Paying employees

[COLOR=Blue]I think having the employees know what the customer is paying is a unfounded fear. My people can do math and know that I am not making all that money. On a $350 job if they make $90, that leaves $260. they know that I don’t pocket $260 because I pay for the trucks, fuel, equipment, uniforms, matching payroll taxes, advertising, and so on.

Furthermore, if they ever don’t like what they are getting paid, they are welcome to go work somewhere else.[/COLOR]

Sounds like you have a ‘take em or leave em’ attitude with your employees, Steve.

I think it gets challenging when you have really solid workers, and want to hold on to them as best as possible.

And with your comment “they know that I don’t pocket $260”, what if you DID pocket $260? Would you be concerned then?

I guess we all have a number in our head for that one…

[COLOR=Blue]No, I don’t have a take it or leave it attitude really. It’s just that I have been an employee for several different companies in the last 20 years and know the employee mindset fairly well. Most do not care what you are charging the customer as long as they are happy with what they are making and enjoy doing it.

Those that are going to constantly scrutinize what you are making vs. what they make are probably not going to be happy anyway and should either go down the road or start their own company. Most won’t though because they don’t want to make the sacrifice.

If you are pocketing $260 (net profit) on a $350 job, please show me how to do that! Even if you are making 74%, how is the employee going to know that? Most understand that you have overhead and don’t really know what you make.

However, if they are driving around in old junkers and you roll up in a brand new Ford truck… err, I mean a fancy ride, they might suspect you’re bringing in a good haul. :smiley: [/COLOR]

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Yeah, I WISH I could consistently pocket $260 on $350 jobs.

I do have regular days though, where I earn $600+ profit in one 10-hr day of work [I]on top of[/I] the wages/costs I pay out that day. I’m sure that you do too, or at least something comparable.

[B]Those are the kind of days that the profit details must absolutely be kept quiet.[/B]

And in my case, the monthly ‘overhead costs’ only consists of a few things, so I can’t really pull the wool over their eyes too much in that dept.

I totally agree though, about the ‘they won’t take the plunge anyway’, and I try and regularly remind them how good they have it working for me, and how hard I’ve worked to get the business to where it’s at now!

And, yeah, I guess the truck is saying something to them…

I have mixed emotions about who sees figures etc. In years past we’ve invoiced people as well as collected when the job’s complete,the one thing i dont care for is invoicing new clients & some regular ones for that matter!

Alot forget to mail the invoice back in a decent time frame which is always a burden on closing out books for that month.

What i do now is dont hide anything from my guys they see the worksheet with ALL the clients info w/amount due.We use to use pre-printed invoices but…alot of times we can always add “extra’s” hard water removal,for example so…we normally write them up on spot.

I do make it a point to let my guys know…some prices on some of the gigs may seem like alot but…when all things are considered it really isn’t! I believe having mature workers helps. Im sure there are some who just cant get there head around the numbers then its all about reminding them WHO’S business it is.My guys realize what they make and what some gigs are worth & know…that im surely not pocketing it all because they are quite aware im matching taxes covering them on workman’s comp as well as the “Overhead” i contend with, plus…i also buy lunch for my crew quite often(thats just me of course) with the frequent stops at Starbucks as well.

I try not to have any “Skeleton’s” in the closet so to speak,this way they know im a straight shooter!

Interesting, Sparkle.

It seems that almost everyone’s comments have the caveat “My guys realize that…I’m [I]surely not pocketing it all[/I]”.

I guess this is the true challenge, getting over this as being a ‘problem’ - “pocketing it ALL”. What if we were pocketing it all. Whats the big deal about that?

The point of every business is to turn a profit. If that’s not happening, we wouldn’t be offering employment to our staff. Maybe that’s the better position of power to make these decisions from. And is it evil to turn a BIG profit?

I’ve recently discovered that I have self-imposed limits in my head as to how much money I [I]should [/I]be making as a small window cleaning business owner. It seems that many of us small window cleaning business owners have this stuff in our heads.

The truth is, there are no limits, and we have to kinda reboot our brains to accept that, and not feel guilt about turning [I]significant [/I]profits. This sounds like pop-psychology silliness, but it actually works.

If we’ve decided that our employees can only be paid only $15/hr, so that we can make $90/hr, that’s our decision (not my style, at ALL, by the way, and NOT my recommendation), and we’ll live with all of the different consequences of it.

I’m also all for the buying lunch and Starbucks and breakfast bagels for the crew as much as possible, too! Smart [U]staff retention strategies[/U]…

(hey…maybe that should be a new thread…just kidding)

[COLOR=Blue]The reason that it matters in a [B]small company[/B] is because often we are working side by side with the employee. The perception the employee has then is that we are [U]peers[/U]. Most don’t see all the late nights and weekend work or the business side of things from our perspective. Therefore they begin to compare themselves to us in terms of knowledge, speed, and quality. If they are not trained to change the way they see us, it is inevitable that they will begin to think that they are doing the same work as us, but for a whole lot less.

In a larger company where the CEO sits behind a desk all day and is never or rarely in the field, there is no way for a laborer to reasonably compare himself to the owner. The problem then is more pronounced in small companies.[/COLOR]

I agree that it gets trickier with small companies.

I am a small window cleaning business owner, too, with one full-time employee, one current part-time subcontractor, and one regular job subbed out to another sub.

However, in this situation, it is even MORE important that YOU get into YOUR HEAD that you are [I]not a business peer[/I], but the [B]true brains and heart [/B]behind the business vision.

