Atlanta Company Raises All Pay To $50k: Quirky Or Smart?

By Michael E. Kanell
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Rented.com” has raised the minimum pay for all workers to $50k. Columnist Michael Kanell shares why the comapny’s CEO made the decision to pay more.

ATLANTA

Most smart employers want to pay enough to get the workers they need, but not more.

Yet Rented.com, a company with technology that fuels Airbnb, has raised the minimum pay for all employees to $50,000 and the company’s chief executive says the firm will save money in the long run by paying more.

Wait, what?

True, said CEO Andrew McConnell, although he took some convincing.

The idea came to him along with an executive he hired from Portland, Ore. A guy who wanted the company to mimic Gravity Payments, a Seattle company that made news in 2015 by lifting the pay of everyone on the payroll to at least $70,000.

The new executive’s suggestion drew a jaundiced response.

“I said, I’d like to be morally good, but I also have to run a business and look at the economics,” said McConnell.
But the new executive had been friends with Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments. He believed in the idea and he was persistent.

Rented.com was founded in Atlanta in 2013 with the financial backing of Jackson Square Ventures. The company makes arrangements with management companies and owners that guarantees them an income when their property is listed on Airbnb.

“We have a network of about 1,200 management companies,” McConnell said. “Instead of taking a percent of what you get…We will tell you exactly what you will make. We take the financial risk.”

It’s not a huge company. Fewer than 20 employees, although they’re hiring at least a half-dozen more: a business manager, a couple data analysts, an engineer, some sales people.

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