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chrisberry12
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« : March 31, 2014, 11:48:44 PM »

I own a shop on Martha's Vineyard, so now through August is our busy season. The holidays are dead. I dislike working 8am to 3am the next day. Who else works these kind of hours. Not sure it's worth it. I make good money but it would be nice to have a life. Here all customers want everything yesterday. I am in my second year in business here. I have been in business before in upstate ny. The two places are quite different as far as how business is. So my question is do you guys work all the hours of the day or do you put your foot down and just say enough lol
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #1 : April 01, 2014, 04:56:51 AM »

I've always worked normal hours 7 or 8 to 5. I have worked in the evening when I felt like it. Business can run your life if you allow it. Money isn't everything. If you have set hours you're customers will get use to it. Take time to smell the roses as they say. Before you know it you will be to old to enjoy life.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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SteveA
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« #2 : April 01, 2014, 05:52:23 AM »

I never had regular hours but I set a goal every day to accomplish an amount of work that equals a days pay.  I cheat during the day by mixing in personal obligations here and there but when you consider the hours after 5pm - billing, bookkeeping, speaking with customers, ordering materials,  etc. - I guess I work around the same as most here - 10 hours a day.
SA
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #3 : April 01, 2014, 08:30:44 AM »

8 hours a day is enough for me. I worked some of those 16 hour days in my 20's. It never seemed to really put any extra money in my pocket.

I was always there for my kids when they were growing up. And the neighbor's kids too (since their dads were always at work).

It's a tough call, though. If YOU don't take the jobs, someone else will. And it's the same "someone else" who will get the job from that customer next time.

The whole thing kinda takes care of itself nowadays for me. I have more than enough work for a 40 hour week. But if I started working longer hours, I'd just run out of work. So I just take my 40 hrs. and go home.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
brmax
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« #4 : April 01, 2014, 06:39:49 PM »

Congrats on the new shop Chris I wished I had more experience like yours and the other above in these trades, I would say from 30 plus years in a 24-7 mechanic job if some of your jobs are emergency there is no question what to do. I should say its you they came to for reasons they might have heard about, possibly working your #@* off to get something done. Some not all but most times a little plan discussion of how your going to progress through the task or job I found is key.
Not all customers want or like an analytical discussion but is needed so reframe it to an interest possibly.  Something you try(I tried) when a crew is standing waiting for you while your fixing the problem that makes them money or even in the middle of a flood fixing a pump so water can resume being pumped over the levy.   
I use to enjoy the student or even the p.e. engineers come by my shop and help in different task they could plan all the numbers in the world in there head, I worked with them through some task. It made for a much better arrangement thru the years as they rose to lead positions.
Every customer has an interest not that ya want them around bothering you, so make it quik
west coast
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I'm a llama!


« #5 : April 01, 2014, 11:01:57 PM »

I'm in the shop every morning at 6:30 and usually pack it in around 430-500. I only stop for lunch for a half an hour and the days are not long enough right now. I really tried but can't do the big hours I used to, in the old days I was a machine and 12-14 hours a day was nothing but I am getting to old now for that nonsence. I am going to try not working every other Friday this summer and see how that goes. I'm sure the salmon will be very nerveous hearing this!
Rich
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I'm a llama!


« #6 : April 02, 2014, 06:11:45 AM »

My question is, why do you work so many hours? Is it because you over-commit, or because you need the money to stay in business? If it's the former, I'd say you need to take the advice given by others here. If it's the latter, then maybe your prices need to bet higher, as that will automatically reduce your work load while keeping your profits.
Rich

Everything's getting so expensive these days, doesn't anything ever stay at the same price? Well the price for reupholstery hasn't changed much in years!
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #7 : April 02, 2014, 10:41:49 AM »

My question is, why do you work so many hours? Is it because you over-commit, or because you need the money to stay in business? If it's the former, I'd say you need to take the advice given by others here. If it's the latter, then maybe your prices need to bet higher, as that will automatically reduce your work load while keeping your profits.
Rich
I'd say that evaluation is "dead-on".
Question:
Does part of the work overload involve a lot of piddly stuff, like porch swing cushions? Or is it all meaningful work?

It always seems like when I get way behind, it's mostly dumb stuff. And THOSE customers are typically the most impatient.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
bobbin
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« #8 : April 02, 2014, 12:25:43 PM »

I have a shop but I work by appointment, no "walk ins"/"drop bys" unless I know what time the customer is to arrive.  I routinely leave my shop to pattern slipcovers, measure windows, or yacht interiors.  I return to the hive with my patterns and crank out the work. I've never been a 9-5er.  Ever.  I am in my shop by 6AM and I make myself available until 2-3PM; I have a cell phone and e-mail and I work weekends and "holiday weekends"!  I'm happy to accommodate customers but by app't..

