Do You Have Trouble Motivating Your Team?
Last week we discussed the first secret to extreme profit — The Perfect Customer.
This week we’ll tackle the next step; motivate your employees to strive towards excellence by using piecework.
2nd Secret To Extreme Profit — Motivation
Here at CLIP, we get calls all the time from lawn care companies asking how they can “track their employees with GPS to make sure they’re doing their work” — someone even asked if we had a GPS solution for mowers to make sure the lawns were mowed in stripes!
Employees can sometimes take their time at work — they make extra coffee stops, loiter on smoke breaks, and stretch lunch into 2 hours some days. Often, it’s hard to know if your crews are milking the clock. Of course, the worst employees will likely weed themselves out, but the best employees tend to take their time and do a great job.
The “Employee” Problem
Across the service industry here in the USA the #1 problem owners face is finding ways to motivate their employees to do better work. It usually seems that the owner can accomplish the same job much faster than the employee. Why do owners continually have to try to motivate the employee to work harder and smarter?
The honest answer is; we are teaching them to take as much time as possible because they are only getting paid for their time — not their efficiency.
When hourly employees take their time at work, they work more hours and in turn get paid time and a half for overtime. You can try to motivate your employees by saying that they’ll get a raise in 6 months if they do a great job but it’s much easier to motivate people with immediate gratification.
The Piecework Solution
When you use piecework to motivate your employees, they get paid per property. The system is based entirely on how efficiently your folks are working.
Piecework takes most of the pressure away from the managers spending all their time “babysitting” to make sure the work is getting done. It also helps the owners immensely when it comes to accounting — your employees are merely paid a percentage of what you are paid.
On rainy days when the work is slow, you are both paid less — and on late Summer days when the grass is growing, and mowers can almost fly through the properties, you are both paid more.
Of course, you don’t want your business based on doing the fastest mowing jobs because quality will dip and you may lose customers. If you can get your employees focused on cutting the most lawns possible while doing a good job, you can ensure the quality stays high as well.
We have a ton of articles about how to motivate employees with piecework, and you can also check out Dave Tucker’s book, “Lawn Maintenance Piecework and the Beautiful Business: Getting Your Employees to Pull With You.”
How Can You Track and Use Piecework Legally?
Check your state for the laws on piecework, but most have legal ways to do it — typically they will insist that you pay your employees the federal minimum hourly wage and possibly set up a contract with them to have variable pay. We have used piecework in one of the most strict counties in the US, Montgomery County MD, and had no issue.
One objection we’ve heard to implementing piecework is that once in place you need to know your employees hours, how many properties they serviced, and what you charged those properties to discover percentages. The fear is that putting piecework in place is going to triple the time it takes to do payroll.
We can assure you that it won’t.
The truth is that piecework is the philosophical foundation behind CLIP. The entire system is built around the concept of piecework, and all of the tools you need to implement it are in CLIPitc and CLIPxe!
The CLIPitc app and CLIP2go make it easier for your crews to put in stop and start times, clock in and out, and allows you to keep up with where they are. CLIP also has dozens of reports that can make your transfer of employees hours to QuickBooks for payroll pretty easy. You can even make sure that you are meeting the minimum wage requirements.