How are you paid in a commission-based job??
December 3, 2011 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for anecdata about the wage structure for jobs that have hourly pay plus tips or commissions.

For a class I'm teaching next week, I would like some examples of how people are paid in jobs that have hourly pay plus tips or commissions. Something like, "if you work at XYZ Store, you get paid $7 per hour plus a 10% commission on all sales".

So, if you work or have worked at that kind of job, could you please share the details of how you were paid? It would also be helpful if you could add a rough idea of how much you made in tips or commissions. Thank you!
posted by kayram to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most restaurants pay $2.83/$2.84 hourly plus tips for servers. Some (where there are lower tips) pay $5 hourly plus tips. An example of that was a small pizza shop I applied to. Bussers and food runners often get paid $5 hourly plus tip-out (an amount servers take out of their tips to pass on to them). Some restaurants pay hosts/hostesses hourly, some also get a tip-out.

Tips vary greatly greatly depending on location and season. At a suburban restaurant with a slow summer crowd, a server might work 3 hours and make $15 in tips. Same time period, in the city, a server might work 5 hours at lunch and make $100-200. Part of the nature of the business is that it's incredibly variable.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:39 AM on December 3, 2011

Pizza delivery at Doubledaves, circa 2003:

- Drivers were paid minimum wage (at that time it was something like $6.25/hr)
- We got $1.00 per delivery to cover gas
- We also got tips (that we didn't report to the company or anything - they didn't want to know.) Tips were generally around $2.00 a delivery, although they ranged from nil to $5.00
- Depending on the night, we might get three deliveries or fifteen in the same four-hour shift.

Inside staff made waitstaff wages plus tips, and in general made a lot less, I think. I don't know the exact details, though.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:41 AM on December 3, 2011

As a barista, I made $6/hr plus tips (this was way back in 2001). Tips varied by time of day I was working, who was working the cash register (we splitb tips equally, and the beautiful friendly females on staff could really do well for us all), and the weather outside.
posted by sugarbomb at 10:51 AM on December 3, 2011

When I waitressed (Chicago, mid-'90s, at upscale places and neighborhood bars) I got paid $2-and-change an hour (whatever the minimum rate for waitstaff was at the time) plus tips. No benefits of any kind. One of the places I worked (a neighborhood bar) paid me this under the table, while the others had me on payroll.

Tips varied greatly, but on the whole, I made bad money at the fancy places and decent (and occasionally great) money at the bar. Some nights I walked out of the fancy place with as little as $20 or $30 in my pocket after a 6- or 8-hour shift, after tipping out the busboys and kitchen staff.
posted by scody at 10:56 AM on December 3, 2011

Oh, and I also worked commission at a department store (Abraham & Straus, no longer in existence -- I think it was bought out by Macy's) in New Jersey in 1991 or '92. I can't remember what I was paid, though I recall it was a bit above regular minimum wage (which was around $4.50 at the time, I think) plus a 5% commission.
posted by scody at 11:06 AM on December 3, 2011

I work in the kitchen as a dishwasher and get $9 an hour plus tip out. Something like $1 for every 10-15 people that come in.

I get a paycheck for my hourly pay. I get handed cash for the tip out. Company doesn't care how much cash I get, I just get the hourly paycheck.

I usually leave with around $2/person who tips me out. Unless it's ridiculously slow I can pretty much count on $5 every night.

Server assistants and hostesses are the same basic structure, but the hourly and how the tip out is determined are different. I got $8/hour as an SA when I did that. No idea about hostess hourly pay.

SAs get (IIRC from when I did that) about 15-20% of the sales total from servers/bartender. They can pretty much count on $20 total a night. Hostess seems to get about the same tip out as me.

Servers get (somewhere south of $3/hour + tips) - tip out. Bartenders are the same except a different hourly rate. At the end of the night they add up all the receipts and tips and report that. At the end of every night they leave with cash, roughly $=(cash in hand-order total)+tips left on a card. Sometimes they have to give the restaurant money, sometimes the restaurant has to give them money. $100/night seems to be where most people put the line between good and bad shifts.

