I need Advice on how to Transition

Hi guys this is Eduardo and I’ve been cleaning windows on my own for the past 18 mo or so. For the most part its been just me with the occational fly-by employee that always seems to find a better job after just a month or two with me.

My question is for those of you who started as a one man op. How did you transition into having full time people working with you.

Any advise out there on how to reatain employees?

Welcome Eduardo.

I did the opposite, I had one employee, “inherited” from when I bought my company, and had to fire him less than 3 months later. Being on my own since then (5 months) and really enjoying it, I have no plans to hire soon, but I’m afraid that I will have to, but is gonna be hard, and the hardest part will be to learn how to delegate.

My only advice … get all the paperwork that you can to protect your company if that employee decides that “he’s smarter than you” after you train him. A strong Non-Compete or research on a covenant.

Good luck

Squeegietom, of Squeegieclean windows. I am still trying to transiton into haveing a crew after six years of self employment . The amount of time I put into training Guys just to have them Quit is sick. I have been in window cleaning for 23 years give or take a few. An it is not easy you need to stay consistant and don’t let them get away with any thing from the get. Don’t promis them anything they will hold you to if . I have a guy now if he went any slower he would be going backwords so his days are numbered. Just keep working and one day you’ll be there. If you find something that works let me know. Be dillagent. tom.

Squeegietom, of Squeegieclean windows. I am still trying to transiton into haveing a crew after six years of self employment . The amount of time I put into training Guys just to have them Quit is sick. I have been in window cleaning for 23 years give or take a few. An it is not easy you need to stay consistant and don’t let them get away with any thing from the get. Don’t promis them anything they will hold you to if . I have a guy now if he went any slower he would be going backwords so his days are numbered. Just keep working and one day you’ll be there. If you find something that works let me know. Be dillagent. tom.

Bottom line is that you have to have enough work to keep both of you busy. This is going to be the hard part. I would suggest not having him be the one man band for you. Work together as a team until you reach the point to where you could use another worker to fill your shoes. You have to stay on your toes to build a great customer base. If it is residential you are going for, it may take you a bit longer than building a route work business (storefronts).

I would have to say that hiring my 1st employee and keeping things going was the hardest challenge that I have faced in my 19 years.

I was fortunate in the beginning to hire a guy that quit his job and hated working in a factory atmosphere. The guy wasnt married and didnt have any children. His expenses were really low so if we had a slow day, it was no big deal- he just went golfing:D. I used this guy for 2 seasons and built my business up to needing two guys + myself. If you hire a guy to fill your shoes from the get go, chances are you will suffer from not making enough money yourself to get by on (unless you have another job that will carry you).

Steve

After 28 years in the business I have done what I dreaded: hiring people. Fortunately, I hired my son and son-in-law. My son has worked for me off and on for years, and for another window cleaning business locally. Son-in-law is still in school and only part time.

My business is almost all residential. For years, I didn’t have to call customers back because I had so many. I’d do it once in awhile just to fill a hole in my schedule. When I hired the guys, I just started saying YES to every call, and I started harvesting my list to get people to get done more often. This worked until I was all caught up, and then we starved in the summer. I kept my son-in-law longer than I needed to, because he was family, but that was a mistake. I lost money for the first time ever.

The fall season was good, and I did call-back and kept the 3 of us busy, but now it’s Feb., and everyone is “waiting til spring”. I am on the phone all the time trying to get people to move us up on the schedule. Not easy.

We do a lot of power washing, and up-selling that saved our bacon this year. I am going to make a move back into commercial, which I got away from as I got more houses.

I am not sure what the lesson is here. Maybe it’s to keep the commercial going because it’s a great place to train the new guys. Also, it’s how I got all my early residential accounts: business owners and their customers. I used to get referrals from power washers, but now I am their competitor, and times are hard. It’s created some bad feelings, although I never solicit their accounts.

Good discussion!

Hey Don!

Let me be the first to welcome you to the WCR forums.

