Are you paying your team enough?

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Perhaps the single biggest and most frequent issue I hear contractors wrestling with is finding and keeping good people, installers, techs, office staff, sales people.

What attracts people and keeps people excited about working for your company is by no means limited to the compensation you offer. For some, that may not even be the primary factor (I’ll talk about that more in a later post). But the reality is that for some earning $18/hour or $25/hour, $2/hour (or $5/hour!) up or down can make a big difference. The wage (or salary) is only part of total compensation. What about spiffs? Paid leave? 401K? Education allowance? And so on…

A lot of people don’t get too excited about crawling around hot attics or spidery crawlspaces day in and day out for $14/hour, with no vacation time or no paid health insurance.

Contractors who find and keep the best employees see the difference in their business. And to attract and retain the best employees, it doesn’t hurt to pay more than you competition. Not just pennies more. Enough to make a difference in their lives.

Here’s the rub. To pay more you probably have to charge your customers more. To be able to charge more (and close sales), you have to be able to build value differentiate. You have to deliver on the value, and meet or exceed your customers expectations.

To do that, yes, it helps to have good systems and processes. But it also helps to have great employees. Too get and keep those great employees, you should expect to pay more.

Wait, that’s where we started.

The pieces are connected. Start paying more. Start building better systems. Start improving your sales process to communicate value and improve close rates.

(Program folks, paying great employees more, and offering them the kind of benefits that many program staff get, so they’ll stick around and keep doing good work costs more than the status quo. Are you figuring that, and a lot more, into your thinking when you start weighing in on what contractors?)

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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