The window tint installers pay structure is probably one of the most talked about topics among owners in our industry. Do you pay hourly or commission? Having done both I can see the benefits on both sides for owners and installers as well.
Let’s first talk about commission.
Pay commission and installers are motivated to go fast and can be compensated for it. Labor costs are set and can’t increase for the job so sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, if installers are motivated by speed then it could affect other important attributes during an install like quality and customer service.
Pay hourly and whether installers are waiting around for a late customer or on a difficult job they will always be compensated fairly. But whether they go slow or fast they still make the same per day so motivation to go fast may be difficult.
In addition to all this, because we are in the great state of California, technically it is illegal to pay an installer on a commission only basis even if he makes 50k or 60k which way exceeds minimum wage. Reason for this is the state says they must be compensated for all their duties while not installing. ie: cutting film, talking to customers, driving to the job, etc. (See Gonzales vs. Downtown LA Motors) Now you can pay commission but you still have to track all their hours including lunches and breaks and then you can bonus them their total commission taking into account the hourly you’ve already paid.
So what's the answer?
I guess it depends on where you are in the country and how your shop is set up. After debating this for years we decided on a hybrid system. Because we are in California we have to pay hourly. But we actually still track all their square feet to see their efficiency. We make sure their hourly pay is in line with their production and we also bonus them on customer service and communication to ensure we motivate them to provide the best customer experience. It’s not perfect, but nothing is. Whatever commission structure you have, having the right employees is what really matters in the end.