The past year and a half brought a lot of changes in the asphalt maintenance industry. Some of them were great. Other changes, like the supply chain issues on line striping paint – and crackfiller for our Canadian neighbors – have put stress on your business's ability to do the work. Luckily, asphalt maintenance is one of those evergreen businesses that doesn't depend on trends nor is it severely affected by economic downturns.
One of the businesses that thrived this past year and a half is your sealcoating and crack repair company. But there's just one problem: you've been having trouble hiring qualified workers especially during this peak season.
Hiring Factors That You Can’t Control
But let me clarify, there are reasons for these hiring struggles that are beyond your control.
- Despite the relatively high vaccination rates in the country, COVID-19 and its variants are still far from eradicated. Many people are still worried about getting sick on the job, especially if their employers do not provide health insurance.
- Hundreds of thousands of workers died during the height of the pandemic, and it's going to take months or even years to train the people who could replace them.
- Many qualified workers have children at home and it’s not easy to find carers for their kids.
But there are things that business owners can control, and there are hiring mistakes you are probably committing right now. Today, we're going to discuss some of the most common hiring mistakes asphalt maintenance company owners make and how you can rectify them.
1. You're paying people peanuts
If you're still offering $7.25 per hour to prospective employees in 2021, then you’re definitely going to have problems hiring qualified workers for your business. To attract qualified workers, you must consider making a fundamental change in how you do business and how you compensate your current and future employees. Harvard Business Review suggests that business owners start by adjusting the salary they're offering to workers to the cost of living in their area.
Just because some fast-food chains and other businesses in the state still offer $7.25 doesn't mean you should, too. If your business is doing great and you can afford to pay your workers decent salaries, then make sure that your business stands out by offering an above-minimum wage.
2. Your applicant pool is too narrow or outdated
Able-bodied men who live in your area make up the bulk of your team. But lately, you’ve been having trouble finding the regular 20- to 40-year olds who want to work as asphalt maintenance specialists. Maybe they’re working somewhere else, maybe some of them relocated out of the city or state during the height of the pandemic, or maybe they’ve set up their own businesses.
If this is the case, then perhaps it's time to think outside the box to widen your pool of candidates. Consider hiring women, as well as the elderly who have retired but are still capable of working. You can also look into the possibility of hiring people who have disabilities but are capable of working.
Remember that people with mobility, visual, hearing, and cognitive impairments are not the only ones considered disabled. There are also people with hidden disabilities (e.g., people with ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety disorders, etc.) who are capable of working and are willing to work. As long as you train them properly and make sure that their disability does not become a liability to your company, then it’s going to work out. (Here's a list of invisible disabilities for your reference.)
If you're hiring women, the elderly, and people with hidden disabilities, then make your company more attractive by making sure that you foster a safe and harassment-free environment for them.
3. Your company gives off a toxic and unprofessional vibe
One of the most important things when it comes to attracting great workers is creating a professional and safe environment for your current employees. People want to join a winning team, and a shoddy attempt at looking professional does not necessarily bode well for your company's hiring efforts.
Like attracts like. If a great potential employee comes in for an interview and sees that your current ones are not wearing uniforms, look and act unprofessional, and your company culture is toxic, then it's only understandable for them to decline your job offer.
Kevin Gray, president of Kentucky-based ADC Paving, stresses that your company culture is just as important as the quality of the product and the equipment you're using. For him, it is essential to make sure that every team member is accountable to each other for the success of the company.
Why is Culture KING in Business? | ADC Paving
4. You're not asking your former and current employees to endorse your company
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to attract qualified workers. If you know that you're a great employer, then don’t be shy to ask people for online reviews and encourage them to share how great it is to work for your company. Ask former and current employees to review and endorse your company on LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and other employment websites.
5. There is no room for growth in your company
Many people are content with sealcoating driveways and repairing cracks all the days of their lives, and that's perfectly fine. But many workers also want to go beyond manual work to learn new skills and grow within the company. If workers see that there's no room for growth in your business, then you're going to have problems attracting and retaining good people.
6. You're still using old recruitment channels
Online job boards and classified ads are great for reaching potential employees, but there's a reason why they're considered old school now. If you're targeting younger millennials or Gen Z workers, then get with the times and update your recruitment method. Use social media sites, such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, to reach younger, more tech-savvy workers.
Tips for Hiring Staff That Stick in the Asphalt Pavement Sealcoating Business
How to hire workers in 2021 and beyond
For better or worse, the events of 2020 and 2021 have made significant and lasting changes in the way people do business and hire employees. You can cling to the old paradigms and be left behind, or you can embrace change and attract more workers to scale your sealcoating business.