Seattle CEO Who Set Company’s Minimum Wage to $70K is Struggling to Stay Afloat

Seattle CEO Who Set Company’s Minimum Wage to $70K is Struggling to Stay Afloat

Dan Price, founder and CEO of the Seattle-based credit-card-payment processing firm Gravity Payments, announced in April that he was going to start paying every one of his employees $70,000 a year, regardless of their job titles.

“Everyone start[ed] screaming and cheering and just going crazy,” Price told Business Insider shortly after he broke the news in April.

However, since then, Prince told the New York Times that things have gotten so bad he’s been forced to rent out his house.

“I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”

Price’s decision to hike up the salaries ended up costing him a few customers and two of his “most valued” employees, who quit after new employees ended up with large salary hikes while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises.

“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” Gravity financial manager Maisey McMaster, 26, said. 

She said when she talked to Price about it, he treated her as if she was being selfish and only thinking about herself.

“That really hurt me,” she said. “I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”

She said she put in long hours that “left little time for her husband and extended family,” The Times says, but although she loved the “special culture” of the place, the drastic changes caused her to end up quitting.

Gravity’s web developer, Grant Moran, 29, had similar concerns which caused him to end up quitting as well. While his own salary saw a bump from $41,000 to $50,000 in the first stage of the raise, he worried the new policy didn’t reward work ethic.

“Now the people who were just clocking in and out were making the same as me,” he said. “It shackles high performers to less motivated team members.”

Some customers were fearful the company would soon hike fees to pay for salary increases.

Brian Canlis, co-owner of a family restaurant, already worried about how to deal with Seattle’s new minimum wage, told Price the pay raise at Gravity “makes it harder for the rest of us.”

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