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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have six accounts that I share with a partner M-F. I'm getting paid for general cleaning- Trash disposal, dusting, vacuuming, mopping, etc. In the last 2 weeks, we have had to detail 2 buildings without any extra pay.

BTW, I've crunched the numbers, and my pay is around $6.50 to $7.50 per hour (driving 50 miles+ per night and no gas allowance.) Like I said, I see nothing extra from the detailing jobs. Am I getting ripped off? Please be honest with me. I'm new to the business.
 

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Yes, you are being taken advantage of. The real question however is "Who is taking advantage?" Is it the Customer taking advantage of your "newness" or is your partner only paying you a cheap wage?

My employees make $12.50/hr. We charge proper rates from our clients. Sounds like you are either getting shaft from partner or not charging enough from clients. Industry standard is $25-$45/man hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I should have said that I share the routes with another employee and we split the buildings. We have the same boss, who estimates the jobs and sets the pricing.

As for why we are not being paid for detailing as opposed to maintenance cleaning, I have no idea. I asked the girl I work if we would see any extra money and she kind of laughed and said we would never see that.

When we were doing one of the detail jobs at a financial institution, after an upholstery company came in and wrecked the place, our boss was there with us, not working, but kissing the behind of the institution's ops manager, if that might provide any insight.

Thank you, t.peterson and FCPWLLC for your replies, and I would appreciate anything more you folks might have to say. Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've been with the job for about a month, so I am new. The payment arrangement is per job, but I decided to crunch some number to see what the per hour rate comes out to. It floats around $6.53 to $7.35, or so, depending on the circumstances of the night.

The thing is though, if we get done with a job early, we still have to wait a certain amount of time before we call in. So while it was pitched to me that it was salary based, the time we spend in a building does come into the picture.

It was told to me that the reason we would see nothing extra from the one detailing job was because the building in question should take about an hour to clean, and we've been doing it in about 45 minutes, so we would eventually make up the lack of pay differential.

So is it really per job, or is it per hour? I'm starting to think it's whatever is beneficial for the boss, which doesn't make me feel that great.

My intuition tells me something fishy is going on, but I am new to the business, so that's why I need advice/insight. Thanks so much.
 

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Your intuition is right and I would agree that from what you said that something fishy is going on. If you have to spend a pre-determined amount of time in each job then the job should be paid hourly, if however if the job is truly paid "by the job" the end result should be the completion of quality work of predetermined tasks, no matter how much time it takes to do the tasks..... If that is the case and the job consistently takes too long then the rate be charged to the customer needs to be adjusted so that the target pay rate can be achieved.

Is your employer considering you an employee? (ie- taking out taxes and matching your social security) or are they attempting to say that you are an independent contractor?
 

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Teresa - you're off on the average pay for janitorial. Unless, by chance, you're talking for your state, California, as I recall. That could be, but it's certainly not a national average - and I assure you it definitely does not include the southeast, which is still hovering around the $7/hour mark on average. Large companies are paying even less, usually around $6 - $6.50/ hour. Even illegal operators are paying wages, which, if adjusted for taxes and insurance, would still be the same as the others.

Droid didn't mention where he/she was from so I can't address his/ her pay question, but do feel if there is a business arrangement involved then, it's a bad one!
 

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Teresa - you're off on the average pay for janitorial. Unless, by chance, you're talking for your state, California, as I recall. That could be, but it's certainly not a national average - and I assure you it definitely does not include the southeast, which is still hovering around the $7/hour mark on average. Large companies are paying even less, usually around $6 - $6.50/ hour. Even illegal operators are paying wages, which, if adjusted for taxes and insurance, would still be the same as the others.

Droid didn't mention where he/she was from so I can't address his/ her pay question, but do feel if there is a business arrangement involved then, it's a bad one!
I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I paid those averages. No way can you have exteremly dependable workers for that. Can't even afford car insurance or car payments for those low wages. We recently landed a nice account at double the previous cleaners price because thier workers were getting to the site by city bus. Not very professional.
 

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Well - frankly, I know painfully too well, that I can't sleep when I pay too much for labor, taxes, and insurance! Been there, done that, got the bags under my eyes to prove it ! LOL And the thing is - the employees at higher wages develop a sense of "it's all about me" entitlement, and demonstrate no more loyalty and performance than any other group at any other wage level. Higher pay guarantees ZIP! Sorry - just a fact!

I also know Kentucky is not a "high wage" state and not significantly differnet than Tennessee, where I've operated for nearly 20 years. So I salute you if you can actually sell high wage labor in janitorial, an industry whose effective wage scale has actually enjoyed NEGATIVE GROWTH in the last 20+ years !(adjusted for COL, inflation, etc.)

But even if you do, I promise you that you are in an elite micro-minority of folks who can do it....so minute a number is this group that I've never met one in my entire 30 years in the business !
All in the southeast, sure enough - but still......

Sure, I've sold a few jobs where customers "told me" they were paying more - but rarely.

I recently bid (and did not win) on the corporate headquarters of a national cleaning franchise (restoration) and they are paying less than $0.05 cents per square foot for their illegally-operated cleaning contractor (their reputation is well-known among other janitorial co's). If I told you their name, you would recognize it IMMEDIATELY for their extensive national presence and their reputation for quality work. But they, like most prospects in our market, are bottom-feeders when it comes to janitorial contracting.

