Show Employees Appreciation Without Pay Increase

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Sean Adams, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. PushnSnow

    PushnSnow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Cost of living is very regional also. I'm from Alaska. My cost of living there is signifigantly more than my cost of living here in northern MN. It was in Alaska where the wash kid, lowest guy on the totem pole was making $20+ per hour. Starting pay for that position was $17 per hour. At the same time, there was other companies paying experienced operators $17 per hour. You can always find cheap employees. I just choose not to want cheap employees. I have two part time employees. Very part time the way this winter is going. They both have other jobs. One is my daughter that lives here, and the other is her college boyfriend that lives with his parents. They shovel walks if we get much snow. I wouldn't even consider paying them less than $15 per hour. My labor rate on my jobs is figured at $40 per hour. After taxes and workmans comp and all else, my cost for them is around $22.50 per hour. Figure in the fuel in my pickup they drive to the jobs, and everything else, I'm still making a little on their labor. If things work out, they will be full time employees during the summer. They will still get at least $15 an hour. I could find some kid for $8 an hour easy enough. I have standards with all employees. You could be the best person for the job and have your face all pierced up and tattoos scattered all over yourself and you won't have a job for me. I want professionals. I want employees that give a professional image. I want those employees for years to come. I don't want to have to teach people the work every year. Lawn maintenance is seasonal here. I'll try to keep my employees busy in winter with snow plowing, but years like this, that doesn't even work. Being seasonal employees, in order to retain them, I have to pay them well. By doing this, I reduce the hours I spend next year teaching a new crew. Those hours can be better spent finding revenue for my company. I don't have to babysit my employees. They learn their job and when they say it's complete, it is. That's time I can spend working on my company and growing my company. My employees don't resent me because they work with me. I have never asked any employee to do anything I'm not willing to do myself.

    Everyone needs to run their company as they see fit. This is just my opinion. I've worked for two bit companies that payed as little as they could get away with, and I've worked for companies that payed well because employees were important to them. When I left my last job, the owner gave me a $10k bonus as I was leaving. While I have family issues keeping me away from that job, they are still a couple of my best friends. If they call and need me I'll be on the next plane north to help them out. My loyalty will always be with them. As I run my business, it's one of the business practices that will go with me because I've seen how well it works.
  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    i stay solo. solves any of these issues lol. keep it simple.
  3. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    Good points, I buy my labor lunch if they don't have any money, or if we are working on a big job, even if we are just mowing and we are flying through accounts, I'll still pay for lunch. I buy them water, snacks, candy, whatever helps them through the day. and I don't make them trim all day either, I mow the more difficult ones, and they mow the easier ones. works out good, that way everyone stays healthy and no one hates what they do.

    I used to be in a position for another company where one of the 3 days i worked, i trimmed two big properties and that was my day. then the next day i would start out mowing for half the day and trim the other half, then i would mow most of the last day and trim a little. i liked it, and gave great quality work, i was an mvp on that team, but the pay wasn't there, and i was already doing my stuff part time so i just took the dive to do my stuff full time. I may consider letting someone take home a company truck once there are a few extra ones to take home, I think that may encourage the right employee to be more responsible.
  4. Duekster

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

    I do not do anything on the job except figure out the hard stuff on irrigation. The guys learn and I let them learn. I also put the least skilled guy on the job and work with him. I have had to rip out installs when they were proud of their work. They learn and it cost money.

    If I try to pick up an implement of destruction they often come save me quickly.

    Again, I am sure they joke, talk or whatever but they do well on there own, I check up on the rarely. They know I know what to do what they do not know...Ya know or are they still laughing? :D
  5. Duekster

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

    all but a few
  6. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    IMO these are all things that a good company should be doing for their employees anyway. But like the old saying goes- "money talks and BS walks" none of this puts food on the family table or pays the mortgage and other bills. Certainly how you treat your employees goes a long way in their decision to go elsewhere for better pay, but in the end it's always going to be the money. If you can't afford to pay them a living wage you're only delaying the inevitable.
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    The problem with paying so called liveable wage is who determines what that is? Everybody would agree that 8, 9, 10/hr probably not but once you get to say 15,16/hr + your topped out and there's no where to go. I mean if a guy does stay with you long enough how high can you go? I certainly don't want him making more than me which I've heard some guys say that there guys make more than them. That can't be right.
  8. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    I agree that's a tough question. A "living wage" for one employee is going to be completely different for another. You can't, for instance, pay a worker that has a wife and four kids more than a single guy for the same work. About all you can do is consider the rents in your area as well as other living expenses (cost of living) and use that as a starting point in deciding how much to pay someone. The rest is up to you based on how valuable the employee is and how much money the employee makes for your company. I have seen many cases where a key employee makes as much as the owner.
  9. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    DOL of labor has good wage statistic for your area and for the type of work. I try to stay at or above the average wage on seasoned workers.

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