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Thread: $7 an hour and nothing in between

  1. #1

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    Hi. I drive limo in L.A. and just found out that my wages = $7/hour. Plus the included hourly tip, and any other extra tip the customer may wish to add.

    However, I do not get paid for the "in between" time... the time between runs where I have to come back, switch limos, clean them, put gas in them (but I don't pay for the gas)... nor for the time before the first run, and cleaning up and doing the paperwork after the last run. Also, my employer has me using my personal cellular phone to communicate with the clients during the runs. They had given it out without even bothering to tell me about it.

    My question is... Is it legal to not get paid between the runs??

    Living in LA, it really is outrageous to be paid like this. I am working as much as 16 hours a day and sometimes only get paid for half those hours! (traffic here is bad!)

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    Mr. Luff: I hope you direct this Guy to RUN not walk to his nearest Wage/hour office.
    David E. Merrill

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    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    As long as employee's allow crooks to get away with it, they will do it!

    If you're not happy, move on. Someone else is in line ready to take your place.

    Akin to someone enlisting into the Army Combat Arms program then crying about being sent to Iraq.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
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    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    Sorry I am short on time today so this may be brief. Starting with,

    If you don't like the situation, get the hell out. As Gunny said below, someone will take your job about an hour later an be happy they have one.

    Did no one explain to you how they pay before you took the car keys? I am in California too. In fact, just over the hill from you. I pay my people on average, $12 to $15 per hour not including tips. I pay 45 minutes before your first run of the day and 45 minutes after to take care of the aforementioned paperwork, fuleing, pretrip inspection etc.

    Each "job" is considered a "job" so you would not be on my clock for 16 hours either. Nor would you be assigned to runs during a 16 hour span. in MOST cases, you would work early morning, day, evening or late night.

    On a day like today, we have a major concert tonight. Many of my people that worked this morning from 5:00am to say 10:00am will come back and work again tonight for the concert. Because THEY WANT TO. A guy who worked an LAX drop off would be paid for 6.5 hours on a trip that averaged 5.0 roundtrip from Bakersfield. When he comes back to work 7:00pm to 11:00pm he will be paid 5.5 more more hours. YOU might consider this an 18 hour day. We consider it a 12 hour day.

    While David mentioned going to the Labor board, I don't advocate that. It is what is in Los Angeles and I don't wish government grief on any operator. The operator makes a decision on how he pays, right or wrong and employees have the OPTION of taking it or leaving it. How bad do you need/want the job?

    I'm not saying it is right. I'm saying, that's how it is where you work. Care to move 90 miles north to a lower economy? I pay better and obviously provide a better work environment.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Limousine Scene - An Award Winning Company Since 1990
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    I know what you Guys are saying that if you don't like the working conditions then move on but what this "Employer" is doing is not lawfull and by doing it gives him an unfair advantage over thoes who are paying properly. Just like the Guy who does not pay his taxes or Carries workers Comp. can operate a lot cheaper than you and can theirfore offer a lower rate to the public. I don't think $7 is asking for time when he is not on duty, (like Jim mentioned A.M. runs and come back for a concert) he is asking to be paid for time he is on duty like driving to the job site and back to the base. I know you pay your people for that. As most of you know, I drive a school Bus and a Charter Bus on the week ends. At the school I get paid a flat rate for my route pay ($54.00 for working 3 hours a day) I work from 6:30 A.M. to 8:00 A.M. I go home. I come back in at 2:30 P.M. I go home at 4:00 P.M. If I do a field trip during the day or after school I get I get paid an hourly rate for every hour I am gone plus 15 min pre/trip and 15 Min post/trip.

    On the charter Bus I get an hourly rate for on duty/driving and a lesser rate for just on duty (like loading or on stand by). When I log off duty I do not get paid but my expenses are covered if I am out of town. I am paid for dead head because I have to log this as on duty driving. I have many trips that the dead head exceeds the live miles but I still get paid. This is not rocket science why can't some of these operators get it right. I guess they just choose not to.

    Under federal motor carrier guidlines for Bus Drivers which is what we really are, when you are off duty, you are free to do what you want and are not responsible for the vehicle or it's contents. I'll bet if he is off duty (not being paid) and sme one vandelized the vehicle, he would be held responsible by his employer. Another way to look at it would be when ever he would be able to collect workers comp fo a job related injury, he would be considered "on the Clock"
    David E. Merrill

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    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    And my brother the Home Improvement Contractor bitches about having to drive his POV 30 miles south to load materials at the shop for a job 10 miles north of him with no comp.

