Last April, CEO and founder of Gravity Payments, Dan Price, stunned his 120 employees, and the rest of the nation, when he announced a new policy that would raise the minimum wage at his credit card processing firm to $US70,000 a year.
He immediately received a cacophony of praise and scepticism, and an influx of job applications: about 3,500 within one week of the announcement.
It’s been six months now, and it appears Gravity has defied the sceptics: Revenue is growing, profits have doubled, and customer retention rate has risen from 91 to 95%, Paul Keegan of Inc. reports.
Gravity employees are also reaping the benefits: Price’s three-year scaled policy — he immediately set the minimum wage to $US50,000 in April, and by December 2017, it will be $US70,000 a year — will eventually double the salaries of a quarter of his employees and result in raises for many more.
What’s more, he didn’t raise costs for clients or lay off staff.
The catch? For one, he immediately slashed his own salary from $US1.1 million to $US70,000.
But he’s had to take more extreme measures, since, to make it all work: Price sold all of his stocks, drew everything from his retirement accounts, and mortgaged his two properties, Keegan writes.
This has led to a few lifestyle changes, Price tells Business Insider: “I used to have full time help to have breakfast ready to go when I woke up, do the laundry, pack and unpack me from my business trips, and help me when entertaining guests at my home. It was tough to give up this luxury, but certainly seemed like a good idea.”
Fewer luxuries, and a slimmer salary, doesn’t seem to concern Price. “Most people live paycheck to paycheck,” he explained to Keegan. “So how come I need 10 years of living expenses set aside and you don’t? That doesn’t make any sense. Having to depend on modest pay is not a bad thing. It will help me stay focused.”
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