September signals cooler days ahead for autumn, and even chillier sales and profitability for many U.S. carwashes. These slower months will require many to scale down their labor forces to even out the decreased demand.

And, as supported by this month’s cover story on automation, which highlights how smart machines are replacing previously required labor throughout modern carwashes, it is clear to see how this season’s employee reduction ritual can be less impactful should an unexpected spike in autumn business occur.

But, in a twist of irony, I’d like to use this space to remind operators of how hiring and retaining quality employees, regardless of how many your wash has, can seriously impact your bottom line — and in a positive way.     

Especially if you are an off-site or multi-location professional carwash owner, employees are often your conduit to customer service, satisfaction as well as loyalty. Consider the following hiring and employee retention strategies if you are currently going through a labor assessment this fall or preparing for a busy winter season ahead:

  • Do your due diligence. Before posting a position, bring several key members of the organization together to discuss and establish the primary goals and objectives of the role.
  • Be practical. Working at a carwash can be physically demanding. So, as one of our experts recently put it best, “If you hire low energy, you get high turnover.”
  • Do not minimize hiring. As much as 80 percent of employee turnover can be attributed to bad hiring decisions. Take your time when interviewing as you can reap rewards in the long run with the right hire.
  • Know the associated costs. The Labor Department estimates that it can cost, on average, one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace him or her. Other studies note that it can cost up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary during and after that person’s employment.
  • Encourage workplace excitement. Research shows that organizations with engaged employees accomplish double the annual net income compared to those with employees who are not so well engaged. Engaged employees are also less likely to leave a positive work environment, increasing your retention rate.

Related: Infographic: The benefits of employee engagement