This can be communicated by the way you manage your staff, the way you answer the phone, the way you resolve conflicts, the way you talk to clients, and the way you do everything, really.

In the end, though, you won’t start to make substantially more money until you stop doing the actual ‘work’ (aka “window cleaning”) and start doing the real work of your business : marketing. If you have a crew now, then now’s the time to get smart and assume that role.

I only pay hourly dont plan any changes because I pay well enough that a person can be happy with their income. Also giving unexpected bonuses helps show the appreciation. I run a crew of 3-4 and we work the same sight each day together. They know who the boss is and what is expected of them. They know I can see the extra effort when they give it and that is when I throw out a bonus. But as always you get some people who have a figure in thier head of what I (owner) makes and wants more money no matter what thier current pay is. They dont realize the behind the scene type hours involved either

I have been doing the commission salary for over 2 years now and it has panned out to be the greatest thing for my company thus far. My guys make 30% of the gross sale of the job. I raise my rates at least 3-6% per year across the board and that’s perfectly fine with me that my guys are making better money every year. I have commission sheets that the guys fill in daily with their totals. This makes it really easy to track and is less headache for me in the paperwork dept. I have seen paying hourly kill my bank account over the years. If your jobs are spread out, you will take a hit on all that drive time. I have had guys make $50.00 an hour or 10.00 an hour on commission. It just depends on how motivated they are to make money. Below are some of the issues I saw virtually disappear overnight when I switched from hourly to commission:

-Hanging out at the shop 15-30 minutes after clocking in and vise versa.

-Stopping at a gas station or McDonalds after leaving the shop (15-30 minutes late) to get food & drinks.

-Trying to talk a customer in to a reschedule if it looks like there is a slight chance of rain. (Getting paid for drive time without doing the work).

-Taking the long way to jobs. (Longer drive time- more pay).

-Taking extra long to complete a job to “milk the time clock”.

-Taking the long way back to the shop /running personal errands on company time.

There are more reasons, I just cant think of all of them. My guys know what I make and that’s fine with me. I make it a point to let them know that what they are seeing is gross dollars. I am taking all of the headache & risk here running the business. Insurance, taxes, accounting, payroll, endless office duties, all the after hours stuff, on and on. They don’t want any part of that. They want a nice check without a 1099 attached to it at the end of the year. They make great money and they know they have it made. It is a win-win situation on both sides. I love to pay them a nice fat check every two weeks because Im guaranteed a profit. I dont have an employee retention problem. These guys are on the same page as I am when it comes to how we do our work. They see the same jobs year after year and know how to do them more and more efficiently each time. Thats a good thing for the customer, employess and me!


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Steve…when you say your guys get 30% is that for them running solo or is the 30% split?

You know me…i like this type of discussion and have tried [U]Every possible scenario[/U] regarding comm/piece.

I totally understand what your saying and why commission works for you. I think for myself the hourly has paid off because I am with my crew each day and there is no down time or the typical excuses that employess when unsupervised may come up with to slack some. If I only did storefronts I dont believe hourly would be my choice for payroll. So even though we all wash windows the type of markets we service if its storefronts, low or highrise commercial, residential or even a mix of all it is great we have these choices as there is no one payroll method that would cover any industry as a whole.

For those of you that pay based on commission do you require them to buy thier own equipment? Just curious because locally there are many companies that pay thier employees based on commision and also require them to purchase thier own equipment too.

When you start talking about the worker supplying there own tools that more or less falls into the “Sub-Contractor” category.Unless your making it there option to supply there own its all good!

A employee is someone who starts at a specific time and follows orders,whereas as sub-contractor or contracted labor can only be told when the job must be completed by & must have there own credentials.

I am aware of this and get frustrated because this happens here locally with a handful of companies. One of which has posted here. I asked the question to see if other companies did the same. Unfortunately all businesses do not operate on the up and up. It will catch up to them. Wont it?

Hey Chris, we don’t do commission for I’m part owner, we Just like to just have an average per hour, depending on what we are doing. from windows to gutters etc. Don’t Quote me but my first opinion is to break the ice with the customer, new or regular. I can wash the whole home while talking to the customer from room to room. The more you talk to them, the more they feel like your one of there jogging buds. Act like you’ve known them for years, memorize kids and animal names when you can, it might sound shallow at first, but I have found some of my best friends and customers that way. I Know new const is different from resi, no reason they can’t talk and work in respect.Fun Fact (Depending on situation) I’ll put on a set of headphones connected to nothing, that way people won’t bother me and I’m in my zone. lol.

I see your from minna-snowda and had a question for you guys over by the lakes.I’m out in Sac California, and yes, wow, we do get snow occasionally, can you offer any soaps for the cold weather. We currently use a mild detergent soap and easy-glide to make the soap stay wetter longer. can you offer any product names that either don’t freeze or help the soap stay soapier longer? Yeah Cali is nice, but I went to do a job and dumped out past water on the street, it froze on the street with in 2 minutes, how do you think our hands felt. Hot water is bad for window seals and salt water is no no. any suggestions? Thanks for your time.

Hey Matt, I use the same solution as far as soap all year-Glass Gleam mixed with a little dish soap. The only difference you can imagine in winter is also adding methanol or isopropyl alcohol to avoid freezing.

Steve you just layed out a perfect description of why I switched off hourly pay.

Yeah. Even your best employee will slack if they are put with a slacker. Its been proven over and over.