RIPON, Wis. — As a Laundromat owner, you are faced with many decisions that affect the daily operation of your business. One of these important decisions is hiring attendants. Oftentimes, attendants are the face of your store, which is why you need to hire wisely to ensure that your attendants represent your business in a positive way to help grow and maintain your customer base.
Whether opening your first store or your fifth, hiring and training attendants can be challenging as you are trusting someone else to help operate your business.
With more than 20 attendants working across four stores, multi-store owner Tony Kahan is all too familiar with what it takes to hire and train the best employees. Kahan has a simple motto for the four Chicago Laundromats he co-owns with his brother, Rich: “Always Clean, Always Friendly.” According to Kahan, he and his brother are able to carry out this motto with the help of their attendants.
WHERE TO START?
Since 2006, the Kahans have opened three brand-new stores in Chicago’s Jefferson Park, Avondale and Belmont Cragin neighborhoods. In April, they acquired their first existing store in Logan Square. All of the stores are located in high-density, urban locations, making the roles of attendants incredibly important.
While the Internet has become a main source for employers looking to fill vacancies in the 21st century, it is not the end-all-be-all in the Laundromat industry. Kahan, for example, looks for referrals from his existing attendants.
“I like to hire friends and relatives of people I have already hired,” he shares. “If they are happy employees, the people they refer typically are, too. This practice has worked very well for us.”
Another employee-procurement resource that has worked for the Friendly Wash owner is his customer base. If in need of a new attendant, Kahan will put up a “Help Wanted” sign, and he generally receives a lot of responses from his customers, which he says is a win-win.
“Our customers are already familiar with our store, our values and the community,” Kahan says. “They also know how to operate the equipment, which puts them ahead of the game when it comes to training.”
Once a prospective attendant has been identified, it is the one-on-one interaction Kahan has with the candidate that helps determine if he or she will be the right fit.
“I look at how the person is with me while we are talking,” Kahan explains. “Do I sense sincerity? Do I get a sense this person is looking for an opportunity to better themselves, or are they just trying to get a job?”
Whether or not you choose to rely on the Internet to identify potential store attendants, it can play a large role in the final screening stage of the hiring process. Depending on the state where a store is located, owners may be able to search public records, or they can pay a small fee to have an independent agency conduct a background check. It can also be as easy as typing the candidate’s name into a search engine to see if anything warrants concern.
Check back on Thursday for the conclusion, featuring training specifics and “adding a personal touch”