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Window Cleaning Issues - Canvassing, pole systems, pricing, problems, etc.

Employing Staff?

Posted by D.Salkeld_Ltd (D.Salkeld_Ltd), 6 March 2004
How do you pay staff?

I have a team of 2 working on thier own for me.
I pay them a % of the work they do:

The first man gets 30% of the work they do together, because he has to organise the days work put out bills collect money(on the job) and record the list.
The other man gets 25% of thier work he only has to clean windows.
They do 25 - 30 per hour.
They are both on the books and get holiday pay.

Am I a scrouge or a sucker?

Posted by Silly_Philly (Philip Hanson), 6 March 2004
Interesting point, David.

We are thinking of employing people, (two young ladies actually), and I have been thnking about how we should pay them.

I want them to work along with us, not do any 'organising' and we dont do collecting anyway so thats not a problem.

I was thinking around the 10 to 12 per hour rate. (before tax and NI)

Assuming your people would be doing an average of 27.50 per hour they would get 8.25 (30%) and 6.88 (25%) per hour.

Maybe I was being too generous.  Do they moan about that money or are they happy with it?  How long have they been with you?

I have considered a % rate, but to me thats sounds a little bit like working on commission, and I hate the thought of that!  (I know it isnt like that, but you know what I mean)

Posted by D.Salkeld_Ltd (D.Salkeld_Ltd), 6 March 2004

Bear in Mind one significant point:

You life in an area with a higher cost of living than Louth, Lincs.  Most labouring jobs here are on around 5 per hour.  We charge about 2/3 of the prices you do(according to you post about pricing); House 1 you 9, us about 6.  
So if you had 2 working together they would do about 38 per hour, 25% is 9.50 per hour for them.

Posted by sc (sc), 6 March 2004

I think that you are being very fair. You can't pay employees any more than 60% of the work they do. 50% would be better, but you have to pay them enough to stop them setting up on there own, so 55% wages of the work the pair do is about right.

As for working on commision, I don't think that you can push that too much otherwise you'll lose quality. I calculate the amount of work me and my mate will do in a week and then give him a %. If he works hard then he gets to go home early.

Posted by D.Salkeld_Ltd (D.Salkeld_Ltd), 6 March 2004
Hi Steve

Thanks for your input.  I tell my lads no work done no-one gets paid and as for quality control thier terms of employment say that if they make a mistake they have to go back and put it right FREE of charge.  So if they shot round and made a bad job they would only lose out the next day puting the problems right.

Posted by AMG (AMG), 7 March 2004

Hi Guys,

Can we assume that all of the people is these examples are Employed by you on a PAYE system?

And if this is the case is there any legal obligation to pay the minimum wage? I'm talking about if it rains all week and no work gets done??

Just trying to work out the safest way to employ someone (without loosing when it rains!) and the fairest for the employee.. It's definitely a tricky subject.


Posted by geoffreyspecht (geoffreyspecht), 7 March 2004
simple they have to work in the rain
Posted by The_Fed_Man (The_Fed_Man), 8 March 2004
Try a Flexitime system, work it so it covers you for bad days.  It is legal.  There used to be a requirement to pay if available for work of about 11 per day, not sure if it's still there, ask the Inland Revenue.
Posted by williamx (williamx), 8 March 2004
The way I intend to pay my staff is for each window cleaner.

I will set up a round for them of approx 300 customers per month.

I will supply the trolley and water supply but they will have to supply the vechicle.

Now this round is for them to nurture and expand as they want to but I will take 50% of the income that they earn, they will be self-employed and responsable for their own taxes and national insurance.

If they want help in door knocking for fresh work I'm quite willing to help out, also I will pay commision on any carpet cleaning work that comes off their round
Roll Eyes Cheesy
Posted by The_Fed_Man (The_Fed_Man), 8 March 2004
How will you keep them honest?
Posted by williamx (williamx), 8 March 2004
There are checks you can do.

Example- quality control checks on the workmanship of the cleaners, at random times you go out with the cleaner to make sure his workmanship is up to scratch.

Also check the amount of water he is using to make sure it tallys with his round.

But basically it does come down to trust Grin

How honest are your staff? Huh
Posted by The_Fed_Man (The_Fed_Man), 8 March 2004
As good as their supervision.
Posted by geoffreyspecht (geoffreyspecht), 9 March 2004
david why should your window cleaners give you 50 percent of the income from work they canvas themselves  i wouldnt.i would give 50 percent of my income from work u supplied for me to do

Posted by D.Salkeld_Ltd (D.Salkeld_Ltd), 9 March 2004
My Staff don't have to canvass, in fact I don't want them to I want to decide where my company will go, I decide the prices.  My staff are given a list of jobs to do for the week and as soon as they are done thats it until next week.  I then add up what they have done and thier pay is 25% each with tax and ins deducted wage slips and they are entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday per year.
If they make any mistakes my customers can ring me and the staff have to go back and put the mistake right without pay, a fair way of quality control.

Those that can't see the advantages in this system are not suitable for the job.  It has taken me a while but I think I have got the message through and have right minded staff.
Posted by Ian_Giles (Ian_Giles), 18 March 2004
Over the last 20 years I have employed what feels like countless amounts of staff. Though never more than 6 at one time.
At the moment I have given up on it.
But I always made sure they were on a self employed basis.
They got paid 50% of whatever they turned over.
If any of them had a vehicle I would equip them with all they needed and pay their petrol money.
Incentive is a big thing, if you pay them by the hour or the day they may not necessarily get all the work done, percentage works well as the more they turn over the more they earn.
Quality control was never a problem as I would make frequent checks on their work, any customer not happy with the work carried out would always get the job done to their satisfaction before payment made. If they had paid and later realised a poor job had been done, provided they let me know within 48 hours it would always be put right, no questions asked.
The lads never had to tout for work, the mre experienced ones would give prices when someone asked for one, or I would be told at the end of the day and price it myself.
I never let them go by themselves  until I felt they were suficiently well trained and competent.
Having people on the books brings awhole lot of other problems to deal with, employers liability (expensive) and all the tax and so on to sort out.
Self employed allowed me to stay below the VAT threshold as they collected their money at source, therefore their wages did not go through my books as I never received it in the first place. All quite legitimate.

But in the end I got fed up with them starting up and trying to compete with me, not all of them of course, but eventually those that stay with you for a number of years realise that they will be better off with their own business.
Then you get the ones that are unreliable, those that simply can't get the hang of it, those that thought window cleaning was an easy crack,.....until they try it! Then only last a day or two.
Over twenty years I must have had at least 100 people start and finish at one time or another.
Oh, and for those that had no transport of their own, and did not drive, I designed and made sidecars to fit onto mountain bikes, the sidecars were obviously for the ladders and kit to fit onto.
I would then drop them in an area where they would have a full days work, they would then cycle home.
For a number of years it worked incredibly well too.
I also never left them to work in pairs, not  if I could avoid it.
2 people working together will not do the same amount of work as to people working completely separately.
On big jobs of course it could be unavoidable.

Time I got back to work and earned some money!


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