Creating Coin-op Pros – Employee Hiring and Training Strategies

The coin-operated machine industry is one that builds its staff using the core attributes of honesty and diligence. Workers possessing these qualities can be difficult to find, which creates the need to search for employees through more personal means than simply posting an ad. There is so much to teach these workers about the intricacies of the machinery, how to deal with clients at the locations, how to run the route and deal with a large amount of cash, so training is vital to developing a quality staff member.
Lenny Miglionico, owner of Double M Vending in Port Jervis, N.Y., has been in business for over 40 years. “What I have found is that it is very hard to find workers who have the necessary technical knowledge to do what is needed. So, I like to find people who have no prior experience, no formal, electrical or mechanical training, so it is like working with a clean slate. This way, I can just teach them everything that they need to know. It is better when the newcomer does not have any preconceived notions of how to do things,” Miglionico said.
Most of Miglionico’s staff have been found through friends. “When you are dealing with this much cash, you can’t take a risk. I have to hire people that are known to me or through friends, because honesty is another important quality in this business,” Miglionico stressed.  Also critical to Miglionico is a clean driving record, good references and employees must not have any criminal record.
At A&L Music Company, in Henderson, Texas, owner Chuck Dennard also requires clean driving records, references and a pristine criminal history. “The most important quality a worker can possess, in my opinion and in this industry, is a desire for ambition. Too many people do not want to work hard. We need those people who are not afraid to work,” Dennard said. “Because we need this certain kind of individual, I am extremely selective with who I choose to hire. Most people who have to come to work for me are those that I have made personal contact with in the past, so I feel like I know who I am hiring.”
While it is true that a hard-working individual is essential to any company, Tracy Ferris, owner of A&M Amusements in Augusta, Ga., said that honesty is the most important attribute an employee should possess. Unfortunately, it is also a difficult quality to find, at times. “We have to hire who we already know, to be sure we are getting honest people,” said Ferris. “We do not have the ability to go through the paper to find employees, because we do not know who we would be getting. In this business, I need to target people and go after them.” Even if Ferris already knows the person he wishes to hire, it is still imperative to perform a background check to ensure that the employee has a clean driving record, no police record and a valid driver’s license.
Even with a valid driver’s license and great references, employees of Coin Drop Games, in Naples, Fla., must endure a 30-day trial period, so owner, Robert Schuster, can be sure it is a good fit. “That first few weeks is critical. In that time, it becomes very clear if someone is going to work out or not.”
“I like to hire honest people, whose integrity is apparent. They also need to have great people skills, since they are going to be dealing with many location owners. We have over 250 locations, so that is somewhat like having over 250 bosses. You have to be able to know how to interact with them. Finally, the ability to absorb technical knowledge is also essential in this business,” said Schuster.
To find those with the qualities that he is looking for, Schuster has found that referrals from current employees are his best bet. “I also pay attention when I meet people. I keep of track of those who have what it takes to be successful and I keep an inventory of prospects. This way, when the need for a hire comes up, I know where to look,” remarked Schuster, who serves a three-county area in southwest Florida, consisting of mainly resorts, bowling centers, chain restaurants, local bars and Laundromats.
Ron Davis, owner of Carolina Coin Amusement, in Mount Pleasant, S.C., also insists that honesty is the best quality in this business, but also the hardest to come across. “Sometimes a worker will learn the ropes and then put out some machines of their own. So, I have a rule that they can not own any machines. I also may hire someone on a part-time basis to start, to see how it is going to work out,” said Davis. Davis usually finds his employees through his current workers and finds that retired military men in their 50s are usually his best people.
Like other coin-operated machines company owners, background checks and clean, valid driver’s licenses are required in order to work for Davis. Carolina Coin Amusements services bars, theater routes, Mom and Pop shops and pizza shops in large towns that are within a 120-mile radius.
Gary Balaban, owner of Coast to Coast Entertainment, in Sayerville, N.J., likes to find employees that are not in the amusement business. “We like to have people that we call ‘people people.’ For example, those that have been working in retail or a similar occupation. We will bring them into our industry and have them experience a truly rewarding job by letting them be themselves, so they can see how their interaction with the customer can directly produce positive results,” Balaban said.
Over the past 15 years, most of Balaban’s better staff members have come to the company through word-of-mouth from current employees. Once a quality person is identified, Balaban performs standard procedures, such as validating driver’s license information and ensuring that the candidate has no criminal record. –

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