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Studio Working hours question


#1

Help!

i have been in the jewelry industry for 20 years since the age of 14
and all i dreamed of was to have my own studio and design jewelry
for the retail public. well after working my … off for the
past 15 years i got my dream only one problem. to much business. i
spend 8 eight a day talking with 10 to 20 clients about repairs,
redesinging, ect. they all place an order or leave a repair. but the
only problem is i can work durning the light hours.

my days are composed of taking my 3 kids to school then going to all
the suppliers and dealers to get parts. then i open my studio at
10:30 the door never stops opening and the phone will not stop. ( i
know some of you are saying wa wa so your have a little too much
business) i usally leav at 6:00 to go home eat dinner as a family,
read books to my kids and put them to be (which i feel is very
important to them ) after that i do what my wife calls temporary
dropping dead for 10 minutes. then after i am revived with “dont you
have to go back tonight” i some how manage to get back into my car
and drive to the studio and work from 8:30 to 1:00 at night. thank
god for Ambien.

i have a couple of ideas please help me chose one. here are my
current hours.

tuesday - wednesday - friday 10:30 - 5:00
thursday 2:00 - 8:00
saturday 11:30 - 4:00

closed sunday and monday

monday i work from 7:30 am to 6:00 then 8:30 to 1:30 thats my
short day.

thought#1
close on sunday monday and tuesday

thought#2
all normal hours except my wife would come in on tuesday and wait on
all the repair customers and tell the custom customers they need and
appointment.

thought#3
do appointment only on tuesday

thought#4
close my store move to Jamaca and goto work for someone else for 1/4
the salary i make now.

most people tell me hire another jeweler or farm out your setting
and wax carving. i do farm out my casting, but i have never had any
consitancy with diamond setters, or wax carvers, and besides the
reason i got into this business is because DA i love making jewelry,
not spending 8 hours getting “brain drain” from the customers, you
all know what i am talking about.

Matthew Gross
mhgjewelry.com


#2
   i some how manage to get back into my car and drive to the
studio and work from 8:30 to 1:00 at night. 

Try going to bed when the kids do and then getting to work at 3:00 or
4:00 AM. Go back home to have breakfast with the family and run your
errands. Those extra hours in the morning when you are fresh will be a
whole lot more productive than if you are burning the midnight oil
after the day has tired you out. Believe me, it works like magic.

Stephen Walker


#3

Matt, Probably the 1st thing I would do (and have done personally)
is stop trying to be everything to everybody because, they will let
you do that as long as they are getting what they want, regardless of
what you want/need out of the deal. 2nd, you probably need to raise
your repair prices. And number 3, charge extra for any work that you
know will cause you to work ‘overtime’. Its actually a very simple
problem. Your hands/brain/mouth will only turn so many hours of work
daily, so the only way for you to get what you want from the deal is
to work smarter, not longer. And get premium pay for premium output.
You will find it very difficult to break old habits at first, but
eventually you will have more dollars, less drudgery hours of repair
work, more hours of doing the kind of work that you prefer, and
ultimately, more happiness. Look into David Gellers program for help
in doing this scenario.

Ed in Kokomo


#4

Michael–

Raise your prices!! Keep raising them until you only get the amount
of work you can fit in a reasonable work week. It’s the law of spply
and demand.

–Noel


#5

Hire a counter person seems like it’s all you can do.

Teri
America’s Only Cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#6

Could you farm out the brain drain?

I know someone who hires charming young art school graduates
(usually with some metals training), and trains them to do the
brain drain. They interact with “their” customers, do nice
drawings, get all the ideas on paper. Then he reviews stuff and
meets with the customer–if necessary. You cannot see the bench
area from the sales area of his store. Just like Tiffany’s.

His sales staff gets a good base salary, plus commission, so they’re
pretty motivated, too.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments


#7

Hire a customer service person/apprentice to take most of the
questions, and make yourself available to clients only a couple
specific hours per day. (I’ll be here between 3and 5…)You can
always call them back to answer questions your helper can’t answer.

Dragon


#8

Such are the joys of owning your own business. Keep at it most
business fail in the first 2 years. When you can afford it, hire
someone to run the desk, while you work at your bench. Hire a person
who is good with customers, good but not pushy salesmen and has some
knowledge about jewelry. Again, just keep at it and one day it will
get easier.

Tom


#9
    Raise your prices!! Keep raising them until you only get the
amount of work you can fit in a reasonable work week. It's the law
of spply and demand. 

Friends of mine have done exactly this only to find the end up with
more work.

Bill Bedford


#10

Ahh, juggling life and work. It’s the eternal struggle for those who
have their own business. You have reached a point where time is more
precious than money. It sounds to me like your customers are
directing your life than the other way around. It’s your business.
You make the rules. If you have a successful customer base, and you
shorten your hours and take jobs only be appointment, everyone will
clammer to be there. One law of human nature, take something away
from us that we are used to getting and we will work harder to keep
it.

