Nobody likes to confess about the occasional slow spell, but we all have them. I'm curious how you handle it when you have employees.
You still have the full page phone book ad, payments on the vans, all the usual overhead, and well trained employees with nothing to do.
It seems like you'd be reluctant to lay them off, so every hour is eating up your profits from previous profitable work. You don't want to loose a good employee because you've invested in them & their training.
I don't really have employees to worry about; there is my partner, and myself.
I "slow moment" is an opportunity for my to clean my truck, sort through my parts, catch up on paperwork.
Then I turn to my cats. Yup, the four-legged kind. I take the latest pics around to my regular customers...just a friendly "hello." Quite often this turns into a general chat about what they're up to, and how I can join in. Or, my visit will give them a chance to bounce some ideas off me- things that were not so urgent that they didn't want to 'bother' me.
This is the time a regular customer really prooves his value. They will also have some little things they want done -things like changing lights, moving an outlet, little 'fixes' discovered in the course of other jobs- that they just haven't had the occasion to fix.
Consider the lillies of the field. They neither reap, nor do they sow. Yet in all his glory King Soloman was not arrayed like one of these..... Stop worrying and lay them off. If they liked working for you they will come back.
I have always worked for others, and when I do I give 100% to the company, for that I expect some sort of loyalty from the company.
When things have gotten slow the companies I have worked for have found things to keep me busy and on the payroll. I have split wood, organized stock, once I even helped do a engine swap on a 40' fishing boat.
I have experienced a layoff only once while employed as a full time electrician and that was after a long slow down. By that point it was down to laying off the owners brother or me.
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
Ok guilty as charged. Cold. Now when general contractors that I sub to get slow, should I go whine to them to go underbid some projects since I won't have any work now that they are slow? And should I expect my wholesaler's to cut the prices across the board since my company is slow and suddenly cannot afford the regular prices? At the end of every large bridge project that ever got built the workforce was sent packing. That was the way it was. At the end of WW2 the troops were dismissed. And since workforce labor is the highest cost of doing business, it does not take very long to drain the company into non existince. I know how hard it is to lay off a family man. I had to make that choice many times. But I gave the original poster the encouragement he needs to do what is necessary.
When our company hits the odd slow spell, the boss will always find stuff for us to do.. I have done all sorts of things from push lawnmowers, to basic boiler maintenance to even help the boss' wife move furniture around! We don't mind as it is a change from the norm. Our boss likes to see us busy no matter what and would rather see us get our hours than have us go home early, and I have yet to see him lay off someone because its slow...
I'd rather be laid off, than a cut back in hours myself........
When I worked for people, that was my option.. I'd rather sleep late, work on my house, go fishing ect...and collect, rather than show up for 2 hours today to clean a shop, 4 hours tommorow to do this...screw that, let me have off and collect, call me when you got work in a couple weeks....