Hiring the “right” guy is always hard. Every year I hire and my interview time gets longer and more detailed. I have hired so many people I can tell you weather or they won’t make it just by the fist 10 seconds through the door. The hard part with this line of work is that you do have to work. I can’t tell you how often I get guys come to me that want a job, want a paycheck, but don’t want to work for it. Do I have a secrete for hiring? no, I don’t. I think no matter how hard you try you will still get those who quit on you. so that being said make your training period hard. you will know if they want the job if they can stand some grunt work. this does a couple of things…gets them used to doing the crap work so you don’t have too and makes the job easy when they are out of your training period. I will normally give a new hire 2 weeks tops to impress me for further employment. my goal is to train them hard and push the limit in that period. the good guys will stick around. the bad normally quit after a day or two. geez, some don’t even come back after my wonderful interviews. ROFL. I like to move more towards the guys who don’t talk about money during the interview. The ones that can’t stop talking about how much they are going to make will never make enough for what they are doing and will always want more. I wish you good luck. it’s a fun and yet stressful process.

One thing I did when I was hiring people is make them show up on a Saturday morning and shdow me for 4-5 hours non paid. I told them it was just as important for them to know what they were getting into and to see exactly what we did. I like Saturday because it takes initiative to come in on Saturday morning and I knew if they were partiers or not.

Also you will get a look at their coordination and a brief glimpse of if their going to be able to do it or not. Its not for everybody, so this way allowed me to sort them out without paying for it.

Hey Don - welcome.

What is your hiring criteria? Are you seeking out employees based on their experience or their perceived work ethic? When I was a manager and in charge of hiring, I always tried to feel out potential employees in regards to work ethic. If the job was trainable I wouldn’t worry too much about past experience. There’s people out there that want to work and do a good job and then there’s people out there that have to work and often just take whatever is available until they get bored or find that they’re not making enough.

A good question to ask are “Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now what part does working for me, play in that plan.”

Another good question to ask is “Does the rate of pay I’m offering cover what you need and want at this point in your life?”

And lastly, “This profession has its busy periods and slow periods. Would you be flexible with this type of work style as it affects your time and financial needs?”

BTW, welcome to the forum photocheff. :slight_smile:

BV’s Post is right on.
Dont sugar coat anything in an interview. You need to set the expectations for the job from the get go. We work quite a few Saturdays and occassional Sundays especially if we have schedule issues due to weather during the week. Will they be working overtime? Need to let them know that Spring is like gang busters and you need reliable people to come in to work 8-10 hours a day, even weekends. layoff in the winter? let them know that too. One of the key components to hiring someone is to fill them in on the “downsides” as well as the “upsides” to working for your company.

I have also had better luck with hiring people that have no experience with a go getter attutude versus experienced window cleaners. Most (90%) of windows with previous experience seemed to think they know it all and are difficult to change their ways.

Steve

My advise on retaining employess…treat them fairly and with respect.

I hired my first guy about 2 months ago when I started a full time job and needed someone to help keep my storefront accounts going. I posted a ad on criagslist for a part-time window cleaner. They would make a couple hundred buck a month. He’s a older guy that bar tends at night and mid day. He’s been at his full time job for like 6 years and wants to do something different. I recently quit my job. Now I’m focus on my company full time again. Everything is going good so far.

1st you have to have the work or you have to have someone working with you who is willing or can not work everyday. YOU have to go out an sell and he/she has to go out and clean. Focus 90% of your time on getting work, 10% on the paper side of your business. If you can’t pull that off, then hire a reliable day labor. I have gone through 6 guys in the last 1 1/2. The only one who remains is my best friend who has the part time to come work. It’s slow going but it’s very hard to be a working boss. When I look back at my younger days, when I worked for home based businesses. Each one I worked for that had and owner operator is now shut down. I worked for 1 that I never saw the boss and they are still in business. In fact they have expanded greatly since I worked for them 20 years ago. The company is called Zippos. They install aftermarket car stuff, like radios and alarms. When I worked for them they have 2 stores, now they have 4. That’s a pretty big expansion for 20 years. At least to me it is.

This statement has some truth to it. A quote I read just last week said: “Some Employers Deserve The Employee’s They Get”.This statement is very true. Dont get me wrong, there are people that dont pull their own weight no matter what you pay them or how well you treat them. Its just in some peoples work ethic. I try to have the hiring attitude: “Do you deserve to work for me or for my company”? Most applicants do not. Sad to say.
Steve

What a good post Juggernaut! That sure is an eye openor for me. Looking back at my life and work I have seen the same process with business owners. Thanks for sharing the insight.