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: RE: hours of operation  ( 3055 )
YaBB God

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« : August 08, 2010, 05:27:15 AM »

How did you arrive at your hours of operation? did you simply decide 9-5, M-F was your schedule or have you opted for different hours?  Why have you decided on the hours you keep?  Do you prefer appointments? and do you regularly go to a customer's home?

I am definitely a "morning person".  I like to be finished with work by mid-afternoon.  And I want to work week-ends.  Historically, I've found appointments work best for alteration work, but I'm not sure how they would dovetail with what I suspect will be a greater occurence of "walk ins" given the nature of the work I'm capable of doing and wish to pursue.  I'm also not sure how to handle fitting slipcovers... should the piece be brought to me or should I fit on site; I fear too much wasted time with that approach and a shop that is unattended.  Thoughts/suggestions?
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« #1 : August 08, 2010, 06:55:15 AM »

There was a closley related topic some time back. It centered around those who have their shop at home and customers who come around or call at all hours.

 For me I don't have set hours, but I'm usually out working early Say, 6-7 A.M. to get something done before the phone starts ringing. Then I make myself available sometimes untill around 6-7 P.M. even if I'm not working. I do that with the Idea that many customers may be at work themselves during the day so I keep availabe after what a typical 9-5 may be.

 I usually let the answer machine or my cell phone's voice mail pick up after those hours and return calls the next day.

 As for the fit up work you talked about, I would say let the job dictate what you do. Try to get the customer bring it in for a shop fit-up, but if they can't then work it in on your convienence I.E. early evening, or weekend.

YaBB God

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"By hammer and hand, all arts do stand."

« #2 : August 08, 2010, 11:57:06 AM »

Almost all of what I do is on-site (repair) work.  My official statement of business hours is "by appointment."   

I do give "exact times," and not two- or four-hour windows and then show up two hours after the end of the window.   When I used to work an office job, I hated this.  "We will call you by 8 am and give you a window."  Generally, the call came at 8:45 and was, "we will be there between 10 and 2," then have them show up at 2:45.  Meanwhile, I've missed a day of work waiting for them to show.   I can usually hit the time plus or minus ten minutes.  (Which I consider within variance, "on time" like a restaurant reservation).   It is rare (once or twice a year) that I get thrown off schedule.   I do have some slack time between appointments when they finish early.  I use this time to catch up on phone calls, bookwork, run errands for supplies, or fill in with commercial customers who just need me to show up before delivery day.  I can catch Wi-Fi at libraries and coffee shops.

I try to keep weekends to catch up with stuff in the shop or home, and have some time with the wife.

I generally set the first appointment at 8 or 9 am, for several reasons:
- it lets the customer get up, get the kids off to school, spouse off to work, etc.
- avoids rush hour traffic that can easily double the trip time
- avoids school buses during the school year as well as the mini-van moms taking their kids to school or assembling on the subdivision corners.
- I found myself chronically exhausted when I used to leave for work at 6:15 am.

I normally schedule the last appointment of the day to head home by 6 pm.   This allows for me to do service for someone that can get home from work by 4 or 5 pm.    Have dinner and spend some evening time doing day's billing and expenses, reports to commercial customers,  and making or returning phone calls.


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.

« #3 : August 08, 2010, 02:13:42 PM »

Since my shop is in a "downtown" location, I keep the same hours as all of the surrounding stores. But since many people work until 5, I'm always willing to meet them after hours to drop off or pick-up furniture.
When I tell a customer on the phone that I'm open 8-5 Mon- Fri, there is usually a long silent pause, then they ask "Are you open on Saturday?" I'll say "Yes, until noon". Then they say "Oh great! I'll come then!". 90% of them don't. There's a LOT of things that people HAVE to get done on Saturday, but going to the upholsterer ain't one of 'em. If they come on Saturday at all, they usually call 5 minutes before noon and say "I'm on my way". I'm very flexible during the week, but on Saturday, I cut them absolutely NO SLACK.
 I would think that it would be doubly tough for those of you who have a shop adjacent to your residence. You might as well have a flashing neon sign that says OPEN 24 HRS.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
YaBB God

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« #4 : August 08, 2010, 03:01:59 PM »

Sofa., I have a couple of funnies for you about that, lol.  Historically, I've done mostly alteration work at home and always by app't. only. 

Early on, I had a couple of instances where people "just showed up" without an appointment.  I nipped it in bud by answering the door and asking, "I'm terribly sorry, have I forgotten our appointment?".  Umm... uncomfortable pause during which I simply stood smiling and waiting for an answer... No.  "I'm not working today, why don't you call me when you get home and we can then set a time that will be convenient for both of us.".  I never invited them in, I never offered to go get my appointment book and schedule it while they were standing at my door.  Why? I wasn't working and wanted it made very clear that "just showing up" is not only rude but a violation of my privacy.  Worked, too... and the person I just referenced is a valued customer to this day.  The other one "stopped in" to pick up clothes and we were entertaining.  "I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd get my clothes today.".  "I'm sorry, we are entertaining guests and I wasn't expecting you.  Call me for an appointment when you get home.".  "But I'm here now.", "Yes you are, but I'm entertaining, call me tonight, please.".  She wasn't very happy, but knew she had overstepped her boundries and I still do work for her occasionally. 

I don't object to "walk ins" but since this is my home, too, I have learned how to be firm about setting hours and limits, which isn't to say I'm unwilling to be flexible and as accomodating as I feel I ought to be.   
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I'm a llama!

« #5 : August 11, 2010, 08:01:53 AM »

If your shop is in your home you have to stand firm.  My hours are 9 to 5 Monday - Friday and on weekends by appointment only.  If someone needs to stop by later than 5, I make exceptions, but only if it is worked out in advance.  If you are not careful the business will run you rather than you running the business.  I have one commercial customer who insists that I am open on weekends, I never have been for this customer, but he continues to send his delivery drivers to pick up on weekends, of course I am never open and they have to come back during the week, this has been going on for years.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
YaBB God

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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.

« #6 : August 11, 2010, 05:03:42 PM »

My shop is in a commercial downtown location, but some of my neighbors used to take it upon themselves to drop stuff off at my residence.
I once had a customer knock on my door while the Cowboys (my team) were playing in the Super Bowl. I had to get up during the game, and unload her furniture into my garage. Then she decided, instead of backing out of my driveway, she would make a circle in my front yard. She got stuck. I had to spend 45 minutes getting her out. BTW my front lawn is NOT the kind that you would normally feel free to drive a truck on.
And to top it off, she DIDN'T have enough fabric to do the job!!
NOBODY picks up, or drops off at my house anymore. I don't care if they have a $10,000 deposit check with them.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
YaBB God

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I'm Always In Trouble

« #7 : August 12, 2010, 08:07:07 PM »

My hours are odd. I work in the morning and if I am busy I will work ( mainly sew ) in the evening.  I typically sleep in the afternoon when my energy level crash.

I accept calls until 9 PM from customers. Like others, my shop is in my home. But due to my work being parked on customer sites I never have customers show up at my home. If it is small items I pick the items up and deliver them when done.

I am thankful I do not have customers coming to my home. :)


« #8 : August 13, 2010, 08:30:23 PM »

Then she decided, instead of backing out of my driveway, she would make a circle in my front yard. She got stuck. I had to spend 45 minutes getting her out. BTW my front lawn is NOT the kind that you would normally feel free to drive a truck on.
Now that a big pet peve of mine people parking  and driving on grass.
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