“Steve, why are my techs such pigs?”

keep-my-carpet-cleaning-vans-cleanQuestion: What can I do to keep our trucks clean all the time?

Steve’s solution: Pick your battles by taking as much off your employees as possible. Then “add accountability” for what they must do!


My techs are PIGS! My employees use a van and the next day it is always dirty wand, dirty rake, filthy hoses, stuff misplaced, etc, etc, etc! And they refuse to do any maintenance! Please help, Steve!

Wallowing in Filth in Reno

Hey, Wallowing, I’ve been there- done that! I used to get so sick of being the ONLY one in the company who cared! It just wore me down until I had a “revelation”. I remember the day well…

Things had gotten so bad in my 16 employee/ 4 truck mount company I was coming in on the weekend to clean bathrooms, vacuum carpets plus restock and clean our company vans. So here I was on a beautiful Saturday afternoon working like a slave cleaning up our (filthy) trucks and in breezed one of my techs: “Hi boss, I forgot my golf clubs yesterday and I have a 2:00 PM tee time! See you Monday!” and off he went!

Grrrr! What was wrong with this picture? No use getting mad at my tech since I realized the problem was ME! (One of my favorite SFS expressions is, “The fish rots from the head down!”) I had not set up SYSTEMS to help my employees keep things clean and orderly and even more importantly…

I was not “holding my employees ACCOUNTABLE”!  (Just like with your kids you need to hold your employees “accountable”!) When there is no accountability people will do what they want including leaving your vans like a pig sty! (And this leads to a company culture of slovenliness which will translate into even worse actions and attitudes.)

NOTE: I’ve written an entire Special Report on “Adding Employee Accountability to Your Company”. I urge you to download it for free HERE.)

So Wallowing, why not implement a weekly inspection with a check-off sheet on how your tech’s vans must look? Of course, you will also need to give your employees the time to properly clean and restock their vehicles. (AND pay them for this time.)

Remember that part of “adding accountability” is implementing the “pain/pleasure” principle. Most states outlaw deducting money from an employee’s paycheck as a “punishment”. (“Pain!”) But you usually can deduct money from a “bonus”. So why not implement a company wide “Employee Efficiency Bonus”? (EEB) Now your techs receive “Pleasure” IF nothing subtracts money from their EEB!

For example, you could put in $100.00 per employee into this monthly “performance pool”. Then every time a van doesn’t meet inspection you deduct $20.00 from the combined pool of money. (You can do this for customer complaints, employees being late, etc.) Now you are talking serious “peer pressure” as in, “Hey, bro, wassup? YOUR filthy van is taking money out of MY pocket! Clean it up!”

Now if everyone complies perfectly over the month they all share in this EEB bonus pool money. Can you say Friday Afternoon Club at Hooters!!! Wonderful- whatever motivated my techs I was all for! (Nothing illegal, of course!)

NOTE: Before implementing any major change (as in deviating away from the “normal”) in your employee pay policies you MUST check with an attorney (preferable) or at the very least with your state’s labor Department. How you pay your workers is one area where you absolutely do not want to “wing it”!

BONUS TIP: I eventually quit flogging my tired techs into cleaning and restocking their vans at the end of the day by hiring a high school kid to come in after hours. The tech’s would note down any unusual problems on their Production Day Sheets and go home. My “Maintenance Tech” (fancy title!) would come in to clean and restock all the vans plus clean the shop and office.

This arrangement worked out well for everyone. The kid really appreciated the job because he was making 40% more than he could at McDonalds. I didn’t have to nag my techs any more to do boring work they hated. Plus invariably the extra restocking/cleaning tasks would push the techs past 40 hours every week so in essence I was paying them time and a half just to wash their vans! (That’s an expensive car wash!

Try these ideas and then get back to me. As I always say, “We’re all in this together!”


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.