Several years ago in my business, I crossed a difficult threshold. It was a “tough nut to crack”, a real “Catch-22” situation. I am talking about hiring help. When I finally decided to hire help, I did experience a few more problems than when I provided fantastic service to my clients, all by myself. However, I just wanted more from my business. I “traded hats”, so to speak. I went from being a technician to being a business owner-operator. My distinction between the two is not meant disrespectfully. This is just my perception of how it really was in my business.
First, I built a system. Systems will take you there. Read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber (this is a must). McDonalds got where they are today by utilizing systems. To succeed with employees, you will need to go out and “build the same burger” with every carpet you service.
Make the system “idiot-proof”. Then, go hire some good people and pay them well. Train them to follow your system. Then, you will need to “clean up the spills and put out a few fires”. You may be saying. “Hmmm. I still think flipping a burger and taking the french fries out of the grease is different than doing carpet care.” Well, this is true. I am only using the McDonalds analogy as an example; however, the same example exists in every other industry. Systems are the key to successfully duplicating a product or service without a lot of supervision.
I have been using employees for many years to do the jobs that I used to think “only I could do”. But, now with just one week of training and following the system, my new employees are ready to go out on their own. And, guess what? They do awesome work! Want to know how? Because they have a fool proof “system” to follow.
If you are tired of working “for” your business, as I was, set up your systems now!
Let’s do the math.
If you pay your employee $20 per hour plus 20% for payroll expenses, that comes to $24 per hour. Many carpet cleaners are easily able to gross $100 per hour. So, if you pay an employee $24 per hour, you are still going to gross $76 per hour. Do you think you can find some excellent part time help for $20 per hour? You better believe you can! It’s a “win-win” proposition. The best part is that you can now be free to concentrate your energy toward building your business.
By choice, my company is still a small enterprise. We run 3 trucks utilizing part time employees. We use a payroll service to handle paychecks. We specialize in commercial carpet and floor care. The advantage to all this is that I have been able to focus on “building” my business (working on my business, not for my business).
The Bottom Line:
Look at this plain and simple… There are 3 things you need to provide your service.
#1 and #2 can be purchased from your local supplier. #3 can be provided by your own
pair of hands or by hiring somebody else. When I started to look at these 3 components as “purchasable commodities”, it helped me to move past the Catch-22 threshold.
My parting advice to you is:
1. Read the E-Myth
2. Systemize your operation.
With good systems in place, “the world is your oyster!”