Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Captain of the Titanic
Joined
·
708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all.. been a long time since I've chimed in here and I hope all old and new are well..

As I end one season and start thinking of the next I always think of how we'll do it different and try to be better. As of late the bottom line has been trimmed to a nub and it seems like the only way to get anything back will be through efficiency.

The main stay of our work is paving and most of that are jobs making up a half day to 2 days worth of time. Everyone (about 12 men) comes to the yard and we start out together [with exception to truck drivers who usually come in earlier to head off to the plant or quarry for product].

I'm thinking of making some changes in how I pay guys for mobilization in and out of the sites.. Currently I pay whatever hourly rate the employee is making for all hours worked. I estimate we spend at least a half hour out and a half hour in, for mobilization every day / every job

The state says I have to pay per hour any employee in my charge but they don't say how much I must pay with exception to I have to pay at least the minimum wage... So I was thinking what if I paid each man 1 hour a day at minimum wage and the rest of the day at full wage?????

Anyone out there with crews will understand how much money this can translate into so any and all suggestions are helpful.. thanks..
 

·
Stud
Joined
·
605 Posts
I think you will have a bunch of unhappy employees and you may lose some. I gotta say I never envied paving guys. If you have a small crew your always scrambling and it's hard to do bigger jobs. Big crew causes problems like you have. Do you run separate crews for grading & paving?
 

·
Fine Handcrafted Opinions
Joined
·
994 Posts
Is that any different than telling your guys you're cutting their pay? Or that you're going to charge them $15-$20 a day for the privilege of remaining employed? Putting it those ways doesn't sound any better.

If I was your employee and was told the first hour of the day was going to be at minimum wage, it would suck no matter how you phrased it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
555 Posts
Vinny, I feel your pain. Is there a good reason for all the guys to show up at the shop I'm assuming in the morning? Not sure how you work, do you provide everyone transportation to the job? We usually start our guys pay about half hour before we can actually start to allow them to get the machines warmed up and fuel/greased. That way at 7 sharp (that's when we are supposed to start in our developments) they can be rolling. Unfortunately they aren't making money at that time, but not much you can do. They get paid until they leave the job.

Do you set a goal/time frame at the beginning of the day for them? I find that your employees don't really know what it's going to take to make money. If we let them know what they need to get done and when it seams to give them a goal to meet. Our guys are real good, but it's just human nature sometimes not to really go after it everyday if not pushed.

Do you like your crew or do you need better people? Cutting pay at this point i think wouldn't go over too well. If you let everyone know profits are tight and we need to hustle in order not to have to cut pay it might go further. Some of your better people might have some ideas of how to get started quicker. Going straight to the job or tell everyone pay starts as soon as we get to the jobs. If you are doing multiple jobs during the same day I think you are stuck with the mob cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,213 Posts
Vinny.... I do understand your squeeze... it's happening alot of places... not just our trades.

Just as a technicality, your idea is not about "efficiency" (greater production with less material and/or less labor), it's about cost cutting, labor in this case.

Guess have to ask the tough question, what is your area's labor market for paving personelle. That will be at play if you cut pay.

Depending on your crews and their personalities and your relation with them, I like the above ideas as to just plain discussing with them your squeeze... and your options. (Have facts/figures on maybe a per job basis as you do them.

Maybe when one of your crew is leaving, or if you have a marginal performer, you can discuss productivity with the remaining crew, explain your options of cutting pay, or can we all cover the work with one less person. (That would be a labor productivity increase or efficiency.)

Unless your labor market is extreemly plentifull, cutting wages is difficult to do, often results in a loss of productivity.

Good luck
 

·
Been around
Joined
·
1,151 Posts
Your pay cutting strategy surrounds your mobilization. Work on how you can cut man hours doing that and forget trying to cut their pay.

Maybe some of your men aren't needed for mobilization and should show up at the job and go home from the job.

Look at the half day jobs and see if you can increase efficiency by tying in other tasks like maintenance.

Review your employees motivation. Some guys would be just as happy to work as not work, but they need a job so they work. These guys are the first to lose the early morning and back to shop hours.

It's a tough racket. Do an 8 hour job in 6 hours and the boss says, "Good work guys! I will pay you for 8." When the 5 hour job takes 8, you haven't the right to dock the pay. So bonuses and pay incentives need to be allocated according to a longer time frame than most employees care to understand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,213 Posts
Your pay cutting strategy surrounds your mobilization. Work on how you can cut man hours doing that and forget trying to cut their pay.

Maybe some of your men aren't needed for mobilization and should show up at the job and go home from the job.

Look at the half day jobs and see if you can increase efficiency by tying in other tasks like maintenance.

Review your employees motivation. Some guys would be just as happy to work as not work, but they need a job so they work. These guys are the first to lose the early morning and back to shop hours.

It's a tough racket. Do an 8 hour job in 6 hours and the boss says, "Good work guys! I will pay you for 8." When the 5 hour job takes 8, you haven't the right to dock the pay. So bonuses and pay incentives need to be allocated according to a longer time frame than most employees care to understand.

^^^:thumbsup:
 

·
Contractor
Joined
·
7,426 Posts
Hi Vinny, good to see you again.

I feel your pain, but there is no way a two tier pay system is going to pan out well for you.

Are you heading South this winter? Maybe the sun and Bikinis will ease your mind...
 

·
Captain of the Titanic
Joined
·
708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yea Tom, gonna head to Keys on the 2nd of January for a couple of weeks.... fish back water a few days there then head up to Ft Lauderdale area for fresh water. Then I'll go back in February again... good to see you too...
 
  • Like
Reactions: tgeb

·
Captain of the Titanic
Joined
·
708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think you will have a bunch of unhappy employees and you may lose some. I gotta say I never envied paving guys. If you have a small crew your always scrambling and it's hard to do bigger jobs. Big crew causes problems like you have. Do you run separate crews for grading & paving?
Chuck we break down to two or three crews for prep or masonry related tasks then usually get together for asphalt install unless its small, like a hand install, in which case I'll keep one small crew on prep and use the rest for installation.

I'd love to have separate fully running prep only and pave only crews but we never seemed to have been able to muster enough work to make that work.
 

·
Captain of the Titanic
Joined
·
708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sounds like you should work on cutting staff . Or bring more work in so your not looking at penny's instead of dollars .
So further commoditize the business so someone else can make more money off my operation????? No thanks:laughing:
 

·
Captain of the Titanic
Joined
·
708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is that any different than telling your guys you're cutting their pay? Or that you're going to charge them $15-$20 a day for the privilege of remaining employed? Putting it those ways doesn't sound any better.

If I was your employee and was told the first hour of the day was going to be at minimum wage, it would suck no matter how you phrased it.
I agree but I'm not sure if the old way we use to do things was any better (which inevitably ran out of steam too)... We use to have foreman come in a half hour earlier beyond anyone else, and they got paid for that time to plan and get sh!t going in the AM. The rank and file troops had to be in at least 15 minutes before they're on the clock start time and they'd travel or mob the first 10 to 15 minutes of a day for free.

Of course this is not legal... but it worked for quite some time..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Great question, even though I think it would be fair, I just can't see most employees being able to understand it. I think you may have some unhappy employees that may look for ways to make up for what they feel is lost income.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top