Whether you own a plumbing or home renovation business, any service company can relate to the struggle of finding quality employees. Often times, you’re looking for someone with their own equipment, experience, and a huge sense of reliability. If you’re in a crowded market, attracting talent can be a tall order. Here are some ideas to consider when looking for the cream of the crop.
Experience is a huge factor when finding employees and we understand that you might be nervous with the strategy of finding employees via education centers.
It’s risky taking on someone fresh out of school, right?
I’m a born and raised Washington Redskin fan (unfortunately in their losing era), so I’ll use the National Football League as an analogy. Since I was a kid, I’ve watched Dan Snyder bring in big name vets, or as I call them, patch players. Deion Sanders, Randle El, Albert Haynesworth, Jason Taylor — the list goes on. Although this drove an incredible amount of jersey sales, it did not lead to a winning team.
The same goes for hiring. If you want to build a great company, it starts with your employees. The benefit of hiring young, educated people is in their ability to be shaped into your ideal hire. In addition to this, the relationship you build can be reciprocal; they teach you the latest and greatest, while you teach them what it really takes to provide great service.
Where do you find these fresh, young whipper-snappers?
Attend job fairs or events.
The Advanced Technology school in Virginia Beach, for example, specializes in HVAC education. They host several events per year. Reach out to schools like this, and find out if you can attend events or even set up a booth to promote your company and recruit.
Regardless of your industry, everyone needs supplies. It’s safe to say that people who paint for a living stop by a paint supply store on a regular basis. This is a great place to leave marketing collateral and start conversations — whether it’s with the store owner or someone else shopping for supplies.
I learned this strategy from a friend who owns an HVAC company. He told me that every time he goes to a supply store (like Aireco), he tries to start at least one conversation. He always hands out business cards and chats with the workers. I love this strategy for three reasons.
1. You’re there anyway. Why not maximize your time?
2. If you don’t run into potential workers, you’re probably going to run into potential customers. It’s simply a win-win.
3. If you want to go that extra mile, incentivize them to help you with your hire.
If you build a relationship with the store owner, they will probably let you leave some marketing materials behind. If you don’t know where to start, check out VistaPrint, and order some business cards.
Network and Find Community Leaders
There are many companies out there that bring decision makers and entrepreneurs together. Some are online, and some are offline.
The importance of being involved in the market that you serve is huge. People need to know who you are and that you provide a top-of-the-line service. If you’re surrounded by decision makers in your field, you’re in good company. You’ll be shocked at how many employees you can find with this strategy.
Here are some places where you might want to start engaging.
Networking Groups for Business Owners
BNI – With over 170,000 members worldwide, BNI is the largest business networking organization in the world.
Chamber of Commerce – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
Industry Specific Forums
HVAC – HVAC Talk
Computer Repair – Technibble
Auto Repair – AutoForums
Carpet Cleaning Software – CleaningTalk
Pest Control – PestControlForum
Plumbing – PlumbingZone
Painting – ContractorTalk
Landscaping/Lawncare – Lawnsite
Electrician – ElectricianTalk
Approach it from the standpoint that you are there to contribute. If you spend a small part of your week providing peers with resources, they will end up doing the same.
Offer Something Better
I spoke with another HVAC operator the other day and asked about his hiring techniques. One of the biggest attractors for him, was that he offered something better than his competition. In his case, all of his work was done in town. Some people want to be close to their families instead of working in remote areas. If you have control over the location of your jobs, this tactic might work really well for you.
One other way you might consider attracting talent is to create a work environment where your employees feel appreciated. You would be surprised how many bosses or managers just forget to say, “Awesome job today, Steve.” When an employee feels as though they’re an asset, they’re more likely to stick around and continue to work hard.
Get Out There And Say Hi
Finding great employees often comes from referrals. If you want to be on the receiving end of that referral more often than not, it really comes down to expanding your network. This can be done online in relevant forums or offline at education centers or supply stores. Spend 5-10% of your week networking and looking for new people — whether you need them or not. You never know when you’re going to find your next great employee.
Last modified: November 28, 2016