If you struggle to find good drivers, or deal with massive turn-over like many in our industry do, it’s time to identify why, and find a solution. Creating a successful system for hiring, training and retaining employees will be difficult to do… but it’s probably the most important part of your business if you want to grow.
Where to Find Great Drivers
There are more hiring tools today than ever before. How many of them have you tried? Asking for referrals, or posting an ad on Craigslist isn’t going to cut it anymore. Those are effective, but you must do more. If you want a higher volume of qualified candidates, consider using hiring platforms such as CareerPlug, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Facebook Jobs. Each of these has a number of sophisticated tools, some that you can use for free, to help you target your ideal candidates. Going digital with recruiting is absolutely necessary these days if you want to efficiently find top talent for the job you need to fill.
How to Write the Perfect Job Description
Consider the specific language used in your job description. It’s very rare a job seeker will go online and type in something as specific as “snow removal driver.” So, to ensure candidates find your job posting, we encourage you to include a variety of descriptors so you can cast a wider net of blue collar workers who don’t necessarily care what the job does, as long as they’re qualified for it. If you need a driver, don’t just say “hiring a driver.” In the job description, be sure to describe the person as a technician, operator, contractor, laborer, and more. If you do residential work, use words such as “home services.” The same goes for describing the work being performed. Don’t just say they will be removing snow or driving a vehicle. Be sure to mention any other functions of the job such as customer service, data entry, manual labor, bookkeeping and more.
It’s also important to be completely transparent about whether it’s full-time/part-time, temporary/seasonal, and what typical hours will look like. Same goes for pay and benefits. Sure, you want as many applicants as possible… but if you post vaguely about your job, you will waste your time when the time comes to interview all these people, and they decide the job isn’t for them because they’re only then finding out that the schedule won’t work for them. Setting expectations up-front means each qualified candidate you decide to interview has already agreed to the type of work they can expect to perform.
How Much Should Plow Drivers be Paid?
There are a few ways to figure out a fair, competitive pay for your employees. The easiest place to start is the internet. A quick google search for, “how much do snow plow drivers make?” will get you off on the right foot. You can also review job listings for competitors in your region to see what they’re paying. Because it’s seasonal work, you’re typically looking at an hourly or commission pay structure rather than salary. Pay may vary depending on day vs. nighttime hours, emergency-based / on-call schedules and the size of the job. Also, if you require a CDL for someone to operate a particular piece of equipment, you should adjust their pay to reflect their certification and experience. If you’re having someone perform dangerous work, such as getting on a ladder, that might be something to consider as well. To give you a ballpark, $30 an hour seems to be typical, but it’s important you stay competitive. Losing a great employee for no other reason than they found better pay doing something similar is not worth it. You will spend much more time and money hiring and training new people than if you adequately pay the right people to stay and feel good about their job. There are plenty of added incentives you can incorporate to offer your employees a chance at earning more than their base hourly or commission pay. Those who are willing to put in extra hours helping with sales, doing data entry, or working in the office to help run the business is a great way to offer consistent hours and plenty of opportunity to employees.
So, how do you know it’s time to start recruiting snow plow drivers?
That was a trick question, because it’s always a good time to conduct interviews and cast a wide net. Just because you have a crew in place, doesn’t mean you can’t meet other eligible candidates and be constantly recruiting better employees. You never know when someone might quit, or an incident requires you to terminate someone. If you have to start your recruitment process from scratch on the same day you lose an employee, you’re going to be without labor for at least a week. Plus, hiring the first person off the street because you desperately need to fill a position almost never ends well.
Keep an open mind
Have you considered tapping into a new resource, such as your local prison’s reentry programs for ex-offenders looking to re-enter the workforce? Check out this blog from CareerPlug on how hiring ex-offenders can increase your talent pool, and your bottom line. If you’re concerned about finding employees who are motivated to show up to work and earn their paycheck every day… CareerPlug’s article makes a great point. In this blog they say:
“Many ex-offenders are also very motivated to come back to work once they are released from prison. According to research by the Institute for Justice Research & Development, an overwhelming majority of ex-offenders say that employment is their biggest or only priority after being released from prison.”
Good luck staffing for the coming season. Always take time to reflect on seasons past to find ways to improve your recruitment tactics.