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How to pay thru winter

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by gardenkeeper88, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    For those of you that use snow plowing to help keep a foreman thru the winter, how do you pay them? do you pay by the hour, a salary, or what ? Do you have enough work to give them 30-40 hours of work all winter? I've been paying a salary regardless of how many hours. (I always made it balance to an average of 35 hours per week thru the entire winter). But last winter I really got burned with barely any no snow income the 2nd half of the year, and so far barely any income the fist half this year.
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I'm not in that situation, so I'll probably be no help to you! However, I wonder if people could factor in an "on call" fee that can be built into your commercial contracts, and it could be used to pay a foreman to be on call, obviously paying full rate for work done. Might this help? Definitely if there is shop work, maintenance, etc that you can find, keep the guy busy, but you can't always make work where there isn't any. Good luck!!

  3. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I'm also not in that situation, but there has to be something for you to talk to your guy about.
    One, if I'm paying someone, there are going to be doing something for me. Clean the shop, paint the equipment, service the equipment, etc. Heck, have him watch you kids or something. Have him out selling service for the next spring.

    Two, does he have another job he does during the winter or does he reley on you paying him? You can ask him to be on salary for the summer and hourly for the winter. You can also tell him the truth. Either we do something, or I will have to let you go.

    Three, work on getting more seasonal contracts. Maybe enough to cover his salary.

    Four, go do the work you do during the summer. That is what I have turned to.

    Five, you can alway lay him off. I think he could then go get unemployement. Atleast that would be some kind of income. Not sure about seasonal salaried employees and how that would work.

    Six, teachers don't work during the summer months. Some get paid based on a 12 month year and some get paid on a 9 month year. It is the same total amount 12 months is less per month than the 9 month payment. Maybe something like that would work.

    Salaries are tuff unless you have a business that can support a year round income.

    Good Luck
  4. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    I feel for you...

    Been there myself...
    Don't want to loose good employees even though some say they are everywhere!!! I have a had hard time finding them for what is/was considered good pay in my area....It cost money to train new guys,It cost money sorting out the bad ones.....Worth trying to hold on to the good ones...
    Old school was to keep them busy plowing snow(Keeping them on a leash)...I've noticed more and more companies not doing that anymore, they just lay them off for the winter,let them collect.If they need them for snow they pay them well and have them take it off their unemployment....All hashed out before hand.
    I can think of four big players over the years in my area who did snow for no other reason than keeping their guys busy...All four gave it up at some point....
    As you understand, the problem is if you just let a good guy go completely for the off season he or she is likely to find another job,been there done that....
    No easy answers for that one other than putting aside money in the good season to cover the bad....You know your situation best will have to talk over your options with your guy(s)......
  5. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    In regards to your answer :)
    one: that's what i'm doing most of the shop / equipment work is done. He has been cutting wood for our woood burner. My youngest "kid" is 21 and getting married inabout 2 weeks :) He is Mexican and selling is not the best however I do have him scheduled to place some door hangers end of this month.

    two: He can get another job but I take the chance on him not coming back (no good)

    Three: this is one of the best thing, however I don't know anyone here doing that & I haven't been able to get anyone to go with it especially after last year.

    Four: we are ready to implement a 3rd truck this next season. too much for me.

    Five: unemployment not enough to live on with wife & 3kids.

    Well it looks Like i'm doing all I can, I'll keep working on seasonal contracts and do what I can.


  6. digit

    digit Member
    Messages: 94

    I do excavating and I feel if you have a trained employee you need to keep em so I pay him 40 hr. a week regarless how little we work. this is only during the winter season the rest of the year he always has over time and if we do snow more than 40 hrs. he still gets his overtime. But like others said talk it over with your employees and see what they want maybe give them some options. I gave mine the option of getting paid more like my part time help (snow only) or taking 40 hrs.
  7. Turf Masters

    Turf Masters Member
    Messages: 93

    Employees through the winter

    This is alway's a tough subject but this is what I have done and the way it will be until I retire(never-ha-ha)My regular employees take a layoff the first week of Dec.and do not come back until late March.My son-in-law stays all year long to help plow and my lawn foreman takes a layoff in Dec but does not collect!Art is a retired school teacher from N.J and he makes $47K just in retirement alone.When it snows I use my 3 plow trucks and 2 subs who are good friends of mine.
  8. mrplowdude

    mrplowdude Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    I am going to put on an employee on salary year round. What I am going to do is work him harder and longer in the summer to make up for it. I went over this with my employee and he was fine with it. I am also trying new things to find work in the winter. There are other jobs to be done in the winter that you can do besides plowing.