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Getting Burnt Out

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by graphix45, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. graphix45

    graphix45 Member

    Jul 3, 2009
    Eastern NC
    I'm not sure what it is, but lately I almost dread coming to work now. I own the shop, my wife also works with me and does 90% of the invoices and pays the bills plus helps with weeding and sticking small sign jobs. We hired her nephew to help out some but I really don't have the time to train him properly and he just kinda hangs out until I get a job designed, printed and/or cut. I have to do all the design work, outside installs, vehicle installation/wraps and talk to 95% of the customers who come in or call and respond to emails about jobs, quotes or just general questions. I feel like I need someone to do the designs/layouts so I'm not so stretched out on a daily basis. We have plenty of work to do, I just don't seem to have the time to get jobs ready & printed to keep anyone busy. I tried once to hire someone to do designs, but they were so slow and wanted top pay because he was a "Graphic Designer". After about 6 weeks I let him go. I've tried cutting out the walk-in "I want a sticker for my car" customers by trying to focus on commercial jobs, but we've been in the same location for 10 years and I always get people that I've done something for in the past or a friend of a friend sent me... I guess I just needed to vent, but if anyone has gone thru a similar thing or has any advise please let me know.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    We all go through it and it continues as long as you are doing most of the work and not being able to properly delegate things.

    Let go of areas which aren't important to you and let your nephew learn, fall and get up on his own. That's the best way to learn. Having someone stand around is really depressing and not just for you, but for them, too. You're too close to every facet, so either get a long weekend in here and there or take a mini vacation and just re-charge your batteries.

    If you're really slammed with work, now is the time to start raising some prices to weed the unwanted customers out and start making more money. If you start seeing some value for your work, you'll see the business through new eyes, also.
    • Like Like x 3
  3. graphix45

    graphix45 Member

    Jul 3, 2009
    Eastern NC
    It just seems like I'm spinning my wheels. I think I'm going to try and change our focus and market ourselves differently along with raising some prices and uping our minimum job price. I was looking at a new location and thought that would be a good way to re-brand, but a lot of work and expense for something I'm not really enjoying much at the moment seems crazy. Thanks for your input Gino.
  4. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

    Sep 8, 2016
    I totally feel your pain. I grew up in this business. This same store, this same stupid chair, and the same stupid radio station. I joined the Army to get away and my dad kept the store open for me until I came back. Now I run the place. I don't do any production and I rarely do installs, but I handle everything else. Customers, payroll, taxes, scheduling, artwork, supplies, as of today some credit card fraud, and finding reliable help. I by no means am an old, experienced guy, but I joke around with customers that I've been doing this stuff for 24 years. They say that's impossible you're not even 30. I show them a picture of me at 5 years old working on the same production table that we still use.

    I'm prepping our 24th anniversary sales promotions and my only thing keeping me going is "just make it to 25." I miss law enforcement, but I can't go back into it right this moment. I also can't imagine myself doing anything outside the print industry. Over these past three years I've been late just about every Monday. 9:00am open turns into 9:30 and then 10. I'd have been fired anywhere else anyway! So I've gotta stick with it.

    Anyways, my point is. I've had to shake things up. I stopped letting customers work us over on pricing. It's nerve wrecking at first, but I hadn't lost one yet. I even told one guy I didn't want to do the job and he offered to pay more. So now we're making some money. Next we turn down jobs under a certain amount. No banners, signs, stationery, rta orders under $50. No installs under $250. No vehicle jobs under $150. Etc. Now we've weeded out time wasters and penny pinchers. We've made it clear that design services aren't free. I try to add a new service, material, or product every month.