    Sure everyone in the burbs would love to have their bosses pay for gas, vehicle & time driving to the office in the city also.

    If pricing is based on time from point a (customers location) to point b (destination), tough call to pay driver to travel from shop to point a (job location).

    The vehicle is the tool of the trade provided to the driver at no cost and all have a responsibilty to keep the tools up to par to accomplish the job.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
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    OK Gunny just for S and G lets say that you have a two hour Limo job 90 miles away and your rate is $60.00 an hour. You would just charge the Customer $120.00 and eat the 180 miles of dead head? I don't. I assume if you charge a minimum you are getting paid for the dead head.

    Here is how I have to charge customers when they charter a bus through me. It is 110 miles from the Owosso terminal where the Bus is dispatched from. The company allows 55 free miles each way. There for 220 round trip, 110 free 110 miles charged at $3.00 per dead head mile. $330.00 just to get the Bus to west Branch and back to Owosso. Now once they loaded, then they go to live mile rate of $4.10 per mile. If the number of live miles does not meet the 5 hour minimum charge of $656.00 then the customer pays the greater of the minimum or the live mileage charge.

    So when I have a 48 or 55 Pax Bus come to West Branch to do a 5 hour wedding, the cost is $986.00 for a 5 hour minimum. That Driver is paid from the time he walks in the Building in Owosso until the time he walks out at a union Bus Driver rate in excess of $13.00 per hour.

    This is the way it "should" be done but in most cases it is done just like $7 describes.

    Come on Steve, you are a Driver advocate what say you.
    David E. Merrill

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    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    David, I wouldn't entertain taking a job 90 miles out unless there were compelling circumstances to do so & then there would be compensation for the travel time.

    Bottom line to avoid another "Beat The Dead Horse" thread:

    Someone walks into a limo shop and applies for the job.

    During the course of the interview, method of pay comes up.

    At that moment the applicant for the job has one or two choices; take it or say no thanks and continue the job hunting.

    All about choices.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
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    Welcome Seven!

    Seems as though you just started your job so I am glad you are questioning this now. The way your employer is paying you is a labor law violation in California and I will give you the link to file a wage claim but you being there for so little time I would question if it was even worth the bother.
    California Wage Claim

    The even more bad news is that you will find this same situation in almost every other limo company you go to so that's not much of a solution either.

    So all that's left is to try and change the way you get paid. Now as some of the others have said you took the job and if you don't like it leave and there will be someone else to take your job. While that is mostly true there is the other side of the coin to consider. Contrary to some of the talk on this message board bosses like to have good employees who make them money and do not cause them any headaches. So to me the answer is simply. You have to prove you are one of those employees. Once you do then you start to dictate what and how you get paid. You have to be willing to walk away from the job but do not sell yourself short that you are not worth more.

    So my strategy would look something like this:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE>The first 90 days you are on sort of a proving yourself period
    <LI>Take the pay they offer you with no complaints.
    <LI>Do a good job
    <LI>have a positive attitude
    <LI>be willing to learn
    <LI>admit to your mistakes
    <LI>follow the rules to the letter
    <LI>take every job that is give you with no complaints (unless unsafe do to fatigue)[/list]


    <UL TYPE=SQUARE>At 90 days have a meeting with your boss and ask how you are doing (you should get a positive review at this point).
    <LI>Explain to him while you love the job and want to have a very long term position with his company the pay is not enough.
    <LI>Detail what it is exactly you will need to have your pay level be at.
    <LI>Not only how you want to be paid (according to proper law) but how much.
    <LI>Explain to him/her this has to start in 2 weeks and if it does not consider this your 2 weeks notice of quit.
    <LI>Either you will get fired on the spot or he will tell you in 2 weeks your done or you will get what you want in 2 weeks.[/list]
    If you get fired or do not get your pay changes (to conform to the law) then at that point you would file a wage claim for the lost wages you suffered for the last 90 days. Of course you should keep very accurate records of every job you did and the times involved as you will need these for evidence.

    Then start looking for a new company to work for but make sure and get these wage questions answered up front next time.

