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Hiring and Keeping Great Employees in Your Cleaning Business with Jeff Cross

Are you a carpet cleaning business owner struggling to find and retain the best employees? Join us as we delve into the strategies and insights that will elevate your hiring process, shape a positive company culture, and ultimately lead to the success of your carpet cleaning business. Hiring and Keeping great employees is a skill you must develop for today’s competitive labor market.

Understanding the Importance of Work-Life Balance in the Cleaning Industry

In the fast-paced and demanding world of carpet cleaning, maintaining work-life balance is crucial for both employees and employers. How can you ensure that your employees are valued, and their personal lives are respected while still meeting the business’s needs?

In the cleaning industry, jobs can often run late, and schedules may be unpredictable. This can affect employees’ personal time and work-life balance. As a business owner, recognizing the significance of work-life balance and finding effective ways to incorporate it into your company culture will not only attract quality employees but also contribute to employee satisfaction and retention.

Strategies for Promoting Work-Life Balance

To promote work-life balance, consider implementing a flexible schedule that provides employees with time for personal commitments and relaxation. For instance, offering 4-day workweeks with an overlap of 6 days can provide employees with flexibility while ensuring that your business operations run smoothly.

Additionally, businesses can show appreciation for employees who work late or face unexpected situations. This can be in the form of providing dinner, gift cards, or additional support to alleviate the impact of unpredictable work hours.

Recognizing the importance of a balanced work-life dynamic, the industry is seeing a shift towards prioritizing work-life balance and employee appreciation, aligning with today’s culture.

Crafting an Attractive Company Culture to Attract and Retain Talent

Creating a positive company culture plays a significant role in attracting and retaining top talent in the carpet cleaning industry. How can you cultivate a work environment that fosters employee satisfaction and a sense of belonging, ultimately leading to increased retention rates?

In today’s competitive job market, offering more than just financial rewards can differentiate your business and entice employees to stay for the long term. By integrating perks beyond pay, such as career paths with certification and training opportunities, you showcase your commitment to the growth and development of your employees.

Key Elements of a Positive Company Culture

Emphasizing continuous education and customer service training for employees is paramount. This investment not only enhances their skills but also demonstrates your dedication to their professional development.

Moreover, highlighting employee testimonials through video content can help prospective hires gain insight into your company’s culture and the experiences of current employees. This can also contribute to a positive online presence, attracting talent who resonate with your company values and work environment.

Business owners are advised to consider implementing employee recognition programs, offering rewards for outstanding performance or going above and beyond. Creating a culture of appreciation can significantly impact employee satisfaction and motivation.

Effective Hiring Strategies for the Cleaning Industry

The hiring process is a pivotal component of every successful carpet cleaning business. But how can you identify the right individuals, with not only the necessary technical skills but also the interpersonal abilities to provide exceptional customer service?

When seeking potential employees, emphasizing the evaluation of their interpersonal skills and how they interact with others is crucial. Additionally, integrating personalized interactions within the hiring process, such as observed lunch meetings and ride-along days with existing team members, provides valuable insights into candidates’ suitability for the role.

Showcasing the Transformative Customer Experience in Job Descriptions

Repositioning job descriptions to highlight the transformative nature of the customer experience can attract young and enthusiastic technicians. By portraying the role as an opportunity to drive around, meet new people, and contribute to creating cleaner and healthier homes, candidates may be more inclined to consider a career in carpet cleaning.

Furthermore, enabling candidates to research your company through online reviews and social media presence can affirm and showcase your positive company culture. Creating a dedicated webpage featuring employee profiles with photos and bios also contributes to a favorable image for potential employees and customers alike.

Importantly, sharing the company’s origin story on the website can provide transparency and authenticity, further enhancing its appeal to prospective employees seeking a welcoming and flexible work environment.

Innovative Sourcing Strategies for Talent Acquisition

Sourcing and attracting talented employees is an ongoing challenge for many cleaning businesses. How can you diversify your sourcing strategies to uncover hidden talent and attract candidates from various backgrounds and industries?

Implementing an employee referral program can be highly effective, offering incentives for successful hires and potentially expanding the program to include partnerships with vocational schools, community programs, and job fairs. This multi-pronged approach to talent acquisition broadens your reach and showcases your commitment to diverse and inclusive hiring practices.

Moreover, thinking outside the box in the hiring process, such as leveraging unconventional sources like student custodial programs, can yield quality hires, as evidenced by the success of a school in Indiana that hires students part-time. Creative sourcing strategies contribute to a diverse and dynamic workforce, essential in today’s ever-evolving business landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How can I promote a positive work-life balance for my carpet cleaning employees?

A1. Encourage a flexible schedule with a 4-day workweek and implement appreciation gestures for employees working late or facing unpredictable situations.

Q2. What are some key elements of a positive company culture in the cleaning industry?

A2. Prioritize continuous education and training, employee recognition programs, and highlight employee testimonials through video content to convey your company’s culture.

Q3. How can I showcase the transformative customer experience in job descriptions to attract talent?

A3. Reposition job descriptions to emphasize the personal and transformative nature of the customer experience, such as interacting with new people and contributing to healthier homes.

Q4. What are some innovative sourcing strategies for attracting talent to my cleaning business?

A4. Consider implementing an employee referral program, forging partnerships with vocational schools, and exploring unconventional talent sources such as student custodial programs.

Q5. How can I improve the retention of employees in my carpet cleaning business?

A5. Offer career paths with certification and training opportunities, create a welcoming work environment and demonstrate commitment to work-life balance and employee development.

Q6. What are some effective ways to attract candidates from various backgrounds and industries to my cleaning business?**

A6. Diversify your sourcing strategies by leveraging employee referral programs, attending job fairs, and establishing partnerships with community organizations to attract a diverse pool of talent.

Conclusion:

The success of your carpet cleaning business is intricately linked to your ability to source, attract, and retain exceptional employees. By prioritizing work-life balance, crafting an inviting company culture, implementing innovative hiring strategies, and embracing diverse sourcing methods, you can elevate your hiring process and set your business on the path to sustained growth and success.