    Next we targeted our top three customers and offered them more products and services. That nearly doubled our income in those months. So my main goal right now is to improve the value of the company. I've added equipment, new customers, a nearly 25 year old marketable brand, phone numbers, website, and nearly 20% growth on income each year for the past three years. I still have trouble getting the motivation, and if I didn't have that goal, I'd have lost it by now. Starting fresh doesn't mean a full rebrand and all that. You've just gotta set boundaries for yourself and the company. I know it's a bit scattered, trying to enjoy the rain and slow Friday, but I hope you stick with it.
    • Like Like x 5
  5. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    I've been in the same boat for awhile, I get so frustrated with employees and want to just give up because I can't do everything on my own.
  6. SergioRod_Designs

    SergioRod_Designs New Member

    Sep 7, 2011
    Clarksville TN
    Have you tried Design Pickle? they offer unlimited graphic design services for $370 a month, they have been a great addition to my work flow.
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  7. asd

    asd Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    you just described my life for the last 10 years, like someone said before you need to start delegating jobs, like I tell my helpers, you need to complete and deliver jobs if you want to see a paycheck at the end of the week. if you are working hard to pay bills and someone else a paycheck you are doing it wrong. this is what I did to ease my workload, I have a receptionist that handles all my phone calls and emails, weeding and masking and talking to customers when they come in, when ever I have a big install I get 1 or 2 labors to help me for that one day, pay them for that one day and don't have to worry about them until I need them again.
  8. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Very Active Member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    It's been helpful for us, we use it for basic things like vectorizing or doing simple layouts. Things that are tedious not creative.
  9. graphix45

    graphix45 Member

    Jul 3, 2009
    Eastern NC
    I really appreciate all the replies. I guess I'm not the only one with the same kind of issues. My goal is to start making some changes as to what type of jobs we're going to accept and setting some higher minimums to weed out the small low profit, time consuming jobs. Thanks again for the advise.
  10. Chasez

    Chasez Member

    Jan 6, 2014
    As Gino said, start letting the nephew take on more responsibilities. If you're worried take him with you on installs and show him the ropes and then let him start doing all the installs and you just watch him then once he has got an idea you can let him go out on his own to install and you have that much more time to deal with everything else. It's just a start but it's something you need to do or you will be running yourself down forever. It's hard to trust new people (even family) with your business but if you don't eventually you won't have a business to run. Raise some prices, if your that busy you don't need to deal with the price shoppers looking for the cheapest price. If you do quality work let that speak for itself. \\

  11. fresh

    fresh Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    We are literally in the same boat. BUT I do a lot more than invoicing in AP.

    My advice to you is to find an apprentice and take time to teach him/her. We've had a few, and the high school girls have been the biggest asset to our company. We had an employee who started out just as a warm body to help clean up the shop and file, but eventually she was able to do about 75% of what my partner does. She was a high school drop out, and I encouraged her to go to college, which she did, and is now working in the field she studies.

    This spring we hired another high school girl, and she is great, too. She just started working more hours now that school is out, so hopefully she'll start being self sufficent soon. As for them standing around.. um, you got time to lean, you got time to clean! Vacuum, dust, organize, etc. Our shop can always use a cleanup.
  12. brycesteiner

    brycesteiner Member

    Nov 5, 2014
    So are you completely satisfied with Design Pickle?
    I'd never heard of them before, but it does sound interesting.
  13. Silvertip

    Silvertip Silvertip Graphics Signs & Designs, Inc.

    Aug 15, 2012
    We are a husband/wife team too with pretty much the same duty set up. We too at one point were known as the local "sticker store" and while we will still do the occasional 1 off for someone because it is nice to do when we can (goodwill) over time we have sought and gone after much bigger jobs. And our reputation has grown accordingly. To help with the additional workload I have outsourced some of my design to a very good freelancer. He has 20 plus years in the business so he knows his stuff when it comes to vehicle wrap designs as well as most anything I have ever called on him for. He is also reasonable in price so we keep him fairly busy. This has keep me from having to pay a "graphic designer" to be here in the shop. I also have someone help with the website now and that has helped immensely too. I have used this site to find help as well as upwork for freelancers. We always have friends/family that are looking to make "extra" so I now have a shop cleaner every Friday (best $40 a week ever!) I will sometimes have someone mow my lawn at home to help balance the work/home duties when summer business gets crazy. The core team of myself and husband will always be just us but with some creative outsourcing we make it work and keep the stress down.
    • Like Like x 1

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