One of the most consistently growing sectors in our economy after the 2008 economic crash has been surface transportation for moving goods and services. Maybe that’s why Warren Buffet bought a railroad company or why FED EX is doing better with its ground freight than with its airfreight division currently. Although things do change over time, the trucking industry has been constantly hiring new drivers every month, about the only sector expanding throughout the economic recovery. So, maybe a good business might be one that is involved in that sector? Let’s talk about the truck washing business.
Yes, the truck washing sector is a decent business model if done correctly, I’ve been involved in on-site mobile fleet washing and fixed site truck washes in my career. The trick is to be efficient with the labor and process because, last time I checked trucks still don’t wash themselves, or drive themselves, and until Google figures that one out with autonomous self-driving trucks and fully automated truck washing systems to talk to each other via the Internet, well, we still have a good business strategy our here.
If you want your wash teams, employees and managers to run your business efficiently then you need to consider performance pay, bonuses, and incentive money. Yes, I know, Friedrich Winslow Taylor already made that abundantly clear well over 100-years ago. Now then, how much should you pay your hired help? Well, first there are minimum wage laws right? So, that ought to be a good starting point for a base pay for the washers, then pay them a bonus of the revenue over the minimum number of trucks which need to be washed based on average price charged to break even.
To do this, show them your real costs to break even. The bonus percentages are based on each hour worked and divided by each workers total hours – thus, different people get different bonus checks based on the hours they worked. Next, tell the workers that the only way in hell they are going to increase volume is by improving quality, speed (getting the divers out fast), repeats and referrals. This way they are overly nice to EVERY DRIVER and ask them to be sure to tell everyone to come in to your truck wash.
As you prune the “stand-around” lazy workers, your team will only have the best hard-working people and this will permeate what is expected of anyone new hired to replace the dogs.
What about management bonuses at truck washes?
Okay so, why not tell the manager that he gets a base pay, salary plus a bonus of the increased volume over last year’s same month volume, plus an efficiency number based on labor costs per unit. Let him know that the only way he’s going to get that done is to have the best kick-ass employees work more hours, and those who suck to take a hike and to go out and get new business, sell accounts, make calls to other companies to bring their trucks in, he’ll be more aggressive.
You need to think about the implications of all of this, and what formulas you might use to determine percentages. Remember your objectives are more efficient operations, saving costs, higher profits and more sales and volume – right? Okay, that’s the mission and that’s the goal – so use employee incentives for higher profits and greater efficiency. Please consider all this and think on it.