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  1. #1
    What exactly is meant by getting paid by "billable hours"? Correct me if I'm wrong because I really don't know but from what I'm understanding it means you only get paid for the hours of labor that are on the customers bill.

    What about drive time to the customers house or what about if you have to go to the supply house to pick something up or put gas in the company van.

    Seems to me that you are setting yourself up to get the short end of the stick getting paid this way. It would be really easy for your boss to cheat you on hours. I rather get paid a little less per hour and get paid for the whole time I was at work than to get paid for billable hours. At least you would know what to expect on your check.

    Is this normal? About what percentage of companies pay their employees this way? Also, did anybody ever feel like they were cheated by being paid like this?


  2. #2
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    Feb 2003
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    well it can work 2 ways as i see it you can make a normal wage and get paid only for the time that you are on a job if they bill time and materials

    or if you are a flat rate company you would get paid for the time the book says it should take to do the job

    this has been discussed here before and it is split right down the middle
    i think if you get a flat rate puls allowences for supply shop times and long drives it can work well
    the thing that would make it work is getting paid better for flat rate hours and being able to do more work then the actual time you put into your job

  3. #3
    That would definitely encourage you to hurry to get the job done but would that also encourage you to do sloppy work? As far as the book time, is that a conservative estimate that is easy to obtain? Also, what about the customers bill. Do they see the hours of labor that they are being charged. Seems like they wouldn't be too happy if they were getting charged 4 hours for something that only took 2.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    4,970
    Well when I was first starting out as an apprentice, the shop I worked for was that way. It was a nightmare as an apprentice being everyone would drag you away from what you were working on to give them a hand. Now if you asked them to put your time on that project , say if it was 10-15 minutes , they would go balistic. It was crazy, your were getting screwed all the time.

    Ok now the 22 gauge metal is out on the coil machine. Guess who has to load it ....... yep apprentices. So where does that time go ?????? Not under shop time, oh no that has to be cheated onto something else to be charged out.

    Now if you were working on a large job it wasnt a problem but if the day was a lot of small sheetmetal fabrication things that didnt have a lot of room for adding time to ......you were screwed and couldnt bill it out.


    Ya I know its a little differant then on service calls but it makes me whinse when someone talks being payed on billable hours. Its usally someone screwing you out of him having to pay for what are a lot of things that need to be done and are just a cost of doing business.

    YOU NEED TO PUT GAS IN THAT VAN ??????? Better do it after work ...... Im too cheap to put it in my overhead cost. lol

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    New Hampshire
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    Like someone else said, its against the law.
    Call the labor board and ask.
    If you eat 25% of your time thats a big paycut.
    Then you're always looking to get even, as if thats possible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    S.W. PA
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    The auto industry has been doing this for years and it could work in our industry also

    Granted it takes people who want to make it work
    As an owner I am not looking to screw anyone (hard to believe I know)
    When I worked for someone else I hated getting stupid jobs to fill a time card like sweep the shop floor or dusting sheet metal fittings

    Now let’s use nice round numbers and not sure how much people get paid in their areas but let’s say a tech makes $20 an hour for every hour he is at work so he does 40 hours and makes $800 for the week

    Now let’s take the same tech and put him on a good flat rate system lets say he makes $10 just to show up at a call and he makes $30 an hour for flat rate now he gets 45 min to troubleshoot which is $22.50
    Now he changes a furnace blower motor which in my book takes 1.5 hrs so he will make another $45 now on this one call he has made $77.50 or a little more then 3.5 hours of what he made at $20 an hour

    Now how many calls do you do in a week or even a day?

    I don’t think that this would work with the real lazy or real slow techs I also don’t think it is fair if you are making the same wage as you was before this

    But for someone who cares about their work and won’t take shortcuts this could be a great thing

    You have the potential of making a lot more money
    It also allows the company to not have to worry about making payroll when things are slow by having you sweep the shop because even if you only worked 3 days in a week you could have the potential of getting a 40 hr check

    Now I know not al companies would be fair with it and it would take some time to get everything worked out so that no one was losing money
    Now somewhere in these books it has a task that says it will take you 45 min to do this and no way anyone could ever do it in that time then it should be adjusted and yes the tech would lose out on one job but make up for it on 50 more
    Also we all know there are some things that just don’t go right so yes the tech would lose on that also but like I said for every 1 that goes real bad you have 20 to 100 that go right

    Also I only do resi work so I am not speculating anything on commercial or industrial because even though I feel that 45 minutes is enough to diagnose a resi unit (99% of the time) it may very well be too short to do anything in another line

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    right, here! in the heartland of the homeland!
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    737

    Theres alot of contractors or employers

    that seem to differ, an that includes, customers, that experience , is not a valuable , commodity when it comes to paying the bill/and or /payroll, unless they can pay u the same or cheaper than another tech , that cant hang or a more experienced thec, that isnt as good!, but makes more?;
    Example: Customer, "you didnt take an hour to repair that, but i will pay you anyways,,"
    Tech: Thinking" wow, I didnt charge , enough there still complaining?, hmmm do, i have to explain, that if i wasnt experienced they would be paying more? and the money i saved them, so Far? lol

    Example#2.
    Contractor/employer, " I know it didnt take you that long to change a blower motor, it should ve taken u ten minutes, thats if ur good, lol
    Tech: thinking" it did, and thats why ur paying an hour, and a half drive time minimum, especiall , since the time allowed to change one is usually more!