    Good Luck!
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

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    At that moment the applicant for the job has one or two choices; take it or say no thanks and continue the job hunting.
    While I completely agree with you gunny I am sure most operators do not detail the fact of all the hours the person will be working off the clock. I am sure they try to emphasize the large gratuites that are coming thier way. And when they say $7.00 an hour most normal thinking people would expect that would mean and include all hours they are at work. It's not till they get thier first paycheck that the calculator starts coming out! No wonder turnover is so high at most limo companies!

    I am sure you are thorough when hiring but I hear to much of this scenario to think everyone is like you.
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    I absolutely loved your response Steve except for the last paragraph which demonstrates nothing be spitefulness to teach the operator a "lesson".

    The response was quite practical and if someone used your approach that had in fact proved himself, I would without a doubt consider his request for a pay increase.

    While I can replace a chauffeur with a "driver" in an hour, it takes time (= $) to turn a driver into a chauffeur. No operator wants to start over when you have someone doing a great job.

    It is pathetic to be paying $7 an hour for the type of work expected. I can guarantee you that the operation has low rates, old cars, crappy clients and is NOT an upstanding operation at that rate.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Limousine Scene - An Award Winning Company Since 1990
    Bakersfield, CA
    Limousines, Sedans, Vans, Charter Buses, Limo-Buses, Wheelchair Vans www.limousinescene.com

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    According to $7 it appears that he is only getting $7.00 per contract hour which is a way of life in Detroit. Many don't even pay that much because you can "get away with" paying $2.65 per hour for tipped Employes in Michigan provided the Tips a kept track of. (yeah right)
    David E. Merrill

  13. #13
    Super Moderator gunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Limo Scene:

    It is pathetic to be paying $7 an hour for the type of work expected. I can guarantee you that the operation has low rates, old cars, crappy clients and is NOT an upstanding operation at that rate.
    A respectful disagreement Big Dawg. $7. an hour base plus grat can easily equate to $15-$30. per hour pay depending on the vehicle & pricing.

    Question would be, what percentage of cash jobs & grat do bellyaching drivers claim as income?

    Always 2 sides to the coin.
    Airport Limo Service Spring Hill, Brooksville, Citrus County FL
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  14. #14
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    "which demonstrates nothing be spitefulness to teach the operator a "lesson"."

    Oh but Jim I do feel they need to be taught a lesson do you not agree? They are doing something illegal do people not desrve a lesson for breaking the law? Do we feel bad for the illegal operators that get busted? Do we say they should be allowed to operate and compete against us just becase we would not wish government intervention on anyone? Or can we pick and choose which laws we think are good and witch ones we should disreguard?

    Truth is even if seven won his case and got an extra grand after 90 days the operator can still go on paying their employees anyway they likes . There is no follow up enforcement. So I do not think it is all that big of a "lesson" just a mild enough headache. If they get enough headaches maybe a change will take place.

    Now the Music Express $2.2 million settlement that was a lesson!!
    Steve Walker ppvsteve@gmail.com

  15. #15

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    Hi everyone. Thank you very much for the wealth of responses. I had not anticipated my question would elicit such an animated discussion.

    Mr. Steve W is right on the money (pun not intended).... When I started the job, my boss made me believe that I was getting "about $20 an hour." The word "7" never appeared in the conversations, and since I had worked limo for a short time many years ago, I (mistakenly) assumed that it was $20 an hour PLUS my tips. When I got my first check it was only then that I discovered it was "about $20" for EVERYTHING... wages and tips!

    I have already quit the job, I know what you are saying about proving my worth by working faithfully and as best as I can and then ask to be paid properly. But the fact is, this kind of money will not get me through my bills and rent. And the fact that they had deliberately not told me exactly how much they would be paying me at the start, gives me the feeling that they really are scamming their employees and are not likely to give me the pay I deserve if I asked for it in the future. True -- one of the clients I drove for casually mentioned that he noticed that this company never has the same drivers, always a new driver each time he rides.

    Thank you also for the link for the Wage Claim, I shall look into it and see if it is worth it. I've seen the other limo drivers in this company and it looked like they didn't have a clue either to what was going on. I wouldn't want more good drivers/chauffeurs to be exploited this way. If I do file a wage claim, who knows how it will affect the company... maybe it will change things for the better or maybe like you guys said it's just going to be just another headache for them and then it's back to the old ways. I can only hope it's the former.

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