Up-selling here is not a good way to win a contract. I suggest it's also not a good idea in most of the rest of the country - however, if you've developed a niche in your market - go for it !

But if you aim at the upper end of the market, your market, and therefore sales, will ALWAYS be limited to that very small niche. PERIOD. No way to change that except to compete in a larger market segment. Basic economics.

Anyway - that aside, our employee retention rate(annual) is about 50% overall. Absentee rate - average employee absent about 2 times a year - very negligible.

We do that by 1) Telling the truth about the job from day 1 2)Always hiring part-timers so we don't create resentment trying to pretend to provide a full-time living in an industry that DOES NOT support it 3)Pay competitive wages, but not necessarily higher than our best competitors. 4)We are fair in every respect. We usually give the benefit of the doubt when there is a question of accuracy (rare).
5)We are good people to work for, and we support our employees' efforts, provide them what they need to succeed according to their
ability, and 6)provide feedback so they always know where they stand with us and we with them. We keep it simple. This usually works - but when it doesn't, 7) we know we need to get new people!

My rule of business finance that has left me debt free and financially independent is this: Spending money is the LAST solution to ANY problem - ALWAYS. It is NEVER the first solution, and even if it is the LAST solution, it is NEVER the BEST solution !
 

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Good post Daniel.... I guess I have opted for a different Business Model. I know that I lose many bids because I can't compete on price. But the contracts that we do get are very profitable. Our model is low volume/high margin. We saw a niche and went for it. There IS a small percentage of customers that have gotten fed up with the quality of work done here by companies that simply telemarket to sell work based on price and then scramble to make a profit at the low bid. They hire folks that don't even own a car and have to ride city bus to accounts. I think that the volume required to make any money on those low priced accounts would be more headache than it would be worth.

My hats off to those that make it work. I spoke with a competitor here the other day and unless he was lying to me (Good Guy don't think he lied) His net for '07 was almost identical to mine. He has 23 employees and I have 4. Just doesn't seem worth the time need to land the volume and deal with 23 people for the same money.

Anyhow, good post Daniel.
 

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Sorry for getting off on a tangent there....back to the original question.....in my opinion, after reading and re-reading Droid's post - I believe you have a bad arrangement, but since you agreed to the arrangement, you are doing it to yourself !

If you don't like the arrangement, propose a new one - for example, tell your boss that you want to renogiate the terms or you will have to give notice to leave. If the boss ups your pay, fine. If not, give notice and find other, better work.

Next time, make sure you understand what you're getting into and arrange to have a review period (if they don't have one already) where working terms can be re-negotiated or employment ended.

But once you agree to do a job, if you're honest, you should abide by the terms or propose to change them while being prepared to leave after a reasonable notice. That's just good, honest business.
 

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FCP, you must not be in janitorial! The more people the BETTER it is because you always have a greater number of options/ resources for covering work, locations, absences.

God - I remember like playful childhood, the days when I had to worry about only a handful of people! LOL But once you've grown a lot you have to have more folks to service accounts.

Of course, you have the so-called "brokers" and illegal subcontractors who cheat the system by "subbing" their work. But that's only a scam that functions like "find the pea under the cup"...a gimmick from the start.

If you're doing business legitimately, paying your taxes and insurance , and not lying about who's an employee and who's not...then you need to control and add people / employees as you grow.

In our company we do that by selecting part-timers at every possible turn, and keep our pay in line with the market, and make working for us as fun as possible, while being 100% straight about what we offer - part-time, supplemental income for 6 months or more....nothing more or less than that. If they need it, fine if not ...go somewhere else to find what you need or want!

And for us, it's been working for 11 years without fail.
 

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Joel,

You havd some very good info on your site. Do you actively steer potential clients to your site or do you have that same info in brochure form that you supply with proposals.

Great info.
 

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FCP, you must not be in janitorial! The more people the BETTER it is because you always have a greater number of options/ resources for covering work, locations, absences.

God - I remember like playful childhood, the days when I had to worry about only a handful of people! LOL But once you've grown a lot you have to have more folks to service accounts.

Of course, you have the so-called "brokers" and illegal subcontractors who cheat the system by "subbing" their work. But that's only a scam that functions like "find the pea under the cup"...a gimmick from the start.

If you're doing business legitimately, paying your taxes and insurance , and not lying about who's an employee and who's not...then you need to control and add people / employees as you grow.

In our company we do that by selecting part-timers at every possible turn, and keep our pay in line with the market, and make working for us as fun as possible, while being 100% straight about what we offer - part-time, supplemental income for 6 months or more....nothing more or less than that. If they need it, fine if not ...go somewhere else to find what you need or want!

And for us, it's been working for 11 years without fail.
Great Post, looks like you no your business.:thumbsup:
 

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My web site is getting old and badly needs "remodeling" ! But thanks for the comment. Yes - it's more of a slightly expanded brochure to supplement direct sales collateral. Not to be overly-paranoid, but we keep some of our "proprietary specifics" offline so competitors can't easily get them.

I say not overly-paranoid, because having a business concept is one thing, but implementing it and committing to it is quite another ! But I don't want to tip the scales to easily for the pretenders to fake their way into a sale !! LOL
 

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I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I paid those averages. No way can you have extremely dependable workers for that. Can't even afford car insurance or car payments for those low wages. We recently landed a nice account at double the previous cleaners price because their workers were getting to the site by city bus. Not very professional.

I couldn't pay people that with a clear conscience either :whistling2:
 
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