I cannot come up with any ideas on dealing with this issue.
For the most part I have been so busy I cannot take on more work or advertise. I hate doing this. Not advertising and not continuing to look for more work is how companies go under. I know this, I have seen it first hand. Even though I know this I continue to do it.
It seems some weeks we work 35 hrs, some 70hrs. Plus additional hours for me doing paper work, estimates, etc.
Now for the last month I have been saying, "I'm not going to have work next week.' Cause I think its going to be slow but something comes up and I'm busy. But eventually I'm going to be out of work... and with me not taking on additional jobs its like I'm going to be back at square one where I started the company. (With the exception of existing clients.)
If I hire another guy, (we currently have 4) what happens when we do slow down for a week? Do I just say hey sorry guy I don't need you this week.( I may be saying that to the current guys if things don't keep poping up.. which I can't see it continuing to happen like this.. Or is that how it is you just fly by the seat of your pants and trust things will pop up... hrm...)
I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this. All I know is it sucks to not be able to look for more work, or if I do its gonna suck working 80hrs a week. Either way its a rough route.
So what do I have to do here?
My inital thought is I have to get out of the field, strictly do business. Hire someone to do my job. (Which I will make less money, not doing it myself) ( And a large amount of my work is small jobs and service work which i think is harder to send an employee to) This goes along with what has been said around here before about being a worker and 'running a business', they are different.
It seems I need to make a leap here, just not sure which direction. Any words/advice of wisdom?
Hi Trick, I'm not sure what your economy is like, the size of your service area, or how many competitors you have, so bear with me if some of what I say doesn't apply to you. I will bet you probably know all of what I'm about to say anyways. I've been in business for 15 years (and I'm still learning). I have 3 full-time employees.
I'd say first and foremost, you need to pace yourself. I'd say that scheduling is probably the most difficult thing I have to deal with. We work 8 hours a day, nothing more (except emergencies). Because there's a shortage of EC's in my area, for the past few years I've had to learn to pace myself so we could keep up with the demand, yet not get to a point where we're running ragged trying to keep everyone happy. You can't do it all.
I'm unclear as to why you are not booking work for the following weeks. We have enough work booked for a couple of months, so there's no worry if there will be work for us next week - and other than a listing in the Yellow Pages, I don't advertise. When people call I warn them that we won't be able to take on their project for at least 8 to 10 weeks, and even then I won't commit to a timeframe. Most people are understanding - although we also lose some too - if they can get another EC to fit them in sooner, great. You do what you can, but you will never be able to please everyone.
Another thing, just because a customer calls first doesn't mean that they are first in the queue. I prioritize - what the customers think is the biggest priority on their list may be the lowest priority on my list.
Will hiring another employee end up cutting into your profit margin and increase your stress? One of my employees recently quit for greener pastures, and I found my stress level dropped considerably mainly because I didn't have so many jobs on the go at the same time.
The last employee I hired was given fair warning that there is always the possibility there could be the odd short-term layoff, most likely because of a scheduling problem. So far that hasn't happened. But when you work for a small company, layoffs are a part of life.
Delegate. Why is it harder to send an employee to do smaller jobs & service work? I don't think you're giving them enough credit. If your employees are qualified, they should be able to handle just about any job you throw at them. My employees know that if there's something they can't handle, I'm only a phone call away.
You won't make as much money sitting in the office. Why not hire someone at a relatively low wage to do this while it frees you up to make money in the field?
The bottom line is, look after #1 first. Pace yourself - there's no point in making yourself sick because you're working 80 hours a week and still can't keep up. Sooner or later it will catch up with you - it did for me and it almost cost me my life. Now I look at my company & my customers with a different perspective. If a customer gets impatient because we're not maintaining their scheule, so be it. We can only do so much and we are doing our best - what doesn't get done today will still be there tomorrow. There's no point in working your ass off and getting all stressed out only to end up with major health problems.
"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"
Amen Sixer. I have found out that most of the jobs you do not get are really jobs you do not want, if the customer is that impatient before you get there, what are they going to be like after you get started? My partner and I have only been at it for about 5 years, and have found out that scheduling and estimating are the 2 biggest hurdles. I handle all the business and i will tell you if we hire an employee he/she will be an office person, I can work my tools, its the office work that is a pain in the rear to me.
Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
Well that makes it sound easy. Just take on work and schedule it when availible. I would love to be scheduled a month or so in advanced. I get excited is someone calls 3 weeks ahead of time. They ussually call on a Monday and want me there Tuesday.....
Iam experiencing the same problem but where I live there is absolutely no journeyman electricians looking for jobs so I cant find any help, Ive turned down some really good jobs,and given some away to other contractors I know, its hard when theres no one to hire. i have 2 guys working for me.