Landscapers Reveal Their Employee Bonuses


Question: How much do you give for employee bonuses? With the crazy COVID year we’ve had, things may have changed. I normally do 1% of their gross wages, but feeling that is a bit too light this year. With shutdowns, everything is getting more expensive—food, rent, housing. For my lead guy 1% is about $250. Which is a tiny fraction of what I take home at the end of the year. So I am leaning toward 2%. Really want to keep the guys I have on board for next year, as they are an invaluable asset.”

Percentages Of Pay

“That’s close to what I do. But I take the employee who worked the most hours and use that as a baseline. Then I give out based on that hourly figure. Example: Employee ‘A’ has worked 1800 hours so far = $300 bonus. Employee ‘B’ only worked 900 hours because he calls out constantly, or maybe is part time = $150 bonus.”

“Equal to 1.5 weeks of regular pay.”

“We give an additional 40 hour paycheck for Christmas to each employee.”

Not all employee rewards are bonuses. Lee Edwards, CEO, The Greenery, Inc. in SC presents a stock certificate during an annual distribution. The Greenery functions as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP. (Photo: The Greenery, Inc.)

Flat Rates

“I used to give a flat rate of $500 bonus. We had nine months of full work, and nothing after, except I would keep one guy on full time to help with odd jobs. The guys need something in the winter. It’s really got to be tough living on nine months of labor wages.”

“Yep, full timers get $500 here too.”

“$500 in cash when they pick up the final check of the year.”

“While $500 is not pocket change for me, I tell you it means a lot. Employees look forward to that all year long.”

“We do $400 before Christmas. Also, during the summer, we always have a BBQ for employees and their families. It may not seem like much, but the guys always talk about the BBQ and Christmas bonus well before they happen. It gives them something to look forward to.”

Timing & More

“I like to disperse it about two weeks before Christmas. Gives everyone a little more for gift giving.”

“I did mine the week after Thanksgiving when last paychecks were given out. It’s really just a great way to promote good morale and show appreciation.

“I give more money to my foremen. They do a lot more for the company. You should show them that they’re doing a good job and needed. Foremen are hard to replace.”

“We usually do a varying amount depending on the position. Crew leaders get more than crew members. In Quickbooks it has a check box to allow you to give a net check (after taxes) of whatever amount you choose and it will calculate the amount it needs for the taxes to leave you with the exact amount of the check you want.”

“We don’t give a year-end bonus. Maybe that’s crappy, but I feel we pay very well the entire year—as high as possible while staying on budget. However, I normally will take a similar amount of money and use it as a sign on bonus for next year. This way I’m only paying out for a returning worker.”

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