Ask Steve

Ask Steve: Is it Better to Hire Experienced or Inexperienced Techs for My Business?

Experience over no experience? What's better for a cleaning business?

Hello Steve,

I am curious if it is better to hire experienced techs over techs without experience? Is it better to find experienced techs or is it easier to just hire newbies and train them yourself? What are your experiences? I am trying to look ahead for when I hire someone. (I am still working alone on the truck but business is picking up!)


Looking Forward in Fresno


Congratulations on your business picking up, Looking!

I am nervous with rigid rules on hiring. I always say good employees can be found anywhere including techs with previous experience. But be very, very careful on hiring techs with “experience.” Why?

Because too many (but not all) techs in our industry are “experienced.” They are very experienced in:

1. Blowing off customers.

2. Being late for jobs.

3. Having a bad attitude.

4. Pilfering from clients.

5. Ignoring IICRC cleaning standards. (As in asking during the job interview, “Uhhh, what is an IICRC?”)

6. Blowing off the boss.

7. And maybe most importantly, these technicians are “experienced” in their own “short cuts” they have developed, both in technique and customer relationships and will not take kindly to your directions on how you want it done! (See point No. 6 above.)

So sure, Looking Forward, if an “experienced gem” appears, grab him or her. But be very, very careful and don't fall to his feet worshipping a cocky young applicant just because he says, “Hey, I know how to run a scrub wand!”

I always subscribed to the principle of “hire the smile.” I can train a motivated technician to do basic cleaning on their own in two weeks with our SFS Fast Track Training system. But someone learns to smile instinctively based on their environment growing up. (It is very difficult to change an applicant’s personality!) So I was always recruiting employees with a “service mentality” and it didn’t matter what work experience they came from.

(NOTE: Even with employees with an “automatic smile” I still needed to orient them, so I developed a Value Added Service Training Session outline. For your free copy just e-mail me at stoburen@StrategiesForSuccess.comand put the phrase “Value Added Service outline” in the subject line.)

Best wishes on your continued success, Looking Forward, and let me know how I can help you.

P.S. Remember too that most really good techs already have a long-term job and don't need to work for you. As one of my business mentors told me almost 40 years ago, “Steve, 95% of your job applicants are unemployed for a very good reason.” (Of course, this applies to your non-experienced job-seekers too!)

Steve and ICS want to consult for you! For a personal reply write Steve HEREwith your questions, problems, struggles and challenges!  Your help is on the way!

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