Should I Hire Techs or Stick to Cleaning Myself?


Dear Steve,

I bounce back and forth. At 48 I’m not getting any younger and the aches and pains are increasing. And it would be nice to take time off and know the business was still producing money. So I am leaning toward finally hiring employees.

But on the other hand I dread the problems and issues hiring people seems to always bring. What would you do?

Undecided in Iowa

Dear “Undecided”,

OK, I caught up on my deadlines (when you think about it life is just lurching from one crisis to the next one!) and have pondered a bit more on your question we started discussing a few days back.

There is no doubt that a person can be a “success” without suffering through the agonies of employees. BUT for your business to have value as a “retirement nest egg” very likely you must increase both it’s volume and profits to the point where you will be forced to hire employees.

If an individual rejects this approach (which is certainly their right) then they must provide for their retirement financing in another way. Regular investing plans, buying rental properties, developing a post-retirement hobby that can bring in funds too … the choice is up to you. (The one thing you DON’T want to do, Undecided, is depend on Social Security to “take care of you”!)

The sad thing is I see so many carpet cleaners “growing old on the wand” without making provisions financially to retire. As I always say in SFS, “One day, you will leave your business … your only choice is how and when.” Whether you are a one man shop or a large operation, two people (gotta be politically correct here) almost always pay off.

1. One man show- You’re not getting any younger, are you? It’s really nice to have someone backing you up. And while your productivity won’t double, even if you increase it by 1/3 (which most assistants can easily produce) that will more than pay for the entire cost of a helper.

2. Multi truck company- Let me count the ways. A helper is really just a “crew chief in waiting”. (Employee turnover is just a fact of life. Get used to it.) Customers feel more comfortable with two people working in their home instead of alone with a (usually) male technician. Crime and pilfering is less with someone to watch over the other. Carpet cleaning is darn hard work, both physically and emotionally. With two people on a truck the day goes faster and is more fun. Etc, etc, etc. BUT ya gotta count the cost (both financially and emotionally) AND set up the Business Infrastructure for employees. I guess that is what SFS (and this web site) is all about! (Sorry for the commercial but I get carried away! And yes, you really should attend SFS!)


P.S. At the end of the day, Undecided, I can’t tell you which way to go. However, you are smart to be thinking AND deciding right now. At 48 you are past time to be having these conversations with yourself. I’m sure the Bleeding Hearts will be bringing this topic up again!

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