In my travels, I meet many cleaning and restoration company owners.

They can be people who are what I call “production” oriented and consider dealing with employees a painful, unpleasant experience. They can be people who areiStock/Pondshots “management” oriented and prefer the challenges of running a company over doing hands-on work in the field.

Obviously, not everyone fits into these groups perfectly and can be somewhere in between.

Regardless of where you fit, chances are you will hire at least one employee for your business. Probably more.

Here are some guidelines to do it right.

  1. The old saying, “You just can’t find good employees any more” is not true. There are great people out there to be hired, even though it may sometimes be a long process finding them.  
  2. If you first start looking for an employee when you need one, generally it’s too late.
  3. Never hire out of desperation. It can be better to tough it out for period of time, with the job unfilled than to end up with a hiring mistake.
  4. Always be on the lookout for good people, with the outlook you want, who may want to work at your company, even when you don’t need them.
  5. Give a potential employee your card and suggest, if they ever want to change jobs, you’d like to talk with them. This doesn’t mean you will always need them when they call, but it’s better to have too many choices than too few.
  6. Build a profile of the kind of person you need, for each job. Example: At my company, when we needed a carpet/upholstery cleaner, we hired a communicator who could push a wand. 
  7. Encourage referrals from current employees. They know the kind of person you need and often do a good job pointing someone out.
  8. Conduct more than one interview. Make sure the first impression holds up for a second and third.
  9. Pay attention to employee retention. Sometimes good employees are lost due to a problem that could have been solved. Make sure the loss of an employee isn’t a management problem. Example: Many employees need recognition for good work and if they don’t get it, will become resentful and angry.
  10. Always do background checks, in all the states where the person has lived. A drug test the day you agree to hire them is also a great idea.
  11. Hire someone who has the personality and character you need. Molding someone’s character into what you need can be challenging, if not impossible.  You probably don’t have the time or the skill to change them.   

So, the bottom line is:

Always be on the lookout for good prospects. That employee who you think will never leave and you just can’t imagine doing without them could be gone one day.

“Select” the person you want. Dealing with, and ultimately replacing, a bad hiring choice can be painful and costly.

Maintain the people you have.

Good luck. Be happy. Make money.

Dennis Klager is an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)-approved instructor. He can be reached at