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9 ways to strategically navigate pricing on a labor marketplace

Enhance your competitive edge with effective pricing strategies

June 12, 2024

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Service leaders today face significant cost pressures despite the growth in managed services like physical security technologies, data center upgrades, and POS upgrades. The challenge is to ensure that the cost to serve doesn’t exceed the budget. Pricing work using independent contractors differs from third-party costs or full-time employee rates, and service executives may lack the market data to set rates by geography, skill set, or market shifts.

So, how do service leaders secure talented technicians on a labor marketplace and deliver great service at a competitive cost? Here are the top nine pay rate strategies and best practices that successful customers at Field Nation implement.

 

When PLANNING for a project…

1. Price with the Market in Mind

Market rates for contractors are dynamic and can shift based on population density, cost of living, work complexity or duration, availability of skilled labor, and other market shifts. Understanding market-wide pricing data for contract IT technicians can help you bid on jobs with confidence, dial in quotes, and get the right talent in place. On Field Nation, you can find hourly pay ranges based on the type of work you select when creating a work order. The MarketSmart Insights tool (available on Field Nation Premier) helps you understand coverage and pricing at a highly localized level to help you bid on and win more work.

Successful customers use market data to inform their pricing strategy instead of bringing a fixed cost to the marketplace. One of our customers increased their win rate by 75% by using MarketSmart Insights on more than 20 proposals and 6,000 sites in the last 12 months, expanding their business and developing a competitive advantage. Read their story.

2. Price Based on the Talent You Hope to Attract

If you need technicians with highly sought-after skills, you’ll need to pay a premium. For work with tight margins, prioritize finding talent closer to the job site and be willing to request at the advertised rate. Urgent or overnight work also demands a premium.

3. Be Strategic in Contract Negotiations

Including a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) clause in your service contracts can help manage long-term costs. These clauses adjust pay rates based on public price indexes, ensuring fair compensation over multi-year deals.

 

When EXECUTING a project…

4. Let the Type of Work Determine the Pay Rate Structure

Choose the appropriate pay structure—hourly, fixed, or blended—based on the work type, time to task, number of devices or installs per site, and budget requirements.

Project-Based Work:

  • Fixed Rate: Ideal for tasks with a predictable scope and duration. E.g., swapping out a credit card reader.
  • Hourly Rate: Best for tasks with many unknowns or high complexity. E.g., pulling cable to many devices overnight.

Troubleshooting:

  • Blended Rate: Recommended for most troubleshooting tasks where the time on site is uncertain. E.g., diagnosing and repairing a media player issue.
  • Hourly Rate: Suitable when the time to task is known and predictable. E.g., simple swaps with reliable diagnosis outcomes.

Scheduled Maintenance:

  • Fixed Rate: Appropriate for tasks with a known schedule and scope. E.g., replacing alarm sensor batteries annually.

Break/Fix:

  • Hourly Rate: Best when you can predict the time to fix based on past experience. E.g., pin pad swaps.
  • Blended Rate: Ideal for unpredictable outcomes. E.g., reimaging hard drives.

5. Build and Maintain Relationships

Use Talent Pools to engage technicians for more than a single work order. This builds durable relationships with trusted resources who know your work and end clients, which can also be cost-effective.

Align your go-to talent with specialized needs, outcomes, or skill sets to enable better relationships and service delivery outcomes. Some of our most successful customers create Talent Pools for after-hours support, specific SLAs, or specialized skills.

6. Build Loyalty with On-Demand Workers

Incentivize contract technicians appropriately. Examples include:

  • Incentives: Strengthen desired outcomes and build better relationships through pay rates and bonuses.
  • Bundling Work: Technicians can see the value of taking multiple work orders, gaining efficiency and experience.
  • Managed Recruitments: Proactively communicate the total value of upcoming work to improve fulfillment and establish new relationships.

7. Find Technicians Closer to the Site

Travel costs can add up, typically accounting for 5% of total project labor spend on the Field Nation marketplace. Use the “Providers” tab in a work order and MarketSmart Insights on Premier to find technicians closer to the work site, reducing travel expenses. Provide clarity on how to submit or categorize travel and other expenses. Remind technicians of reimbursement rates (e.g., for gas per mile) in each applicable work order.

 

To OPTIMIZE a project…

8. Regularly Analyze Pay Rates and Set Expectations

Continuously audit the estimated duration of tasks against the actual time logged. Set budget expectations for pay rates and expenses with your teams.

9. Establish Governance Around Counter-Offers

Establish governance around accepting counter-offers. Develop Talent Pools to drive rate predictability and provider engagement. Post work at a rate and pay rate structure (fixed, hourly, blended) that aligns with the scope and attracts suitable talent.

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