They tip out dishwasher, SA, hostess, and bartender an amount determined by the computer which (depending on the position) is determined by sales or the amount of work the server made that person do. For example, the bartender making a drink for a server might in a world with easy math get $1 per drink.

If there's a large party (think 15+ people) or something we'll sometimes have servers/bartenders share a table. When this happens 1 server will officially have the big table and the other will have the other tables. This usually only happens when we have 2 servers on the floor though. When we have 3 they usually just decide who's going to get the big table and attempt to make the number of guests even out.* Sometimes, but very rarely, the bartender will share a table with a server in this type of situation.

Managers get manager pay. If they're managing and serving/bartending they also get the tips from that. Every once in a while we'll have a manager be the hostess. I'm pretty sure they don't get tipped out for that. I'm not sure at all if they get tipped out if they're bartending.

*And this is why you always make reservations for a large party. When we have 12 tops walk in it always throws the numbers way off and people end up getting triple and quadruple sat in an attempt to even things out. No one gets good service when the waiter has to run around all over the restaurant to take care of people who are all ordering and getting food sent out at the same time. I mean, there's a reason why restaurants rotate people between sections or servers. Use some common sense.
posted by theichibun at 11:09 AM on December 3, 2011

I earn an hourly wage plus tips as a massage therapist at a chiropractic clinic.

My hourly wage is $35 for most of the work I do, which includes spot work to prepare clients for chiropractic adjustments, as well as hour-long table massages.

For Living Social clients I only get $20 per hour. My chiropractor said that I could choose not to accept LS if I wanted, but right now I am doing so since I am trying to build my client base at this new place.

My tips vary from $0-$20 for self-pay clients. For massages paid for by worker's comp or insurance we are not allowed to accept tips. Tips have very little relationship to the value I feel I provided; I have gotten good tips from people to whom I gave a basic relaxation massage, and no tip from people for whom I have provided very specific relief from injuries or medical conditions, or for whom I have gone above and beyond in some way, such as taking extra time at the end to give them exercises or stretches.

At my previous massage job at a different chiro clinic, I earned $25/hour for table massages and $20 for event chair massages. That chiropractor sent an email out to the massage therapists that we were no longer allowed to accept tips, period, which is one of the reasons I left.
posted by parrot_person at 4:41 PM on December 3, 2011

I'm a hostess in a medium-fancy restaurant in Lousiana. I get $8 plus "tip share", which is based on overall sales, but is provided by the servers. If I'm the only host/ess on, I get a bigger chunk of the tip share, but it averages out to around $1.50 an hour extra, which is pretty significant. I get tip share added to my biweekly paycheck--no cash tip-out for me. The servers make $2.16 plus tips, and if tips don't add up to at least minimum wage, they get min. wage hourly--that rarely happens, though. Our servers don't even really get paychecks, they just take home their tips. Bartenders make $6 plus tip share and bar tips, I believe. The servers generally make more than me per day, even though I made more per hour, and the bartenders (who also wait tables) make the most of all.

Servers usually get at least one terrible tip (like $2 on a $100 tab, or zilch) per shift, no matter how good they are. Everyone likes getting parties of 6 or more, which have an automatic 18% tip added. Generally, the more demanding customers are, the worse they tip, though there are exceptions.

Most restaurants also include a meal (a simpler "family meal", like lasagna) per shift, but ours only does it every so often, or we can order at half price. This is lame; family meal (and it is "family meal", not "A family meal") is standard at most non-corporate places, and considered part of compensation.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 1:59 AM on December 4, 2011

Mid 90s pizza delivery...I got minimum wage, plus a percentage of my deliveries which was technically my auto reimbursement. plus tips. The tips and percentage (I think it was 7%) went home with me as cash every night. On a weekend night I typically went home with around $100 in my pocket. The small no name pizza company offered me a full time job running a store, with stock options. My ego couldn't deal with running a pizza shop as my career, so I passed.

I wonder how much those Papa Johns stock options ended up being worth? Doh!
posted by COD at 7:11 AM on December 4, 2011

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