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Snow Removal Employees - Anyone else pay like this?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by lawnlandscape, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Just a little history first: I have done landscaping/lawn care for a number of years, but just moved into snow removal 5 years ago. My first couple years in business I had a hell of a time keeping employees over the winter season because of the amount of hours they would work throughout the season (just when it snows). I have always gave my employees a higher wage during the winter season, because of the low amount of hours.

    3 years ago, after going through 5 guys over the course of the previous season in 1 position, I had an idea of a different way to pay my snow removal employees that would encourage them to stay around. (These are employee's not subcontractors).

    All of my employees get a based wage + an hourly bonus. The bonus is BANKED over the entire winter season, and is paid out on April 15th the following spring ONLY if certain criteria is met... which are:

    1) Employee completes winter season with us (if they don't, but give us at least a 2 week notice (and did not miss any snowfalls) they are still entitled to 50% of their bonus)

    2) Employee shows up no later then 1 hour after being called to come in for snow removal work (I always call my guys to warn them 24-48 hours before snow is excepted)

    3) Employee shows up and works EVERY snowfall throughout the winter season. If one snowfall is missed, season bonus is reduced to 50%, if 2 snowfalls are missed, bonus is forfeited. (When hiring snow removal workers, I always tell them the only acceptable excuse for not coming in, is if you are in the hospital or dead-and I am serious...)

    4) If you are terminated due to performance issues, your entire bonus is forfeited.

    The last 3 years, I have used this model and it has worked sooo well!

    An example of how 2 of my employees were paid last year:

    Shoveler/Snow Blower
    Base Wage: $10.00 per hour
    Bonus: $5.00 per hour
    So, this employee actually made $15 per hour, but $5 per hour was banked and then paid out on April 15th when he completed the snow removal season with us.

    Plow Truck Driver
    Base Wage: $13.00 per hour
    Bonus: $6.00 per hour
    So, this employee actually made $19 per hour, but $6 per hour was banked and then paid out on April 15th when he completed the snow removal season with us.

    I am just wondering if anyone else has used models similar to this, and I also posted this as a tip to other guys with employees as something that has worked well for my company.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  2. ry_rock

    ry_rock Senior Member
    Messages: 105

    Very detailed sounds like a great pay schedule, you obviously put a lot of thought into this, might try something like that this year. Thanks for the info!!
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I know all areas are different in pay. But if I was shoveling snow for that ,I'd rather roll over in bed and call me in the spring.
  4. ratherbfishin

    ratherbfishin Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    Roger that!Sounds like a great plan,but I'm thinking you would be hard pressed to get reliable shovelers or drivers for that $$$....around here at least.
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Doesn't Wisconsin get to 50 below zero in the winter?
  6. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,196

    Do they have a minimum guarantee. I wouldn't get out of bed for those $'s
  7. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Is that legal? How do they report their wages to unemployment? Sounds like a good system, just wondering if it's all on the up and up.
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I assume they are employees and get paid. The bonus is paid at the end of the season ,that's when the taxes would kick in.
  9. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    Guys jump all over $10 an hour shoveling jobs around here.
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I'd jump around a shoveling job to!
  11. viper881

    viper881 Senior Member
    Messages: 450

    Sounds like that pay scale works good.
  12. MattsPlowingWI

    MattsPlowingWI Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    No, no it's not Antartica or Canada! The bonus is a great idea, I have issues getting shovelers to stick with us too! I'll be giving this a shot for sure! Of course it's legal, this gets reported as ordinary income and payol tax is deducted, it's a contractual bonus.
  13. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,737

    Another member on here suggested it to me earlier this yr, and we are trying it this year for the first time. Only thing is I am starting the bank with $200 and it will grow from there based on hrs worked.
  14. Spucel

    Spucel Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    I prefer to stay in the truck payup:sleeping:
  15. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    We pay a higher wage to start with, but we do $3 per hour, must make every call. No excuses. We also have employees that are paid salary year round regardless of how much they work, but if over 20 a week in winter they make hourly, it has worked very well.
  16. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Sign me up for your Florida sites.
  17. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,541

    OP, I swear you stole our employment contracts LOL! We've been doing this for several years and it's worked out great! Thumbs Up
  18. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Higher wage, I also include damages as a clause for the plow drivers.

    If its a "things happen damages" that's usually ok, because we have all been out thier. If you back a plow truck or salter over a car or back into a building, well that's not OK.

    We call ours a performance based incentive.
    A Banked Hourly bonus could get you into trouble if you don't pay it for some reason.

    Sometimes its all about the wording.
  19. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,541

    Right you are. I believe my attorney worded it as "preventable accidents". One of my guys last year clipped a fence post and scraped the side of the box and broke the taillight. It was certainly preventable, he got closer to it than he should have, but I chalked it up to "things happen" and paid him his bonus. Another guy backed into a pole and a car within 7 hours of each other. The pole I gave him a pass on, the car not so much, he didn't get his bonus.
  20. MatthewG

    MatthewG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    I like it. At the end of the year do you write them a bonus check? And thoughout the year on the employee payroll, I assume their horly pay is posted as the base pay?