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Thread: Piece Rate

  1. #16
    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    The way things are going at USIC I bet they will take all locate equipment away and just hand out paint sticks and paint. No training needed Just spray spray spray
    Last edited by locator00566; December 3rd, 2011 at 08:14 PM.

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by locator00566 View Post
    The way things are going at USIC I bet they will take all locate equipment away and just hand out paint sticks and paint. No training needed. Just spray, spray, spray.....
    Hey 566 - The witching sticks have always been the very LAST piece of equipment out of the camper shell. As a piece rate locator, not the case.............. just sayin'.

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Funny how some of us predicted this long ago. Next up, undocumented worker locating!

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post
    "My senior locators are the least productive. It seems like the longer they've been here, the slower they get. I can't understand it."
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    This seems to happen everywhere. I don't get why it is so hard for management to understand. The senior guys get the nastiest tickets that take days, not hours to finish, they have to do damage investigations,meets, and tons of other duties that hinder their production. The newer guys get the tickets you could clear from the truck. To me it is amazing the senior techs get the numbers they do.

    The one thing piece work would do is get rid of the "team" thing they've pushed for years. If you were on piece rate would you want to meet another locator at 4am to pump out and locate muliple conduit runs in a nasty intersection? There goes the safety aspect when no one wants to help another locator for fear of losing money because helping on a hard/dangerous job would lower production.

  5. #20
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    I've mentioned before that I'm on piece work. And, as I've said, I wouldn't have it any other way. The reason I like it so much is because I get the majority of the money from the ticket. I get something like 60% to 70% of what the ticket is worth. Actually, I don't get paid by the ticket, I get paid by the locate. So, as you can probably guess, if I'm doing a long job that requires me to hook up to 10 different spots, then I get 5 locates for that ticket. I get 5X the money.

    If a company wants you to go on piece work and they will only pay you per ticket, then you are getting screwed.

    Believe me when I tell you, pay the locator about 65% of what the ticket/locate is worth and you will see a huge improvement.

    For this to work properly Locators must be assigned areas that are fair to everyone. Everyone gets their own piece of the pie and nobody else is allowed in anothers area. This is called ownership and it prevents animosity amongst the crew by preventing the sweet tickets from being given out to the 'teachers pet' so to speak. I have my own area and all I ask is that the boundaries be respected. If I get good tickets then great, if I get crap, then that's the way it goes. But, I know that I'm getting everything I'm supposed to get and my money tickets aren't going to somebody else. Like my old boss says: some days it's chicken, other days its feathers.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  6. #21
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I'm on piece work. I wouldn't have it any other way. I get the majority of the money from the ticket. I get something like 60% to 70% of what the ticket is worth.
    Hey Steve - You are blessed in many ways for working for a mom 'n pop organization. USIC is way beyond that concept. USIC's Canadian investors are very interested in a 70-30 revenue split. So long as the 70% goes their way.............

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  7. #22
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenboy View Post
    This seems to happen everywhere. I don't get why it is so hard for management to understand. The senior guys get the nastiest tickets that take days, not hours to finish, they have to do damage investigations,meets, and tons of other duties that hinder their production. The newer guys get the tickets you could clear from the truck. To me it is amazing the senior techs get the numbers they do.

    The one thing piece work would do is get rid of the "team" thing they've pushed for years. If you were on piece rate would you want to meet another locator at 4am to pump out and locate muliple conduit runs in a nasty intersection? There goes the safety aspect when no one wants to help another locator for fear of losing money because helping on a hard/dangerous job would lower production.
    The long-timers also learned if they keep running at a newbie pace they'd damage out. I've had a few close calls teach me not to rush through a ticket. Piece work would also sacrifice safety to profit.

  8. #23
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post
    [FONT=Arial Black][SIZE=4]Hey Steve - You are blessed in many ways for working for a mom 'n pop organization. USIC is way beyond that concept. USIC's Canadian investors are very interested in a 70-30 revenue split. So long as the 70% goes their way.............

    Actually Wing, here in Texas the $2.50 would only represent about 20-25%. They would have to pay me at least $3 per locate , including clears, b/4 I would consider going piecemeal.
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  9. #24
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    The long-timers also learned if they keep running at a newbie pace they'd damage out. I've had a few close calls teach me not to rush through a ticket. Piece work would also sacrifice safety to profit.
    Steve is living proof that that is just not the case. There is a balance of speed vs quality.
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
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  10. #25
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by ifinditunderground View Post
    Steve is living proof that that is just not the case. There is a balance of speed vs quality.

    I assume this is because Steve has integrity and a good work ethic. U can't assume that out of everyone. Anyone who takes pride in quality is gonna be slower than a hot-dogger busting out tickets. Where's the incentive to be thorough if you'll just cost yourself money? It actually encourages risk-taking. Not a good thing when dealing with public safety.
    He's also not a public locator. During peek season public locators have so much on their plates and they get pushed too hard. The not so subtle methods management has for pushing production while preaching quality and safety first eventually catches up. Sooner or later, higher payouts to the producers would get noticed and wind up being diverted right back into the shareholder's pockets and management bonuses. Seems to happen every time.

