Getting good help for your cleaning business is hard but not impossible

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by Tom Watson on January 14, 2018

When you first start hiring people you may wonder if you will EVER hire an employee worthy of “Employee of the Month”.

I know that when I first started I had a pretty bad track record of hiring folks to help me run my cleaning business.

In the very beginning I had a few family and friends help me out. That worked great for a while, but then you run out of family and friends that are interested in extra money and you have to start looking elsewhere. This is when my problems began.

I wasn’t very good at hiring at first

I always thought I was a decent judge of character, but BOY WAS I WRONG. I hired wrong much more than I hired right. I have more stories than I can share! I had this one guy that I hired and he was GREAT for the first two weeks, then he missed a day and never called me to let me know.

I was pretty unhappy with not being notified but I kept him because I NEEDED THE HELP SO BAD. So all is well for another two weeks THEN IT HAPPENED AGAIN. Except this time he missed two days in a row then showed up like nothing happened on the third day.

Well that was the straw that broke the camels back. I let him go on the spot. If I can’t trust you to show up, then it isn’t going to work out! Another time I hired a guy for some jobs we had at a few doctors offices. He lived near these two offices and I thought I had a solution to my lack of help.

That was until we started training him. For some reason this guy had to SIT DOWN to change every trash bag. Then once he sat down he went into SUPER SLOW MOTION mode. Never saw anything like it! It took him like four minutes for each can liner to be swapped out.

With tons of bags needing changing, this slow pace would require HOURS to just change the trash and get it to the dumpster, let alone clean the place. This guy would probably need twelve hours to get two hours worth of cleaning accomplished. Needless to say this guy didn’t pan out either.

Then there was the time I had one guy that couldn’t follow directions to get from job to job. He drove an entire crew of mine almost all the way to Delaware (the job was near Philly!). I had another one that liked to DO DONUTS with my company vehicle in various parking lots around town.

I have many more stories than that, but you get the idea! The bottom line was I couldn’t blame any of those folks. I hired EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM MYSELF. I simply was “winging it” and the outcome was totally expected. With no plan you get CHAOS.

Good employees ARE OUT THERE

After all this bad news you may think there is no silver ling, but there is! LOTS OF REALLY GOOD FOLKS are out there waiting for you to find them. I had people SO GOOD I kept them (and they stuck with me) for almost the entire time I was in business.

People so good, so trustworthy, so customer focused that I hardly ever bothered checking behind them. They were THAT GOOD. I basically just mailed them their check every two weeks FOR YEARS ON END. The customers were happy, and so was I.

I have written a lot of posts about how I found these folks in the past. Taking some time reading about my approach to hiring would probably help you out if you are having issues in your own cleaning business. Learning from my mistakes will help prevent making the same ones!

So I’ll wrap this up by suggesting you think about perfecting the hiring process as a long-term process. You’ll never be 100% good at it. In fact getting it right 70% of the time is probably the best you’ll ever do. But it’s something that you should focus on. Better employees mean better results. And better results will get you more jobs and more money in your pocket!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gary Kebschull February 9, 2018 at 11:26 am

Hi Tom, I like you’re newsletters you send with you’re tips on running a business. Do you have any helpful information on networking?

2 Tom Watson February 9, 2018 at 11:29 am

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