Day of Rest! In a 24 Hour Business?

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bones Biz

You should take a day off.  Not even think about business.  It will be so good for you!  A mental health day…no work, all pleasure.  A day for family and spiritual renewal.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful??

Yet the reality is that problems, by definition, have to occur at the most inconvenient time.  The small shop owner is usually the one to the rescue.  Out he goes into the night, or on Sunday, while the rest of the world snuggles in with their family or sings praises to the heavens.

My husband Hot Rod and I owned a contracting company, and this problem plagued us.  We never really resolved it.  We had three other fellows who worked for us, who were capable of going ‘on call’.  But they rarely went. It wasn’t that they wouldn’t.  Hot Rod wanted to give the guys a break, and a chance to recharge.

So every weekend, we just crossed our fingers and hoped that no one would call.  But someone would, of course.  Most weekend calls could be rescheduled.  But what would you do when Mr. Fernwicky called?  And reminded you that you were the one who serviced the boiler.  Yesterday.  And now there’s no heat.  What would you do?  You would go over there.  And Hot Rod did.

Somebody Else

Sound familiar?  You can’t go on forever this way.  Somebody else is going to have to go to the rescue.  At least once a week.

Hot Rod and I sold our company for a combination of reasons.  This ‘on call’ problem was one of them.  Being ‘on call’ is like having your dog in the car when you run around doing errands.  It’s not an overwhelming responsibility, but it’s always there.  “I gotta go check on the dog.”

Rotating the ‘on call’ days is a must. If you are the only person who works Sundays at your company, you need to work this out with your team.  Or you will turn into a walking vegetable and be no of no service to them anyway.

The ‘on call’ person needs to be well compensated for the extra effort. You could offer the dispatch fee as a bonus for on call jobs.  You could pay double time or overtime.  And, a hearty thank you is always appreciated.

If you are a one-person company, find a competitor in the same situation.  Work out a mutually beneficial arrangement.  Make sure he is a great plumber, almost as good as you.  Realize that you may lose one or two of your customers to him on your day off.  The hero who responds usually gets the next call.  But this reciprocal arrangement will work in your favor as well.

What really matters

You need to maintain your mental health.  You need to take a day off now and then.  To think and play and love and pray and not do any work.  When you are faced with crisis or tragedy, your mental and spiritual health will make a huge difference in your ability to survive.

Figure out a way to take a day off.

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