Business owners, how do you vacation without your customer's worlds coming unraveled?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 7/1/2013 by Free~Bird in NSBR Board
 

Free~Bird
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now

PeaNut 104,551
September 2003
Posts: 11,558
Layouts: 3
Loc: Missouri

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:07:18 AM
My husband and I are taking a couple days off for our anniversary on the 4th. We'll be closed only 1.5 extra days more than normal, so I'm really not losing much time but I've already had people concerned.

So how do you handle when you want time off? I already have people calling me at 9 p.m. on Sundays and at 7 a.m. before I even wake up. (I don't answer except during business hours). It's not just photography either, it's the glass business too. Are people expecting you to be available 24/7 also?


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My paintings on etsy:
Cease Watercolor Arts - Coupon code: imapea - 20% off for Peas!!



My Photography website and blog:
Cease Fire Studios

GrinningCat
Proudly Canadian

PeaNut 43,061
July 2002
Posts: 33,413
Layouts: 2

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:12:42 AM
So far I've just told them that I am unavailable between this day and that day. I can take care of their project either before or after, but I state that I am unavailable to do anything more than answer questions or book dates while I am away. Luckily, that seems to work. But I'm sure there is an irate customer out there just waiting to go ballistic about that. I have no idea what I'll do when that happens. Probably ignore them. I'm at the point where I don't want high maintenance customers. That could change though.

JustCallMeMommy
Magical Pea

PeaNut 62,544
January 2003
Posts: 11,579
Layouts: 31
Loc: Brandon, MS

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:13:32 AM
I think people are hoping to get lucky outside business hours but will be content to leave a message. They just call when they think about it, assuming that you won't answer if it is inconvenient.

ETA: I grew up in a self-employed household. For vacations, I would make sure anything that is "due" during that time is wrapped up, and set expectations for anything that will be longer than usual. You should also have a message indicating when you will return their call on your voice mail.


-Jennifer


Sunny1213
PeaNut

PeaNut 386,078
August 2008
Posts: 147
Layouts: 12

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:23:54 AM
Are you and your husband the only employees?
My husband owns an industrial construction company. He gets calls as early as 6:00am and as late as 10:00pm. It's crazy - but I've gotten used to it. The only time we go on vacation together is at Christmas time and we shut down the whole company and give everyone the time off too. Otherwise he would be getting calls from customers and employees about stuff. It works best for us to do it that way. ETA: He still gets phone calls from customers while we are on vacation, but most of the plants that he works at close over the same week we do so the calls and requests for work go down that week. I hope you have a great trip! Happy anniversary!

Cake Diva
Cake-a-licous!

PeaNut 90,802
June 2003
Posts: 10,609
Layouts: 35
Loc: Fergus, Ontario

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:31:02 AM
Last year was the first time in a super long time that we took a vacation with the kids. We were gone for two weeks. We knew about the vacation 9 months in advance (actually booked it around my wedding schedule) and I made sure to book nothing for that time period.

I did get a last minute wedding order for the weekend following the weekend we arrived back home. But the bride knew we were away, and we had all details/payment settled before I left. She was cool with it.

But I'm like you - I don't answer the phone during non-business hours. Even though it is in my basement, and I can hear it, I refuse to answer during non-business hours. My take is that if I had a retail shop with set hours, I wouldn't be there in off hours, so same goes for this.

I change my auto-reply for emails, as well as my answering machine to reflect that I will be away. If I plan to check email, I will state that in my message.

I've not had anybody get ticked with me yet! I'm sure that will all change when/if I make the move to retail in a few years. But I imagine any holidays will be on hold until we can be sure the retail shop will fly well, and staff can potentially run it while I'm away. But that is a long way off!


Kellie

Mom to Julia (18), Hannah (16) & Jonathan (12)

the pea formerly known as 2Gals!



