In nearly every industry, a familiar refrain can be heard wafting from the offices of managers: “Why can’t we find good help? Why can’t we keep the help we have?” Mountains of data and research have produced thousands of articles dissecting the employment market. It can be hard to take that information and make it actionable for your auto glass business. Fortunately, one of the advantages of being a part of a the NOVUS network of auto glass business owners—facing the same challenges in the same industry—is having access to a wealth of experience and information from markets around the world.
While there is certainly more to employee recruitment and retention than compensation and benefits, these things are often the starting point to get new employees in the door. Your leadership and work environment are just as important for keeping them. Here is a starting point to understand how you might improve the recruitment and retention efforts for your auto glass business.
How Much Should I Pay?
The information and ideas below are based on three market sizes: Small-market (0-150,000 population), Mid-Market (150,000-750,000), and Metro-Market (750,000+). Hiring an experienced technician obviously costs the most in a Metro-Market. Sometimes twice as much as a Small-Market. In addition, many auto glass business owners in these larger markets offer volume compensation per replacement or repair. A few auto glass business owners change this system and motivate their employees by simply offering them a percentage of invoices as their total compensation. Auto glass business owners in Mid-Markets will obviously pay less and the volume compensation bonus is not as common. Small-Market business owners pay the least. This isn’t to say that business owners in small markets are selfish. Cost-of-living adjustments keep compensation fairly comparable throughout the country. Another route some owners take is to hire inexperienced employees and train them to be auto glass technicians. When this is the case, pay is lower for a period of time until the technician can operate at the same capacity as an experienced tech.
Another key position for your windshield repair and replacement business is the Customer Service Representative. In a competitive market, this person will turn shoppers into buyers. Auto glass business owners across all markets tend to pay CSRs similarly. However, when you find gold, you pay to keep it. One NOVUS franchisee remarked, “My CSR can close anyone. She almost never hangs up the phone without an appointment scheduled so I pay her a premium.” Commission or bonuses based on sales targets can also keep a CSR engaged in your auto glass business.
Compensation is just a piece of the recruitment and retention puzzle, but it is often the first piece of information potential employees want.
Should I Offer Benefits?
Every advantage you can give yourself will help you recruit and retain employees. With the rising cost of healthcare, some employees value a good insurance plan more than an extra $2/hr. You can use insurance and retirement contributions as a recruitment and retention tool. Metro- and Mid-Market businesses more commonly offer insurance benefits to their employees, but many in small markets do as well. Those that offer retirement contributions, have excellent retention rates.
Paid time off and paid holidays are another recruitment and retention incentive you can wield. Most auto glass businesses offer some combination of PTO and paid holidays, often increasing the amount of PTO with tenure. These benchmarks of greater benefits (like raises) over time is a powerful reason for an employee to stick with you, instead of jumping ship for a couple dollars per hour.
Other Things To Try
Beyond the standard wages and benefits, you can get creative in recruiting and retaining employees. Some offer a signing bonus, payable up front or over the first year of employment. This is more common in Metro-Markets. Other auto glass business owners offer bonuses, either for performance, based on year-over-year growth, or a general holiday bonus. Offering profit-based bonuses can motivate employees to perform efficiently. Another way to do this is with a monthly contest, for a gift card or cash, among employees based on efficiency of time and materials. A NOVUS franchisee in a Metro-Market said, “I treat my employees like important executives at one of the big businesses downtown. I give tenure plaques and gifts at 5, 10, 15 years, etc. They feel like they matter instead of being replaceable.”
An auto glass business, like any other business, is more successful with consistency. Customers value consistency. Employees value consistency. Employers value consistency. Finding and keeping consistent employees takes a mix of tools. The compensation/benefit-based tools mentioned above are only part of the picture. The consistency you provide in leadership and the work environment, and creating a team-oriented environment, are just as important. All these, along with your compensation and benefit offerings, enable to recruit and retain the best employees, improving consistency and eliminating human resources headaches.
About NOVUS Glass
For over 47 years, NOVUS has remained the industry’s research & development leader in auto glass service. NOVUS has been awarded more U.S. Patents for windshield repair than any other company in the windshield repair industry. For more information on starting a NOVUS business please call 1-800-944-6811 or go to www.novusfranchising.com.Back