Are Your Business Hours Right for You or Your Customer?

In relation to attracting new prospects, this is an interesting question for trade businesses.

Think about your key target audience… The first question to ask is this:

What are their daily rituals/habits?  Do they now get up earlier, have an expectation to see a tradesman from 8am or 7am to ensure they can get out the door on time?

Or not…

Think about your business and the hours you offer your customers. Do they match?

If not, you might need to consider looking at trading longer or different hours.

Just because you’ve always started work at 9am doesn’t mean you should still be working those hours, IF it doesn’t match what your customer wants.

Have you asked them?

Let’s talk about how you can change your current hours to attract additional prospects.

Maybe you have a shop front that is positioned on a high traffic flow road with the current opening hours of 7am – 4pm. Research may prove that the majority of traffic passing by your shop are the two peak times of 7:30am – 9am and again at 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

In reviewing your opening hours, you may want to consider changing your working hours, or trading longer to incorporate the high traffic flow times up until 6pm. Your new opening hours may reflect 7:30am – 6:00pm to maximise the opportunity of the potential prospect.

In saying this, you of course need to consider who will man the store with split days for these new hours are 10.5hours, in addition to the expense this will add to the business with wages, running costs – electrical etc.

You don’t know if you don’t try!

Alternatively, you may own a cleaning company.

A scenario to consider: one of the buildings you clean during business hours of 9-5pm has requested you conduct your work outside of business hours (after 6pm). You need to consider the pros and cons of switching your hours.

Pros to working outside business hours:

    • Save time – will take 1 hour versus current 2 hours working around the employees within the building
    • Reduce costs – working less time will reduce wages for an employee (1hour versus current 2hours)
    • Gain daytime hours – can be more flexible with family in the morning by switching working hours.

This is simply an example, however, you get the picture!

There could be some considerable gains in either trading longer hours or different hours in your business. You need only consider what the pros and cons are of each individual situation.

Our business offers emergency trading hours of 24hours/7days a week. At the beginning the after hours was managed and actioned with only one tradesman, myself, until additional tradesmen were employed and could share the load. This was a condition of employment – to be included on the after hours roster.

Again, at first the tradesman that was rostered for the after hours answered the calls in addition to working the jobs, however, seeing it isn’t there business, to miss a call was not an issue for them.

Today we find that a different tradesman answering the phone than the tradesman working the after hours works best. They are paid to answer the phone and are provided an incentive of $XX per call for each converted prospect. This motivates them to ensure they answer every call within 3 rings (as expected), in addition to converting them to a job – whether that be immediately, or booking a job for the following week.

On occasion I will take the phone to answer calls for the after hours to get a feel for the reason of the callers and to understand the volume of calls. It helps to keep the guys on their toes!

We understand there are many trades who do not need to offer a 24/7 service and there are those trades where the customer would expect it, yet the owner considers offering after hours a waste of time, a disruption to their lives etc etc. The decision is yours to make.

We find that offering a 24/7 service is expected in maintenance plumbing and one we are happy to offer. Our competitors waste plenty of money offering 24/7 through their advertising, yet either do not answer their phones at all, or make every excuse not to assist the customer once they have called.

All the better for us!

You would be surprised just how much profit you can make from one busy, after hours weekend, let alone mid-week nights! At times it is like having an additional vehicle on the road for a full week when you consider gross profit!

Something to think about….

What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.