You will learn:

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Prioritize Work-Life Balance:

With the unpredictability of cleaning jobs, offering flexible schedules and showing appreciation for employees who go the extra mile are key to attracting and retaining top talent.
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Showcase Company Culture:

Emphasize perks beyond pay, offer career paths with certification and training, and create a positive work environment to appeal to prospective employees.
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Think Outside the Box:

Explore creative hiring strategies like employee referral programs, partnerships with vocational schools, and tapping into alternative talent pools to build a robust team.
Audio Transcript:
John Clendenning [00:00:00]:
The labor market is kinda up and down and sideways. It’s changed a lot, over, you know, even the last 5 years from the previous 5, 10, 15 years. So it it is a different game. We come at it from, like, the my my day job is the CEO of carpet cleaner Marketing Masters, and we help market cleaning companies. I’ve I’ve owned them for 30 years. We when when you help market them. And sometimes we do it too well, and people go, well, John, we’re we’re too busy, and we can’t find people. And then we have to switch gears and go, oh, let’s help you find people so you can continue to grow the business.

John Clendenning [00:01:11]:
Just tell me I got my good friend, Jeff prospect on the show. We talked to him maybe about a year ago or so. And what I wanted to the reason why I brought him on is so Jeff is the media director of ISSA, which includes CleanFAX Magazine that I’ve got boxes and stacks still on my my mezzanine here in the office, cleaning and maintenance magazine or management magazine and stuff like that, and I s s ISSA today, publications as well. Previous owner of a successful cleaning business, from years ago, and he’s also IIC r CRC approved instructor, trainer, and does some consulting with business owners, managers, and frontline technicians, all of that kind of good stuff. So, I mean, deep in the industry, and that’s kind of the point. We’d bring Jeff on and and have a a good little chat about a really important topic, about hiring and stuff like that. So hey, Jeff. Thanks for jumping on the podcast again.

Jeff Cross [00:02:06]:
My pleasure, John. Good to be here.

John Clendenning [00:02:08]:
Cool. So in that quick little bio in case some somebody doesn’t know you, again, it’s the carpet cleaner success podcast. And if they don’t know who Jeff Cross is, then, I don’t think they’ve done their homework well enough, but in case the odd few who listen to this don’t know who you are, is anything I missed? Anything that, any other nuggets that stand out that we should, you know, including your bio there?

Jeff Cross [00:02:26]:
No. Not really. I think in the industry, I’m known for mainly the CleanFAX brand, which is fitting for this audience. But, you know, I’ve I’ve been in the trenches, John, like you, and I’ve had good days and bad days in business, and we’ve learned. So now I run a media team, and we just help the industry as best we can. So, hopefully, today, we can do that. Maybe a nugget will come out of this conversation that works for some. Maybe that’ll be our goal today.

John Clendenning [00:02:52]:
Sounds good. Yeah. What we’re gonna be talking about is just navigating the hiring maze. It’s kind of little tagline title I’ve got on it. Strategies for recruiting the top talent, retaining them, especially in this difficult market. People, and then we have to switch gears and go, oh, let’s help you find people so you can continue to grow the business if that’s your goal. So it really is sort of a changing world in a lot of respects. And so I wanted to kinda break it down into sort of 3 basic categories, you know, where to source great candidates that would or that fit into the cleaning industry, especially focusing on carpet cleaning techs or even restoration techs that are in the home with the customer, inter interacting with the customer.

John Clendenning [00:04:05]:
So a lot of customer service, how to attract and hire them, like, where to source them, how to attract and hire them, and how to retain them. So I’ve always said when I even in my hiring days, for our our cleaning businesses and and stuff that when I talk to the candidate, I let them know it’s a customer service job that just happens to have a little bit of cleaning that goes with it. Because if I’m hiring somebody that’s great at cleaning, unfortunately, that’s not enough in the home. Would you kinda agree with that statement or from your experience?

Jeff Cross [00:04:37]:
I would agree with that. I know There are many companies out there that are very, very good at marketing, and they they’ve said that. They say, what we do is we offer this service to go along with the marketing. So Yeah. Good way of putting it.

John Clendenning [00:04:49]:
Yeah. Because because, I mean, we all know the little games of, like and it’s not really games, but you gotta train your technicians, and we’ll talk about that’s part of the retaining part of it as well. But you’ve gotta train them how to be I guess the, Dan Kennedy says it well. It it it came from Walt Disney, who Dan like, the whole Disney empire or something that, you know, Dan talks about a lot and kinda love the way they built out is that you’re on stage when you’re in front of the public. Right? We don’t always see that when we walk into Starbucks and when we walk into our local stores. You know, sometimes the employee gets it and really is there for you. You know, even if they’re having a bad day, you don’t know. Other time, the employees are blatantly obvious that you’re an inconvenience to them and and that kind of thing.

John Clendenning [00:05:32]:
And that they’re not really realizing that they are the face of the company at the moment, and you’re they’re they’re on stage. There’s actually a bit of act in theater. Like, carpet cleaners are normally guys, and the person that answers the door is is normally the a woman of the home. And now you’ve got, you know, imposing figure at your door because, you know, you gotta be strong enough to do the cleaning and move the furniture. So that whole idea of dressing neatly, stepping taking a step back from the door, and handing out you know, having a business card in your hand and and looking professional to create that, you know, that deep sigh of, oh, this is good. This is a nice person gonna be in my home, is all part of all part of, like, teaching an employee their role as well, which can actually be a retention strategy, letting them really realize where they fit in. But, what we’ll do is we’ll jump into the, where to source great candidates. You know, we know the obvious indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, sort of those things, but, just in your thoughts, like, just knowing the industry and stuff like that, any other places where, like, you would think, in a local community, people can source the ideal type of person that would make a great technician.

Jeff Cross [00:06:44]:
The first thought that comes to mind, John, is poaching. Poaching? Poaching, which I know we talk about that a lot. But

John Clendenning [00:06:51]:
Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:06:52]:
Look At other industries or other job positions, and when you find a person who’s like, that that would be a good tip for me. Yeah. And If if the offer is attractive and it’s something that they wanna do, that could work. So poaching is is 1. I was thinking too That when you do your poaching, you you have to sell the job a little differently. You know, your job description description can be, do you wanna be a carpet cleaner, or do you wanna dry out houses?

