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TOPIC: On Call Incentives??

On Call Incentives?? 1 year 2 weeks ago #18728

Hi all. I have been recently tasked with finding a well structured system to make "on-call" more appealing. No one likes receiving a call at 2am just to find out that the call was not actually an emergency and only took 5 mins to respond to the resident. While the employee was only engaged for 5 mins, it will likely take the employee a lot longer to get back to bed, not really worth even reporting the 5 mins. I want to know what you all do, if anything, other than overtime, to make an on-call rotation more appealing. I know several utilities have great on-call incentives, so much so it is actually difficult to get an on-call shift as they fill up quickly. I realize their budgets are much larger. I look forward to reading your responses and I thank you for your time.
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On Call Incentives?? 1 year 2 weeks ago #18729

Hi Chris,

We pay an "On Call" fee for each rotation that a given employee is on call. It helps to offset the headache of always having the phone in reach, and the disturbance of making a phone call at inopportune times like you described.

We also pay a minimum amount of overtime (I think it's two hours) for each incident when the technician actually responds to the property after hours, no matter how briefly they are there.
  • Matt Clark
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On Call Incentives?? 1 year 1 week ago #18758

We pay a on call stipend to the person on call. We only pay the actual time on the job however I encourage the service team to have a conversation to evaluate the need (unless it's flood, fire, etc.) to respond after hours. Communicating with your residents on what constitutes an emergency is key to controlling calls as well. Most service team members had rather not come out if it can wait and they aren't looking to earn a second income off of overtime.
  • Linda Page
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On Call Incentives?? 1 year 6 days ago #18762

We do a "show up pay" if they have to return then we also pay drive time to get onsite then back to what they were doing. But drive time never really exceeds 1hr total. So if it is a 5min job they might get a total 50min of OT + the show up pay.

We also have extremely low emergency calls because of preventative maintenance, detailed turns, and good residents. We might average 1 call a month that requires an after hours return. Mother Nature and main drains causes most of our problems.
Last Edit: 1 year 6 days ago by Brian Lane.

On Call Incentives?? 11 months 1 week ago #18806

My husband and I work for two different companies that handle on call very differently.

At my location, we actually get no extra monetary stipend. If we are called out, we take that amount of time off during the day within the next few days.

At his, they receive $75 just to carry the phone for the week. They are paid overtime for an emergency call plus mileage to get there and back. They are paid a flat $25 for each lock out call.

His company also has sat down with their property managers and have written out a detailed policy as to what constitutes an emergency. For example, "My AC is not working" is not considered an emergency if the outside temperature is 50. At 80 it is. They occasionally run into a demanding tenant that won't take no for an answer when it is not considered an emergency. At that point the techs are given the authority to notify the tenant they will be charged for the call and going to fix the problem.

As always, remember preventive maintenance is key to fewer after hour calls. We have cut our calls back from three or four a week to three or four a month just by stressing preventive maintenance.

On Call Incentives?? 7 months 3 weeks ago #20804

Thank you for your response. If you don't mind will you please let me know how much the "on call fee" is.
  • Chris
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On Call Incentives?? 7 months 1 day ago #21258

Traveling the country and speaking to both Tech's and their Mgr.s I'm fascinated by the philosophical differences I find on this topic. From the Technician's viewpoint I don't see many "excited" by being on call as you state utility workers are. I've also found that the bonus or incentive is the exception rather than the rule. Kudo's to you for investigating this as a possibility.

The majority of frustration I hear from the on call person is the need to not cut our own throat. Meaning, as others have stated, that preventive maintenance is not given a priority. Or the need to keep OT low by taking the time spent in the evenings off the next day or two, thereby cutting the scheduled wrench time short for unscheduled tasks.

Management is frustrated at technicians that blame on call for every situation, or when a "band-aid" is placed on a problem and then not followed up on the next day.

IMO the solution to this is just what you are doing. Have a clear policy that the Leasing staff can review at move in so the resident is aware of what an emergency is and what it is not. Be sure that the policy is followed at all levels, not to use as the customer service nightmare response response of "that is not our policy so I'll be there tomorrow... Click..."

This policy is restated in the job description so that all new employees can set an expectation as to "family time" commitments to recognize that it is goes along with the job. It may be helpful to ensure a way to investigate an excessive amount of overtime on a community as being caused by a lack of personnel, time, accountability or training.

Many technicians are looking for their viewpoint and input (time and opinions) to be honored. Having a policy that allows for that "boots on the ground input" seems to be to be the path to success.
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Last Edit: 7 months 1 day ago by Paul Rhodes. Reason: delete misspelling

On Call Incentives?? 7 months 1 day ago #21259

Chris, we charge an hourly labor rate of $35 per hour.
Last Edit: 7 months 1 day ago by Tiffani Lara. Reason: Wanted to address the person who had the question.

On Call Incentives?? 2 months 3 days ago #24506

We may have a solution for you. We have a 24/7 contact center, but we can handle your after-hours calls whether that is for leasing or maintenance. For maintenance if it ends up not being an emergency we can simply place the work order in for them. If it's a true emergency we have a great calling tree that will ensure someone gets to the problem. We are very flexible and I would love to see if we can be a good solution for you. You can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I can provide you with more details and answer any questions you may have.

On Call Incentives?? 1 week 5 days ago #25827

We use an answering service to filter out what is truly an emergency vs something that can wait till the morning. Even then, some true emergencies can take 5 minutes to fix.

Right now we pay from the time the call was accepted to the time they leave the property. It's only overtime if they work more than a total of 40hrs for the week. None of the teams are complaining out loud but I'm sure there are some grumblings that I don't hear.

I am working on getting the teams that live off site a minimum number of hours. For the ones that live on site, the additional pay is built into their rent discount so I can't do much for them.
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