By Alison Rice. If the NAHB compiled a "frequently asked questions" list, queries about compensation would qualify in a second.
"We get a tremendous amount of phone calls asking, How much should I pay my superintendent?' or, How much does an IT guy get?'" says John Wilcox, executive director of the NAHB's business management committee.
Now, it has research-backed answers, thanks to a study of compensation practices among production builders doing at least 25 homes annually. Released in June, the book (which costs $149.95 for NAHB members and $499 for nonmembers) covers 56 home building jobs, offering national, regional, and volume-based salary and bonus information.
It's a first for the NAHB, which developed similar data for remodelers, but not builders, last year. (Typically, its "cost of doing business" survey covers compensation only for owners, not employees.)
Given that it's the initial year of the NAHB survey, it's hard to compare the 2001 data with the past, but industry consultants say new approaches to compensation are emerging among builders.
"What I see in the Midwest are more and more incentive-based compensation programs, where it's a base plus a bonus related to performance," says Steve Hays, an accountant who heads the home builders' services group at Rubin, Brown, Gornstein, and Co. in Clayton, Mo.
"It's not uncommon for 20 percent to 60 percent of compensation" to come from bonuses, he says, even in nonsales jobs such as accounts payable clerks to information technology staffers. "There is certainly a trend to get everyone involved in bottom-line performance."
It may be one of the few ways home building employees can nab a raise. "With the industry thriving, compensation adjustments are fairly flat," Hays notes.
On average: Above are national compensation (salary and bonus) averages for a sampling of home building industry jobs, according to the NAHB's production builders' compensation study.