Last year finally brought positive news for U.S. employment and businesses. According to a post from December 30, 2014, on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website, “Jobless rates were lower in November than a year earlier in 341 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 27 and unchanged in four. Nonfarm payroll employment was up in 313 metropolitan areas over the year, down in 55 and unchanged in four.” After years of a much bleaker jobless rate environment, it appears that more U.S. businesses, including carwashes, are adding staff and hiring once again.

And while hiring in the professional carwashing and detailing business comes with its own unique challenges, most owners and operators welcome the ability to hire new employees. However, as important as receiving the flexibility to hire is knowing how to effectively hire and build a team worth keeping around for the years ahead.

Conveyor carwashes by nature have several employee-customer contact points, so this type of carwash requires many quality employees in order for your carwash to always make a good impression on the customer.  

What’s at stake?

Now that you are adding staff, do you know how to hire correctly? Are you adequately filling the pipeline with talent for future stability? Although too many businesses base hiring decisions on money, you should be aware of other factors before, during and after the interview process.

After all, hiring can be viewed as your business’ way to plan for success in the future. Professional conveyor carwashing is most certainly a customer service business. Without quality, motivated employees, regardless of job description or title, repeat customers and word-of-mouth advertising are at risk.

According to research we have published in Professional Carwashing & Detailing, after considering the total cost of hiring, hiring the wrong person for the job can cost an employer as high as ten percent of that person’s salary.

Keys to win in hiring

There are certain employee types, such as your front-line workers and cashiers, who are tasked with holding the responsibility of being the “face” of your company. Therefore, hiring these individuals and retaining the quality ones can be critical steps in your success.

When a candidate applies for an open position at your carwash, your hiring manager must realize the interview process is a shared responsibility. In addition to giving your current employees advance notice of your on-site interview process, make sure that your wash and c-store, if applicable, are running properly so you and the candidate are not distracted. It is important that your managers and employees are prepared to hire and motivate future employees from the first minute they meet them. Your attitude and seriousness about the interviewing process should match the candidate’s.

The interview process, especially nowadays as managers are flooded with resumes from the minute a “Help Wanted” notice is posted, can be overwhelming if not handled correctly. However, if done properly, this process can eliminate the underachievers from the promising carwash workers. First, make sure your own expectations are in check.

For example, if your conveyor carwash is looking to fill an entry level position, maybe prior experience is not a mandatory requirement. For those positions, the person’s eagerness to learn and perform quality, consistent work as direct is more desirable.  

Additionally, hiring managers should pay close attention to the individual’s communication skills, including body language during the interview. These observations could give you an idea of how that candidate will perform and communicate with coworkers and your customers once hired.    

Make sure you keep them 

Once you have found the ideal candidates to fit your company’s model for success, retaining those employees is an ongoing effort. While money is a motivating factor for most employees, job satisfaction also ranks high on the list. These employees can be effectively retained through team-building practices and managers must emphasis a “family-like” atmosphere throughout the year at your conveyor wash. Employees appreciate getting together outside of the carwash at company picnics and holiday parties. In addition, successful managers can implement free lunch days, for example, to help build morale.  

Carwash employees, who repeat the same tasks every workday, can become complacent. While motivating through raises and awards is a good strategy, make sure they have a say in the selection of the products, tools and programs your conveyor carwash offers.

Your employees reflect your brand, both good and bad, so put them in an ideal situation with solid support, and they’ll stay happy.