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#158369 - 04/29/06 06:44 AM Piecework?
Romex Racer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/20/05
Posts: 60
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Is paying piecework feasible for electricians? I think I could solve a lot of my problems by paying by the piece, but paying by the piece might be good for painters, drywallers and door hangers, electrical piecework seems kinda fuzzy.

It seems no 2 electrical tasks are the same, maybe in new houses piecework would be fine, and maybe commercial TI, but all other electrical work seems to be custom, one of a kind....

The Service guys use Flat Rate Books to pay by the piece, the technician knows in advance how many hours he's going to get paid for, so piecework is present in our industry.

I'm very interested in what you guys have to say.

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#158370 - 04/29/06 08:34 AM Re: Piecework?
ExpressQuote Offline
Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 83
Loc: BC, Canada
I have heard of several contractors who have used peicework in the past. However, they are not still around, that I know of, so I don't know if it will work for all types of electrical.

However, the HVAC industry uses it and as you mentioned with proper price books or pricing system many aspects of our trade could be done with piece work.

It will be interesting to hear what others have to say.

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#158371 - 04/29/06 09:01 AM Re: Piecework?
mahlere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 514
Loc: New Jersey
rr,

check the legalities for 'piecework'. since we are a licensed industry, you can't truly do piecework to an unlicensed worker.

when doing flat rate, you are paying an hourly rate (including all applicable taxes and benefits) sometimes it's as a percentage of the job price, sometimes as a negotiated hourly rate.

but true piecework, with a 1099, won't fly in NJ, unless the worker has a license and insurance of their own.

good luck.

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#158372 - 04/29/06 09:09 AM Re: Piecework?
Romex Racer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/20/05
Posts: 60
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Mahlere, you're confusing piecework with sub contracting. They would still be employees and have taxes withheld, etc.

I found this description of piecework online:

"Piecework, work for which the laborer is paid on the basis of the amount of work done. The system is best adapted to standardized operations in which quantity is preferred to quality. Its advocates maintain that it pays the worker according to his ability. Its opponents argue that it tends to pay the best worker what he would receive on a time basis, while other workers receive less than they would by the hour and that it forces the pace of work. In the United States the 1949 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act in effect required that pieceworkers be paid at least the minimum wage."

Here's a very interesting presentation on piecework:

http://www.paypiecework.com/Piecework_files/frame.htm

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#158373 - 04/29/06 09:57 AM Re: Piecework?
mahlere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 514
Loc: New Jersey
very ok by me

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#158374 - 04/29/06 02:47 PM Re: Piecework?
Romex Racer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/20/05
Posts: 60
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
It does not fit the IRS definition of self employed person, no 1099 is required. An employee paid by the piece is still an employee. As far as the "workers comp problem", my comp premiums are a percentage of what I paid my employee. If I pay him $100, my comp premiums are $14.

I didn't expect the thread to head in this direction, questioning the legality of piecework, it is most definately legal.

The statement that "true" piecework is sub contracting is not true. I defy anyone to provide evidence that supports that statement.

Even the IBEW supports piecework:
http://www.ibewflorida.org/orgnotes/060130_miami349.htm

OK, we've established that it's not against the law to base a workers pay on his productivity, but is it really workable in the electrical industry?

Can remodels and commercial TI jobs be paid by the piece? Or is the work too vague to define clearly?

Anybody here pay by the piece?

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#158375 - 04/29/06 04:01 PM Re: Piecework?
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
"The system is best adapted to standardized operations in which quantity is preferred to quality."

Kind of says it all right there.

What kind of help are you going to get that will accept piece work?

I know I would not be interested in piece work.
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

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#158376 - 04/29/06 04:13 PM Re: Piecework?
Romex Racer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/20/05
Posts: 60
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Most of these sophisticated service oriented ESI type shops pay piecework. I don't consider their work to be shoddy or their technicians to be substandard.

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#158377 - 04/29/06 04:22 PM Re: Piecework?
iwire Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
You asked for opinions.

I quoted info right from your post.

IMO it is ridiculous to think that a person paid per piece will be as careful as a person paid per hour.

I enjoy my work, I want to be craftsman not an assembly line machine.

That said, to each their own, freedom of choice is a great thing.

Bob
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

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#158378 - 04/29/06 04:22 PM Re: Piecework?
mahlere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 514
Loc: New Jersey
rr,

my point was to make sure that you and I were talking about the same thing.

we pay that way. the only way it works is to have the same people on the job from start to finish. essentially they will get a set rate for that job paid out as they progress.

for example, you can pay $20 per outlet or $20 per $100 revenue. If your outlet is $100, you can pay them $10 per outlet the week that they rough, and $10 the week they finish. Or you can add up all the work they produced for a given week and pay them based on that.

The only way to do this on TI or installations is to have set unit prices for everything that is going in. These prices can be particular to that job, but they must be determined and known. If you bid a project per opening, this will give you the unit price you need.

The key is to give the mechanics all the information as to the prices per item. Let them figure out how much they want to make.

Personally, i disagree with Iwire, i'd rather take a job this way (heck as contractors we take every job this way). The way I see hourly rates is that the mechanic and the contractor are going in different directions. The way for the mechanic to make more money is to work slower and get OT. This causes the contractor to make less.

By going with a piecework type setup, the mechanic gets rewarded for getting more done, not by putting in longer hours. This lets the contractor make more money. kind of a win/win.

for service work it's even easier to pay this way.

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