Dealing With The Christmas Rush

Dealing with the Christmas rush

Most everyone I know is rushing off their feet trying to finish jobs before Christmas.

And to me, that seems strange, seems a bit wrong and unfair. And I know that part of the reason for that is that everybody wants their job finished by Christmas. And they’ll come to you and they’ll say, “I need it finished by Christmas, can you finish it by Christmas?” Or even at the last minute, “Can you fit us in before Christmas?”

It’s a common request. I know it’s frustrating and annoying because people tell me and people post it on Facebook, as well. And I think there are a number of responses that you guys tend to give. And that is “Of course, we can’t fit you in, we’re already busy, we don’t have capacity.”

And another response is that you feel some pressure.

Usually, because your customer has some compelling reason for them like Granny’s coming and that they need you to finish by then and they put pressure on you and manage to make you feel like it’s your fault or your responsibility to fix it for them.

And some nice people often will try and do it.

Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you pull out all the stops and pressure people into working harder or longer hours to help meet this deadline as well. You might find yourself paying people over time too.

Mostly, what I see is my customers and people I know working harder to meet these demands of other people and not really getting a great reward for it except pre-Christmas stress.

That’s what I don’t like. 

I see people not making any additional money for all this extra work they’re doing.

If you’re paying people overtime because they work overtime but you’re not charging extra, you might end up making less money than you allowed for in your quote, less money for all this extra work and stress you’re putting in a few weeks before Christmas. You might find it’s less profitable than it would normally be.

That’s not okay for you and for your business.

Recommended Reading: Christmas Rush Projects For Trades Business – How To Beat Stress And Pressure.

And before I get into the response you should give, I’m going to tell a story of this happening to a client of mine recently.

A few weeks go, he’s doing some work (he does kitchens, bathrooms, wardrobes and joiners) and he’s working for a builder and he’s doing duplexes with a couple of kitchens, bathrooms and wardrobes – a fairly big project.

And he’s had the stuff ready, waiting to be installed for some time and there have been delays, of course, at the builders end and he’s been unable to install. 

The builder has called him recently and said, “The site will be ready, Christmas Eve, we’re running behind schedule, you’re gonna have to work through it”.

I don’t think he was very surprised when Elton told him, “No, that wouldn’t be happening”.

But he’s still asked and he really ought to have known better because he’s a bloody builder.

This is what I mean, people will pressure you to make up for their own mistakes or problems and won’t really care. He really should have known better.

How to deal with the Christmas rush projects

Your options are:

  1. Do what Elton did and say, “No, we finish on Friday, we start again on the 6th, we’ll do it then”.
  2. Try and help. If you want to and if you think you can fit in, you can try and help and you can deal with the stress or reduce the margin
  3. Treat it like a variation to the scope of the job and you can say,  “We can try and speed it up. I can ask people to work overtime or on the weekend to help but it’s going to cost you. It’s a variationWould you like me to prepare a quote for how much extra it’s gonna cost?”

Put it straight back on them.

They can say yes and then you can fit them in. Everybody can make a bit more.

I’m not suggesting you gouge, but charge for your time. Value yourself and your business. Then, everyone gets paid overtime and you don’t lose out.

If they say, NOthey don’t want to pay any extra, then they don’t want it that badly, do they?

It can’t be that important.

This is an important part of valuing yourself in your business and not being pushed around.

Make it a system that you know you were always going to charge more if this happens. You feel like less of an arse.

If you want to talk about systems like this and how you can systematise your business better…

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See you later.

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