We’re fully in the throes of fall, and that means it’s the peak busy season for chimney sweeps across the country. Don’t get so caught up that you forget to employ some strategies to help your busy season go as smoothly as possible, and with the least amount of stress. Here are some tips for getting through the busy season.
Take On Extra Help
It might not be possible to add full-time sweeps to your staff just to get through the busy season, but there might be areas where you can employ part-time or temporary staff to help you cope with the influx of customers. Hire someone to answer the phones, manage the schedule and follow-up with customers. Or, have someone help manage the portions of the job that don’t require extensive training, like managing inventory and making sure trucks are stocked and ready for every service appointment.
When you and your staff are caught up in a whirlwind of appointments, it can be difficult to make sure everyone’s taking a short break to refresh or a meal break to fuel up. Work with your staff to schedule breaks, and make sure you’re building breaks into your own schedule, too. It might not be the time to enjoy a long lunch out, but taking the time to focus on your lunch, rather than eating as you answer emails and review invoices, can help you to recharge and avoid becoming burned out.
Use Flexible Scheduling
You might find your employees working overtime during the busy season, and that might be a necessary evil. But see if you can shorten hours by employing flexible scheduling. If Saturdays are your busy days and employees have to put in longer hours, give them a break, and reduce the stress on your staffing budget, by letting them leave early on one of the days that aren’t as busy or by taking a day off when you don’t have a high demand for appointments.
Burnout is one of the harshest byproducts of the busy season. Morale can suffer for you and your staff when you feel like you’re being overworked and not getting the breaks or rest you need. Work to maintain morale, even if it’s just in little ways. Post funny cartoons around the office, make sure you’re being pleasant when dealing with your staff and consider treating your staff in small ways, such as by filling the break room with donuts or offering a catered lunch.
Let Customers Know What to Expect
The busy season usually means longer waits for appointments. Let customers know how they will be affected by the busy season. If you let your customers know that fall tends to be a hectic time for your business, they’re more likely to be understanding about waiting longer to have their services performed.
Review You Busy Season
When the busy season’s over, take the time to review how your strategies worked. How satisfied were your employees and your customers? Were you able to service more customers, thanks to the lowered stress? By reviewing what worked and didn’t work this busy season, you’ll be able to come up with better strategies for approaching the next busy season.