With so much excitement surrounding the prospect and eventual reality of growing your carwash, sometimes critical steps in the process are either rushed or overlooked. While site selection and design, securing appropriate funds and selecting manufacturers and distributors to partner with should be careful considerations, so too should hiring.
Regardless of how many employees you plan to hire for your new carwash, turnover is a real issue at many carwashes. And, while turnover can be attributed to a variety of factors — sometimes internal factors, such as hiring and retaining the wrong people — owners and managers also play crucial roles in turnover rates.
Meeting your perfect manager
Good managers are invaluable to a new carwash. Especially for hands-off or multi-site owners, finding a quality manager who has a vested interest in the carwash’s successes can pay you and your customers back over the long haul. Motivated managers are more creative when troubleshooting issues, attentive to details and productive. Additionally, the more your managers can motivate your workforce, the lower your turnover rate will be.
As your new business is looking to gain momentum, finding the right manager to represent the quality and consistency of your carwash will help separate your location from others in the area. Attracting and retaining qualified managers starts at the interview stage and continues throughout the life of the business relationship.
When interviewing any potential employee, it is important to project the type of work environment and level of performance that is expected at your carwash. Therefore, during the interviewing stage, owners must project professionalism, control, attentiveness and general courtesy.
Especially as unemployment reports continue in a positive direction, quality employees have choices today and want to be sure the work environment and situation are a good fit for them. As the interviewer, you must be aware of the type of employee you are looking for.
Although carwashes generally fit into a specific category, including express exterior, full service, in-bay automatic and self-serve, no two carwashes are quite the same. Some aim to be quick and convenient, while others look to provide a destination experience packed with entertainment and attractions. As such, when interviewing, it is important that your manager possess the traits that would advance whatever goals you are looking to reach at the carwash.
If family-friendly is your direction, a customer-focused manager would be ideal; however, if volume and efficiency is your path to success, than a manager with solid business acumen who could motivate and promote teamwork would be more ideal. Of course, quality managers have strengths in these areas but also need to be proficient with the other aspects of the job.
Additionally, a quality manager will need to know the best ways to deal with angry customers, such as how to keep them calm. And, effective managers will know how to turn negative situations into positive experiences that lead to loyal business.
Developing your team
Most carwashes with several full- and part-time employees will have background and generational gaps among staff members. But, regardless of staff makeup, employee retention strategies and creating value in the job are key factors managers as well as owners must consider on a daily basis.
The challenge for new owners is that once they figure out the best ways to retain and provide job satisfaction to one generation of workers, the next generation — with an entirely new set of values, goals and mindsets — enters, and eventually dominates, the workforce.
Recent projections note millennials are on pace to make up half of the workforce by next year. As a new owner, you must adequately research this group of workers so you can effectively manage and retain these employees. The good news is that millennials do seek job opportunities that can satisfy their social and multi-task abilities, such as carwashing. Therefore, you should have no shortage of these types of candidates at your new wash.
Regardless of the generational and background differences of your staff, many new hires all pretty much covet the same qualities in an employer. Even for new washes, many operators are reporting positive profitability news these days as both demand and interest in professional carwashing and detailing services are high. If you can afford to pay above-average wages, you should consider this approach if retaining quality employees is a top priority.
Reasons to invest in workers and interviewing
Highly engaged employees are less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts. It is estimated that three out of every four people who leave their jobs of their own will are not quitting the jobs but are quitting on their bosses instead. Furthermore, according to research published in Professional Carwashing & Detailing magazine, organizations with greatly engaged employees accomplish double the annual net income compared to those with employees that are not so well engaged (as per an analysis of 64 organizations).
In carwashing, hands-on and present managers — and even owners — are more impactful to the success of the location compared to those who sit in an office and delegate behind the scenes.
Once your top performers are identified, retaining them is key. A manager who stays in touch and communicates regularly with staff is one important retention tool, but of course, several other methods are also effective. Smart, experienced managers already know that money is important, yet often it is not the most important thing for some workers.
There are no shortcuts in effective hiring and employee retention. Get to know your workers and provide clear growth opportunities when possible.
Employee trends and issues are common topics discussed in our monthly publication and on our website, Carwash.com, so be sure to include us as your resource for managing your workforce in this industry.