Scaling Car Washes

Cover text - building up human resources to strengthen your car wash title with car wash image

How to Approach Human Resources to Strengthen Your Car Wash Business

Are you looking for ways to leverage human resources in your car wash so that you can strengthen your business and scale more effectively? Check out these tips from HR expert Linda Michaels of AZ HR Hub. Don’t miss these great tips, and for more tips and ideas, listen to episode 11!

Why Human Resources Matter in Your Car Wash Business

As Linda Michaels shares in Episode 11 of Scaling Car Washes with host JT Thomson, considering the role of human resources in your overall car wash business plan can really strengthen all aspects of the business and can help you scale your business more effectively. A strong human resources department can also really help if you decide to sell your business! As far as who to hire, Linda recommends making sure that at minimum, the person has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources. She shares that if they have additional certifications such as PHR and SPHR, that is a bonus!

So, ideally, as you get into 400 and 500 people, or even larger, you’re probably going to need a dedicated benefits person. And that’s all they do as benefits, benefits and payroll. And then maybe you’ve got a director and then a separate recruiter, and then maybe you have even a generalist that can go do investigations."

Linda Michaels

When to Hire Human Resources Experts

This is what Linda Michaels recommends for car wash owners. 

Employee Count – For car wash businesses, Linda Michaels recommends that you hire a human resources person once you have seventy-five employees (if not sooner). 

Human Resources with Scaling Your Business – For every 70 employees you add, Linda recommends hiring an additional HR person. As far as what kinds of specialties to seek, the first person would manage things like payroll. When hiring a second person, Linda recommends hiring a recruiter. As growth continues and a larger staff comes on board, she recommends hiring positions such as a generalist and a director of HR.

Business Owners in California – If any of your washes are located in California, Linda recommends a human resources expert who specializes in the laws and regulations that impact car washes in California. 

How to Grow Your Staff Effectively

Set recruitment targets to diversify your staff: If you have a goal to hire more women and people of color in your staff, instead of simply stating that goal, set some targets to help you reach the goal of diversifying your staff. Come up with a target number and then work toward reaching that specific goal. 

Hire a recruiter and set specific goals: Once you have enough staff to hire a recruiter, hire someone who can specifically focus on recruitment of the kinds of employees you want to work for your car wash business. Focus on highlighting how this business is now a career instead of a simply a job, and work with your recruiter to establish specific goals and to work toward hiring people who want to stay with the business.

Create a positive work culture: If you have a great work culture, excellent employees will stay with you, and great potential employees will be more interested in joining your team. See some specific ideas about how to make this happen in the section below! 

"I would also purposely design a career plan for individuals that are high potential. When they start with a company, and they want to aspire to be a general manager… How are you going to get them in to that position in a year? What are the steps? What do they need? What skills what training, you know, all of that? And actually, it’s in a written document, and then you follow it."

Linda Michaels

Ways to Create a Positive Work Culture

There are many ways to create an excellent work culture at your car wash business. In the episode, Linda and JT offered a few specific ideas of things you could do to help establish a strong work culture.

“Care Fund” pot for employees: At one car wash business, employees have the opportunity to routinely contribute a small amount of money to a “care fund” that is then available for any employee who might run into financial problems such as facing an eviction or unexpected medical bills. 

Incentives with commission: Using commission opportunities is a way to incentivize employees to help them see that they have opportunities to earn above and beyond their base pay. This also encourages employees to challenge themselves and to know that their extra effort is getting rewarded! 

Pay employees to volunteer at a favorite non-profit: Linda shared that some companies give their employees a paid day in which to volunteer and to give back to the local community. There are many ways to do this, but this can be a big morale boost for employees who feel good about making a difference and who feel supported by the business!

Committees with car wash employees from different car washes within the company: If you have a car wash business with multiple locations, you can have a committee with a representative from each location. This is a great way to encourage problem solving and team building while also giving employees a voice within the larger business beyond their own site location.

"I would say, think about culture! What is the culture you’re trying to create going forward as you’re acquiring car washes? And get them ingrained as quickly as possible in that culture. So they understand the expectations, they understand the business, they understand who the people are, and how important they are to the business! So I would say culture is huge."

Linda Michaels

Technology to Try with Human Resources

Linda’s Top 2 Human Resources Technology Recs:

iSolved: From their site: “isolved Human Resources software empowers your organization to do more. This comprehensive human resources platform helps you streamline functions and future-proof the business.”

Paylocity: From their site: “For professionals who crave true partnership, Paylocity is the HR and online payroll provider that frees you from the tasks of today, so together, we can spend more time focused on the promise of tomorrow.”

Also mentioned:

Cronos UKG


ZoHo products – Linda shares that ZoHo has lots of products, and they are very intuitive.

Need help with any project?

If you need help with set up or other aspects of projects as you scale, JT and Linda share about freelance hubs like Upwork and Fivver are great places to get specialized support. 

"You can even set up committees… So say, if you have six car washes in Utah, so somebody leads a committee of all the car washes and all the employee representatives get together. A representative from every one comes, and you can say, 'How can we engage? How can we drive the culture? How can we have fun? How can we do this?' Let them pick what works for that particular city or that market!"

Linda Michaels

Want to hear more tips from Linda Michaels of AZ HR Hub? Don’t miss the Scaling Car Washes episode where host JT Thomson talked with Linda!