John Clendenning [00:07:18]:
Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:07:19]:
So you can think about what the ultimate goal is and and what the future could be for that new technician. Because I don’t know about you. It’s it’s a pretty tough sell these days to get young people, which is usually your technician age, you know, somewhat younger as physical work. Yeah. What would attract them to to the job? So, you know, you gotta think about how you position that.

John Clendenning [00:07:39]:
Yeah. A couple of things that we used back in the day that still seem to work well. I I sold the business there 2 years ago, two and a half years ago now, to one of our managers actually, to take over. And so it still runs in the office this back there and around the corner. So, you know, I still fingers in it. Like, I hear everything. I get asked questions all the time. And one of the questions have come up is, hey, John.

John Clendenning [00:08:01]:
Where are the what are those places that that woman that used to come in and sit in your office about, when you’re when we’re looking to hire, and and it was like, vocational schools and and and things like that. We always reached out to the community. The YMCA had a program for, you know, not just new immigrants, but people also just trying to get a a a leg up and things like that. So we always kept kind of, like, in touch with with those. And when we had a position coming open, we would reach out there as well. Job fairs, I would, you know, I wouldn’t set up a booth, but I’d go and walk around, especially if it was sort of like a, again, not a you know, like, some of the job fairs that came up that were around sort of labor and spring and clean and things like that. Think the IRCRC, does it still have a used to have a job board? I think it’s still, where technicians can you know, somebody you know, an IRCRC certified cleaning technician could be moving from 1 state to the next and wants to stay in his career path or even those Facebook groups Yeah. Where where there are things like that.

Jeff Cross [00:09:02]:
I think there’s something to be said for looking for technicians that might work for another company or just advertise, like you mentioned, Indeed or Yeah. Online, sources To where you might get some of those qualified technicians from another company who everyone’s looking for an opportunity. Right? Yeah. And these these young technicians might be doing that. I guess the the thing I would think about is what kind of person is it, not so much that they know how to push a wand back and forth Yeah. But the personality. And that’s really where you gotta find where you find the good people, the the people who can talk to your customers, who represent you well. We all go out to restaurants.

Jeff Cross [00:09:38]:
We deal with other service businesses. And aren’t we often just disappointed? And we kind of expect disappointment When we go or when we are are treated by an employee. It just kinda comes with the territory these days. So if we can do something different You mentioned, vocational schools, those opportunities. The other day, I interviewed a custodial supervisor with the school in Indiana, and they have a student custodial program to where they hire students. They pay them going rate, part time, and 7 of those students who went through that program stayed on as full time custodians after graduation.

John Clendenning [00:10:21]:
Yeah. Cool idea. Right? It is. Yeah. So think anybody listening to this and going, I I can’t find employees. Have you reached out to anything like that? Like, obviously, there’s some of the like, from a digital marketing perspective, one of the obvious is make sure you go to your Facebook business page and post a job with, again, with a great description, we’ll talk a little bit about what helps make a good description or whatever, but, posted on there because it Facebook collects all those and puts them out on on like, even just on Facebook as a as a job ad, you know, for people looking for for jobs, looking for those hashtags and things like that. So, you know, that kind of stuff. One of our clients actually, I thought that was hilarious.

John Clendenning [00:10:58]:
So he lives in Texas and has a business in Florida. So he’s hiring people, and he’s not there every single day. Like, trains them up, puts them in a truck, talks to them every morning on Zoom and or messenge you know, FaceTime or whatever. And kind of once they’re up and running, it it’s it’s kind of almost scary in my estimation, but he’s gotten really good at it because he’s hiring gig economy employees. So he’s hiring Uber drivers who in the afternoon and the evening can go out drive Uber, but they’re available in the morning. They’re great with customers in the public because they’re doing it all day long. They’re getting a great pay, oftentimes better than their Uber gig in the afternoon or evening. They are a bit of a hustle mentality kind of person.

John Clendenning [00:11:41]:
Put them on a good performance bonus as well. And if you’ve, you know, if you’ve got a light schedule that day, it just means they’re gonna turn their Uber on earlier. Right? So interesting. Again, we’re in a new world. I don’t know if you and I, us old dogs, would have thought of that, you know, but it’s sort of like you know, it was to him, it was like, hey. That’s that’s an obvious. Like, these these guys are are good that way.

Jeff Cross [00:12:02]:
Yeah. The the concern I would have, I guess, is what are they doing? Are they going along and working, or are they actually taking the keys to the truck the Driving that $80,000 truck with a truck mount

John Clendenning [00:12:12]:
Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:12:12]:
From job to job. I don’t know. I guess that would be a concern. Just just like when I talked about the student thing. Yep. You can get young people, but are they qualified to handle the, you know,

John Clendenning [00:12:23]:
the adult

Jeff Cross [00:12:24]:
tasks, which, you know, for insurance purposes or just experience when they go out driving your truck around town and

John Clendenning [00:12:29]:
Yep.

Jeff Cross [00:12:30]:
You know, that’s a concern or the box truck or whatever it is. Yeah.

John Clendenning [00:12:34]:
The other one is, so employee referral programs. We already got employees, a referral reward program for sure, anybody that you end up hiring, they get, like, what we used to do, $150. I I think it was $100 if they if we hired them, and then if they lasted at at 90 days, if we kept them on past the probationary period, it was another 150. So it’s $250 they’d get to refer somebody in that that lasted all the way through, and and that could and then what we started doing on our end, is we started saying, well, if we’re willing to pay our employees that why wouldn’t we be willing to pay, like, a church or a nonprofit or and then I actually had a business coach for a while, and he said, okay, John. You’re on the right path. Have you reached out to baseball and sport associations, like a men’s rec league that might know somebody who’s struggling, just lost a job, things like that. At least have it out there that you will donate that 100 then a 150 afterwards, for anybody, any candidate they send your way that might be interested. So at the very least, they’ll post a flyer on a bulletin border in an enewsletter, as an attempt to get, you know, again, just a a good win win for both sides if if it works out.

John Clendenning [00:13:42]:
So that oh, I guess the idea from this first part of it is really don’t just go, oh, I tried ads on the Indeed. They don’t work. Like, think outside the box, a bit. We’re in a new world. You’re gonna have to, you know, sort of attract, find, you know, root out a little bit. So maybe always be hiring is another one that works well if you’re growing for sure, but, just always kinda have a little bit of a bench, as we like to call it, where there’s people that they were interested. Maybe you didn’t have a position for them right now, but you tell them you’d like to keep the resume on file for when you do, and you’ve got somebody another so you’re not just waiting till all of a sudden somebody quits or you’re you absolutely need somebody, and now you’re starting the process, you’re at least farther along in the process because you’ve you’re working on your business, as Michael Gerber says, not in it, and you’re spending time doing kind of stuff as part of the function of being the owner of a carpet cleaning business.

Jeff Cross [00:14:36]:
So The best part of what you all said in all of that, I think, is the referral program. Because if you have a good technician, your model technician, he’s exactly what you want. His friends are probably gonna be somewhat like him. Yeah. Mean, that’s just how it works. Yeah. Just like you’re just like me, John, because we’re friends.

John Clendenning [00:14:52]:
Yeah. There you go. It’s like yeah. So the the technician that that yeah. Yeah. And I’ve had one of these that you have to drive to their house, knock on the door, and get you know, wake them up to get them in the truck because, you know, you haven’t replaced them yet, but you knew they’re out at the bar last night, that kind of idea. Yep. And it just happened to be 2 doors down.

John Clendenning [00:15:11]:
So sorry, Chris, if you’re listening, thing. But, yeah, I used to it was like, dude, get in the truck. You’re you’re you’re late for work. Right? Well, all of his friends were were also the same kind of guys. It wouldn’t be the people you would hire. Like, the clean-cut, you know, family oriented person. Yeah. They’re they’re hanging around with the right people.

John Clendenning [00:15:29]:
So so we’ll move on into attract you know, how to attract and hire the best technicians. So we kinda talk touched on a lot of it, but the more again, I guess it’s more about, like, again, that job description, you know, highlighting the experience. It’s not just a job. I’ll give you an example of couple of things we used to do, because we all know the job is somewhat physically demanding. But if you emphasize the fact that, that, you know, you’re getting to transform customers’ homes, there’s a great before and after experience right every single job you’re on. You get to be on the road, not stuck in a factory or stuck in a mall or stuck in an office. You’re on the road all day long. You know? Some people, that’s a a huge perk just, you know, kind of driving around.

John Clendenning [00:16:10]:
And the the people that like customer interaction and chatting to people, then, you know, you highlight that aspect of the job as well that you’re meeting new and interesting people and learning their stories and stuff as you’re in their home, taking care of of of their belongings and and making things feel better and, be healthier and cleaner. Like, that’s the type of things we used to put in our job descriptions just to change the the story of it.

Jeff Cross [00:16:37]:
Yeah. So So if you have a a lead, a potential employee, you know, that you have your traditional interview questions. Right? Where do you wanna be in 5 years, and how would you handle this situation, all those stock questions. But how do they really interact with people? To me, I’m not in the business, but if I were to if I were to hire someone like you, John, I’d I’d meet you for lunch somewhere Yeah. That they’re nice little restaurant, whatever it is, order a burger. And how do you treat the the food servers? How do you treat people? Do you have good eye contact? Yeah. I think I would vet someone that Because it’s it’s not about, again, the technical expertise because you can you can always teach that. Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:17:18]:
It’s about the people and how they treat people and how they talk to people. And can they Can that 20 year old young person go talk to that 50 year old college graduate woman with a career who’s a VP or a president of some corporation? You know, there’s a big disconnect there that you have to deal with, potential disconnect. So how do they deal with that? That would be my my vetting process, I think, along with all the traditional, you know, back checking of their of their past and their with their work. Yeah. And and just and talk about what The potential is in the company. You know? The it’s not just about cleaning. You know? There’s there’s always potential to do more as your company grows. Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:18:00]:
No.

John Clendenning [00:18:00]:
And I think that’s great and awesome advice because it is, we’ve actually got some suggestions coming up about sorta how you you can use digital to help the 1st part of it. It it that that’s, you know, the tactical side, but the humanics, the part of actually getting to know them, is much better out out in the public like that than it is, in your office. Like, we even talk about you know, we used to every technician had to go through a ride along day. That was they they’d get paid for it, but, you know, they had to agree to you know, if they passed the 1st and second stage of of interviewing, they had to go out on a ride along. And the team member that we had, had to like them, but, like, they had a rating thing to fill out at the end of the day. They had to chat them up. They actually had a few secret questions they kinda had to ask them and sort of feel them out from a employee to employee standpoint, maybe stuff they wouldn’t tell the boss, kind of idea. And but, we we kinda did that every single time as well because it it and it it got rid of mistakes before they happen hiring mistakes before they happened.

John Clendenning [00:18:58]:
Another one that we we like to, kinda became more important in the last 10 years is, before I sold the business, every interview I ever did, that was worthwhile, that the person was worth hiring, whether they chose to take the job when we offered it or not, they had checked out our online reviews themselves already. They had gone and checked us out on social media and checked out our websites and stuff like that. They wanted to know what the company was they were gonna be working for, and it kind of just is a testament to the marketing. If you’re not getting reviews with technicians’ names in them, if you’re not marketing your business and showing behind the scene videos of the team, you know, at a parity function. That’s good for marketing to get new customers because they wanna see the real side of your business too. But if you’re attracting employees and you don’t have that stuff, that real life stuff in your marketing. If your website, as I keep saying, is babies lying on carpets and families and dogs sitting on a couch, you’re not there’s nothing about that’s gonna attract a better employee either, but if it’s your team smiling and thumbs up around your van and, you know, and some behind the scenes footage and video and and images throughout every page of your website, the feeling that the ideal candidate is gonna get when they check you out before they apply is entirely different than if it’s all just on sort of, just answers on a form.

