The swishing of brushes and slapping of mitter curtains as customers travel through the car wash tunnel is usually all they’ll see and hear. Once installed, though, the components themselves have little to do with the success of a car wash operation. As in any business, it’s the employees who make the company.
From managers to sales clerks to car detailers, employee retention is a priority at any car wash. According to a Small Business Chronicle article, the average cost to replace even a minimum wage employee can run anywhere from around $5,000-$9,000 for the business owner.
The time and finances required to recruit, interview, process and train new workers are enough to motivate any business to strive to prevent a revolving door of employees.
Here are six ways to reduce turnover and increase the quality of your car wash company’s culture.
1. Recruit with High Standards in Mind
When it comes to hiring, literally anyone can wipe down a car as it comes out of the wash tunnel, but excellent customer service means hiring individuals that do it with verve. The same goes for point of sale individuals who have the choice to mechanically ring up one transaction after another or make the effort to positively interact with customers.
Avoid hiring walk-ins, even if the need is desperate. Take the time to recruit and formally interview employees in order to find capable and trustworthy individuals.
2. Set High Expectations During Training
Have all your training materials and systems in place before you start. This will maximize the value of your efforts and reduce time wasted looking for resources after the fact. Not only that, collaterals such as handouts, videos and books can help the employee expand his knowledge and retain what he learned in classroom sessions.
During training, establish a culture of high standards regarding both customer and employee satisfaction. Also, role-play employee-employee interactions as well as customer-employee interactions. The tension between employees or customer dissatisfaction are leading causes of high turnover rates.
Managers are essential for monitoring and maintaining your company’s customer service expectations. They will need training updates several times a year to equip them with the necessary strategies and momentum their leadership position requires.
3. Offer Competitive Benefits Packages
Full-time employees will expect good health insurance and other benefits. Including life insurance and retirement savings plans are additional perks essential to retaining quality employees.
4. Conduct ‘Stay’ Interviews as well as Exit Interviews
A Wall Street Journal guide on employee retention suggests periodically interviewing employees that have been with you awhile. Ask them why they have stayed, what would make them leave and what improvements would cause them to stay even longer.
Taking into account feedback from trusted employees, continually refine and improve the training process as well as the company culture.
5. Manage Employees by Example
Managers of car wash companies lead by example. Far from the typical corporate management plethora of meetings, most of a car wash manager’s time should be spent interacting with employees.
When employees feel heard, valued and trusted, they are less likely to seek employment elsewhere. Insperity, a business coaching company, lists some of the top reasons for high turnover as bad management and disengagement.
Coaching from a manager to encourage positive employee-customer interactions and ensure respect and trust between employees help to shape a positive company culture that will aid in lowering the company’s turnover rate.
6. Challenge Employees with Growth Goals
Both the Wall Street Journal guide and the Insperity list cite employee boredom and lack of vision as contributors to high turnover rates. Setting challenging goals for employees, which can range from team competitions to individual incentives, can offset these.
Also, ensure that the owner or manager makes clear to all employees the career path and opportunity for advancement each of their positions holds.
Put these recommendations into practice and watch the employee turnover rate decline, enthusiasm climb and a positive attitude permeate throughout your operation.
The following articles provide even more information about how to retain good car wash employees and reduce turnover: