Dan Price On Why A $70,000 Minimum Wage Is The Best Decision He Ever Made


If you watch the YouTube video currently linked in Dan Price's Twitter bio, you'll find your everyday local Seattle news segment, conducted in 2013, about a company called Gravity Payments.

At that time, the company was notable, simply as a successful business venture run by a seemingly average guy just under the age of 30.

Gravity Payments works with small business owners to lower the credit card processing fee that business owners wrestle with in between customer payments and working to eventually make a profit.

Price, CEO and founder of Gravity Payments, could never have imagined, just a year later, he'd have every news outlet, from The New York Times to Anderson Cooper, interested in his story.

He's now known as the man who set a new standard: a $70,000 minimum base salary for every employee at his company. The idea seems simple; make your employees happy, make more money. So why haven't more companies caught on?

Price told Elite Daily:

Price, now 30, says there was a two-week period between coming up with the idea to lower his own salary (which almost hit $1 million annually) and actually putting his plan into action. He says:

But eventually he decided he had to do it.

Like any true-to-form entrepreneur, Price got his start in high school, working on his own with independent business owners to help with whatever came up in the moment.

He was naturally tech savvy and helped out with everything from IT needs to cash register credit card processing. This is when he discovered there was an unnecessary evil occurring behind the scenes that small business owners were unfortunately all too familiar with.

Price says:

By the time Price had his freshman year at Seattle Pacific University under his belt, he was operating Gravity Payments out of his dorm room.

The business owners he met through his high school gig soon came on board as Gravity's initial clients.

Ten years later, Price found himself the CEO of a thriving company, with around 100 dedicated employees. He was even named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. Certainly his story could have ended there.

But Millennials are known to wear many different hats, and although "entrepreneur" is certainly one of the more sought-after ones, Price seems to have recently stumbled into "innovator" and even "humanitarian."

For most CEOs, writing a yearly check to charity is enough to keep good publicity on their side. But Price was listening to what was going on in his friends and employees' lives. He quickly learned exactly what was behind living on a $45,ooo salary.

Most importantly, he came across a 2010 Princeton study that finally gave us the answer to the age-old question, "Does money really buy happiness?"

According to the study, no, but only if your income hits over $70,000 annually. At that point, the amount you're making stops contributing to the increase of your happiness and overall wellbeing. But on the contrary, if your yearly intake falls under the same amount, it can cause unnecessary stress.

This is stress that Price says can cause employees to be unfocused in the office:

Some may be calling Price's decision a publicity move, but rearranging a life of a $900,000 income to $70,000 is no snap-of-the-finger decision.

Price told Elite Daily:

But still, you can bet some CEOs are reading this and rolling their eyes while young people everywhere are imagining what the jump from $40- to $70,000 must feel like, in awe.

The generational divide between the Baby Boomers and Generation-Y has long covered headlines — especially when it comes to the work place.

At Gravity Payments, slightly more than half the staff is made up of Millennials, including Price himself.

Price believes this so called Gen-Y sense of "entitlement,” however, is a joke.

In fact, studies have proven Millennials don't just expect to show up to work and be handed six figures.

According to Fortune magazine, most young people would give up a pay increase in order to be more personally satisfied in the work place.

Price told Elite Daily:

Still, he believes, as CEO, it's his job to create opportunities for employees to find what makes them tick. And the number one way to do this is eliminating their outside stressors.

In turn, employees set out on aiding in Gravity's original mission, which Price says is taking the credit card processing industry from "evil to slightly less evil."

Although Price didn't set the new $70,000 minimum wage with the main goal of having other business owners follow in his footsteps, he certainly hopes to raise a certain question within CEOs and employees alike: