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Do any of your offer a profit-sharing model for your staff?


New Member
I'm thinking of offering some sort of profit-sharing incentive for my team.

Right now I'm thinking of perhaps 15% of our quarterly profits being set aside and split amongst the team.

My hope is this will motivate them to take more pride in their work, to pressure each other to make less mistakes ($$$), work harder, and make them be more considerate of when is the right time to add additional team members (i.e. if their bonus pool is being split by another member, they may choose to work a little harder before we grow the team).

I'd also hope it helps make them a bit more considerate of the mistakes they make having a true cost (to me)... It's not simply a pain because they have to redo something.

What are your thoughts? Have any of you tried something like this?


Very Active Signmaker
I wouldn't be a fan of that. They can't "really" control the profit on the jobs you take in. A surprise bonus is more appreciated then an "expected" percentage.

$$ isn't the top thing that makes people happy in a job (after basic needs are met). I'd be a fan of extra paid time-off or flexible schedule.

People make mistakes and I don't think anyone enjoys redoing work over (even if there is no cost to them). I make mistakes and it's frustrating but it happens. I had employees make mistakes and a few is OK and really expected. What I don't like is sloppy work or mistakes due to rushing. When an employee was making those kinds of mistakes, I looked into whether or not that employee was in the right position or maybe had some other stuff going on personally that was taking a told on him/her. I had one employee a year or two ago that had a steady increase in mistakes and sloppy work and it ended up being a side-effect of substance abuse. Day they tested positive was their last day of employment with me.


Active Member
We have proffit sharing. Not sure the percentage... It's usually around 2k a year.

The guy who's always asleep in the corner gets the same 2k as the guy who's working his ass off. It's not really a good motivator, to be honest.

I hate making mistakes... Not because of the proffit. Media is cheap... Split between xx people it's even cheaper. I hate throwing away money, no matter who's money it is.

If you want to motivate employees, pay a good wage. Set aside that 15% proffit and use it for annual bonuses for employees who are doing good. Guy a makes 20% less mistakes this year and is still improving? Have a raise. That employee will, or should appreciate you noticing his hard work and continue trying to Improve.

Someone go above and beyond what they normally do? Hand out a $100 gift card to a fancy restaurant.... Etc.

Active rewarding beats pooled rewards. Not everyone puts in effort.... So not everyone should benefit from whatever you decide to do.

Train people into realizing if they do good work it gets rewarded. It'll be far more effective than rewarding them and hoping they improve because of it.


Go Bills!
If your looking for your workforce to be more proficient I would think a performance based bonus would be the incentive to get there.

Giving everyone a share of the profit does nothing to give the people who are making your profit more profitable...


New Member
We do yearly profit sharing and it's tiered based on total hours worked. We also have incentives for weekly goals and when we finish a major job we treat ourselves sometimes lunch or individual perks (concert tickets, gift cards, etc)


Active Member
We've considered it, but there really wasn't any increase in productivity. It just becomes one more thing to keep track of. I think StarSign's method is probably the best method if you were to offer it.


Active Member
As with anything else, it's impossible to take a blanket approach to such an individualized scenario and business decision.

Our little three person shop with two of the three being owners is quite different than a 25 person shop with millions in revenue and volume based approach.

My 40 year sign industry experience as both an employee and owner as well as my wife's lifelong food service management and business ownership experience drives our approach. We offer performance based bonuses and other perks throughout the year and a well considered year end bonus if it is deserved. As I write this, our newest hire is 45 minutes overdue without a phone call which has happened multiple times in less than a month's employment. Say no more.

I regret stereotyping an entire generation but EVERY person under 40 that we've hired has made the same promises of reliability, commitment, multi-tasking abilities, etc. before being hired and then within a very short time has presented almost identical behaviors after being hired.

I will say that we've regretted it whenever we've placed tangible benefits in play immediately upon hiring and BEFORE an employee has had a chance to prove their commitment, reliability and self-motivation. It's one thing to illustrate and offer whatever benefits and incentives you decide on during the hiring process, but make it clear that those perks only kick in AFTER a predetermined probationary period of time is successfully concluded and the hiring is considered permanent.


Active Member
It's a slippery slope and employees come to expect it. When it goes down or doesn't come at all, then morale goes down with it. There is no real good way to incentivize work ethic, productivity or care, its an internal trait that is either there or not. No employee is going to suddenly get better because you gave them a bonus and if they do, then Id say that is a problem within itself. Career advancement seems to be a much better motivator if you have positions to grow into.


Premium Subscriber
Many years ago, we offered all kindsa sharing with employees. No one was ever satisfied and we always tried to please our employees. Back then we were an 8 man shop. When the employees were given a choice, they always opted for just better pay year-around, instead of incentives. Okay, so we pay on your worth. Years later, most employees wanna know what extra they're gonna get for doing their jobs. I usually said, you're paid to work and you're paid rather well. Why do you think you deserve more money ?? Because you're doing it correctly ?? Maybe...... because you're getting the job done ?? Or maybe, just maybe, you just want more for doing what you agreed to when you were hired, with yearly raises in money and benefits ??

