There comes a time when every long-term cleaning business reaches a standstill.
BY Allison Hester, eClean Magazine

The company cannot grow without additional help. But hiring and managing employees – especially cleaning technicians can be one of the scariest, most frustrating aspects of running a business. When it comes to technicians, what qualities should you look for? When I asked this question in our recent reader survey, several people just mentioned the basics: no tattoos on face or neck, someone who can pass a drug test, someone with a clean driving record. But is that really all you want when it comes to someone representing your company?

“Put yourself in the candidate’s position. Does drug testing, background checks and heavy lifting as the top requirements sound appealing?” pointed out Shane Deubell of Method Carpet and Tile Cleaning in New York. “Your best candidates are NOT desperate to find a job, so you have to lure them out. People stimulate poorly and then complain of the response. Kinda like running $99 deals then complaining about price shoppers.”

Remember, your staff is an extension of you and your company. While you may feel an almost desperate need to hire someone, you will likely lose more in the long run by rushing the process. But to get the right person for the job, you’ve got to be willing to make it worth it for them. You need to look at them as more than just a worker, and rather invest in them as a person.

“If your customers like YOU, it’s important to find someone you like and has a personality like you,” explained James Long of Innovative Glass in Knoxville, Tenn. “Then your customers will like them too.” Any time you post an ad anywhere, “you’re going to get a ton of undesirables with that ONE person. The trick is remembering you hold the cards and it’s OK to hold out for the right candidate.”

That said, have you read this month’s cover story? If not, STOP RIGHT HERE. Go read about Curt Kempton and 5-Star Window Care, then you can come back and finish this article. Hopefully you will have a better perspective on what is needed to truly build a staff that fits your company’s culture, not just a bunch of hired help.

Define Your Company
In this month’s cover story – and if you’re following directions, you should have read it by now – Curt Kempton reformed his staff by restructuring his company. He took what was a boring, frustrating window cleaning business and made it “sexy.” And he did it by redefining his company’s culture: “A customer service company that just happens to do windows.”

So before you look at hiring workers – whether it’s your first technician or your 50th – you need to know what your company stands for?

What’s your company’s mission? What are your core values? If you believe in strong customer service, then you need staff that promotes that. If you believe in a professional image, you need workers who represent that.If you need technicians to work as a team, you need to find people who are team players.

SIDENOTE: When interviewing for potential staff, several industry members warned about hiring “entrepreneurial” types because they often will learn the ropes, then take off and start their own companies. It’s something to consider.

To help you figure out what type of person you want to hire, consider the attributes of your best workers. If this is your first hire, talk to your industry friends to find out what they look for in a technician. Or think about the attributes of people you worked well with in the past. What was it about them that you liked? At this point, you’re not looking at cleaning experience. You’re looking at personality and behaviors, groups they belong to, and their America’s #1 Insurer of Power Wash Contractors Get proof of coverage TODAY www.JosephDWalters.com hobbies. Past cleaning experience can be a benefit, or it can be a hindrance. It all depends on if the candidate is teachable.

Define the Role

Writing a job description is imperative. While it may sound easy, to do it right, you need. to put some real thought into it. The more detailed you can get about what is needed, the more easily you’ll weed out those who don’t fit the job description.

This is important whether you are simply taking referrals from friends or whether you are blasting a classified ad across Craigslist. Writing out the description makes it easier for people to know if this is the right job for them (although some unqualified folks may apply anyway), and for you to know what you really need. Bill Kinnard of Tom Grandy and Associates, wrote an article entitled “What Makes a Great Service Technician.” In the article, he lists a number of qualities that service-industry employers should look for when hiring.