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This month’s cover story is over a year in the making. Phil Lawless and I were approached about doing a story on OSHA when a carwash owner we know told us about a few unexpected visits an OSHA representative. It’s such a complex topic, Phil had to make sure he included all of the vital information and didn’t leave out anything. I think this is one of our best cover stories of all time from which I hope all of you benefit.
For those of you with employees, their safety should be your top concern. I am sickened by all of the stories I have to write about employees being mistreated or hurt on the job. I do understand that accidents can happen, but I cannot understand how some bosses out there can treat their employees with little to no respect. Carwashing is tough work. It’s physical, and with the machinery and chemicals involved, it can be very dangerous. Do your employees know this? Are you hiring employees you trust and value?
The other night my family and I went to get our car washed. It was a cold January night. When we pulled into the full-serve wash, there was a line of cars outside. An employee approached the windows, and even with the harsh winter conditions, the line of cars and the fact that it was dinnertime on a Sunday night and there was a major Giants game going on, the employee couldn’t have been more kind and friendly. Our baby had just fallen asleep and we asked if there was any way we could stay in the car when it went through the tunnel. He said that was fine, but he had to sit in the driver’s seat to get it onto the conveyor. So, there we all rode together in the car. He made small talk, told us it was a busy day at the wash. I felt secure with him driving our car with my precious three-month-old in the backseat. And, it was mostly due to this employee’s kindness that we will continue to go back. In fact, when we were driving away, we didn’t even mention how clean the car was, but instead talked about the friendliness of the employee.
You can tell that the carwash treats their employees with respect. There is no way anyone could survive working in those temperatures, unless they were giving proper breaks, allowed to dress appropriately and given shelter when needed. The friendliness is also something that only comes from employees who are valued.
I used to work at pizza place in Burlington, VT, when I graduated from college. My shifts were always about seven hours long and the work was exhausting because you were on your feet and serving rowdy college kids. My boss, Nancy Cunha, used to literally force us to take breaks. She would make me sit down, drink water, and relax. She also used to make all of us wear sneakers and comfortable clothing. If we didn’t, she would give us more comfortable clothes to wear. Because of the way she treated me, I was never late, I never bad-mouthed her or the establishment, and I still think about her to this day. In fact, whenever anyone tells me they're visiting Burlington, I still tell them to stop by Manhattan's Pizza. I have now been doing that for 15 years. Wouldn't it be nice if an employee said that about your carwash?
The employee-boss relationship is key to your business’s success. Making sure all of the employees are safe and making sure their working conditions are suitable and respectable is just as important as producing a clean car.
Until next time,