My Swagbucks Referral Link
My Pinterest Boards

Free~Bird
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now

PeaNut 104,551
September 2003
Posts: 11,558
Layouts: 3
Loc: Missouri

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:32:24 AM

I think people are hoping to get lucky outside business hours but will be content to leave a message. They just call when they think about it, assuming that you won't answer if it is inconvenient.


You know, I used to think that too, and I'm totally ok with people leaving a late night message, but I frequently get someone that will call me a 9 p.m. and then don't leave a msg, which I think implies they really were expecting an answer. I don't get it really, does your dentist answer at 9 p.m. on a Sunday?


Are you and your husband the only employees?


Yes, sadly. We're right at that stage were we have enough business to keep us almost too busy, but don't make quite enough to take on an employee yet. I'm hoping that within a year or 2 we can take on a couple employees because doing it all is just stressful. Found out today that one of our competitors closed up so I expect business go get more busy.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My paintings on etsy:
Cease Watercolor Arts - Coupon code: imapea - 20% off for Peas!!



My Photography website and blog:
Cease Fire Studios

*Paget*
Cute Girls Pea

PeaNut 89,634
June 2003
Posts: 11,475
Layouts: 0
Loc: Seattle-ish

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:34:30 AM
for phone calls, our message states what days/hours the office is open so we don't answer if it isn't those times. People are weird. They will call at 9pm on a Sunday and then not leave a message. Really? You really thought someone was going to answer at a business at that time?

For vaca, it's better for us now because we have employees so business goes on --just less business and dh still fields calls on vaca. For us, it's just part of being self employed.

FranticPea
AncestralPea

PeaNut 233,506
November 2005
Posts: 4,041
Layouts: 5
Loc: Centerville, OH

Posted: 7/1/2013 11:40:10 AM
My husband is a self- employed dentist and we trade back and forth with another dentist to cover each other's vacations for emergency patients. But yes my husband does get phone calls at home during his off hours.

fran


Married to my dentist for a quarter of a century, mom to teenage daughter and four-legged fur factory.

**cindyupnorth**
Tony is MY hoochie!

PeaNut 3,902
April 2000
Posts: 25,875
Layouts: 9
Loc: MN

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:14:59 PM
What do you do?

Honestly..life will go on. Everyone will function without you for a few days. Leave a message on your phone, and website that says you are on vaca and will return, blah blah blah.
Everyone will be fine.






Comeonalready
BucketHead

PeaNut 585,295
April 2013
Posts: 771
Layouts: 0

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:23:50 PM
I think you have to accept that you'll lose some business when you go on vacation. It's okay.

I don't really understand why a photographer taking a few days off would be an issue, EXCEPT that you're doing it over weekend when lots of people have the 5th off and when lots of people have family in town. If they want extended family photos or you don't have weekends available, that Friday the 5th may be the only time that would work for them. So I can see that the timing of the particular dates could be an issue for photography - but other than that, taking a few days off should not be an issue for a photographer. What kind of concern are you getting?

Glass shop is a little different depending on how much of your business is emergency repairs. But really, you'll be okay - you just have to put up the closed message and go and not stress over it.

The other thing we've found is we have to book our small vacations more "last minute" at times when we see business is slower.

Comeonalready
BucketHead

PeaNut 585,295
April 2013
Posts: 771
Layouts: 0

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:26:20 PM

for phone calls, our message states what days/hours the office is open so we don't answer if it isn't those times. People are weird. They will call at 9pm on a Sunday and then not leave a message. Really? You really thought someone was going to answer at a business at that time?




You know, I used to think that too, and I'm totally ok with people leaving a late night message, but I frequently get someone that will call me a 9 p.m. and then don't leave a msg, which I think implies they really were expecting an answer. I don't get it really, does your dentist answer at 9 p.m. on a Sunday?



A lot of people call after hours to listen to the recording and find out hours or other key business information (address, holiday hours, etc) - I wouldn't assume they thought you would pick up.

gmcwife1
SamFan

PeaNut 33,625
March 2002
Posts: 9,593
Layouts: 0
Loc: Washington State

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:26:47 PM

What do you do?

