Boss finds it cheaper to pay me by the project than by the hour

I work for a company that used to pay me hourly like any other typical full-time employee. I do not work under a contract with them. My boss is telling me that he no longer feels confident in paying me by the hour and would rather pay me per project. He feels like I have been working more slowly and it’s to his benefit that keep me there because despite my apparent slow speed, my technical abilities are solid. I may have been slowing a bit over the past couple of months, but it wouldn’t be severe to the point that the company is losing any money over it keeping me full-time.

Because of this, he has reduced my workload to one project at a time, and I’m on my first solo paid project right now. Leaving me with more idle time, (and since I’m no longer on hourly pay) I also decided to put in less hours a week to work while searching for another job.

He estimated that it would take around 60 hours to complete the project…no chance now. I’ve already put in over 50 hours and it looks to be at least a 100 hour project. But he told me it’s because I work very slowly. Since he thought I was taking three times as long to get the work done, I got paid 1/3 as much for the first two weeks of work (he multiplies the progress he sees by the project’s total cost for paying me) which honestly comes to less than $5 an hour. That’s a far cry from what I get paid on salary. Now I know you might say, if I still came in 40 hours a week I’d get more work done. To me it wouldn’t change a whole lot because the matter is I’d be getting paid about the same when you divide it per hour.

Do you think he just started putting me on low-budget projects to see how much work he could squeeze out of me? The strange thing is that despite him saying I am a slow worker, he’s not rushing me to a deadline. It beats getting fired for incompetence, but getting paid like this is humiliating.

If he knows I possess good technical skills, why doesn’t he give me work that apply those skills more efficiently? Then he would feel more confident in me. My guess is he doesn’t have such work for me.

+1, heck +10

If you really want to keep the job going you have to sort out where you fit in the mix… is it you, is it your boss, is it both. And regardless of what it is, what do you do about it? Perception is hard changed once set and often not worth the fight just to get “back”.

Yea, and also employers dont’ really get to just arbitrarily change the payscale unless they are such a special business that everyone wants to work there OR you are not a competitive worker and don’t have other options.

There is a marketplace for professional skills, and that marketplace determines your basic value. It’s not just about what someone wants to pay you.

Sounds like it might be better to start looking for other work.

I want to know what would be the best way to approach my boss and tell him that I am not comfortable with this new payment structure he has me on, and to negotiate for something better, and I also want to know if he’s undercutting me on purpose and just using slow performance as an excuse to pay me less.

I have been working for him for a little over a year and he thinks my performance for the most part has been stalling.

Did you just want to get it of your chest, or is there actualy something you want to ask?

That is not how I operate. If the OP wants to contact me by PM then that’s fine, otherwise let’s get back on topic :slight_smile:

Off Topic:

Yes, yes, life is full of misunderstandings. If you want to continue them, use the PM system. This is no such place and is, to be honest, trolling. Rudeness differs across language barriers. Perhaps the ‘From Italy With Love’ under Guido’s name might have given a hint as to a possible culture difference. Or perhaps the link to the blog, which is written in Dutch, in the signature.

I’ve worked for exactly the same kind of person recently. I decided for my own good to leave it, as the awful money wasn’t worth what I was putting up with. It really gets you down when you’ve worked for clients/companies giving 10x the hourly wage, 4x the manners and next to no bs. But when you need the money, and nothing better comes your way, you need it.

The truth is your boss needs you. Use that - in a subtle way. If he adds to projects, asks you technical questions; everything he asks for which isn’t paid for, deny or charge. Now you’re not working per hour, suck the most out of the ‘per project’ pay as you can. Make it more expensive for your boss to do it the way he is.

When you’ve got enough in the bank to last you a couple of weeks, find some more work. Until then, stay right where you are.

Again Sagewing :rolleyes:

How? I was defending. Sounds like you misinterpreted the comment.

Indeed, but when you’ve been through the same type of thing you actually have a position from which you can speak and offer advice. Not everyone comes from a San Francisco where every IT company showers their employees with money and love.

