Ask a Pro May/June 2021

August 17th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Hiring the Next Generation

By Mike Burke

Many veteran tint shop owners struggle to understand the current generation of workers. We wear all the hats and are used to putting in long hours– our businesses were built on sweat equity. Shop owners make money tinting cars and need help tinting more. We’re looking for labor to help us knock out car after car, but we’re finding young adults who want to clock out at 5, hang out with their friends, and are satisfied if they can pay their rent and have a few bucks left over for beer.

This new, younger generation tends to value leisure time more than material possessions and social capital more than money. This can be easy to misinterpret as laziness and a lack of drive, but it’s helpful to look at it more as a priority shift. Their focus is on working smarter, not harder. Like it or not, their priorities aren’t going to change, so we need to understand their strengths and use them to our advantage.

How much tinting time do you lose dealing with customers and following up on leads? How many leads do you pass up because you’re can’t answer the phone while you’re tinting?

I visit so many tint shops and talk to so many owners/operators who can never take a vacation from their business because they are the business. They talk to every customer personally. I get it. I like to talk on the phone. I like to form relationships with every customer. But the truth is that isn’t a growth mindset. Today’s customers want to text and email and multi-task. Keeping up with expanding volumes and multiple locations requires technology.

Back to those millennials and Gen Z’ers. These younger generations are very good at technology. They grew up with a phone in one hand and a laptop in the other. They like to text and they can adapt to new apps and platforms. They can respond to google reviews, follow up with customers, schedule appointments and process payments, and they can juggle all of it at once.

The “only you” rule simply says that as a business owner you should be focusing on the things only you can do. If someone else can be doing it, they should be! The first step to independence from your business is to get away from the phone. Can someone else answer the phone? Yes. Can someone else schedule appointments? Yes. Can someone else respond to google reviews, text customers, order cleaning supplies? Yes, yes and yes. Can someone else go out and open a second location? Nope.

Here are a few questions I like to use with potential hires under 30:
• How often do you check social media?
• What do you consider working hours?
• Would you rather have more time off or more money?
• Do you ever want to own your own business?
• Do you do your own laundry?
• Have you ever played sports?

Some of these seem like a joke, but they can help you get a profile of a new generation of workers who don’t see the world the way you do. Workers who have played organized sports have a strong sense of teamwork and loyalty. If they are 30 years old and still taking their laundry to mom they are going to need direction every step of the way.

Your business will be more productive if you let a keyboard warrior deal with the day-to-day. The problems will still come to you, but most of your time will be freed up to focus on things that only you can do.

Mike Burke is the president of Sun Stoppers based in Matthews, N.C. The company has 35 locations.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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