driving, etc.

    Of course you can then have a policy of any more than once incident in a certain amount of time and they're fired.

    At my day job we have a "first time, last time" policy on backing incident....if you are backing up and get into a wreck or cause property damage you're fired. No matter what.

    Just a few thoughts I had...
  9. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,816

    I dont know how you boys can work in town without going crazy. I stay in Westford , Acton , Concord. Did a ballfield in southie once wasnt so bad but we could park close by there.
  10. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,645

    I wouldn't do it on a daily basis but on a month or every quarter... something along those lines. I also think its a good idea.

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