James Yang

Each of the four field crew at Mack & Sons Services, in Wellington, Ohio, has a trade specialty. But crew members are called on to use a variety of skills for the company’s remodeling projects, and Mack & Sons can’t afford to pay them a high trade rate for every hour they work. So, vice president Josh Mack says, they are paid the trade rate when they are applying their specific skills and a lower base rate for the other work they complete. “If the electrician is sweeping or helping to hold cabinets, he gets the base rate. If he’s doing electrical, he gets the trade rate,” Mack explains.

Mack has found that the trade rate often gives crew members more motivation to sell home­owners additional work that requires their skill. “They’re the ones in people’s homes,” he says. “They’re more suited to be the salesperson than anybody else.”

The crew use a daily planner to track trade hours, providing Mack with their total trade hours each month. Mack might cross-reference these totals with job budgets, but he primarily relies on the honor system. The additional (skilled) rate is paid out as a monthly bonus.

This system is especially helpful during winter downtime when cash flow is lower and the team might be doing shop maintenance or cleaning trucks

Each employee has a different trade rate, which is based on their particular skill and level of experience. Mack says he tells the crew, “If you want more money, you need to take on more responsibility.” To that end, he puts one of his field crew in charge of each project, alternating them so that each learns to work with the others. He also likes that he has staff with a range of skills and who vary in age, so he can pair them up to find the best combination for each job and they can learn from one another.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.