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how do you pay your employees during the winter?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RonWin, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. RonWin

    RonWin Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I was wondering how you guys who have employees during the regular season, spring/summer/fall, transition over to snow regarding pay/hours? It must be hard keeping good help around when snow is unpredictable. I would imagine it is hard to keep them on an "on call" hourly rate ? Is your only option to salary them?
    Any other ways of going about this?
  2. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    My guys collect unemployment
    And when it snows that's my business
  3. Citytow

    Citytow Senior Member
    from phila
    Messages: 548

    top dollar if you expect them to arrive sober in extreme conditions at any hour and stay until any hour .
    usually 25- 30 hr truck drivers
    30-50 heavy equipment
  4. RonWin

    RonWin Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    What about shovelers? And what do you do if you hire a driver with a designated route and he doesn't show?
  5. Citytow

    Citytow Senior Member
    from phila
    Messages: 548

    would you not show for them numbers ? if not , there are 5 guys standing behind them chompin at the bit . thats why they get paid what they are worth . cant take it all to the bank . :waving:
  6. RonWin

    RonWin Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    How bad of shape r u in when u hire a guy to do a route while your on another route and he doesn't show, name ruined right off the bat? Or do most people who hire drivers neglect doing their own route in case this happens so that u can take over the route ?
  7. Citytow

    Citytow Senior Member
    from phila
    Messages: 548

    Originally Posted by RonWin View Post
    What about shovelers? And what do you do if you hire a driver with a designated route and he doesn't show?
    would you not show for them numbers ? if not , there are 5 guys standing behind them chompin at the bit . thats why they get paid what they are worth . cant take it all to the bank .
  8. AccuCon

    AccuCon Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 619

    I find slim jims work best

    No seriously cash talks....always has always will...you get a good guy you offer the right pay and they will do what is needed...All about being fair.
  9. gc3

    gc3 Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    If you pay better than everyone else and they get decent hours they should show up and stick around.
  10. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,279

    Hours hours and more hours. Keep everyone busy with good pay!
  11. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Money doesn't always make guys come in. The guy could have just found out his wife was cheating on him so he goes on a drunkn bender. His wife or family could have become deathly sick so he can't leave there side. He could have have tripped going down the stairs and screwed his ankle. The list is endless of what if's so it's best to be prepared for someone to cover a route. A detailed book of sites including pictures. site specific info goes a long way to help a new guy out in a pinch.
  12. Citytow

    Citytow Senior Member
    from phila
    Messages: 548

    and there are 10 men behind him .....have backups and pay what you promise.
    lose the baggage .
  13. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    Went from 5 to 10 overnight! Dang you been on an all night hiring binge? Lol
  14. TPCLandscaping

    TPCLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 317

    we don't all live in citytows fantasy land… some of us have to pay what we can afford and there are only so many people that are willing to work an all nighter in the freezing cold.

    Im going to pay $5 more an hour for my guys… I have another guy that is a business owner that runs my second truck. Him and I have some way of making the pay work. Yes money talks but having good guys that respect you and that you respect talks even more!
  15. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I actually pay better then what you posted so I have a little idea what's going on. I also don't consider a guy that's worked for me for 5 or 10 years that twisted his ankle baggage. The OP started this thread to ask advice not to hear you beat your chest.
  16. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    I cut mowing guys down to 3 days a week till it snows. Tree and hardscape guys usually still work 4-5 days a week..

    Then its game on when the snow flys
  17. john r

    john r Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 256

    Don't take the blame for the no show. Explain to the customer(s) that Good, reliable, domestic help is hard to find with a license and no issues.
  18. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,247

    A couple of our back up plowers that can run trucks or loaders are really good friends and don't ask for any money even when we offer. The one we mow his lawn and work it out that way and the other we bought a nice gun for in the spring and everyone is happy. Its good to work with good people, its when one tries to take advantage of the other when things go bad.
  19. M.McDaniel

    M.McDaniel Member
    Messages: 49

    I find that consistently providing knowledge of our chosen lifestyle to my staff helps. I remind them every pay day to budget their money so that when winter hits and work slows they don't suffer. I provide to them a successful formula to do so. I encourage and provide overtime opportunities during the season, knowing that fall and winter will provide plenty of home time for them. I could go on, but you probably catch my drift.
    When work slows, they receive unemployment benefits, and if they followed the formula correctly they enjoy a care free fall/winter season.
    If you want details about any of this I don't mind sharing them here on the forum.
  20. M.McDaniel

    M.McDaniel Member
    Messages: 49

    I find that when hiring shovelers that are not going to work for us beyond winter the best retention method is hiring from the pools of the traditional seasonal layoff trades, particularly the hard nosed trades, like roofers and concrete guys. I add $5.00 per hour more then the going rate for their profession. For example, roofers and concrete guys here in Detroit make around $17.00 per hour, so I pay $22.00 per hour. The guys that don't receive unemployment benefits for whatever reason (usually paid cash) from their summer job are particularly motivated to work, so if one of them walks through your door give them immediate attention. During the hiring stage I call their current employer and after the usual pre-employment conversation is had I make it a priority to have an extended conversation with them about my intentions. I make it known that I need them mostly at night, so they will be available during the day usually if needed, and that if a project comes up and they need their guy on site he will be free to go, and welcome to come back, without any issues. Building a relationship with their current summer employer, fostering good will has yielded outstanding results for me. Prior to my having these conversations with their employers, they viewed me as a rival trying to steal away their guy. Now, I have the same guys coming back year after year because their summer employers are championing me.
    As for drivers, you're always going to be exposed if you don't have a relief driver. It's the relief drivers job to step in when needed. I found it to be nearly impossible to retain a relief driver unless he gets the same work as the route drivers. It's another expense to have a relief driver, but it's the only way to reduce the exposure. You can cut a little cost if you can find a guy wanting to only work a few hours per event. Have him show up at the start but only stay three or four hours, that way your covered if your down a guy. If everyone shows then find something for him to do for a few hours. Usually these guys will stay longer if needed in an emergency, like if a truck goes down.
    If you have summer guys that work on your shovel crew you can also cross train them in plowing. It's a great way for them to move up the ladder within the company and you get a guy trained to your liking that knows all the routes. When they are fully trained they can be your relief driver, just steal them off the shovel crew when needed.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014