Jeff Cross [00:20:27]:
Yeah. When I interview for positions that I used to say I’ve done this a few times. You always ask, you know, what do you know about us? Yeah. And if they’re like, well, you know, and they don’t have much of an answer, that tells you something. So I agree with you, John, but I’ll tell you one thing I Have not seen a lot of is what you just said. The we’re a company, has a page of their employees who you got their picture. You got their bio, because I think your customers really love to know who’s coming to the house. And when they look at a company and they see all that, that’s that makes them feel good.

Jeff Cross [00:20:59]:
And the potential technician as well. They they see a team, right, that they wanna be part of. So I I love what you’re saying there. Yeah.

John Clendenning [00:21:06]:
I just don’t see

Jeff Cross [00:21:07]:
a lot of it. I think people should really pay attention to this.

John Clendenning [00:21:10]:
Yeah. Tell the family story. Like, you should like, I don’t even say hide it on an about us page. Like, at the at the be like, why choose our cleaning company? Well, hi. I’m John, the owner, and here’s why I started the company. If there’s, like, the origin story, you know, my daughter got sick with allergies, blah blah blah. I found out it was cleaning or whatever it was. Like, I mean, real stories, but that should be on websites.

John Clendenning [00:21:30]:
And, again, that also impacts this whole employee thing because it’s like, wow. I really wanna work for somebody who’s got a mission or a thought in their head, and it it’s it’s great for conversions. So if you wanna just kinda, you know, there there’s there’s it’s it’s great for persuasion to to land more customers, to make your website sell 2 or 3 times more people than you’re currently selling. But, really, in this hiring conversation, it’s just great to let the public know, including people you’re hiring, that, you know, you’re just a you’re you’re just a thoughtful, caring company. Mhmm. Exactly. Flexible schedules is another one that’s come up lately. I know some guys have sort of employee that work 4 days a week, and they kind of overlap them.

John Clendenning [00:22:10]:
So they cover 6 days, of of schedule, Monday to Saturday, but the employ any 1 employee only works 4 days, and then there’s sort of, like, overlap. There’s things like that you can offer, like, allow for flexible scheduling. We know we’re in an industry where the bell doesn’t ring at 4:30, and the the truck just magically shows up at the shop, and they hop in their car and drive home like, a, like, a factory job or a mall job or, you know, things like that. You could be running late because missus Jones added a couch. The second customer is a little bit late to the job, and then the third one turned out bigger than you thought it was gonna be. And next thing you know, it’s 5:30, 6 o’clock, and you still got the area rug to pick up driving back to the shop. Technicians know that, but there is that work life balance has to also be considered. So what is the consideration of the company.

John Clendenning [00:22:58]:
And one of them is, yeah, that might happen, but that’s only 4 days, and you get a 3 day weekend or, you know, every week or whatever. You either get Monday or or Friday off and or whatever, that kind of overlap or something. So there’s ways of that that to consider as well for that work life balance that seems to be more of a buzzword nowadays than when we were younger, and it’s hey. You gave me overtime? Great. Hey. You want me to come in on Saturday? Great. You know? Nowadays, there really does seem to be that you know, a a much deeper focus on work, life balance. I I’m not against it.

John Clendenning [00:23:28]:
I’m just old school where you work yourself to the bone until you get to the age where you don’t have to work. You know? Like, you you can start backing off because you put your dues in, but, nowadays, you know, it’s it it is a different culture as well that you know?

Jeff Cross [00:23:39]:
It is. And when those things do happen, And where they do work later because of the extra couch or the customer’s late or whatever. Do the business owners Listening to this, do they thank their employees? Do they really show appreciation? I mean, it it it’s all about relationships. It doesn’t work just between the technician and the customer. It works with the managers or business owners and the techs. So value your employees and take care of them and and show your appreciation to them in whatever fashion that might be, whether it’s the gift here and there or just a few honest words of commendation. Because if they’re working late, they might rumble a bit when they’re doing that, but when at end of the day, when they’re appreciated, that has to go a long ways.

John Clendenning [00:24:23]:
Yeah. Well, yeah, again, little things that we always do, and, again, there there’s millions of ways to deal with that. We called it, like, sort of perks beyond pay, but it was, you know I

Jeff Cross [00:24:31]:
like that.

John Clendenning [00:24:32]:
Yeah. Go get go get a pizza. Like, if it’s sort of like a a a job, and then you got a bit of downtime, and you gotta go do a a commercial job from 5:30 till 8 or 9 o’clock at night that night because it was booked in. Yeah. We’re buying the pizza, like or whatever it is or, you know, and that kind of thing. So we we’d either give them a gift card they could use at at certain places or bring the receipt back and it’s covered for sure. And, again, if it was one of those unexpected late days, it’s, you know, you’re on the phone with them. Thanks.

John Clendenning [00:25:01]:
But I even felt guilty going home. There’s a lot of times that if they were late, I’d stay at the office, so that when they came back, no. I’ll I’ll unload the truck. You go. Right? I might even have popped home, got dinner, you know, kiss the kids good night, and come back to the office to do that. But just not taking advantage of the employees, does definitely make them even if they’re grumbling the whole way, they go, ah, thanks, boss. That’s I appreciate that. Yeah.

John Clendenning [00:25:23]:
I’ll just head right home from whatever.

Jeff Cross [00:25:25]:
That adds to company culture. Yeah. That that’s not just a moment in time. That’s not something that benefits that day. That that has a long life to it. So

John Clendenning [00:25:33]:
Yeah. When you

Jeff Cross [00:25:34]:
do that as a boss, John, maybe I’ll come work for you one day.

John Clendenning [00:25:38]:
There you go. So, and then just kind of put a bow on this little bit of attracting and hiring the best people. Yeah. That career path you talked about, like, you know, employees should be going through IICRC training. Know that there is a sort of a road through a training because, you know, some people go, is that really necessary to have badges and and certificates and stuff like that. It’s it’s just cleaning. But, you know, there’s a reason why you get your, what was it, ISO 9,000, you know, as an factory line employee. You know, the the whole company got it, but individual employees had to go through the test stuff like that.