Last year was a challenge.  In times when I didn't have work I still had to "be available" (keep my hours), but it was great to be able to pull weeds, do "my" things, and make best use of my "free" time.  This year is looking to be a lot "busier", but even if the work comes in a "seasonal wave" it's OK, because I'm set up to be able to "roll with it".
« : April 02, 2014, 05:02:54 PM bobbin »
bobbin
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« #9 : April 02, 2014, 05:26:44 PM »

This came to me after I posted above: 

I)  I have a specialized and carefully honed skill set.  It's not one that is easily learnt nor is it one possessed by a lot of people!
II)  I have the machinery and the shop to make producing the work I've spent so many years learning how to do as easy as it can be!
III)  My work is split into 2 categories:
      A.  customer relations
           1.)  be accessible to your clientele  (cell phone and e-mail)
           2.)  control the interaction and "interruption" to actual production hours (insist on app'ts.)
      B.  actually doing the work
           1.)  keep a regular schedule of work; put due dates on the calendar
           2.)  do the estimates ASAP, submit them ASAP
           3.)  require a deposit and upon receipt of it, determine a completion date. 
IV)  Strive to make things easier for yourself
      A.  the computer is "hard" for me; I work at it! (but not when I'm tired or frustrated)
      B.  never allow the "book work" to get ahead of you. 
           1.)  stressful! no need of it, set the time aside and just do it.
           2.)  I have my inventory (mostly!) on my book keeping program.
           3.)  Any time I reorder something I update the price in my inventory.   
      C.  list your vendors and keep a shopping list for each on a dry erase board.
           1.)  when your inventory is low, put the item on the board!
           2.)  order before you're "out"! being "out" means lost time/productivity

Because my shop is at my home I no longer have to factor in the "ride time".  I have "gained" 3/4-1 hr. a day by eliminating the "commute"!  When my business is "dead" I can find plenty of enjoyable things to amuse myself and still be "available" during my preferred business hours.   
chrisberry12
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« #10 : April 05, 2014, 08:00:29 PM »

Thank you all for your comments. I contract out my book keeping, I would rather have someone that spees in that to do it and opens time for me. Thank you Bobbin I already do most of that. The problem here is I have to work my but off so when September comes and all the work stops I can still support my family. So I have to earn 12 months salary in 6 months. I do take on small jobs but they always work into something big here. Many of my customers come here in June and want there whole house done for July, we are talking about, two sofas, eight chairs, two or three ottomans and several headboards. Now put two or three houses into the schedule for 2-4 weeks to get that done. If I did one house at a time I would be out of a job.
We also have an Autistic son with little speech and I watch him when he gets home from school. He is low spectrum so is not independent. So I just do the best I can. So I guess by listening to all of you and writing down my typical day, now I know why I fall asleep at the sewing machine around 3 am. I am 51 now. I hope it gets better, a dollar and a dream hahaha wish all of you an awesome summer
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #11 : April 06, 2014, 07:13:28 PM »

Working 18 hours a day is not healthy. On the other hand very few people ever get rich working 40 hrs a week.

I was 30 years old when I started my first upholstery business. The first few years I was building my business 12 to 14 hours a day was normal. As time passed it got better but I rarely work less than 50 hrs a week.

It sounds like your in an unusual position as far as your scheduled goes. Work like hell 6 months so when the work stops you can make it the next 6 months. Some people would like this schedule but it would drive me batty. The good thing is you can be with your son. What other job would afford you this?

My bosses son told me the other day, nobody will ever get rich in this business. Of course he never talks to the folks on this site and he only works 37 hours a week.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #12 : April 06, 2014, 08:06:16 PM »

nobody will ever get rich in this business.

This is a very true statement. It is a good honest living nothing more. I don't think 80 hours a week doing upholstery would make a rich man. But we do ok.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
Website
Mojo
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I'm Always In Trouble


« #13 : April 06, 2014, 10:15:44 PM »

I keep some pretty weird hours. I am in the shop most days at 7 am and work till about 1 pm. I eat and typically by then I am exhausted so I take a 1 to 2 hour snooze. Back up, answer e-mails and phone calls and then back to work again. Sometimes till 9 or 10 at night. When I am booked solid or have an emergency job come in I may work till midnight.

My hours get worse when I am doing chemo as I run out of gas sometimes quickly and need to zonk out for an hour.

The last 90 days I have had 2 days off and am still buried. It has been a very frustrating couple months. I go out to the shop and knock out two orders and feel god about that only to check my e-mails and see 2 more orders came in. I have not been able to get ahead lately so am hiring a part timer to come in on weekends to work and get me caught up. She used to do boat interiors and does part time seamstress work now and was looking for a few hours a month. It seems like a perfect situation for us both. Time will tell.

Chris
bobbin
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« #14 : April 07, 2014, 06:17:53 AM »

Marine work in an area with a limited boating season is by nature a very "seasonal affair".  I am slammed right now, but I was dead for a couple of months after Christmas.  And the same "seasonal" aspect of work is always present when you live in an area that is primarily "tourist/recreation" oriented.  I grew up in such an area, remember how lean the "off seasons" could be.  It's not easy and you learn how to adapt.  One employer used to tell me that if you aren't offering something the full time residents want/need you will always struggle.  His restaurant was affordable and popular with locals, fancier places folded within a year, but not his.  And it must be especially challenging when your child requires so much of your attention. 
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