Building Your Carwash 'A Team' Starts with Hiring Process

Bobby Willis Comments

One of the most important tasks of owning a carwash is hiring and training a team that will represent your business the way you want it to be represented. I learned a few simple but valid points early on that helped me develop a training program for my new team members.

First, no two employees are alike, and there is no guarantee staff members will instinctively handle every situation the same way the business owner would. Because of this, carwash owners need to build structure into their businesses and recognize they can’t do it all themselves.

With a combination of the right people, proper training and a structured work environment, it is possible to develop a winning team so that your carwash can be all that it can be.

If you have never hired anyone to work at your carwash, there are many important items to consider. As with any job, it takes a special set of skills to work at a carwash. Each new employee we hire is surprised by all that goes on at a wash. After all, an ideal candidate already has experience with electrical, plumbing, mechanical knowledge and customer service and is ready and willing to work in the outdoor elements. That person is not easy to find.

Preparing to Hire

With that in mind, here are a few key items for your consideration:

1. Have you properly budgeted and is your business healthy enough to hire an employee? You have to look beyond the hourly wage and factor in training costs, employee benefits, employer payroll taxes, uniforms, and workers’ compensation insurance.

2. Have you written out a job description? Any potential employee needs to clearly understand the tasks and responsibilities associated with the position.

3. How do you plan to train the new employee? A structured program tailored for the individual employee has worked best for my company. All new employees go through the same two-week introductory period, and then we develop a program for each individual employee to train him or her in areas where he or she has limited or no experience.

4. Do you have an employee manual? An employee manual should cover the following: A brief company history, company objectives and operating procedures, employment policies, labor laws and rules, safety procedures, benefits, and an organizational chart.

5. How do you plan to find the new employee? Attracting a quality pool of applicants can be difficult for carwash operators. The friend referral process has worked really well for my company. When we open a new position, I speak with my other employees and ask if they know anyone who is as qualified as they are and looking for a position. If the referred person is hired, I give a bonus to the employee who provided the referral. Other methods we use to attract new employees include a “now hiring” message on our marquis sign; school placement centers and newspaper ads.

If these operational tasks seem overwhelming, there are companies that specialize in these types of processes. For example, there are several payroll service providers (PSPs) and professional employer organizations (PEOs) that can help with even a single employee.

PSPs perform tasks such as preparing paychecks; withholding and sending tax payments to local, state and federal tax agencies; preparing and sending quarterly and annual reports to these agencies; and preparing and sending employee W-2 forms at the end of the year. Many PSPs also will handle and administer employee benefit programs.

PEOs are outsourcing providers that offer co-employment. They share certain responsibilities and liabilities and handle all aspects of human resources. Business owners pay them based on a percentage of employee wages.


Once you have identified a qualified pool of applicants, it is time to interview your potential hires. If this is your first time interviewing job applicants, remember this is a two-way street and that you are trying to make a match. Be respectful of applicants’ time. Don’t take phone calls or read e-mails during interviews. Have the job description written out and go into additional detail about what the job entails. In addition, be sure to discuss the pay structure and explain the benefits included with the available position, work schedule, etc.

When interviewing, ask questions that are open ended, rather than those that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Make sure applicants know what is required for the position by the end of the interview. At the conclusion of the interview, ask them if they understand everything about the position and answer any questions they may have about your company.

After the interview process is complete, narrow down your list of applicants to the few you believe are a good fit for your company. Next, call the references provided by the applicants you are interested in and complete

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