John Clendenning [00:26:15]:
And you got kind of little badge. Hey. You know, you you understand SPF controls and and things like that. There’s it’s you learn stuff, you understand more, but you also can can see a path. And then, again, if you do move states, if it’s like, you know, there’s a point at which, you know, your wife wants to move closer to her family and it’s forced date over or whatever, you’ve got something there that you call up, you know, 10 or 15 carpet cleaning places in Atlanta, there’s gonna be one go, oh, your IIC are certified, and you’ve got 5 years experience, and you’ve already got your flood tech degree and blah blah blah. Yeah. By all means, so you wanna start at $25 an hour? You know what I mean? Like, it’s just you’ve you’ve got something that you don’t have to proof you’ve got the paper that and so the company should be putting you through those kinds of things for their own benefit and even customer service training certificates. Like, think of every other industry.

John Clendenning [00:27:03]:
I was just, went out to a hockey game with my, my insurance guy, and we’re just chatting away. And the thing we’re talking about is continuing education credits. He to get 30 of them a year. How many industries do you have to constantly just go to these training courses? But I’m going, so what kind of courses do you go to? Well, one’s, like, ethics in business. And one is, like, you know, customer service, 101 or, you know, whatever. It goes it’s not all about, you know, the insurance products, I tell you. It’s it’s about just being, you know, a good person in the industry because they want good people in the industry. So you have to go through these to get these these credits, and it’s like, that makes sense even even to our carpet cleaning technicians.

John Clendenning [00:27:41]:
Why wouldn’t they go through a community funded customer service training or something like that? And

Jeff Cross [00:27:46]:
Yeah. It’s called education.

John Clendenning [00:27:48]:
Yeah. Exactly. So yep. So cool. And even getting testimonial videos from your current employees, not a bad idea. Like, I I know some companies that, we’ve kinda gotten into doing really good videos about everything. The owner introduces the website. They talk, you know, they stuff like that.

John Clendenning [00:28:01]:
But then they got the employees, when you know? Hey. Here’s why I like working at this this this website. So or sorry. This website. There’s my my other half half of my brain. At this company, and you post them on on, like, on the website and stuff like that, which kind of gets into that tying it all together. In today’s day and age, I firmly believe on the technical end of it, every business that’s looking to grow and hire needs a landing page on their website with a video from the owner saying, hey. You know, just grab your cell phone these days or a webcam.

John Clendenning [00:28:36]:
It’s it’s easy. Hey. Just, you know, read a teleprompter script if you have to, but, hey. It’s, you know, Jim at Jim Bob’s cleaning here, and, you know, we’ve been in the Fort Worth area for 27 years my family started, my dad’s business, blah blah blah. Anyway, we’re we’re hiring right now, and we’d really like to see if you’re a great candidate and, you know, fill out you know, here’s what the job’s all about. Here’s some of the perks. Here’s some of the things. You can check the rest of the page below.

John Clendenning [00:28:59]:
We’ve got some testimonials from our current and past, technicians to see what all jobs are about. If it makes sense to you, click the big button and fill out a survey. And in today’s day and age, you can have those surveys whether you’re asking very strategic questions on them. So, you don’t wanna just, you know, name, rank, and serial number, but you can you can actually seed in what your company is about in the survey by saying, we really take this as a serious, serious focus. So explain to me so now you’re telling them what you you you think, like customer service and the so give me an example of a time that you’ve been able to do x, y, and z. So you can have a couple of those, you know, more essay style or, you know, sentence or 2 questions, but you’re also getting into their brain that you’re different. If they opt out at that moment or answer a quest you know, you can actually have automation bump them out and send them, hey. The thanks so much for applying.

John Clendenning [00:29:51]:
We’ll take a look, a closer look at it, but I’m not sure if you’re quite the type of person we’re looking for versus another message. Hey. It looks like you, you know, you, you’re right in line with what we’re looking for. What I’d like you to do now, if you if you could please, as part 2, grab your phone and just record a quick little introduction, of yourself, a little, you know, history of, of, you know, your your work history and your what you enjoy, your sports, your things like that, and, also tell us why you applied for this job. Can you just do that? Send us the the video up you know, right here. Just give us a link to, put it up on YouTube, wherever you want, private and send us a link. But if you can just record, everybody in today’s day and age knows how to record a video, a selfie video of something. So just record 1 quickly and, and, yeah, and submit that and, and a couple of of, references, and we definitely love to have you in for an in in person interview or meet with you.

Jeff Cross [00:30:46]:
That that video is a great way to Yeah. To vet people for sure.

John Clendenning [00:30:50]:
Now you find out if they’re lovely. They answered everything well, and, unfortunately, I’m sure there’s a place for this, but their whole face is tattooed, might not be the ideal person to send to, you know, 69 year old missus Jones’s house. You know what I mean? So thing we think like that. So cool. So we’ve kind of covered, you know, where to source and a bunch of really good ideas and thinking outside the box and always be hiring, how to attract the best technicians by really thinking about your company and all of those little nuances and how you wanna, approach them and track them and tell them about your story. And now we’re gonna try and retain them. Right? So now now we I talked a little bit about making sure there’s, like, a training program employee development. But, yeah, what, like, what other things could we think of that you’ve you know of in the industry that, and things that we’ve done here and know of that would help retain somebody long term and not get that sort of 6 month, 9 month, 1 year itch.

John Clendenning [00:31:48]:
If they make it past 90 days, that’s on us. A year later, you know, you you know, they’ve gotta they’ve gotta wanna stick around. It it sucks to train in a technician, or 2 and then replace them every year. So

Jeff Cross [00:32:01]:
So a couple of thoughts there. Company culture, we talked about that. But if it’s a good culture and it’s a and it feels good to be there, To work there, that’s gonna keep people longer than one that is not. So it has to be more than a job. They have to feel like they’re part of the company. So Maybe depending on the company. Is there some type of ownership, feeling that the technicians can have? Is there some type of bonus or commission that they can earn to where they’re going above and beyond on their on their, earnings. And it’s not always about the money, but, You know, it is about the money too.

Jeff Cross [00:32:36]:
It’s about the money.

John Clendenning [00:32:37]:
You know?

Jeff Cross [00:32:38]:
We it’s funny how people say it’s not about the money. Well, you have to have the money to make it work. And technology, you know, what kind of technology is involved in the work to where these young people feel like they’re making a difference? The generation that we’re talking about, they’re pretty much born into tech. Yeah. So the physical work of cleaning, all of that, If we could sell the technical part to to where they’re using technology, they’re using, AI perhaps, or if if they’re using equipment, So they feel like they’re making a difference in their world of technology. Something we didn’t talk about is, like, diversity and inclusion. You know? You think of that more in the corporate world, but your younger generation, they care about that. They care about sustainability.

Jeff Cross [00:33:27]:
They care about the Earth. They care about recycling and all of these things. So if we can create a culture in a company to where we’re doing all that Mhmm. You know, cleaning is what we do. Restoring is what we do. But this machine we have in the company is even though we do that, this is what we focus on as well. I think that’s gonna keep people. So once you have them, there’s a reason why you chose those people.

Jeff Cross [00:33:51]:
They’re good people. They’re good with your customers. Well, there’s a bigger picture that’s gonna keep them longer, and we have to think about what that is. So all the things we think about the ownership of the company, do they feel like they’re Just an employee or do they feel like they’re a part of the team? You know, that’s gonna help, that company culture. Loyalty, you know, the old days of where someone got a job out of high school and they stayed there till retirement, those

John Clendenning [00:34:17]:
are those are gone. Long gone. Yes. Yes.

Jeff Cross [00:34:19]:
Gone. But do they have to be, or or maybe there’s an element of that that could be brought into it to where they stay longer than they might? When a when an employee you have is good and they stay a few years and they leave, why not entice them back perhaps? You know, there’s always that returning cycle that could be part of the Yeah. Plan as well. So

John Clendenning [00:34:40]:
No. Those are all good things. Yeah. Like Yeah. Employee recognition. If you’ve got more like, if you’ve if you’ve got 1 or 2 technicians, right, so a small company, you’re there with them every single day. I would still have your I did never did it on Monday, but Tuesday morning meetings. So, you know, say everybody has to be at the office by 8 o’clock, and the trucks drive out of the driveway at 8:30.

John Clendenning [00:35:01]:
Well, on Tuesdays, we didn’t book the 1st job on-site at 9, so you had half half up to half an hour to drive there. It was always 9:30 so that we could have an employee meeting to go through, you know, some training, some things that have come up, anything like that. We’re doing some red spot remover stuff. Like, it’s just all that kind of refresher reminder, a little bit of sales coaching, things like that, whatever goes on in that 30 to 1 hour 30 minute to 1 hour meeting. But you can also in those, you know, we we call them wows, but recognize when somebody did something above and beyond that they didn’t have to do. And, one of the ideas is, like, have a little wheel that they get to spin, and one of it’s a day off or a day early, you know, with full pay. Another one is, like, yeah, like a a gift card and things like that. And, again, make it honest.

John Clendenning [00:35:49]:
Not everybody has to have 1 every week. It’s it’s like only if somebody actually went above and beyond their job role and did, you know, did something else. Right? They forgot, you know, they forgot to draw take missus missus Smith’s rug back on the the 1st job of the day. At the end of the day, they came back to the shop, grabbed the rug, and drove it all the way back there before going home. Right? Did they have to? No. Honest mistake. But did they do go out above and beyond, and should that be not just recognized as we talked about earlier, but actually even, you know, celebrated within the company. So things like yeah.

John Clendenning [00:36:24]:
Like, those those kinds of things always always help. One of the other ones, what I used to like to have is, really open door policy, open communications. I wanted, like you know, we’re we’re all good at just staying busy, staying busy, staying busy, and never really doing those performance reviews. I never even like, the performance review, there’s a problem. The technician already knew it. I cared more about, more calling it a a check-in because it was like, if more than, you know, 90 days had gone by and I haven’t sort of 1 on 1, hey. How’s what’s going on? How’s home life? How’s the job treating you? What do you like, what don’t you like, what things do we need to fix, what’s you know, like, you know, in in the the job itself, but, you know, what are things that you know, those little nagging things. You got a pump up sprayer that is pissing you off.

John Clendenning [00:37:11]:
Like, you know, things like that as well. Like, just have that check-in meeting where it’s just you and them, not the whole team bantering around as the trucks are being loaded in the morning or whatever, but just sort of, you know, you know, you you you can’t do everything they suggest, but is there anything I could do to make the job a bit easier. You know? That’s how we ended up having technicians carrying brief like, these leather bag briefcases around. Because we always had handouts for our clients and a package at the end of the job to, you know you know, sort of lock in the sale and, you know you know, all that what other services we provide and a little all that kind of stuff. It was a handout, and all this paperwork stuff on clipboards, and one one of one of our technicians go, you know what? Like, I spilled coffee on it sometimes. It’s like, would it be so much easier if I just had a, like, a bag, I could show up to the door, have my clipboard and my measuring wheels thing in it. And then all the other stuff I needed just was sitting there inside the front door the for the end of the job when I needed it all. And, you know, and I was like, yeah.

John Clendenning [00:38:06]:
That’s brilliant. Let’s get that for everybody. And I would never have thought of that, but it was it came out of the technician having one of these sort of, like, what what would help make your job easier? And that open communication builds a lot of two way respect as well with the employer.

Jeff Cross [00:38:20]:
Mhmm. You know, John, there are so many different kinds of companies out there too. You think about some of the things you said about spinning the wheel and getting a gift card or a day off, whatever. I just think of the atmosphere of the workplace. And if you have if you’re working out of your home and your tech show up and they grab a key, that’s one thing. You know, it’s kind of tough to have the That office experience. But if you have an office

John Clendenning [00:38:42]:
Yep.

Jeff Cross [00:38:43]:
And you have a break room, think about how the corporations out there, successful ones, how they treat their people. I’m not saying spend a lot of money, but just to have a nice coffee maker and some soda and some snacks

John Clendenning [00:38:54]:
Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:38:55]:
And just make the place feel good. Whatever it takes to do that. So I know what I used to say where I work when I go into the office. There’s a nice break room. We have snacks, and there’s always something good. It’s just a good feeling, and it’s a small thing, but it it tells you that people care. So for all those listening to your podcast today, you No. If they’re if they’re able to have something where it’s a it’s a good experience to be at the office Mhmm.

