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I try to shoot for 19% but generally its higher, around 30-40%. This is only because I am lazy and hire help that I don't need for small jobs that don't require the help. I would say if it gets over %19 then do the job yourself and don't pay labor. If they are large jobs that require labor either find cheaper labor or raise your bids.
I would think you might need to have a base salary because your employees would probably quit if they weren't getting at least a minimum salary they could depend on per week.
A % is great if you are trying to get them to work harder, better, faster!
I have yet to see a standard % that has seem to work across the board for everyone.
Are you leaning towards one over the other?
I'm leaning toward a percentage for exactly what you said - being more efficient. We don't have any full-time employees (except me) so a minimum salary isn't an issue right now. I've been checking around for what other companies use for percentages. I'd be interested to know if other companies are doing this and using what %.