Once busy season kicks in, Tony Szczechowski, general manager and owner of Pro Edge Lawn Care, Ltd., in Holland, Ohio, says that finding time to meet with all the leads that start calling in becomes exhausting — particularly with the residential clients, the vast majority of whom can only meet on nights and weekends. There was a time when he was running himself ragged. But now he’s found ways to be more efficient with handling the flood of calls that come with busy season.
For one, Szczechowski has implemented block scheduling. Instead of trying to fit client meetings and office time in on the same day, Szczechowski now has his time scheduled out much more efficiently. Tuesdays, for example, are now office days from start to finish. Knowing that has made scheduling much easier.
“I now know, even if I’m driving and don’t have access to my calendar, that Tuesday is never a good day to schedule a client meeting,” Szczechowski says. “It’s also a lot more effective to have a full day in the office than to be running in and out because of meetings. I can get a lot more accomplished.”
In addition to setting up dedicated office time and utilizing block scheduling, Szczechowski has also begun staggering the company’s marketing materials. While they used to flood their entire prospective market all at once, Szczechowski learned that often resulted in getting more calls than they could handle all at once. Now, they stagger their direct mail campaign, picking and choosing how many go out each week. The result has been calls coming in a much more manageable fashion.
While Szczechowski may lose clients here and there because of receiving the competition’s flyer sooner, Szczechowski says it’s still been an improved business practice since they’re doing a better job managing the calls that do come in. Rather than trying to take on too much at once and losing jobs due to being so rushed or letting quality slip, now Szczechowski has a lot more control over how many leads he can handle. This allows him to handle them the right way.
Although it’s helped make busy season more bearable, Szczechowski admits it’s still very busy. With young kids at home he’s also found his own way to fit in extra family time during the off-season.
“In the off season I coach Little League and spend a lot of time with the family,” Szczechowski says. “I think they’re used to the fact that during the three or four months of busy season, I am more tied up on nights and weekends.”
But just as he sets a priority for Tuesday being an office day, Szczechowski has applied the same principle at home and made Sundays family time.
“No matter what — even in the midst of busy season — Sundays are a day to stay at home with the family,” Szczechowski says. “You have to set those priorities whether it’s in business or in life.”
Read more: How to Find Time to Organize Your Workweek
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