What Is Fair Pay for Me/What should I demand

Discussion in 'Employment' started by DCK1981, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. DCK1981

    DCK1981 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Hey everyone, new to the board, looking for some input from other industry pros on what I should be demanding as compensation. I'm thinking I'm drastically underpaid but I wanted to see what others felt like they would be paying me if I worked for you/what I should be demanding.

    -I've been working at this company since 2006.
    -I am a fully certified class 3b in Indiana applicator. Basically I can be on my own with no supervision necessary.
    -our company has 630 customers, I estimate around 160K gross a year but i dont know.
    -i personally oversee with no assistence probably 300-325 of those lawns some ranging from $45 ea. app to 450 ea app.

    Here is my problem. I am paid hourly $15.85, no overtime(he holds any overtime hrs for a week where it rains and then pays me for those hrs then). I make about $18K a year and am laid off in the winter. No health insurance, no 401K, they do pay for my cell phone bill and I get an abstract "bonus" when certain things are kept up on like appearance, trailer cleanliness and quality work, but its not concrete what I get. Sometimes if we do a 1 time app and the person pays cash they just tell me to keep the cash.

    Basically I was willing to put up w/ the low pay for yrs b/c i was under the understanding that i would buy the business from the owner when he retires, which would be now or in the next year or 2. But now his son has decided he wants it and has come in and essentially become my boss even though he's only been there for 2 years. I like what i do but as i do some research I feel grossly undervalued for what I do, and wonder what it is that I am worth basically, or what I should demand if I'm going to stay, which anymore I'm not sure i want to do. Again, I live in Indiana if that means anything.

  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099


    Time to go out on your own.

    If you get $15.XX an hour, this is pretty easily replaced.

    #1 he CANNOT legally "hold your OT" He must pay it AS OT in the week it was earned, due at the pay period as per normal.

    so, If you quit, you simple site this as the reason for quitting and can collect unemployment anyway, AND the deot of labor will fine him AND make him pay you all the OT you are owed but never received.

    Which, if this has been happening a lot, is probably enough money to buy you your first spreader and back pack sprayer.

    It sounds like you have your own supervisory license, but Im not sure, does that license let you work for yourself?
    Ive never been Licensed in Indiana.

    Old man is going to retire? Son is going to take over? Great. That's wonderful. Are you going to be there to do it for them?

    What happens when you walk away?
    Son doesn't have the experience, Father no longer has the interest.

    Do the math.

    People are going to start looking elsewhere for the service.
    Put yourself out there with some advertisement, get started, work at walmart during the holiday season, side job where you can and you can easily make 18k a year without them, until your business picks up.
  3. DCK1981

    DCK1981 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    thanks for the response. 1st thing, actually from a business stand point I think the son is actually going to run the business better in the long run. Case in point, we have been losing $$ on a lawn that should be priced $279 and the dad has been treating it for 5 years at $137. Why i dont know. Also there's a lot of yards that the price hasnt increased on them in 8 yrs and its "what we do for loyal customers".My boss is a guy who was a farmer and factory worker who bought a lawn care business when it had 70 customers and within 4 years b/c he knew so many people it was almost 300+. That's when i came on and it was something that I enjoyed doing and thought about buying 1 day. Since then with little to no marketing (seriously our marketing budget is like $200/year) we've doubled in size and got a 2nd truck.

    -2nd he doesnt force me to work overtime, just says if i want it i can sometimes, like if it looks like there's going to be several days of rain next week i can work late or on sat. I just am like why bother unless i'm behind cause the hrs get pushed to next week anyhow. and when i 1st started he told me he could do that b/c of some reason i dont remember and me being 23 i just went with it.

    -also i signed a non compete clause this past winter so i dont know how that effects this.

    Basically based on the things i have been researching and its been my own fault for not doing it sooner, i realize this place has been totally taking advantage of me for years while they've bought boats, jet skis, jeeps, etc and i'm not going back in all liklihood next year. I just am wondering what it is that I should be getting or could be getting on the market to compare it to?
  4. guybrushthreepwood

    guybrushthreepwood LawnSite Member
    from WA
    Messages: 28

    On the topic of not getting paid overtime.

    I too worked at a place that didn't pay overtime, but would use the extra hours on rainy days, or when i wanted to take time off. This is known as "comp time."
    I was never a fan, and even wondered if it was illegal. Many people who I talked to, said that it was. But they, like me, were not properly educated. So I was never sure.
    I also asked my dad about it, because he is an employer/extremely intelligent, so I figured he would know what was up. He told me that it IS legal to give comp time, because I was still getting paid for all hours that I worked.

    From seeing this thread, I was reminded of this, and did some research. After about 2 minutes of googling, I got to the LnI site for WA. Here is what it says:

    Washington law allows a worker to request time off at a later time instead of being paid overtime wages in each pay period. This is sometimes called “comp time” or “exchange time.”
    When the employee takes the time off, it must be at the rate of at least an hour and one-half for each overtime hour worked. In other words, the employee must either be paid overtime wages at time and one-half or be allowed to take an hour and one-half off for each overtime hour worked.
    The comp or exchange hours may be paid at the regular rate.
    Comp or exchange time must be at the employee’s request and must be agreed to by the employee. Compensatory time is considered a benefit to the employee and the employer may not impose the requirement on any employee who has not made such a request.

    The 2 bolded parts tell me everything I need to know. A) What they were doing was illegal, because, I was getting paid at my regular rate (which is legal) BUT they were only paying me for the same number of hours I worked over 40, not one and a half hours times hours worked over 40.
    B) The use of comp time has to be the employees request. I never asked for it. They just told me that that was the way they did things, so I had to deal with it.

    Long story short, I wish I would have spent the 2 minutes to look this up when I was still working there. And YOU should spend a few minutes seeing if the laws are the same in your state.
  5. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,109

    Does the business owner hold the applicators licence? Or only you? I'd go to them and ask them to clarify what your role in the company will be since the son is taking over and you won't be buying the business. Lay your cards out there and discreetly look at other companies so you have options. The noncompete will only be for a few years anyhow...save your cash and go out on your own when permissable.
    You could also look at being their subcontractor and owning your own business...
  6. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,944

    I agree with TPendagast. You should start your own business. I don't see how you make it on $18,000 per year:confused: That is good money per hour, but annually, it is below the poverty level. I would look into how to get out of the non compete deal
  7. chefj

    chefj LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    What did they give you in return for signing a non-compete? I certainly hope you didn't just sign it to make them happy.
  8. DCK1981

    DCK1981 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    well i'm not sure what you mean chef. It was basically a sign this or you're not working here type of thing i felt like honestly. But at the same time to start the year I was given a cell phone that is paid for and have access to the company truck if i need to drive it home, but only a couple nights a week at most. My salary was bumped up but it was only 35 cents (plus the abstract bonus)after going from a Registered Tech to fully certified. And everyone (4 workers, 2 full time, 2 part time) are fully certified, including the owner.
  9. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    when does this no compete clause end?
  10. DCK1981

    DCK1981 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    i dont remember specifically. it was some generic non compete clause they printed off the internet, they even admitted this to me. I think it was for 5 yrs but i'm not sure on that

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