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  • How many jobs do you book-in per day? How not to create stressful working environment?

    Posted by Pane Talev on December 20, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Hello folks.

    The is a question difficult to formulate but I will try.

    It will mainly appeal to one man band but even if you are bigger team now, fell free to join the conversation and advise how to make smooth work environment without having to stay longer / unsocial hours in the workshop.

    Do you have any rule of thumb how many installation you book per day?

    One day preparation, one day installation for an average van sign writing?

    I find myself with a lot on my shoulder sometimes. It is interesting for a while but then it makes me miserable. The money is good, but that’s not important thing in life. I want to finish at 18:00 but a very often overstretch.

    Is it as simple as to say NO more often?

    Please share a guide or principle that you use.

    David Hammond replied 1 year, 2 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Phill Fenton

    December 20, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    You raise a very good point. It’s very easy to becoming very stressed out when there’s too much work on the go, particularly if you’re a one or two man band (as we are).

    We can normally do two typical vans in a day particularly if it’s a repeat of an existing design. And even more if it’s a case of three or four identical vans. But I prefer to limit it to one a day to allow time for other things. Work and personal life balance are critical , I don’t think anyone ever said on their deathbed ” I wish I’d worked longer hours”! I’ve reached the point now where I am approaching retirement so I aim to deliberately work much less than I used to. The Kids are grown up so my overheads are much less and the pressure is off. I guess it’s very much a case of what type of business you wish to have? Is it a lifestyle business, in which case you simply please yourself and say no to jobs you don’t want to do, or is it a business you want to grow? This year I found myself undertaking certain projects that I wouldn’t do again. So after 26+ years in the business I’m still learning to say no….

  • Robert Lambie

    December 21, 2022 at 1:27 am

    Without having staff and on your own, it is much harder. There are so many balls to juggle.
    As has been said, you must learn to say no and pace yourself. Become particular about the type of work you want to do. It will take time to adjust, but you will get there and slowly start to see the benefits happen.
    I know we all aim to please and provide our customers with the very best service, but you cannot let the customer run your business for you.
    By that I mean simple things like “time windows”, the customer asks, can I Drop the van off at this time or at that time? “No, drop the van off at 9 am and we will call you once it is ready to uplift”.

    We offer a morning drop-off/lunchtime pick-up. or lunchtime drop-off/5:30 pm pickup.
    If the vans got a few hours work on it. we now request a 9am drop off and leave it with us till 5pm, for uplift.
    Vans can be done quickly, as Phill says. but amongst doing the vans, you get walk-in customers, phone calls, emails and so on.
    as soon as the customer wants a one-hour time window, the next thing is, “can I wait for it?” which then means them standing over your chatting etc… “get them to f*ck!” 🤨

    The same applies with vans turning up dirty. have your business structured better.
    standardise your processes. have terms and conditions when orders are placed.
    i.e. if the vans are not clean you will wash it for a minimum fee of £25. and why not?
    The same applies to deposits and more.
    I know I am wondering off-topic a bit. but it all applies to structuring your processes.

    Spend time over the Christmas period and jot things down to help restructure your company.
    look over it time and time again and add, chop or change parts till you have a nice plan of action to implement when you are back in January.

    A real-time example of all this happening for the worse is happening to me right now and it’s completely my fault, and I am slowly but surely changing it back again!
    During covid, I took on anything and everything sign related. I just did not say no because I didn’t know when things would slow down. in short, they didn’t. I am now approaching Christmas for the second time and we are flat out when we should be winding back to close.
    I can take on large jobs, sign projects and more. It does not phase me, but that doesn’t mean I should.
    For the past 6-9 months I have been doing my best to push away time-wasting jobs or jobs that mean we need to go out on-site for full days at a time. We have always done work like vans, trucks etc coming to us, or signs we send out, or have uplifted. We are good at what we do and we can turn it around fast. But the job type must be consistent or at least be something we can easily digest or things get messy, puts us under pressure and before you know it. mistakes are being made, customers are being let down and your getting home late at night. its the old saying, but true… “don’t be a busy fool”

  • David Hammond

    December 21, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    We’re a two man business, until March when the old man retires.

    I hate stress, I don’t handle it well and I don’t need it, if I wanted stress I’d have stayed employed elsewhere.

    Firstly, we don’t do everything and anything. Mostly it’s vehicles we do, they come to us, no chasing about and most of the time I don’t meet the customer until they drop off their van.

    We bits of signage, but I’ve no interest in £400 shop signs, we use sub contractor installers who charge more than that, so for signage projects we’re generally looking for £1500 upwards.

    I know my costs, and vans typically start at our day rate, we generally knock out average vans comfortably within the equivalent man hours of a day, albeit spread out over a few days.

    A van a day would suite me well it doesn’t always work like that, then days like today we did 4 partials wraps on 4 cars.

    In essence, I’ve cut out alot of the chasing around, its a case or repeating a process.

    1) Give the customer a quote

    2) Customer pays a minimum 50%

    3) We start the design

    4) Customer approves it

    5) We confirm available install dates

    6) Produce it around other jobs, so its ready for when the install date

    7) Get paid the balance on completion.

    Generally, we don’t so “rush” jobs, it’s quite calm and organised.

    Say NO, make customers wait, its not worth killing yourself for, or resenting doing a job. Unfortunately there’s no shortage of people who’ll work themselves to the bone, over comit, and eventually let customers down.

    Since taking this approach we seem to be attracting a much better quality of customer.

  • Pane Talev

    December 22, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you @Phill-Fenton. @RobertLambie @DavidHammond

    This will be my priority in 2023. To have calm-er working environment.

    Have a lovely Christmas.

    • David Hammond

      December 23, 2022 at 8:18 am

      Go for it.

      I’ve been at it 12 years now, and still make changes to how we work.

      My advice to any business owner, is learn to say no. It feels really counter intuitive, but if you know in your mind and gut it’s the right decision do it. I’m sure it’ll be daunting, and you’ll probably wish you’d done it years ago.

      Have a good christmas, and enjoy the rest 👍

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