If you’ve only ever opened your workshop Monday through Friday, deciding to trade on a Saturday can feel like a huge opportunity. But it might also seem like a big risk.
So, which is it?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that. It varies from one business to the next. But if it’s something you’re thinking about, the information below will help you make an informed decision.
The advantages of Saturday trading
Let’s start with the reasons to open the doors on the weekend.
Many expenses are fixed already
The reality is expenses like rent, insurance and electricity are covered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It could be logical therefore to open on Saturdays since you’re already incurring many of the fixed expenses.
Don’t lose ground to your competitors
If your workshop is closed on Saturdays, stranded customers and those who can’t get their vehicle in during the week will wind up at your competitors’ shops. They might not come back to yours.
Boost your cash flow
If your business is still in its infancy, opening on Saturday can be a great way to build exposure to new customers and help make the business cash-flow positive.
It’s not that hard to give it a try
If you are sure there will be a demand for your services, there’s nothing stopping you from opening the doors next Saturday. You can try it for a while and see how it goes. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work.
The disadvantages of Saturday trading
Now let’s consider some disadvantages.
You lose your Saturdays
You wouldn’t be the first workshop owner who felt the weekend was sacrosanct and should be reserved for taking the kids to their football and netball games and taking the dog to the beach. And if you don’t want to work on the weekend, why would your staff?
Weekday productivity could suffer
If technicians are asked to put in the extra day, it’s possible productivity from Monday to Friday might suffer. It could mean decline in the quality of customer service, or even an increase in employee turnover.
Staff enthusiasm can wane
Your technicians may feel motivated to work on Saturdays so they can earn a higher income at the beginning, but it’s more than likely that excitement will wane over a relatively short period of time.
Some important first steps for Saturday trading
So, those are some of the pros and cons, but what other considerations need to be weighed up before you decide to open up that roller door every Saturday?
Look before you leap
Before you do a thing, run over the numbers to see if Saturday trading will put you ahead or behind. By opening on Saturdays you’ll more than likely incur the added cost of overtime, which will escalate your operating expense.
Know your financial goals
Work out exactly how much work needs to be generated in Saturday sales to make opening worthwhile. But do not count work that you would have otherwise performed during the week.
Take baby steps
You don’t have to all-in immediately. Test it out. Some workshops successfully open every second weekend. Others will open every weekend but rotate the staff so that everyone has every second weekend off.
Traps and pitfalls to avoid
We all make mistakes in business; it’s how we learn and grow. But if you can learn from others and avoid making their mistakes from the outset, why wouldn’t you?
Here are four traps to avoid:
Don’t ask your customers
Whatever you do, don’t survey your customers to see if they would like your workshop open on Saturdays. Of course they will say yes; it’s to their benefit.
Keep it on the down low
If you decide to give Saturday trading a try, don’t advertise the fact immediately. Try it with a skeleton staff for a couple of months and then measure the results.
Don’t poach from your midweek bookings
Avoid offering Saturday servicing and repairs to regular customers who would otherwise book during the week. Only offer it to customers who ask about Saturday bookings and to walk-ins.
Burnout is a real issue
Remember burnout is a real issue, so make sure every team member has at least one weekend off every month.
Whether you ultimately decide to trade on Saturdays, there will be consequences for your business. If the good outweighs the bad, then go for it. Hopefully, now, at least you can make a more informed decision.