How? I was defending. Sounds like you misinterpreted the comment.

How dare you be so damn rude? a sitepoint advisor? what the heck? who do you think you are? Offer the poor guy some advice! it’s not difficult.

@dwallen, just find a new employer the current one is a true deadbeat. Don’t worry about your speed, when you burn out working fast for deadbeats you tend to get slower over time. Some people (not all) expect way too much these days, and for very little.

I suspect you misread the intent there NetNerd85. It sounds to me like clarification of the intention of the OP rather than rudeness.

I suspect guido2004, as it’s very clear, didn’t bother to even read the entire post otherwise it would have been very clear, everyone else got the point of the post. The first part is backstory, the setup to the question, laying out the situation. However you wish to put it. No, guido2004 was simply rude, it’s clear, you know it as well - be honest. Unless you prefer to defend the staff rather than care for visitors?

At the very least guido2004 could have said it much better.

It sounds like you misinterpreted the comment completely. And, ironically, yours was by far the rudest post I’ve read in a while :slight_smile:

And one more thing, be careful about giving such strong and definitive advice when you’ve only heard one side of the story. Do you really know that the employer is a ‘true deadbeat’ or are you just throwing that around with no knowledge his side of the situation. Maybe the employee performance is awful and the employer is doing his best - you never know.

For someone who accused someone else of being rude, you were quite rude yourself.

Oh right, this topic again :wink: Sorry for not responding sooner. Glad to hear some more sound advice, and getting it back on topic.

I don’t think my employer is a total deadbeat. There has just been one case where he was able to move the goalposts because at the start, it wasn’t made clear to me what the short term goals for the project’s first phase was. He barely gives any feedback daily (I usually have to poke and prod him during his busy day if I wanted a reaction), so I assumed that everything was going right on schedule.

Also, I tend to work a lot quicker with a lot of stuff piled on me. I like a constant influx of work. If my workload is more barren, I end up working slower. Ironically, my boss’s attempt to remedy the situation of slow performance is by giving me less work.

Well, we have all the goals set out now. If he asks for something more I will ask him how much more I will get paid for it. The first step I thought about is ask my boss to give me more paid work (other projects).

if you’re not making the money per hour then maybe you have to try and quote more accurately and before taking on the project. but anyway you need to look for another boss :wink:

An assumption is made here. I don’t get to make the quotes- my boss does, based on his stated budget for the project. Just one more reason to find another job I guess :slight_smile:

If you’re going to continue to work for this boss, it sounds like the two of you need to set some guidelines for the projects you’re working on. A definitive date deadline and an estimated number of hours should be agreed upon before you start. I get the feeling you’re not sharing/understanding the whole story, and there seems to be at the very least a perception problem. If he feels he’s not getting a proper effort out of you, then you’ve got a much bigger problem because he/she doesn’t trust your effort and/or honesty.

From reading this, it kind of sounds you got had. You have a skill and he has a project. A client should not be determing the # of hours a project takes or they will always low ball it everytime. I would definitely look for alternative work.

I really agree with this perspective - something doesn’t add up. It’s not clear what the whole situation is, but imagine the possibilities:

  • If everything you say is accurate and there is nothing else to tell, then your boss is not a good manager and you should be able to find a new position elsewhere.

  • Perhaps everything you say is accurate, but perhaps you didn’t mention that your boss is unhappy with your productivity and is looking for ways to keep you on without firing you for non-performance.

  • Perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle. Maybe your boss is trying to keep you on while looking for a replacement for you.

There are so many factors. Depending on the ‘whole story’ it would be easy to know what to do. Are there many other employees who are happy? Is your boss experienced? What’s the full deal?

It sounds to me that he is testing you.

You say that you slow down with less work… why? If it’s because you get bored, that’s not very good. if you want to get switched back to hourly, impress him. Blow through the project under the number of hours he allocated… don’t make it take twice as long. If you can work faster with stuff piled on you, why can’t you work faster with less work?