No One Compensation Plan Fits All

Cover Story: Show Me The Money - Cover Story: Show Me The Money

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January 14, 2016
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According to the 2015 PCT-NPMA Compensation and Benefits Survey, no single compensation plan is used industry wide. Even individual companies may have multiple plans. “I might have six different ways that I figure [an employee’s] pay because of incentives and things like that,” said Mike Scholes of Reliable Pest Solutions.

The survey did find commonalities. Managers generally are paid base salaries with the opportunity to earn commissions, such as a percent of sales, or bonuses tied to specific profit objectives.

Salespeople mainly earn a base salary with commissions on a percent of sales. If offered, bonuses are tied to achieving certain profit or revenue levels.

The majority of companies pay CSRs hourly; if offered, bonuses mainly are tied to profit and commissions are based on percent of sales.

Technicians are paid a base salary or hourly rate, and often can earn commissions on a percent of sales or bonuses tied to meeting production/efficiency goals.

Ashley Morrison of City Wide Exterminating constantly evaluates her compensation package. “It’s tricky, sometimes, to figure out what works” because different incentives motivate different employees, she said. Some like the set schedule of hourly work; others want the potential to earn more, which is why she introduced a bonus program last year.

With incentives, “it’s up to employees how hard they want to work and how much money they want to earn,” said Brad Parker of Parker Pest Control. They can make “a whole lot more than an hourly rate” if they want to work a few more hours, work a little harder, improve quality or sell services, he said.

General Environmental Services in Boston has two plans for its 26 technicians: production commission or hourly. As employees advance in experience and demonstrate work ethic, President Peter Wonson may move them to the commission model. “You want them to be successful,” he said.

Most companies reward for sales. At Cooper Pest Solutions in Lawrenceville, N.J., everyone can earn commissions, regardless of position, said President Phil Cooper. What he doesn’t offer his 91 employees is “special comp packages.” A salesperson, for example, can’t negotiate a higher commission or base salary — there is one package. “Your earnings potential is based upon your performance” and this doesn’t change with seniority, he said.