Anymore, it's not open for discussion, but when we have a nice job come through, I will explain to everyone, individually, if this thing goes without any major hiccups, everyone will get a bonus when we get paid. So, they start to compare and wanna know why Susie made more than Gary or Bob ?? Maybe it's because of what Susie did and her pay scale ?? Why don't we all make the same ?? So, this kinda sh!t really doesn't get discussed anymore.

Incentives, hmmmmm why can't people just do their jobs, do them to the best of their ability and stop bellyaching for something they should already be doing in the first place ??

When you hire someone, did you discuss.... Okay Billie, if you do your job halfa$$ed, you get $XX amount, but if you do it correctly, you'll get $XX amount ??

Isn't it funny how when someone needs to be somewhere after work, how fast they get the job done, so they can skedaddle right at 5 ??


New Member
If you are going to offer profit sharing you need to make sure you keep your employees informed on the health of the company, but you also need to have goals on the profit that they share (10% increase or higher for example). A few years ago we realized our weekly goals were too low and it turned into an expected reward. Once we raised them our employees were more in tune to the work coming in and aware of the "business" side of things. It also made them watch the process with more of a fine tooth comb. Making sure we were charging properly for the jobs being done. It is a slippery slope and once you put it in place is even worse to take it away.


Go Bills!
I remember my first job at a sign shop when my boss would flip me a $100 bill every once in a while and tell me thanks for doing a good job, don't tell anyone I gave this to you.

I already had the work ethic, but getting noticed and rewarded for it made it good.

Until I realized I could do this myself and make more money.....


Johnny Best

Active Member
Worked at a large sign company when I was young, had Profit Sharing. When ever someone saw you wasting something the joke was that you were cutting into my Profit Sharing. Turned out right before the end of the year when everyone was suppose to get their Profit Share money, found out the boss ran off with the comptroller and the Profit Sharing money!
Boss's wife took over the business and it went down quickly and was sold. You have to have an honest person running the business if that is going to work, just give everyone a raise during the year and if there is money left over and can save money instead of paying taxes on it, give everyone a year end bonus at the Christmas party.

Johnny Best

Active Member
I regret stereotyping an entire generation but EVERY person under 40 that we've hired has made the same promises of reliability, commitment, multi-tasking abilities, etc. before being hired and then within a very short time has presented almost identical behaviors after being hired.

Just hire someone over 40 years old and when you meet him or her for the first time, see if they are wearing a watch.
I remember a generous boss buying me a Timex ("takes a licken but keeps on ticken") because I was always late. To this day I still wear a watch every day.
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Active Member
StarSign this is similar to what we do, reward the overachievers.

you are being paid to a task, you do said task you get paid and keep your job.
you do said task + extra, you get paid + extra (these perks can be a wide range of options, depending on what the bosses are feeling)

The perk I liked the best is when I got a VIP card/certificate to Texas De Brazil restaurant.


New Member
401k and profit sharing are great benefits for owners employee alike. We started with profit sharing in 1992. For many years we were able to bonus 15% of annual earnings, it was okay until one guy resigned, didn't understand the S&P 500 indies can be lower in December than January!

We had a couple lines that were very profitable and sharing the profit is always better with employees is better than sharing profit with government.

I was pissed at that guy and decided polled profit sharing was a bad idea. We set up a true 401k, great decision!

The maximum deferrel continues to increase annually, with the catch up provision for being over 50, the max is $24500 (I think). As owners my wife and I are able to defer about $50k for retirement annually.

We can make a determination annually the profit sharing amount. Every dollar in profit sharing reduces income tax by 25% and eliminates payroll and unemployment tax.

These pland are all templates now and quite simple to setup.

Have a nice weekend and BOILER UP!

Johnny Best

Active Member
Death and taxes. I have 401Ks and IRAs and they are great savings for retirement and you save on taxes, but, now that I am over 70 and a half years old the government starts to tax you and you have to start taking your money out. Just got filling all the forms out for an Annuity, IRAs and the 401K I also have. Had to do my wife's also since she is the same age as I am. Also set it up to be distributed to my children when I die so the government won't get it. Fun stuff.


Old member
Just hire someone over 40 years old and when you meet him or her for the first time, see if they are wearing a watch.
I remember a generous boss buying me a Timex ("takes a licken but keeps on ticken") because I was always late. To this day I still wear a watch every day.
I also wear a watch. Nothing fancy (are you kidding, in this business), but with practically no effort I am aware of the time, and more importantly, lapsed time. You can't really do that with your phone, which is normally in your pocket and requires a bit of effort to pull out.
I also wear a regular old-fashioned dial watch. It may seem trivial, but an analog dial communicates more information and is faster to decipher than a digtal numeric readout. I tend to think of time in terms of "quarter to" and "half past" and it is easier for me to keep track of lapsed time by looking at the relative positions of the hands than to abstractly compute numbers in my head.
I do get a bit of blowback. "Why wear a watch when you can get perfectly accurate time by looking at your phone?" Or I'm accused to wearing "bling" just so I look cool (or something - these youngsters are just trying to clue me in that wearing a watch just isn't cool, sort of like wearing a pocket protector in your shirt pocket). I answer because I use it for much more than just telling the time. It is an extremely efficient time mangement tool. And the pocket protector keeps my shirts clean.