How to build better car wash managers
As a car wash owner you want the best managers possible on your locations. But what skills do they need? And how to train them? Claire Moore of the ICA has the answers.
At a trade fair which is mostly frequented by men, two women have taken seats at the front row for Claire Moore’s session about building better car wash managers.
Claire Moore knows a thing or two about managing training. For more than 20 years she’s been a force at the International Car Wash Organisation, currently as chief learning officer.
“The location manager is perhaps the most important link in your team”, she states. It’s therefore very important you find the right one.
The most important skills -or ‘successful attributes’ as Claire puts it- should be to motivate others, to reach targets and to run an efficient operation.
A manager has to have a positive attitude, strong communicative skills and should be ‘mechanically inclined’.
“In the past car wash owners sometimes made the mistake of focussing too much on technical skills. But these people are not necessarily the best people managers”, Claire warns.
Furthermore, it’s much more important to be a good multitasking person who is able to prioritize certain tasks above others.
A few years ago ICA established what is needed to call yourself a ‘certified car wash manager’. “We basically locked a lot of smart people from different departments up in a room and kept them there for two weeks to find this out”, Claire jokes.
Managing a team is key, she stresses. “Otherwise everything will fall apart.” But often you need to learn how to be a good manager. “Sometimes a person is promoted simply because they always showed up on time.”
Browsing through the needed competencies (communication, sales & marketing, finances, leadership) you sometimes think a good manager is synonymous with some kind of superhero, but “you don’t need to have a degree in marketing or financing”, she assures us. Just a basic understanding of the subject is often enough.
We also learn the about the importance of soft power. Your ideal manager should be able to interpret non-verbal language by customers or employees. And should be visible in a local community, so customers choose your car wash over the next one.
“Ask yourself: are there any holes in the skills needed? And act accordingly, by offering proper training. Or alternatively: use the online training ICA has developed, called LEAD. Currently it’s only offered in English, “but we’re working on translating it in other languages as well”, Claire says.