Another question I get asked about when entrepreneurs are starting their own business up is:
How to hire people for your small window washing/service business.
First...words of wisdom: Don't hire family, friends or relatives. The idea is not to just have a warm body to work for you, but someone who wants to work at your business.
You want someone who is looking for the job. Because a friend or family member knows you well, they may be the first to take advantage of your previous relationship, and may not work as hard as someone who is performance monitored.
You want to get people that work hard, to provide your customers a great job. A sense that they earned the money they were given to perform the task.
A great employee shows pride in the work they do. They will want to make you proud of them, and happy you hired them. Remember to treat them as you would have liked to be treated when you got your first job.
You also want your employees to believe in the "why" that you are doing the business in the first place. Ask yourself "Why did I choose to start this business"?
Is it because you want windows to be clear and easy to see through all over town? Probably not. But if it was to build something yourself, to be your own boss, employ a few people by creating safe jobs, contributing to society by paying taxes, and workers' salaries, AND making a decent living, then you are on the right path for your reason why.
If workers have a safe work environment, you eliminate this excuse for them not doing the best job they can. It is up to the owner to develop a safety manual for the business.
*Tip: Contact me for a copy of the manual I used in my business. Just change the names where appropriate and keep a copy in a binder. Print out the site safety sheets with your own name on them, and you are good to go. Give employees a copy.
Have safety meetings once in a while. Do a walk around before every job to locate any unsafe things that could potentially cause a problem.
Some Workplace safety problems that you should watch out for:Soft dirt or hard to see slopes in work areas,
Don't leave your equipment in the driveway. It will get run over if the home owner leaves the garage and doesn't realize that there is a machine in their path out to the street. (This happened to me)
Ladders not secure (have someone hold a ladder)
Wet roofs are a real slipping and falling hazard
Wet driveways and walking areas can be slippery if not expecting it.
Wear good rubberized bottomed running shoes or work shoes
Beware of guard dogs in the yard.
Be careful not to let dogs run out of a backyard gate when you open it!
Tell employees to never walk backwards
Teach proper hose management: drain water after each job, then wind hose on the ground in a 2 or 3 foot loop so that it easy to carry back to the truck.
Be careful of window awnings, shutters, outdoor lights that may not be secured to the home. If you hit them with your brush/poles they may fall from a height.
Try to have a partner where possible.
Most importantly, use common sense. If you (as the owner/boss) wouldn't perform a specific task, don't let your employees do that task! (example: Clean a gutter from the roof)
It is your job to try to get your customers and your employees to see that vision and to embrace your "WHY".
If you are a power tripping boss, who likes to control every aspect of an employees work, always criticizing the work, barking orders, yelling or talking loudly over your employees, perhaps you should rethink the reason you want to own your own business.
*Tip: If you wouldn't want to work for yourself, then nobody else would either.
Being nice to your employees doesn't take much effort. Reward them with a pair of movie tickets, or a Tim Hortons gift certificate for a job well done. Praise them when they deserve it. Show them how to do something properly if they make a mistake. Tell them that no one is born with the natural ability to do this task. It took you weeks to get good at it also.
You want to make people want to work for you. When they want and like their job, they will do better and better work as they progress. Treat them as your equal. Loose your ego when talking to employees. No one likes a boss who brags. They already know that you're the boss. Make them want to work for you by respecting them too.
Give them an incentive for finding a customer for you. Give them a 10% finders fee for getting you to clean their Uncle's windows. If they like you, and like the work they do, they will find more work for you if you ask them to.
If you find that an employee has a gift to communicate well with people, they may be great for door to door sales. Move them to sales from labour, if they would like that. Make sure that you comply with local laws and rules for door to door selling though. And have a license to sell door to door, if this is your method to get sales.
Ask for the employees advice. "How can we do this part of the business better"? "If this was your company, what would you do differently"? Could you imagine your first boss, asking for your advice when you were just a 22 year old naive kid? How would that make you feel?
No one does this stuff. Do it, and be amazed. Become a leader and mentor. Your employees will never forget you. I think back at all my great bosses. Do you remember a great boss in your life?
Your goal may be to be the best boss your employees ever had. Or to set that standard as they move forward in their career path. Wouldn't it be great to hear from someone in the future that your old employee Rick thought you were the best boss they ever had? This is another WHY for you wanting to do this business.
You may find out that an employee isn't right for the job. It is best for BOTH of you to let them go. Tell them YOU made the mistake of hiring the wrong person. It is your fault for not asking the right questions, or seeing the character flaws, lack of work ethic or whatever reason they didn't work out. They will know that they are not pulling their own weight. If you have been a good boss, they will have no ill will.
How to find good workers?
This is free. I used Kijiji ads, and offered a couple of dollars an hour above the average for the industry. (basically this is just a labour job). Look for a hard worker, that can work well by themselves, and with others, has no trouble lifting 60 pounds out of the back of a truck. Look for a person that has a vehicle. State the salary in the ad.
"Do you like to work outside? Can you work just as well by yourself, as you can in a team environment? We are looking for a person who has their own transportation, that can lift 50 pounds of Window Cleaning equipment out of a vehicle, has attention to detail, and has a great work ethic. We offer a safe, fun work environment. We use the pure water window cleaning method with extendable waterfed poles and brush at the end to wash high windows safely from the ground. $20/hour to start. Salary review after 60 days. Only those who include a current resume, and at least 2 personal character or job references will be considered for this job. Also tell me in a sentence why you are a better candidate than the other person applying for this job. Thanks for looking! Johns Spotless Windows".
I'd post this at around 11am. I would get 20-30 ads in the first hour. Turn the ad off at that point otherwise you will become overwhelmed. Ask for a resume, and references, in the kijiji reply. This is a test to see if they can/will follow simple instructions. If they are a student and this will be their first job, but they grew up on a farm... hire them now! Also don't be afraid to hire women. I have had a few working for me, and they work just as well as the guys. In some cases better. They may need a job more than some guys. An older person, who is fit, and has a family to feed, may work harder than a student who lives at home with his parents.
*Tip: Remember that it is illegal to be prejudiced when hiring.
Window cleaning is not a career that most people would choose. But it IS a great job, side hustle, or part time way to make extra money. Because it is just a job for a few months, there is no need to hire a head hunter. There is no rocket science involved in the hiring process. I have found that I am a pretty good judge of character. That said, I've made more than a couple poor hiring decisions in my careers as the boss, and/or manager. Going with your gut instinct seems to work out best.
As you go over the resumes, narrow down the list down to about 3 or 4 best candidates. If none seem to be a great fit then just run the ad again. Set up a meeting with the top 3 or 4. Interview them, and tell them you will let them know. Take notes. Ask about their interests and hobbies as well as their work experience and schooling.
Call their character references, mark them on a scale, and choose the best one(s).
To your success,