    But we wont go into explaining that, and where it comes from, since they already know! or dont think we know, and wouldnt want to hear it anyways!
    although ,,,,Not, All contractors are like a chinese restaurant, and have a word of commitment, honesty and integrity, and some ethics in their business practices!
    its usually the cons that con themselves, and drive them out of the business, relating to just that
    others are just pro's getting better with age everyday, leaving behind, a skilled few,,
    the ones that listen? imagine that attitude, it could be catching?

    [Edited by isitfixedyet on 12-07-2006 at 06:35 PM]

  8. #8
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    New Hampshire
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    Heres a good example of what would happen with changing a blower motor on flat rate:
    Flat rate pays you 1.5 hours. What if you don't have the correct motor on your van and the supply house is 45 minutes away?
    You pull the blower motor and discover the blower wheel is loaded with lint because the furnace ran without a filter for years.
    Who in their right mind would take the time to clean it right?
    Unless there is a seperate charge for cleaning the blower wheel.
    If its packed with lint it will be 1 hour of misery(worth 2 hours of straight pay).

  9. #9
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    see thats where you have to work things out but my book does have a 1/2 hr to clean

    i didnt look but i think its 1/2 hr or 45 min to change with motor

    also if the motor isnt on the truck and it should be well then someone needs to take a hit for it
    if its the companies job to stock it then you should get paid that extra time if its your job then next time you will make sure you have the parts you should have

    also if its a non stock motor its a 2.5 hr flat rate charge
    now this is just my books dont know how the others work

  10. #10
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    right, here! in the heartland of the homeland!
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    then they start whining they cant afford u?

    i cant pay, it should ve wouldve couldve, but i cant pay u that!
    thas not an error on my part, but if i cant stock a part , u can be a parts chaser, then if the customer gets mad, it shouldve only taken u so long to fix it right, lol
    we all know how it works!
    and u for got its 45 minutes to get there, and 1/5 to diagnose, and 45 minutes to pick it up, and 15-30 minutes waiting to get the motor at the parts house, and 45 back, and 1/3 to put it on
    and u want it for what it shouldve taken,
    1.5
    how many of these hits before a guy says ok, anything else?
    or is gone?
    whats funny or gets me about this, is this mostly prevelant in Residential companies, cause they beat up guys with no experience, 1-3 yrs,and they get used to talking to these, guys nothing is there fault anymore, and they are always right , and the red flags are they promise the customer, without asking the tech anything, then thats on time and diagnosing the part and cost over the phone, then they set the mind set for the tech , before he gets there and piss off the customer,,,

    Whats even , more funny, is these guys here that are contractors and it hurts them, they start sniveling here , because , they do it themselves, and they say u talk too much, letting the others know the heads up!
    so if the truth hurts , how can it set u free?
    lets see, or count the ways,
    ONE,
    Self improvement!
    Better company!
    Techs wanna stay!
    Customers are happy!
    Boss is Happy? maybe if hes not used to have something to complain about, or so used to cheating techs , he cant find a better way to deal with them, other, than the way he does!
    just my fifty bucks worth,
    whats ur take on this Carnie?
    how does that make u feel?

    [Edited by isitfixedyet on 12-08-2006 at 01:34 AM]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    11,808
    My take on billable hours or your rants?

    My take on your rants is you have decided to start naming me now in a couple threads to get my attention. The last person you started naming in your posts to draw into a big fight has quit arguing with you and you need a new opponent.





    [Edited by Carnak on 12-08-2006 at 06:47 AM]
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  12. #12
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    Feb 2003
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    Re: then they start whining they cant afford u?

    Originally posted by isitfixedyet


    just my fifty bucks worth,

    how does that make u feel?

    [Edited by isitfixedyet on 12-08-2006 at 01:34 AM]

    like we was over charged

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Near Chicago, IL
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    I have changed a couple of blower motors...

    30 to 45 minutes to get the job done????

    To pull off all the wires that go to the control board, all the thermostat wires, all the accessory wires (like A/C contactor, humidifier, EAC)...

    Slide the housing out, just slide the squirrel cage off (yeah, right), take the motor out, remount the motor, slide the now bent and used squirrel cage onto the new motor (should have a new one), slide the housing back in, reinstall the motor wiring harness (probably have to feed it through a grommet and install new crimp connectors on the wires to plug into the board), mount the new capacitor....

    Now put all the wires and connectors back on the control board....

    Check rotation...

    <smack timeclock>

    *DONE*

    /<smack timeclock>

    OOPS- forgot about putting dropcloths on the customers flooring, dragging the tools down (up) to the unit, answering 1000 questions about "Why do you think it broke?", dragging all the used stuff out, cleaning up the job, cleaning up your tools, listening to 1000 comments about "Why does it cost so damn much?"

    30 to 45 minutes my ass. Hour and a half my ass, too.
    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


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