It’s common for snow and ice removal companies to hire temporary seasonal employees to meet the increase in demand during the winter months. Here are some quick small business tips for effective hiring this winter.
Tips for Effective Hiring of Seasonal Employees
Estimate your seasonal needs – Reach out to past customers early in the season to see if they’ll be using your services again. Put new customers on the schedule, and then plan to acquire a few new customers throughout the season as well. Look into your competitors – have any new ones entered or exited the market since last year? This can help you better estimate your seasonal needs.
Be detailed in seasonal job postings – It’s important to be clear in your job posting that the position is temporary and seasonal. If snow is not a near-constant in your area, the work may even be on an as-needed basis. Be sure to include any licensing requirements, manual labor specifications, and whether you provide training. Being as detailed as possible in your job posting will help you get more qualified applicants.
Reach out to past seasonal employees – Some workers move from summer landscaping to winter snow and ice removal jobs every year. If you had seasonal employees in the past that really stood out, give them preference when hiring each year.
Be a good employer – This sounds like common sense, but if your employees enjoy working for you, you’ll attract more quality employees each year. Provide training, make sure employees know their safety and job satisfaction is important to you, and offer competitive compensation. When your customers are happy with their snow and ice removal services, they’ll reward you with repeat business. But you need happy employees to make customers happy!
Hire Subcontractors Instead of Employees – But be Careful
As an alternative to hiring employees, experienced subcontractors with their own crews are a great way to beef up your business and expand your service area.
However, it’s critical that you thoroughly research and interview prospective subs. Unfortunately, there are many fly-by-night subcontractors that offer snow and ice removal in the winter but don’t specialize in the work. Because snow and ice removal is a risky business, it’s important to have the right equipment, know-how and training. This is especially true if you’re hiring subcontractors and putting your company’s name behind the work.
A subcontractor should carry their own general liability insurance and worker’s compensation. All of their crew should have a clean driving record and pass a background check, and they should be able to provide references and examples of job sites. If they will be operating snow plows, blowers, pushers and other heavy equipment, they should have a commercial drivers license and any other designations required in your state.
Once you hire your seasonal subcontractors, it’s important to do a site visit on all of the properties they’ll be responsible for. As you add customers during the season, continue to do site visits with your subs and maintain expectations. Always have subcontractors sign an employee contract that includes the job description, chain of command, expectations, timing, and consequences for not completing a job.
Follow these small business tips for effective hiring this winter and watch your snow and ice removal business grow!
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