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What do you pay your hired help?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Swampbeast, Dec 6, 2002.

  1. Swampbeast

    Swampbeast LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    I have a question, I am having some problems with my hired help, not cooperating very well. I pay them by teh hour, so they drag out the mowing as long as they can. We sometimes dont get all of the lawns done. So I fired them all! Just hired a new bunch.
    How do yall pay them? Sallary? By the hour? By teh lawn? Some other way?


  2. Bill Davis

    Bill Davis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I do it buy the hour. All my Mexicans get $8.00 and they work hard all day every day.
  3. Rob T

    Rob T LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    We pay by the hr.

    You could try a incentive program to encourge them to get all your lawns finished on time. For example: if you now pay them $10 hr and they work 40 hrs/week but don't get the work done. Tell them you will pay them $6.00 hr and $160 at the end of the week IF ALL WORK IS DONE. They still get their $10 hr and you get your work done.

    You may have to tweek your program a bit to accomidate for rain, heavy grass, dry spells, etc.

    What ever you do keep it simple, make sure they understand your goals and their responsibilitys. If you do design a program like this print it in large lettering on one sheet of paper and give it to the crew to keep with them. This way they know exactly what they have to do to earn thier pay.

    Good luck, i don't think your alone on this problem.
  4. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I think it is not a problem with pay but a problem with finding the right people. If you pay more money you might get better people but more then likely you will get the same results and be out more. If you offer a bonus to complete X number of lawns per week what will keep them from doing a poor job and rushing to get through them for the bonus. Interview the prospective employees well. Good luck to you.

  5. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 949

    Well I guess it depends what you think good help is worth. I only hire one FT guy and he will do 90% of the work because I have another FT job so I need someone that I can trust. If I found someone that did great work at a steady pace and did not create many headaches for me (the perfect employee) I would pay him $20/hr. That is the most that I could afford. Typically I start a guy at 13$ and work him up through the season. I have found that most guys don't want overtime anyway. It seems hard enough to get them to work 40 hrs so I haven't had a real hard time with guys dragging their feet. Give them 40hrs worth of work and stress to them that there will be little to no overtime and if they can't finish it you will have to find someone else that can. We have a lot of guys that are unemployed right now which should help us (the employer) when it comes time to hiring. Unfortunally I have found in this situation that you don't always get what you pay for.
  6. musselman

    musselman LawnSite Senior Member
    from utah
    Messages: 301

    I do all my work myself now, but when I did hire help I paid them by the week. If everything was done they got full pay. I would pay extra for time put in working on broken mowers and one time pick-up jobs ect. If we dint get to a lawn due to weather or for a reason that was not my helps fault..they still would get paid (this was a problem I never had) It was also agreed that if it was the fault of the employee 1st time I still paid 2nd time a cut inpay, 3rd time I send them down the road (I was very lucky I never had any problems) This woked good for me, but I did have great help and paid them well.
  7. Equipguy

    Equipguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    We pay by the hour. The starting rate in our area is $7.50-8.00 per hr. Crew leaders make about a buck an hour more. We have a monthly $50 bonus if you dont miss any days.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i heard someone say this: if a man is worth $20 an hour, and u can only pay him $8, he will still be worth $20. on the other hand, if u take a guy whos only worth $2, and pay him $20, he will still only be worth $2. work ethic is work ethic. i myself have tried and tried to expand and hire responsible help, all it does is backfire. u think u have the perfect employee, u line up the extra work, employee dont show up, u cant get work done, u lose clients. i even tried this: if u r scheduled to work mon, tues, wed, thurs. thats 4 days. if u show up mon, and tues, and wed, then screw me on thurs, dont come lookin for your pay for the first 3 days. u aint gettin it. ive tried paying $15 an hour, and tried $7 an hour. ive tried mexican, african, white, u name it. just cant hook up. seems there are only 2 people i can trust, u, and me. and i aint so sure about u.....
  9. therainman

    therainman LawnSite Member
    from IL
    Messages: 196

    My reg. crew members make $7.00-$8.00/hr.
    They are all the same they will work good when they want to, but not every day.

    My mowing foreman EARNS $10.50/hr he is very good and very worth the money.

    My irrigation foreman EARNS 12.50/hr same with him.

    These guys are making much more than the mean wage for my area. They both are paid two weeks vac per year. Both have cell phones provided by me.

  10. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,931

    Our guys can make anywhere from 7.50\hr to 26. On average, most of our crew of 13(3 different companies) make around 12\per hour.

    In my area, due to cost of living, a guy with only a couple months of experience would make this. Are they worth it, sometimes no, sometimes yes.

    We do work in a bonus system. Do all the work that is supposed to be done, you make bonus.

    We have guys that count on that extra 100 to 300, so the slackers do catch hell. In the long run, we the bosses benefit since we make more money, which is something we tell our guys all the time.

    We don't have to factor in extra hours lost due to rain or downed equipment. If they want bonus, they better do what is necessary to do the work since only in extreme situations do we allow overtime.

    We do have problems with this system, but it works for us. We're still around and our turnover is low.

    Now if we could only get their fellow comrades to charge properly for the work done, I would be making more money and so they would also make more money.


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