  11. #26
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Thanks for the good word, Daman1. I appreciate it.

    First off... when you say public locator I'm guessing you mean somebody who runs a ticket load. I run a ticket load. In the winter I'll get about 10-20 tickets, in the summer as many as 45-50 tickets. I know what it is to chase times, etc.

    the secret to making money on piece work is knowing how the billing works. If you get paid per ped and you have a chance to hook up (legitimately) to 2 peds, then hook up, make the extra money and cut down the chances of getting a damage. People who work by the hour won't hook up to that extra ped. They'll rationalize that it is out of the dig area and the chances a service wire comes out and goes through the dig area are slim, I got too many tickets to do anyway, etc. If you get paid per 500 feet, then mark out 600 instead of 400 and make the extra buck. However, always be able to justify it if the utility company audits your tickets.

    This is how I look at it. If I can make more money by making sure the everything has been located, then I would argue that it is safer doing piece work and higher profit = lower damages.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  12. #27
    Senior Member 6feetunder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    Thanks for the good word, Daman1. I appreciate it.

    First off... when you say public locator I'm guessing you mean somebody who runs a ticket load. I run a ticket load. In the winter I'll get about 10-20 tickets, in the summer as many as 45-50 tickets. I know what it is to chase times, etc.

    the secret to making money on piece work is knowing how the billing works. If you get paid per ped and you have a chance to hook up (legitimately) to 2 peds, then hook up, make the extra money and cut down the chances of getting a damage. People who work by the hour won't hook up to that extra ped. They'll rationalize that it is out of the dig area and the chances a service wire comes out and goes through the dig area are slim, I got too many tickets to do anyway, etc. If you get paid per 500 feet, then mark out 600 instead of 400 and make the extra buck. However, always be able to justify it if the utility company audits your tickets.

    This is how I look at it. If I can make more money by making sure the everything has been located, then I would argue that it is safer doing piece work and higher profit = lower damages.

    Yeah, this only works if the contracts are written as such to get paid in such fashion. With the current contracts in place with USIC, most are paid per customer locate per ticket , meaning 1 mile pays the same as 1 house for each given customer, no difference on how many lines are located. Therefore you couldn't pay your locators in the fashion you describe unless as a company you are also paid in such manner. What you describe is great because it would allow good production and still retain good quality, however it would not work anything like you describe if put into place at USIC. No offense but you're just not comparing apples to apples here.
    Last edited by 6feetunder; December 8th, 2011 at 09:15 PM.
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  13. #28
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Public locators I believe are hired to mark public utility lines as opposed to privately owned. The companies with shareholders are publicly traded. I assumed from Wings mom and pop comment that you're with a local privately owned company. These guys aren't trying to make a profit on locates, they make theirs selling the service. It's the public guys like USIC that are in it solely for profit. It adds a whole new dynamic.

  14. #29
    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Public locators I believe are hired to mark utilities for a publicly traded corperation. The companies with stocks and shareholders are publicly traded. I assumed from Wings mom and pop comment that you're with a local privately owned utility company. These guys aren't trying to make a profit on locates, they make theirs selling the service. It's the public guys like USIC that are in solely for profit. It adds a whole new dynamic.
    Last edited by daman1; December 8th, 2011 at 10:15 PM.

  15. #30
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piece Rate

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post
    Just when a person thinks, "It can't get any worse than this," middle management shoots a warning shot over the bow via email, "the corporate bean counters are planning a piece rate pilot program as early as March or April 2012 to work out the bugs........"

    CUS had locators on piece rate for years. The program was voluntary and was sold to the un-suspecting locators on the catch phrase, "The sky is the limit! The more money YOU make, the more money WE make! Everybody wins!" Well, believe it or not, that statement was complete bullshit..............

    USICers, look at your daily analysis Performance Dashboard. See if $2.50 per painted opportunity and $1.25 per NLR will pay what you make today.

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    Actually Wing, here in Texas, the $2.50 would only represent about 20-25%. They would have to pay me at least $3 per locate, including clears, b/4 I would consider going piecemeal.
    Hey Buddy - That is true for all senior locators at their current pace. You know, "the longer you've been locating, the slower you get" syndrome needs to stop now. Trust me, if the shit goes down, it won't be $3 an opportunity. The end game is to REDUCE salaries; not maintain! The bean counters won't make it that easy for you! But, you'll make the appropriate adjustments if it happens. And, it won't be "business as usual" if you continue to work for USIC............................. Just sayin'.

    I doubt the Texas region will be guinea pigs on this pilot program. Hopefully, with my region as the test mule, the bean counters will recognize how a piece-rate locator program negatively affects a major revenue-generator and a top ten quality region and scrap this nonsense. We'll see..............

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