2 things you wish you knew before you hired

we’re taking steps to hire somebody in the near future. We have maximized what we can do with our own four hands and we’re losing business because we can’t get to it in time. We’ve done a ton of research and I don’t really have any specific questions but I’d like you to tell me what 2 things you know now that you wish you knew when you first hired.

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1: Never build your company around any one person. Employees WILL leave eventually, whether it be a week or 10 years. Always assume it is sooner rather that later so you don’t end up in a bad way when they do leave.

2: Never let them know how you market. 50+% of long term employees that have left my company have gone out and started their own thing. 100% of those have failed miserably, and it has been due to poor marketing. Not everyone can run a business. Keep things on a need-to-know basis and you’ll still have an advantage if this happens.

  1. Before the interview I shake their hand and ask them “how’s life treating you?” And depending on how they answer that question determines whether or not I’ll even consider them. If they’re negative and woe is me then sorry next candidate.

  2. Have documents for warnings and terminations. Maybe even a small handbook. If they throw a sectional ladder piece because they suck you need to fire them. Fire/let go quickly. Because you’re wasting your time and their time trying to get them to be a window cleaner.

Having a good non-compete protects you from employees competing against you. Might want to use a lawyer to make sure it’s enforceable. Nothing is enforceable in California tho.


that’s good

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Teaching someone to clean glass is a lot easier to teach someone to have a positive attitude. Just a guess as I have never tried to teach window cleaning. Failed at attitude training on more than one occasion, though.


Attitude is everything. If they’re a downer before the interview it’ll only get worse.

If they’ve been kicked down but have a positive attitude they’ll be able to do anything.


My interview process is conducted from my home office. The first interview is scheduled and I request that they text me 30 minutes before arriving. I tell them the address, but not the unit number for my place. If they manage to text me, I then wait to see how they deal with arriving to the interview and not knowing which unit to contact. If they make it that far, I greet them at the door in my socks and invite them in. If they notice I am not wearing shoes and ask if they should take their shoes off, they are about half way through the interview…


I wish I knew not to have such high expectations. No one will ever have the attention to detail I have, the customer service skills, be as efficient, or do as great of a job as me. They just won’t, because they’re not me. They have to exceed the customers expectations for sure though.

The second thing I can think of is the cost. I don’t think I realized in the beginning the true cost of employees. From more equipment cost, to workmans comp, to paid leave, etc… When you think you have the basics covered something your employee does or doesn’t do will pop up and surprise you.


anyone else?

Two questions that I should have asked the knucklehead that I fired the day after I hired him;

  1. Do you stop your hands to talk?
  2. Are you going to waste my time chatting about personal nonsense while I am trying to instruct you?
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  1. how expensive it is to employ the right way.
  2. how good it would feel to share the physical labor

i already feel this benefit since my business partner came on full time. it is nice

can you elaborate?

  1. Everyone has 2 problems a week. Those problems can become your problems. 4 guys on the team X 2 problems = 8 minor problems you will have to juggle.

  2. Be positive all the time its contagious.


Yes. Workers comp was $2000/yr. Taxes, toolbelt setup, lost tools, broken tools, training.

If you pay commission, which i was, every time you raise prices, they automatically get a raise.

Training was tricky to balance. Productivity versus instruction. Low hourly with incentives is the way to go. They are guaranteed a certain amount but there is encouragement to do better too.

Window cleaning is harder to learn than power washing. You can only show so much and then it is down to glass time and repetition.


so i’m estimating up to 50% of wages i.e. if we pay them 100, it will cost us up to $150, is that safe?

we were going to start them at “minimum wage + bonus based on productivity” but keep the formula for the bonus to ourselves.

Pre employment drug test and physical. Had a guy demand compensation for an “injury” that occurred on the job. Good worker, nice guy.
Was going to pay. Turns out he had told the other tech that he had been in a bad car accident and his body was messed up.

First time it crosses your mind to let someone go. Let them go right then. It’s only going to get worse from there.


Never hire friends or family because they are hard to fire and it never ends good.
Paying a lower wage=good attendance/less “sick” days and sometimes even loyalty (true even tho I don’t understand why)
When work slows down think of your own family first, let em go if you don’t got the work for them

  1. How good it can be once you find a good person who sticks with it.

  2. Don’t worry about providing “full time”, many of them do not care and all are replaceable


That is great Dave. #2 is tough for a lot of people to understand but it is definitely the brutal truth.