The Big Step | Hiring Your First Employee

window cleaning businessEveryone has to start somewhere. Some window cleaners learn the ropes on someone else’s crew and then go it alone. Some start their own business and run with it. I don’t think very many people walk into a window cleaning business with a full staff. Whether you go the sub-contract route or the employee route doesn’t matter for this conversation. What does matter is that it’s a big step. If you haven’t taken it yet, let me assure you that suddenly being responsible for putting food on someone else’s table and for paying someone else’s mortgage is scary. The pressure is on.

So, who do you hire? How do you know they won’t steal your customers? Or, worse, steal FROM your customers? How do you know they will work their butt’s off for your customer’s dollar, just like you? The answer is three-fold:

1. They won’t. They will do a great job for you (or not). They will work hard for you (or not). They will be honest (or not). But, one thing is certain, they will never BE you. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but if you take it to the next step, your quality will suffer. No. Matter. What. You. Do. You can have checklists and rules and guidelines all you want. They still won’t BE you.

2. The quote we posted a few weeks back sums it up best. “Hire┬ácharacter. Train skill.” And, really, you can’t go wrong with that philosophy. You can’t teach someone honesty. You can’t teach integrity. That was their parent’s job, not yours. You CAN, however, teach someone how to use a squeegee. That’s your job. Do it well.

3. Another quote we posted actually inspired this post. “I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money. I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.” Like it or not, you get what you pay for. We’re Americans. We worship the Almighty Dollar. Whether you care to admit it or not, you pay extra close attention to the windows when a house is priced cherry or when the customer is known for tipping big. It’s hard not to. The same is true for your people. If they are disappointed at their paycheck every week, their heart isn’t going to be in it come Monday. Simple fact of life. The opposite is true as well. If that paycheck rocks each week, your people will love you and that love will show in the quality of their workmanship.

I once had a 20 year old kid call me on his way home on Friday night to thank me for his paycheck and for the opportunity to work with me each season. Enough said!


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