Local pedicab company uses unique incentives to stay competitive amid labor shortages

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - ‘Pedal Power’ transports people via bike and carriage. Recently, the owner has gone to great lengths to incentivize more people to apply to be drivers.

$20 per hour, plus tips is more than most retail and food service workers make. And that’s exactly what Ben Snyder, owner of Pedal Power, offers new hires.

“Honestly it’s really at the top end of what I can afford and sometimes I am able to pay myself and sometimes I’m not, but it’s a newer business,” said Snyder.

As with many other businesses, labor shortages are preventing him from expanding the company’s services.

While they currently offer transportation and tours around Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, there’s still a need to add to his staff of six.

“I am really lucky to have the employees that I do because they believe in what we’re doing, they care about people and doing it the right way,” said Snyder. “I could use some more, certainly. Like everybody else we are short-staffed, but they are wonderful.”

Even with these challenges, Snyder tries not to let it impact his employees.

Cassidy Smith says the incentive to join goes beyond just the pay.

“If I have to take a day off that’s under a month or a couple weeks’ notice and I’m able to talk about it with my boss, it’s really nice to be able to do so,” said Smith.

Even if it’s not a long-term career for Smith, she says the social aspect of the job could lead to more for her.

“You get to meet everybody in the community, everybody’s always talking to you on the streets. You get a lot of connections, that’s probably my part about this job,” said Smith.

Snyder tributes several factors to his own personal staffing shortages like change in weather, people’s desire to find a more long-term career, and other opportunities around the corridor.

Still, he continues to actively interview to try and reach a staff of at least 15.