The proceeds from your scrap metal and recyclables may become seed money for an informal employee bonus program.
A bonus is an effective way of recognizing workers and boosting their loyalty to your tire dealership or service shop.
Routine operation of an automotive service facility generates recyclable materials as well as various scrap metals. Recyclables may end up at a municipal facility or sold to a for-profit company that processes those things.
Junk metals, meantime, may land in the business' trash bins. Or, the business may sell it to scrap metal dealers.
Sadly, I have visited auto service businesses that have no plans for — nor interest in — recovering anything from the material it discards. Rather, everything goes into the trash receptacle behind the shop or dealership.
Some readers accuse me of being "old-school." Here, I plead guilty to that charge. I believe we benefit any time material is reused rather than buried in a landfill.
Progressive tire dealers and service shop operators heed the old saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Over time, they have located buyers for most — if not all — of the scrap metal and recyclables they used to pitch into the trash.
On the one hand, they're being environmentally "green." On the other hand, they're practicing good business sense by generating additional income from waste.
Some readers may not have pursued the idea of selling their business' scrap and recyclables. I'll bet you could locate prospective buyers by searching the internet or skimming the local telephone business directory.
What's more, some of you have auto service customers who may steer you to scrap metal collectors in the area.
Now, let's consider some actual numbers and what a tire dealer or service shop operator could accomplish with that income.
Suppose that scrap metal sales earns you $1,000 per year. I know at least one tire dealer who simply divides that money among his four technicians. At year-end, each tech receives 250 bucks — in plenty of time for holiday shopping.
What's more, this spiff occurs in addition to other incentives at the dealership.
I think that with a little imagination, a boss could think of several ways to "spiff" employees at a tire dealership or service shop. For one thing, the income from scrap metal sales need not be restricted to technicians alone.
For example, an owner or manger could hold a semi-annual employee raffle. Give each worker half of a raffle ticket. Then award the worker with the winning number the earnings from six months' worth of scrap-metal sales.
In previous columns, I have discussed how group meals help build teamwork and camaraderie at a business. In this era of tight budgets and other money worries, scrap-metal income could finance events such as team dinners and/or family picnics.
Many workers have children — especially younger kids. Perhaps the boss could use their junk-metal proceeds to buy amusement park passes or theater tickets for these employees. (If you doubt the impact of such spiffs, check out the cost of park passes or movie tickets. You may be startled.)
What's more, there's no shortage of die-hard sports fans attire dealerships and service shops. Putting scrap-metal income toward baseball, football or hockey game tickets could be a winning formula at your business.
If your business does generate "found money" from junk-metal sales, don't overlook workers who help your community. I've met auto service personnel of all stripes who make extraordinary sacrifices to help less-fortunate folks in their towns and neighborhoods. Think how much this hard-pressed employee would welcome unexpected gifts such as park passes, dinners for parents, etc. Scrap-metal income could fun such a gesture.
Last but not least, an owner or manager could simply "award" some or all of that extra income to needier team members. Consider how many households depend upon income from both parents just to make ends meet. Perhaps scrap metal income could finance a well-deserved class trip that your worker could not afford otherwise.