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Creating a technician pay structure

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by smwilliamson, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I'm at a loss. Salary doesnt work in the winter cause hours are too long and the work is relentlessly never-ending. Hourly pay doesn't work cause the overtime vs. quality production and call backs really drives up labor.

    So I'm thinking outside the box. Haven't commited to it yet but I have designs on piece work and a very low (possibly absolutely minimum wage) hourly base rate. The trick is to create an incentive to work more and work smarter. Part of this overall plan will also create rewards for NFI...say $2000 bonus and an increase in base pay. How about $1 per post here on the forum. Lets say an employee of mine spend a couple hours a week here askin and answerin...they will learn a lot! What do you folks think?

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  2. Gary Gileau

    Gary Gileau Member

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    I honestly believe in incentives. We used to pay the crushing plant people a bonus after they met a minimum tonage. It turned them into "partners", the more they produced the more they made! My God!!!! I had to hold them back. You need to think it through. There is a fine ballance between quantity and quality. All in all if you can find a formula that works it benefits everyone. It creates competition and pride.

    Like I said think it through and you will find something that works. If you are able to get them to make you more money, why not share it with them!!!!!!!!!!
  3. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Why not do hourly and limit to 12hr day max?

    If you can't cover the work orders with that, sounds like you need another tech or two in the winter.
    smoke show likes this.
  4. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    piece work sucks. just sayin. find honest hard working mature people that do what their asked to when their asked to and the problem is solved.

    speaking from expierence.

    out.
  5. CladMaster

    CladMaster Member

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    Employ more tech's to ease the work load.

    Pay with peanuts -- end up losing employes that are good at their job, others will not bite.

    The incentive is to create a bonus for the number of jobs done in a fixed timeframe per day / month. This will teach them to work smarter, not harder and faster, working harder and faster leads to mistakes, which in turn leads to call backs to fix those mistakes.

    See above.

    They will learn from here, I have and I'm not a HVAC tech. There is alot of good info here, but there is also alot of info that is jumbled up.

    Tech's will need to research. Books, the net, and most of all, the manual that comes with the product that they are fixing / servicing. Oh, and don't forget the programs / schools where HVAC Tech's are trained.

    Food for thought ? Good luck.
  6. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    What about flat rate like some auto repair shops?

    For example, say an install of a free standing stove vented through the wall is estimated to take 6 hours. They get paid for 6 hours. They get it done in 4, they move to their next job and get paid for 6. If it takes them 12 hours, they get paid for 6. That covers you as the business owner.

    But, rework is on their own dime. Gives them inventive to do it efficiently (to make more $$$), but also incentive to do it correctly to avoid going back.

    EDIT 5 minutes later: drink more coffee, realize what you call piece work is probably the same idea I posted above.
    mikefrommaine and heat seeker like this.
  7. Wachusett

    Wachusett Feeling the Heat

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    Find honest hard working people......................where? They don't just fall of trees. All most people want is more money and less work.
    Work ethic and pride in what one does are rare commodities.

    SMW, how about tracking there production and quality stats. Jobs completed vs. call backs. Workers with the least call backs per say 100 service calls get
    the bonus. Or some such structure that can measure perfomance, reward it and avoid working to fast to miss things/make mistakes. Getting things right the
    first time should ge goal number one. Call backs are money lost and schedule killers.

    You could also make it a sliding scale for techs with more or less experience. So there's something for everyone to shoot for.

    just my 2 pennies.
  8. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I just want them to do more and want to do it. It sucks having 200 people in the queue and them asking for a day off.
  9. Murph

    Murph Proud Grandparent

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    Scott I understand your frustration. I used to own another business and had employees. Most never really wanted to give the same care to the job they were at or the business they were involved with that I did - it was my business and much more than just money to pay the bills. Trying to make them feel that you see them as an important part of the success of the business is critical to developing an employee, if they want to be and that is on them. Make them feel they are part of a team where everyone has each others back and are supportive, good, easy, and consistent communication is key. Let them know you have a plan to get them where you want them and that plan is as much for them as the business. Your idea of being on the forum is a great one, per your suggestion I spend time here and try to help when I feel really sure about my info. I bet you have other ideas of how to increase their knowledge including the NFI certification that would help in their ability to do a job at someones house. Finally lots of praise for jobs well done and a stern what seems to be the problem when mistakes or constant call backs occur. My wife has a great way of handling this which is to throw the ball back in their court with " how do you think we can solve this issue, is there something you need from me that would help?" This lets them know your are concerned and are willing to help but the resolution has to come from them as well. I have done this job now for two years and love the work but always find myself trying to think things through, being wrong and realizing more that I know only a little compared to someone like yourself, your employees could feel the same in a lot cases not to mention the pressure to get to the next account. These is just my experience and opinion hope there is something here you can use.
    h2ochild likes this.
  10. CladMaster

    CladMaster Member

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    There has to be a cut off -- Most people that work also need to have a social life, if they are at work 24/7 and have no social life / time out, they tend to get sloppy with the work at hand and mistakes are made. It's all good and well earning the $$$, but they got to be able to spend it too.

    Again, employ more people to ease the workload for others so that they can have time out to recharge.
  11. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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  12. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Scott

    When you make $300 when you send a guy out on a stove cleaning, pay him $200. That should work.
  13. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    You have no idea how to run a business do you? Give the employees two thirds of the gross sales will put you out of business sorta quick.

    Who pays Colleen? My third or their two thirds?
    Who registers the trucks? That just cost $1200
    Who pays for these phones? $460 a month
    Ah...certainly there is money available up front for parts...$7k per month
    How about my wife that runs the permits....my third of his two thirds?

