Last fall I posted the question about whether to continue my upholstery business or not since it is a part time gig and was getting way busier than I wanted to be.
I decided at that time to raise prices and see how it went. Well, it just continued to get busier so I decided to cut back dramatically, finish out the quotes and existing customer requests and get on with life. Maybe do a few pillows or cushions once in a while but that was going to be it.
I proceeded to tell the designers that use our services and those whom I had quote jobs for, was that the best course of action?
I am busier now then ever! I am booked through the end of summer and new people are calling every week. I turn down every new customer that calls. Every quote I had outstanding seems to be coming back as an order, didn't think that I had that many out but I was wrong.
The good news is that this will pay for my daughters senior year of college!
I tell my customers that they need to be patient with me and I'll get to things as I get to them.
That is great news. Maybe you should of doing it full time.
I'm with Paul. Which do you prefer---upholstery or your day job? That's where you need to start the decision process.
It sounds like going full time is viable in as much as there is obviously the work available and you have established a good reputation if new customers are seeking you out.
Plan B would be get some help. (in the shop I mean) grin. My knee jerk business plan on reading this would be;
-find some high school kid who can strip/deliver etc... for a few quid towards their college fund.
-find some retired or semi retired people with usable skills who want to "put in a few hours here or there".
-If practical-- have the work place available on a flexible schedule. If old Bob wants to drop by and fix that broken frame on his way home from his morning coffee club meeting---let him in! Trust me it's doable . We can discuss the nuts and bolts of it if it comes up.
-pay on percentages/piece work what ever you want to call it. You can't afford to pay them to hang out or make puppies. there are many formulas for that , that are fair to all three parties (you,the customer,and the staff). Again some to discuss later.
-tell no one about your elves [remember the asop's (sp) fable about the shoe maker] until the "machine" is running smooth. Then let the clutch out, and let 'er rip!
It's actually a very tough spot to be in, I make great money and have excellent benefits from the company I work for and enjoy the work overall. That's the biggest factor in moving to a full time upholsterer. The work is definitely there, reputation seems to be spreading. I keep thinking if my company would lay me off then I'm ready for the transition, however, it doesn't appear that will happen anytime soon.
In the mean time I plug away at it one day, one job at a time, keeping my priorities straight; God, family, and then everything else.
I have two leads on people who are experienced sewers and are interested in learning upholstery so maybe we can work out a deal to have them assist in some way. If not, my lovely wife and I will carry on!
Crammage your doing the right thing. You can get your daughter through collage without gobs of student loans. Even if it takes two jobs to do it. Nothing wrong with hard work to get ahead in life (or to get your daughter ahead). In the end both her and you will be better off.
There is nothing like being your own boss but it sounds like your day job is a good one. You won't get those perks working for yourself.
I had a "day job" back in my younger days. It sure made it a LOT easier to cope with all the pressures that bosses and co-workers tried to lay on me, knowing that I could tell them to "stick it" any time I wanted to. All the problems and dire issues that job presented on a daily basis just rolled off me like water off a duck's back.
Any time the boss went on a tirade, I just thought to myself "Hey, I don't have to take this if I don't want to.........I got a night job at home that pays better than this one anyway".
That peace of mind made the day job a lot more enjoyable. And I got a LOT of merit raises that the other employees didn't get.
Clay, it sounds like you're in one of those enviable situations.
In light of your new information---may I change my plan B to plan A+,please.
QuoteI have two leads on people who are experienced sewers and are interested in learning upholstery so maybe we can work out a deal to have them assist in some way
They would certainly be a valuable addition to the "team", and a good place to start. If I were in your shoes I would sit down and look at my labour distribution and see who else I needed. By that I mean; if I spend [lets make up numbers] 40 % of my time stripping/15% cutting sewing/25% tackin' rags/ 10% wood work/10% admin. that a trained a parrot could do, I'd try to allocate that many hours to the people the team needed, and recruit that position. Food for thought.