By mid-December, the chimney sweep’s busy season is well underway. After weeks of reacting to higher than normal volumes of chimney sweepings and service calls, it can be tough to keep plodding through. There are a few ways you can help yourself, and your team, get through the grind of the busy season without feeling overly worn down.
Know how many service calls your team can safely handle and how many hours each person can reasonably work each week. No business owner wants to turn away work or keep customers waiting because of an overbooked scheduled. But you will rapidly burn your staff and yourself out if you’re trying to reach too many customers and work too many hours each week.
Set your priorities.
Know what your focus is during your busy season, and set priorities that are geared toward the needs of the season. The busy season isn’t the time to roll out a new marketing campaign, explore a new line of products or take inventory. The busy season is the time to focus on answering your customers’ calls and providing their annual chimney services or meeting their service calls. You might even shift your focus away from providing services like new construction, chimney rehab or product installations to focus on what most customers are looking for during the busy season: To have their existing fireplaces up and running safely.
Take time to take care of yourself.
If you’re going to be at your best on the job and be up to the grind of the busy season, you have to take care of yourself, and encourage your employees to do the same. Eat well. Take the time to exercise. Get enough sleep. Make sure you aren’t overworking yourself, and schedule some time off. Make sure your employees are taking breaks and taking enough days off so they don’t become worn out.
Remember your customers.
Your business ultimately is about providing your customers with the finest service. Don’t get so caught up in the busy season that you forget to take proper care of your customers. Be efficient with your time on service calls, but make sure you’re taking the time to do the job well and be professional and courteous to your customers. Answer their questions and be friendly. You want to be sure that your customers feel that you’ve taken thorough care of their fireplace and chimney, and that you’ve treated them with great customer service.
For many business, including chimney sweeping, the busy season is inevitable, and so is the stress that comes with it. The way to make it through the grind of the busy season is to focus on priorities on the job, take great care of your customers and making sure your taking time for yourselves. And remember to celebrate your successes: Treat your employees to donuts or lunch on an especially hard week, or make sure you take the time to enjoy an office holiday party in the midst of your hard work.