    There is only so many ways you can slice up the pie....1/3 for them is already too much from the company pizza
    CT Pellet and oldmountvernon like this.
  14. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    That is the exactly how Amway Products works, like a pyramid. I hear the owner is super rich! :)

    The biz is all over the country, not in just a small area! The owner really empowers the employees!

    The Mary Kay biz is like that also, Their best employees drive pink Cadilacs!
    See > > http://mlmdailypost.com/tag/pink-cadillac/

    What awards and bonuses do you have in mind?
  15. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Amway is an MLM (multi-level marketing) business, or as it is often called, pyramid scheme. The folks at the top get very rich, the people at the bottom stay poor or quit after they "invest" some cash in the dream.

    Good to see you look to powerful business models. Jimminey Christmas.
    CT Pellet likes this.
  16. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Im not looking for much really. How about someone who is normal. That doesnt miss 19 days of work in his first 114 days on the job. A guy who says, wow! I get a truck, gas card, expense account, iphone and get to drive around and work on pellet stoves everyday and I bring home more than 500 a week and I have only been here 6 months.

    There is room to grow too but damn it, please show so gratitude and ambition. Did everybody get something in their baby formula that just made them unemployable?
  17. TLHinCanada

    TLHinCanada Feeling the Heat

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    Well Scott if I may call you Scott. I for one have listened with interest as your business has grown over the last couple of years. Liked it earlier this year when you posted that work schedule that booked for months. You have now hit the wall that every small business owner reaches. You have gone from a mom and pop organization to one that requires delegating the job and hoping it will be carried out the way you would. You will spend less time working with stoves and more time babysitting employees. That interesting moral decision you had last week with an employee that didn't go the extra required to finish the job is about to become the norm. There are many directions you can go at this point (I wouldn't suggest piecework). There are probably a few retiree's like myself that are watching with interest for next development.
    h2ochild likes this.
  18. Murph

    Murph Proud Grandparent

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    Scott you are very angry and some of what you say is true about employees but you can or change them. You have to change just don't do it out of anger you will lose do it out of a sincere desire to create a structure that can produce good employees if they are willing again not in your control. Look for new hire them work with them and instill your ethic in them on the job. The. Tell them what you expect on the jobs and make sure they have the support and the knowledge of your expectations. I'm sorry things seem so dim right now. Keep trying you can solve this I know you can I've seen you work. You don't give up and can think outside the box.
  19. moey

    moey Minister of Fire

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    I worked at one place that gave a base pay of X and you had to bill 28 hours everyone had the same base pay. After you billed out 28 hours you got 40% of any hours you were able to bill out on top of that. I liked it because it rewarded the individuals considerably who were able to work more effectively and bill more hours in a week. This was in the software industry so it obviously does not carry over exactly. We had some folks who were making more then our CEO they just worked and worked and worked. There was never a shortage of work so it worked well for someone who wanted to make a LOT..
    Don2222 likes this.
  20. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Very good idea!
  21. ChandlerR

    ChandlerR Minister of Fire

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    Scott, you're seeing what I see every day at my company. When I was young, we all had work ethics. I've been with my company for 32 years and have taken 11 sick days. It's the way I was raised. I care about how I do my job. The kids we're hiring now are...freaks. They have tattoo's on their faces, studs in their skulls, and a smart phone glued to their hands. They need to be watched constantly and if left alone will avoid work at all costs. We hire and fire five or six kids a week! It scares me. There are still kids out there who care but they are few in numbers. You have to find them and never let them go. I'll be watching this thread with much interest!
    kinsmanstoves likes this.
  22. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I post these things cause I value all of your input. To my right I have a stack of about 700 work slips from Oct through now, all need to be entered in to data fields. Got taxes coming up this month. Have about 60 people in the queue, working today in Malden and Marshfield cause my trusty local employee has a "back pain" and he went to a Dr. He claimed he did it lifting a stove but wasn't sure.

    Perhaps I am hiring the wrong people. How do you know? It takes months to train even people who think they know something. Fall is a the best time to train cause that is when there is the most cash flow and work, then when I have them trained and really need some performance so I can attend to other aspects...they wither. It has been the same with EVERYONE I have hired in the past 4 years. I love being a tech. Its the best job I have ever had. I love the satisfaction of solving a problem. I also love being able to spend a Sunday home with my family. I got kids and all.
  23. Stevekng

    Stevekng Feeling the Heat

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    Wow! You have a pretty low opinion of people, to categorize all workers with such low esteem. If you have had such a bad experience with all of your workers, then you can always do a better job screening them, be less demanding,or do the work yourself and downsize. Just remember, would you feel the same way if you worked for someone like yourself?

    "UNION WORKERS UNITE!!! " That's what you'll be hearing with your mindset. I probably broke about a dozen forum rules with this post, but both sides need to be looked at!
  24. Pellet-King

    Pellet-King Minister of Fire

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    I think bringing your problems here is none of our business, It's your's, this is a place to talk about pellet stoves, not your business problem's.
    I've been a Flat-Rate Auto Tech most of my 30 yr career, has it good and bad, older I get slower the less you can make.
    So your busy now, that's good, well your dead late spring thru summer, deal with it!
    Pellet stoves have no were near the complexity of a automobile, there ALL basically the same basic parts, It's not rocket science but I guess people here think it is......
    I'm like you I love the satisfaction of solving problem's, I'm a Transmission Tech, have you had sleepless night's waking up at 3am thinking why the trans wont go into overdrive? or why a pellet stove wont drop pellet's?
    Do you need 50k+ worth of tool's so you can have a job?
    Do you need laptop's to monitor data from all the 100's of sensor's?
    I make decent money but nowhere near the guy that sit's at a desk in a climate controlled office making a few decisions a day for 200k+ a yr
  25. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Over here in the upper midwest I guess...
    Former Farmer, 343amc and Stevekng like this.

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