Resources / Recruitment Strategy / Hiring Heroes: Detailing Knights
Hiring Heroes: Detailing Knights

At Hirefly we often come across awesome small and medium sized organizations who really care about hiring great people, treating them right, and achieving amazing things together.

They don’t have all the HR bells and whistles of a mega corporation, but they do have incredible resourcefulness. They’re using inexpensive, nimble tactics to outsmart corporate hiring armies and…drum roll…they’re succeeding.

That’s why we’re bringing you Hiring Heroes – the stories of how smaller organizations are rockin’ recruitment.

Detailing Knights

Detailing Knights’ Story

Getting your car detailed: good.

Reducing water consumption: really good.

Providing opportunities for unemployed people: really, really good.

Detailing Knights: doing them all!

We met fellow B(enefit) Corp, Detailing Knights, at a recent B Corp event and we dig what they’re about.

Detailing Knights was founded by Ryan O’Neil Knight after a corporate job loss left him hungry for opportunity. Ryan and his brother Ian began a waterless mobile car detailing business from their hometown of Brampton, Ontario with the early goals of saving their customers time and money while saving water and the environment.

Early Team Building

Like a lot of businesses, Detailing Knights started as a family affair. Ian had a love for car detailing and Ryan had passion for business and community. As the business grew, the brother duo grew into a team of six who are the core of Detailing Knights’ operation.

Like most entrepreneurs and small business owners, Ryan learned that early team building means looking for people with trust, passion, and a high tolerance for stress:

  • Trust – this usually means hiring people you know personally or who are closely connected to your network, knowing you’ll have to trust them with your dreams, your business, your finances, everything.
  • Passion – you have to really want to be in the business. In Detailing Knights’ case, that meant passion for waterless car detailing, like Ian’s, and passion for entrepreneurship and opportunity, like Ryan’s.
  • High Tolerance for Stress – to get through the ups and downs of building a new business. “I once hired one person who couldn’t handle the stress of an entrepreneur, so I’ve learned to look for that now,” Ryan explains.

Other practical lessons Ryan learned as he built his team? “The worst part is interviewing because I like everyone. I have a hard time getting past the chit chat to really assess whether someone will be right for the job.”

Sitting across from Ryan, I don’t doubt his warmth and geniality won over more than one interviewee – he’s a charmer!

[By the way, to get better at interviewing I’d recommend trying structured behavioural interviewing, which we covered in a recent article in PROFIT Magazine].

Hiring Heroics

As the business grew, Detailing Knights took a big risk. Based on his own experience with College Pro Painters, Ryan decided to franchise their operation:

“I want to go beyond being an employer. I want to provide people with the means to create their own businesses, their own opportunities. A lot of people are coming out of education and all they know is theory. They haven’t done anything practical. But when they run their own franchise, they learn what it really takes to make a business succeed. Instead of being beggars for jobs, they become job creators.”

Sadly, a lot of Canadians are beggars for jobs and the odds are never in their favour. Conventional hiring practices favour the currently employed, leaving great numbers of people – like students, recent grads, new Canadians, the downsized – out of typical recruitment processes no matter their ability or potential.

With a passion to create opportunity for those people and growth for his own business, Ryan went outside his own network and formed partnerships with employment centres, whose clients are often un- or under-employed. He hosts franchise information nights at centres in Toronto and has found an audience of like-minded people: people like him who are willing to seize opportunity through channels outside the norm.

One such person is Lucas Lapierre.

Lucas was a college marketing student who knew a job in sales would be foundational to his future career. With little to show on a resume, Lucas had a hard time finding employment, the words “lack of experience” accompanying the typical rejection. Close to giving up, Lucas found Detailing Knights. They required no specific experience and the franchise model suited a student’s schedule and Lucas’s desire to gain real-world sales, marketing, and business skills. He talked to the team and sealed the deal.

Now Lucas credits his experience at Detailing Knights with all kinds of learning – from perfecting a sales pitch to being consistently punctual for client appointments. He’s gained real-world business experience which will serve him in any future role, and he’s been gainfully and happily employed during college:

“I cannot express enough how great of an experience the Detailing Knights has been for me. The experiences I have been involved in, the people I have met, will never be replaced by any job. For my current stage in sales, education and career-path, I could not see a better fitting job than to own this franchise.”

Lessons for the Little Guys

Some things to learn from our Hiring Hero:

  • When you’re small, hire people you trust, who are passionate, and who can handle some stress. Family, friends, and your network are an obvious starting point.
  • Conventional hiring practices favour the currently employed and that disenfranchises great numbers of talented people. Reach out to the un- and under-employed and you may find a rich talent source of loyal and like-minded people.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot but it will matter a lot as you build an awesome team. 

Take Action

  • Wanna get your car detailed?  Call ‘em at (416) 909-2513
  • Wanna learn about a franchise?  Detailing Knights’ next franchise information night is on Wednesday, November 27th at the Learning Enrichment Foundation in Toronto, ON. Or go here to get on the mailing list.
  • Know a Hiring Hero we should profile? Email info at hirefly dotcom
Detailing Knights - award picOur Hiring Hero, Ryan (right), receiving the Toronto Region Board of Trade Business Excellence Award in the Emerging Entrepreneur category this week.
  • Detailing Knights

    Well done boss! Great article

  • Ryan O’neil Knight

    Honoured to be covered by Hirefly!