Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Wash employee qualities to avoid

October 11, 2010

In order to avoid hiring a bad employee, carwash and detail owners must be aware of the warning signs and have proper regulations in place in order to purge their establishment of bad help.

Some of the most common qualities that are found in a bad employee are:

  • Dishonesty;
  • Theft;
  • Lack of customer service;
  • Laziness/lateness; and
  • Conflicts with other employees

All owners are aware of these qualities as well as many more that infringe upon their businesses.

However, there are ways in which owners can avoid hiring people or catch bad employees early enough where they won’t lose out on profit.

Recruiting tips
Owners are well aware of having a shortage of employees and the stress this might cause on themselves and their business.

Sometimes owners must resort to seeking out the help they need, but this can be a tricky situation, because owners might not get the caliber of applicants that is necessary to provide good service.

Christopher Brown, vice president of organizational development for Springfield, MA-based customer service consulting firm, The Khoury Group, explained that the recruiting process should be a multi-layered one.

It requires the owner to be aware of his or her own budget as well as the job market where the business is located.

Some key resources for recruitment are as follows:

  • Traditional newspapers or employment papers;
  • Internet sites such as or;
  • Referrals from employees or local businesses; and
  • Personal encounters.

The interview
Sometimes it might be beneficial to make interviewing a two-step process.

Jonathon Burnette, owner of A Perfect Shine located in Bethesda, MD, said he finds it easier to catch a lazy employee by requiring all applicants to fill out an application online and then fill out another application at the store.

Sometimes, people skip parts on the second application because they had previously filled it out online.

Burnette finds that people who skip the parts on the second application that they had previously filled out online, will eventually turn out to be lazy once hired.

Owners can also gear their questions toward key areas that will be important to the business.

Brown explained that owners can focus on behavioral interviewing by asking questions concerning such topics as:

  • Teamwork;
  • Willingness to learn;
  • Flexibility;
  • Work ethic; and
  • Communication skills.

These key areas can help the owner get a feel for a person and how they will interact with customers and other employees.

Training day
Once the owner decides to hire an employee it is important to concentrate on the person’s performance during the training process.

In this short period of time, an owner can quickly become aware of the signs that the person might not be a good worker.

Bill Prestler, owner of 5 Star Car Wash and Detail Center, located in Fairfield, CA, explained that during his training period of only two days, he and his fellow employees will watch the trainee carefully and evaluate their ability to work in the carwash environment.

If the trainee is not able to convey the high standards of customer service and efficiency that Bill expects of his employees, he will let them go.

Having a short but thorough training process is important because owners minimize the amount of time spent helping the new employee, and maximize the time spent on productivity.

Motivation, motivation, motivation
After the hiring process is complete, a good employee is not guaranteed.

Sometimes it is beneficial to work on improving the help that you already have rather than starting from scratch.

There are approaches that an owner can take to try and improve the employees he already has. For instance, an owner might need to change procedures.

Brown outlined some key changes that might help the owner increase customer service and decrease the potential to lose out on profit:

  • Have employees read over and sign a “Letter of Understanding” that reminds them of the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors of your establishment;
  • Create team-oriented incentives that will motivate employees to work hard and work together;
  • Schedule periodic evaluations; and
  • Require a two-person verification on cash handling checks and balances.

Although these changes might require a little extra work by the owner, the results might be worth it.

For all owners, the process of hiring employees is always an uphill battle. Fortunately, there are outlets that provide some help in such a difficult process.