Jeff Cross [00:39:20]:
Then that’s I think that has to add a little bit to that company culture, that building of that, That will benefit you in the long run.

John Clendenning [00:39:26]:
Yeah. And even if you’re even if you’re a guy that’s running out of your garage and you got a couple couple technicians showing up or whatever Mhmm. And the office is the room in the basement in the back corner, have the dartboard in the garage, have the like, you know, they they can hang around after work and throw darts some, have have the basket of apples and oranges and granola bars and, you know, all of that stuff. Like, grab grab some stuff before you guys go out. Like, you know, like You’re

Jeff Cross [00:39:51]:
way too healthy, John.

John Clendenning [00:39:53]:
Yeah. Sorry. I I do side of it. We’ve never had chips and cookies and cakes and pies, unfortunately. Well, if we did like, we had the team building event, so we would take them out, like, you know, and we would go do something. Sometimes it was charity work related. Right? Flipping burgers, and we had a we’d have a booth or whatever, and our guys will all be in uniform. And it’s like, hey.

John Clendenning [00:40:12]:
Who’s showing up on Saturday for the, you know, the charity burger flip or whatever? And and things like that. When we did home shows, it was the team members that were like, we’d pay them to be standing there at the home show, but they had rotation shifts. So, a, I didn’t have to stand there from Friday evening till Sunday night and pack it up myself, I could take Saturday morning off and come back Saturday night and and come back at the end of it to pack it up. But it was also the technicians and the office girl, Cheryl, at the time, would be in front of the public. And, oh, you’re the one I talked to on the phone. And it’s like all of it, and they get they’re getting paid for it, and they got perks, and they got, you know, hey. Go get your pizzas. Give me the receipt.

John Clendenning [00:40:48]:
All that kind of all that kind of stuff, but also have the mini golf day and the you know, with them and their family or their their their significant others or whatever as well and just, like, those kinds of things, they’re not expensive, but the value it brings to the culture and then the video you take of all of that. Like, let’s let’s let’s put the tech back into it. Definitely take the videos and put that up on your Facebook page, employee appreciation day and and and that kind of stuff, and it’s not once every year. It’s a couple times a year. You have your Christmas party at the local restaurant and RentThea, the bigger room, so their family you know, their kids and their their spouses and all can come as well and or girlfriends if they’re young crowds and boyfriends and all that. Right? It’s just make sure make sure it’s that you’re you’re not just running the business day in and day unexpected. They just have to show up. It’s like, how do you make this rewarding part of their life.

John Clendenning [00:41:42]:
And and yeah. So now now you’ve got them helping you find more people like we talked to. Now now it becomes a whole a sore circle.

Jeff Cross [00:41:50]:
It’s a whole steamroll or a Yeah. Snowball effect because you think about what you just said. Now you have your technicians going to the job, and the customer’s asking, do you like what you do? And they’re like they start bragging about the company Yeah. Who we like to do business with companies that are successful, that are fun to Yeah. To that are good to their employees. So this whole thing we’re talking about is not just about hiring techs now. It’s because you get their marketing residuals as well. Yeah.

Jeff Cross [00:42:13]:
And it all comes full circle to a better company all around.

John Clendenning [00:42:16]:
It does. Yeah. Customers love it better. I don’t know how many times we’ve had, some of our clients call us up and say, hey. My grandson’s looking for a job, and I’ve I’ve used you guys for years, and I think you’re great. Like, that has happened many

Jeff Cross [00:42:32]:
That’s a good idea.

John Clendenning [00:42:32]:
Yeah. So things like that, we always put in our marketing material. And by the by the way, if happen to know anybody looking for a job, send us our way. We would put that in some of our follow-up messages and thank you packages and things like that. Hope you’re happy. Give us, you know, some feedback and reviews and all that kind of stuff. Share us around with your friends. And, by the way, we’re always hiring, and we have a a a referral reward program, and we would mention that.

John Clendenning [00:42:56]:
Right? So, again, not all this stuff was like, hey. Everything was so so brilliantly put in place that 1995, when I started my carpet cleaning business, I had all of this figured out. But I’d say by about 2,002, 2003, I went, crap. I need to figure all of this stuff out. And that’s books and training courses and thought a lot of working on the business, not in the business that gets you to think all of, like and how it ties together. It’s it it isn’t isolated camps as we just said. Your your employees are your best marketing voice anyways, and getting you’re marketing your employees helps get more customers, and it the whole thing does just tie together. So and I think it’s a great place to end this.

John Clendenning [00:43:36]:
I mean, we just kinda walked through what I wanted to cover was, you know, the those those the where to source, how attract and how to retain. And we kind of came full circle and tied it all together, and, hopefully, somebody’s got some value out of this. If you did, definitely leave some on whatever pod podcast platform you’re you’re seeing this on or if you’re if it’s reposted on social media, let us know in the comments as well. If if you found this valuable and helpful, even if you’re a 1 man show looking how to get how to get the guy in the truck beside you, and what what might need to be thought of there. But if you’ve got 10, 20 crews on the road, you’ve probably got some of these things in place. Did we give you another nugget or two that’s like, holy crap. That’s a that’s e that’s even better than what we’re doing, and that’s another thing to try. So hopefully, got something out of it.

John Clendenning [00:44:21]:
Kinda kinda makes sense to everybody listening why I wanted Jeff on the call today because it’s, the perfect person to have this, this banter and conversation with, and, I think we helped out. So thanks so much, Jeff. Any parting words for the crowd?

Jeff Cross [00:44:34]:
No. I appreciate the time here. Normally, I’m the one asking the questions in on my program. So, John, it’s a pleasure to be part of your podcast program program. I hope this was helpful to some of your viewers. Yeah.

John Clendenning [00:44:47]:
I’m sure I’m sure it was. Thanks so much. Okay. A have a great day everybody. Take care, and, yeah, keep

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