How Much Should You Pay Your Techs?

James Burchill

Visitors: 328

A funny thing happens when you start talking about jobs and money – people get a little weird. I recently experienced this when a visiting family member decided to talk ‘shop. ’

Instead of the usual family chatter, they spent the better part of an hour telling us why they ‘deserved’ a pay raise, why they had a ‘right’ to more vacations, why they shouldn’t ‘have’ to work overtime and why they were ‘entitled’ to all this.

- So What Have You Done For “ME" Lately?

I smiled and simply asked them, “So what have you done lately for your employer to justify your claim to a larger share of their revenues? Did you sell more of their product? Did you save them thousands with some new system? And did you do more this year than last year?"

As you might imagine they were not impressed with my questions. They simply (like so many people often do when confronted with irrefutable logic) repeated themselves. They were entitled to it - the others were getting more so should they. I let it drop, but their attitude bothered me – that kind of thinking is counter productive and ultimately self-limiting.

- Me Incorporated

Now I’m not advocating taking advantage of people, however this continual expectation that all salaries should be “fair" and forever rising is simply unrealistic. People forget they’re like a micro business of one – they’re selling their service too. How they present and market themselves is up to the individual, and if they sell themselves for less than another, that’s their choice too.

Market conditions ultimately determine many of the variables in the compensation an employee ultimately receives. And let’s be honest, if you can hire one experienced person for less than you might pay another, then it’s only human nature to do so.

- Show Me The Money!

Business is ultimately about profits. It is about providing some product or service, usually in exchange for money. Businesses are always looking to manage their costs and improve their revenues and more often than not, staff salaries represents one-third of all business costs.

So what about your techs, what should you expect to pay them? Well according to the Government of Canada (at the time of writing this article) the National average hourly rate is $16.91 (approx $36,000 per year) Of course this is the average data across all of Canada and ignores experience, location, supply and demand, and a host of other factors - but it’s a start.

- It Meets The National Average

As to the amount that Techs get paid, well that varies – in most cases it is equal to the National average (adjusted for location and experience). On the low side, you may often see techs willing to accept $10 per hour – probably when they’re starting out. The midrange is approximately $17 per hour (at least here in Ontario) with the more experienced and in-demand technicians earning $26 per hour and sometimes more.

- Pay Your Techs This…

But what happens if you don’t pay enough? Well you know the answer to that – your Techs feel ‘taken advantage’ and will ultimately leave you. But you can’t simply give in every time someone asks you for a pay raise – you need to find balance.

I suggest you might consider tying your Techs overall success to that of your business, perhaps a bonus or incentive scheme in addition to their salary. Naturally, these participation programs need to be considered carefully to avoid enthusiastic overselling of unwanted client services.

Handled properly paying your Techs on a performance basis would give them the ability to write their own paychecks. Go ahead, pay them what you can to hire them and keep them happy, but then why not let them pay themselves whatever they want… It can make for very good business.

Author: - James is a freelance writer and consultant


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