My suggestions are as follows:

  1. Delegate. Hire people to do those jobs you don’t have time to
    do. Customer service, bookkeeping, counter help, etc.

  2. Ask yourself “what do you want?” List 5 things you want out of
    your job and let go of the others.

  3. Raise your prices. I agree with that one whole heartedly.

  4. Stop driving around to pick up your supplies. Get your supplies
    delivered to you!

  5. Set for yourself a reasonable work day and at the hourly wage
    that feels comfortable. Take two days off. Sundays and Mondays are
    good.

  6. Book a vacation for you and your family. Find the slowest time of
    the year and make it a priority. If you have this much business, you
    get to dictate when your business is open. If you don’t take time
    with your family now, they will regret it later and then resent you.
    Take at least 3 weeks for one stretch and a week off mid point.

As I have been traveling around the world, I noticed that the US is
the one that works insane hours. In New Zealand, every shop, except
restaurants, close at 5pm. Shopping is done on Saturday, Sunday is
for resting. All shops are closed on Sundays. This gives everyone a
life. If you are like many who don’t have the time to stop for a
vacation, you will get sick and will have forced time off. Burnout
is not good. Especially if you have small kids.

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#11
Try going to bed when the kids do and then getting to work at 3:00
or 4:00 AM. Go back home to have breakfast with the family and run
your errands. Those extra hours in the morning when you are fresh
will be a whole lot more productive than if you are burning the
midnight oil after the day has tired you out. Believe me, it works
like magic. 

Wow, great minds huh! Just recently I have made this switch. I used
to work until 2 or 3am most nights. I would then get that “second
wind” and find it nearly impossible to fall asleep! Then to get up
with my kid at 7am was terrible. I was tired and crankly and not the
best morning mom. Now I go to bed at the same time he does, around
8pm and get up at 3am. It sounds crazy, and I am NOT a morning
person, but it works out really well. I work better in the morning,
make fewer mistakes, and am cheerful when my son wakes up. It only
took about 1 week to get used to. Oh, and lots of coffee!

Mary Linford
Blue Star Wax Carving
mary@bluestarwaxcarving.com


#12

Dear fellow jewelers,

thank you for all your email concerning my hours and productivity
problem. I think I have slowed the problem.

most of the emails agreed that my clients are running my business
hours. so I have decided to limit my available hours to the clients
that want to discuss design with me. today we started the new
policy. my wife stayed in the front and took care of the 12 to 15
repairs we normally take in every day with very little problems (she
is not a jeweler so there is definitely a learning curved to get
over, but she is very good with the clients). the clients that came
in and wanted to talk about designing a piece, she told them I was
available Wednesday - Saturday for consultations, and if they would
like to set up a time to come in she could do that. she made it
clear that it was not an appointment, because we are a retail store
and their consultation may be slightly interrupted by my walk in
clients.

the next radical thing I did was let the phone ring, and let the
phone call go to the machine. most of the emails agreed that the
clients are calling for three reason.

  #1 what are you hours. (these are stated on the answering
  machine message. 

  #2 is my job done yet, this has got to be the most aggravating
  question I get all day long, it is like I am spending the day
  with one of my children and they keep saying are we there yet.

  #3 can I make an appointment to come in and talk about a
  design. 

it seemed weird not answering the phone the first couple of times
but as I started really completing jobs I said to my self, all of
these questions can be answered at the end of the day or tomorrow
morning.

today was the first day in a while that I felt like I was in control
of my business not the clients. one of the emails really clicked, I
believe it was from Karen from Metalwerx, thank you very much i
printed it and fold it up and put it in my pocket to read all day
long as a reminder.

thank you for your emails, i will keep you posted.
Matthew
mhgjewelry.com


#13
  1. Raise your prices, you must be too cheap, make it worth your
    effort. Are you giving away your time and service? If it’s a custom
    job charge for it.

  2. Learn to say no, you are not “required” to do any work for anyone.

  3. “When it’s done I will call you, it may be a month or more. If
    you can’t wait I’m sorry I can’t help you. The line is very long in
    front of you.” If someone insists on cutting in line in front of
    people they will be nothing but trouble. “We do jobs in the order
    they come in.” That’s your best defense against pushy customers.

This has helped us in our watch repair, but it does produce guilt.
On the other hand it’s not a McDonald’s drive thru, it’s a craftsman
performing his/her trade. It’s very hard to be tough and nice at
the same time.

Tim…

P.S.
Many years ago I saw a sign at a printers shop. Under the price list
on the wall it had a big sign that said “Rush orders please double
all prices” I said to myself “Cool, I can wait.”