Innovation

CEO Surprises Employees With $10K Raises and Minimum Salaries of $70K

Dan Price, CEO, Gravity Payments

Four years ago, CEO Dan Price did the unthinkable. He cut his own $1.1 million salary to help pay each of his 120 employees a minimum annual salary of $70,000. Price made news around the world, landing the cover of Inc. Magazine alongside the headline, “Is This the Best Boss in America?” and making waves in the business world with his unique—though still very unproven—wage plan.

Fast-forward to September 2019, and the 35-year-old CEO of Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company in Seattle, is doing it again. At the opening of a new office in Boise this week, Price made a bombshell announcement: By 2024, all Boise employees will make the company minimum of $70,000. And anyone already making the company minimum would get a $10,000 raise, effectively immediately. The new office consists primarily of employees from a company Gravity acquired three years ago, many of whom were making less than $30,000.

"This morning we cut the ribbon on the new @GravityPymts Boise office AND announced that all of our employees here will start earning our $70k min salary," Price tweeted from the office. "I'm so grateful to work with this amazing team and to be able to compensate them for the value they bring to our community.”

Price wasn’t always this generous with wages. In fact, it was during a 2014 hike with a friend—who was making less than $50,000 a year, working 50-60 hours a week, and still struggling—that the light bulb went off. "I was so angry," Price told Inc. Magazine. "Here I am walking around making $1 million a year, and I'm working shoulder to shoulder with people in her situation who are every bit as good and valuable as I am." Weeks later, he made the change.

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Boise Employees of Gravity Payments Get Raise: $70,000 Minimum Wage

As for regrets, he has none. “A lot of people think giving up a million dollar a year salary and millions in profit is an unreasonable sacrifice to pay a living wage and give small businesses white-glove service,” Price posted on Instagram. “Well, I am proof of one thing. It is worth it.”

The Idaho-based Gravity employees are pretty excited about the announcement, too. “I heard from somebody who was a single parent, that they were not necessarily going to need to work two jobs anymore … and they were going to be a better parent,” Price told ABC News.

For Price’s full story, including how his wage plan has impacted the business world, read Inc. Magazine’s in-depth profile.

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