Christmas Madness And How To Deal With It

Christmas Madness Getting You Down? Learn How to Say ‘NO’

The whole message of this week’s post is in the title, really, isn’t it? Everybody’s busy in the run-up to Christmas. Every customer wants their job finished in time for Christmas, don’t they?

  • Mr and Mrs Homeowner want their job complete so they can show it off to their friends over Christmas drinks.
  • Businesses want their job done so they can trade in the Christmas rush or in the sales or they want their job done while they’re closed for Christmas.

So there’s lots of pressure on trades businesses and builders to get jobs finished or do work. In fact, I’m seeing posts on Facebook where people are asking for a recommendation to a trade business for a job they want to start and finish before Christmas – that seems unlikely, that anyone will be quite good enough to quote and paint their house in the next 2 weeks.

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

Now, what I see is a lot of trade businesses (and business owners – it’s the trade business owners I work with and it’s those people who carry this stress) – I see trade business owners and builders trying to keep everybody happy and do what they want – often at the expense of themselves.

It’s this disconnect I want to discuss. Your customers will put pressure on you to give them what they want – they don’t care or don’t consider the impact it will have on you but it does have an impact so you should learn how to say NO.

Right now, my clients are all feeling the pressure of trying to keep everybody happy.

I’m talking about:

  • Builders and fencers (project trades) whose customers want their job finished. 
  • Maintenance trades whose customers want their place or their tenant’s place tidied up in time for the break.

When should you say ‘NO’

The best way to do this is to decide your boundaries and stick to them.

There are 3 types of impact I’m thinking of when I’m talking about trying to keep everyone happy and do all this extra work. There’s the impact on your:

  • Stress levels of trying to juggle all the extra work and meet the deadlines and do the impossible;
  • Time and your Christmas of working long hours to make everyone happy (which they probably won’t be, anyway);
  • Profits if you end up paying overtime but don’t get to charge extra to the customer.

If you’re busy and making money and liking it (making hay while the sun shines, as they say) then, happy days, carry on. But if it’s causing you stress or you’re missing out on weekends or parties to keep people happy then, start to say NO.

Back to those boundaries – they should be around your time and your money, right? And your stress.

If you know how much work you and your team can handle, there’s your boundary. If you want to keep weekends free and be home and present for dinner, set that firm.

(There’s no need to discuss these boundaries with your customers, these are for you).

How to say ‘NO’

When someone tells you they need you to do whatever and you know it will mean working later or the weekend, you have to say ‘NO’. If you’re prepared, it’s easier. So prepare yourself now with an answer and an alternative for them.

How about these?

  • ‘NO’ (That’s my favorite).
  • This one’s more realistic through, ‘I’m sorry, we’re jam-packed right up to Christmas, I’ve got no room in our schedule to fit in extra work. But we’re back on the 11th and we’ll get right back into it then.’

I hope you get the idea. A prepared line and an alternative.

I have some boundaries. I don’t do meetings on Mondays and when asked if Monday at 2 could work I usually say, ‘No, but I’ve got Weds at 10 free’.

Don’t say, ‘Yes’ and then try to make it work – you’re just postponing the discomfort and moving the stress from now to the weekend.

If you could get someone to do it but it will cost you overtime, then the response is, ‘I can but it will involve overtime. Would you like me to give you a quote?’

You’d be surprised how much less urgent it becomes when they have to pay.

So, say NO – Prepare and offer the alternative.

Say ‘YES’ to the business coaching though, it’s great.

One of my clients lives near me and he built a house for someone I know, I bumped into the client and mentioned the builder and he said, “Well, he’s certainly got better at saying no!” 

You should too.

There are four ways you can engage with me:

1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.

2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.

3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.

4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.

See you later.

Click here to book a
10-minute chat with Jon.