We have all heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for” and unsurprisingly, there is a lot of truth to this saying. Some subcontractors wish for piece-work rates and believe it to be the answer to their problems. Piece rates fix concerns and risks on costs of goods installed. Piece-work is also fair, as it punishes slow workers, rewards high producers and eliminates bidding risks. It seems that this is the way to go and superior to the traditional practice of hourly wages. However, there is a flip side. After having experience in the piece-rate world, most might want to re-think this seemingly simple and easy path to prosperity.
A specialty subcontractor should have the knowledge and skill of their specialty craft. These experts—through decades of experience—can evaluate workers, spot problems and adjust to situations all the while optimizing production to deliver a quality project for the owners and a decent profit for themselves. The more skilled and experienced the subcontractor, the better they are than the competition. This is the reward for being a pro, a master at your craft, and utilizing your specialty trade knowledge. At least this is what should happen. Although, all those years you spent gaining knowledge and experience could become a moot point in a piece-work world.