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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I was building out a generic snow pay template yesterday, the thought hit me - "why am I paying more just because an operator has more experience? That doesn't always translate to a better operator".

So - my question is: what are some winter pay options that have worked for you? We try to tie pay towards performance (for example, our mow team is paid per site, not by the hour... payroll is down 30% YTD vs last year), and our landscape team is bonused on hitting gross margin targets, etc.

I can take the easy route and get into an hourly bidding war that feel when you see $34/hr for shovelers on Indeed, but I'd like to switch things up. Per site pay, bonuses on hitting certain benchmarks, etc.
 

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As I was building out a generic snow pay template yesterday, the thought hit me - "why am I paying more just because an operator has more experience? That doesn't always translate to a better operator".
Maybe because hiring any random person with no experience in hopes that they will be a homerun employee is a massive:



Oops, snake eyes. Bummer.
 

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As I was building out a generic snow pay template yesterday, the thought hit me - "why am I paying more just because an operator has more experience? That doesn't always translate to a better operator".

So - my question is: what are some winter pay options that have worked for you? We try to tie pay towards performance (for example, our mow team is paid per site, not by the hour... payroll is down 30% YTD vs last year), and our landscape team is bonused on hitting gross margin targets, etc.

I can take the easy route and get into an hourly bidding war that feel when you see $34/hr for shovelers on Indeed, but I'd like to switch things up. Per site pay, bonuses on hitting certain benchmarks, etc.
Couple things wrong with that;

A - The length of your grass to cut is about the same week to week. Turf growth is consistent. You’re not gonna find it 6 inches (or 8”) longer the next time you cut it

#2 - Who’s to say your benchmark, estimate, budget, price per job is accurate or correct

The fair exchange for operators is to be paid on an hourly basis.

However I do agree just because someone has been doing something for 20-30 years or longer doesn’t mean they are great or efficient at what they do.
 

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As I was building out a generic snow pay template yesterday, the thought hit me - "why am I paying more just because an operator has more experience? That doesn't always translate to a better operator".

So - my question is: what are some winter pay options that have worked for you? We try to tie pay towards performance (for example, our mow team is paid per site, not by the hour... payroll is down 30% YTD vs last year), and our landscape team is bonused on hitting gross margin targets, etc.

I can take the easy route and get into an hourly bidding war that feel when you see $34/hr for shovelers on Indeed, but I'd like to switch things up. Per site pay, bonuses on hitting certain benchmarks, etc.
"why am I paying more just because an operator has more experience? That doesn't always translate to a better operator". This applies to every job and employers fall for it quite often even though they have done a thorough interview and check references. I got out of plowing a few years ago and was approached last fall by the guy that bought most of my equipment about operating a wheel loader to plow a Sooper Wally World. After I was interviewed he made an offer and I went back $65/hr, he choked but agreed. He knew what he was getting for that money and willing to pay. I never missed a storm (even with having COVID), never late and stuck it out till the end of the storm, no equipment damage and no property damage. For not being a hose up I got a $500.00 cash bonus at the end of the season. He texted my yesterday wanting to sign me on for this year.

So - my question is: what are some winter pay options that have worked for you? We try to tie pay towards performance When I was plowing my own accounts I subbed out labor for shoveling. I paid by the job site in 1-4, 4-6, 6-8 and 10-12 inch increments. I supplied shovels and ice melt and they drove there own vehicles using their fuel. I had a pretty tight resi and commercial route and a shoveler could average $50/hr if they hustled.
 

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You can pay anyway you like unless you are using union help. Actually the pacing element is whether you are attracting new help to your organization. There is a difference between a 6 inch dry fluffy snow and a six inch wet stick in the bucket snow. Like to see the expression on their faces when you tell them that they didn't meet their production goals. You might make out better by establishing the average pay per site in a given time. So if they finish quicker they make more per hour. If it takes longer they get the average pay per hour.
 

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So I can see the piecework pay angle as you know what your output costs will be each time it snows, it "should" motivate them to preform faster as the quicker they are done, the better their hourly pay would be.

If they are in your equipment and something breaks, what happens at that point... do they go to hourly pay until you get it fixed? Do they go home and get paid by the percentage of the property that they completed before your equipment sent them home?
 

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You’re not gonna find it 6 inches (or 8”) longer the next time you cut it

Someone clearly hasn't cut grass in a wet Spring...🙄



So I can see the piecework pay angle as you know what your output costs will be each time it snows, it "should" motivate them to preform faster as the quicker they are done, the better their hourly pay would be.
Problem with piece rate is stuff getting done sloppy possibly due to rushing... Just like hourly the problem is working slow to milk the clock...🤷‍♂️
 

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So, it's hard enough to find dependable works who will show up, and now jack with there pay...... Good luck with that one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Appreciate the responses.

Our 2 biggest competitors here in the Twin Cities are in an arms race for snow operators... one is offering $49/hr for equipment operators and another is offering $34/hr for shovelers. The free market can be a savage place. We could easily jump on the bandwagon, but there's got to be a better way...
 
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