Honestly..life will go on. Everyone will function without you for a few days. Leave a message on your phone, and website that says you are on vaca and will return, blah blah blah.
Everyone will be fine.


Yep

Our favorite Thai restaurant closes every summer from the middle of July to September so the family can travel back home. We make sure we go in to eat a few times before they close and then just wait it out until they get back. We have never taken our business elsewhere just because they are closed.


~ Dori ~

beachgurl
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 288,459
December 2006
Posts: 6,855
Layouts: 0

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:30:50 PM
Free-bird, those hangups? It could be people calling just to hear info that is in your recording. Hours? Location?

ETA: ooops, I guess I got distracted before I typed the message and entered. But, yeah, just what Comeonalready said.




gar
Whoopea!

PeaNut 172,235
October 2004
Posts: 15,220
Layouts: 0
Loc: England UK

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:49:07 PM

for phone calls, our message states what days/hours the office is open so we don't answer if it isn't those times. People are weird. They will call at 9pm on a Sunday and then not leave a message. Really? You really thought someone was going to answer at a business at that time?



You know, I used to think that too, and I'm totally ok with people leaving a late night message, but I frequently get someone that will call me a 9 p.m. and then don't leave a msg, which I think implies they really were expecting an answer. I don't get it really, does your dentist answer at 9 p.m. on a Sunday?


A lot of people call after hours to listen to the recording and find out hours or other key business information (address, holiday hours, etc) - I wouldn't assume they thought you would pick up.



Oh but they do unfortunately. My Dh runs a business that works on an hourly appt basis and his students frequently call him at all times of the evenings and Sundays assuming that, well, he's got his phone with him probably, I'll sort out my appt now seeing as it suits me!

Even though he doesn't answer it's still irritating hearing it vibrate.





"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

Stephen Roberts


peapermint
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 9,321
January 2001
Posts: 9,434
Layouts: 0
Loc: all up in your business

Posted: 7/1/2013 12:50:54 PM
Tell them you're camping and out of range

bethany1023
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 315,499
May 2007
Posts: 2,802
Layouts: 3
Loc: Midwest

Posted: 7/1/2013 1:24:36 PM

They just call when they think about it, assuming that you won't answer if it is inconvenient.



This. I'm not a small business owner, but I am holding on to my sanity by a thread most days. If I think of it and it's outside business hours I'll call and leave a message. That way I can cross it off my never ending to do list and you call me back when it's convenient for you.

My dad grew up in a self employed household. They didn't vacation, ever. Something I didn't realize until his funeral and my mom was sharing stories. If my grandfather was away from the business, then there was no income, therefore he was never away from the business.


HoneyBee13
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 563,248
August 2012
Posts: 2,567
Layouts: 0
Loc: Florida

Posted: 7/1/2013 1:53:25 PM
I own a dental lab with DH and BIL and we let the dr's know and have everything done for the week we are gone. Its worked so far and we have been doing it for 10 years

Free~Bird
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now

PeaNut 104,551
September 2003
Posts: 11,558
Layouts: 3
Loc: Missouri

Posted: 7/1/2013 2:14:46 PM
Thanks everyone, at least I know it's not just us!


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My paintings on etsy:
Cease Watercolor Arts - Coupon code: imapea - 20% off for Peas!!



My Photography website and blog:
Cease Fire Studios

kimberly38
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 198,401
March 2005
Posts: 6,713
Layouts: 0
Loc: Wernersville, PA

Posted: 7/1/2013 4:34:35 PM
I am not a business owner, but in your case, do you have a business line and your own home line? If not, I would definitly get a business line and have it somewhere where it does not wake you up.

And when you are not able to answer, leave your hours on your message and ONLY return calls during your business hours.

YOu seem to have made yourselves too available to your customers.

You need some down time too.
Post Reply . Post New TopicShow/Hide Icons . Show/Hide Signatures
Hide
{{ title }}
{{ icon }}
{{ body }}
{{ footer }}