Working for yourself is hard work, and add a physically demanding job such as building fences to it and you’re definitely in need of some work life balance. Starting out, most fence contractors work solo and are the laborer, receptionist, accountant and just add about 20 more job titles to the list while we’re at it. While it can be an exciting and lucrative time operating a fence company, it’s important to maintain a work life balance so you don’t burn yourself out. Here are some tips we’ve seen from some of our contractors to keep their sanity and maintain a happy life!
Hire Help for Your Fence Company, if You are Able to
It might be financially out of the question to bring on additional help to take things off your plate, but if you can- it will help tremendously! Even getting help with answering phones, responding to emails or quoting out projects will help free you up to focus on other things. There are companies that will answer your phones and answer basic questions before sending you the customer information to reach out further. Research social media companies that can help manage your online presence or someone that can help with administrative tasks. As you grow, also look into bringing on additional laborers that you trust to run jobs, so you can be present in other areas of your company.
Use technology that makes it easier to manage your fence company
Investing in solid technology can make the world of difference for streamlining your fence company. Software such as Salesforce, QuickBooks and others can help you stay organized and more efficient, thus taking some of the stress away. Intuit Self Employed offers a mobile app that allows you to take pictures of your receipts and enter them so everything is in one place come tax season. No more sorting through papers and receipts at the end of the year. They also have an option to do invoicing through them and connect your bank account to track income and expenses. Track your mileage through the app as well- as long as your phone is with you as you drive to job sites, you are racking up the miles to deduct at the end of the year!
At the end of the day for your fence company, turn everything off
You are not a robot and need time to rest and recharge. As a small business owner of a fence company, it’s tempting to think you must be available 24/7. Set boundaries for the sake of your mental health. A person cannot be “on” 24/7, you’ll eventually crash and burn. If you are getting contact from your customers at all hours, set the expectation up front that you will respond to all requests within 24 hours, and if it’s over the weekend and you are closed, they will get a call on Monday. Create a system for handling things that come in after hours and just set time aside in the mornings to catch up. Nothing is too important that it can’t wait 24 hours for a response. If your business requires you to be available 24/7 consider paying someone to be on-call for emergencies or hire an answering service that can help field true emergencies vs normal customer requests.
Take time for fun, that is not related to your fence company
“All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”. Make sure you are still allowing time for fun in your life. This could be attending your child’s sporting events, playing golf or getting away for a weekend camping trip. If everything is scheduled in advance, there is no reason you can’t tear yourself away from your work to make time for relaxation. It might not always be easy to step away from the business, but it is crucial if you are going to make it any amount of time in this industry!
Running a fence company is hard work- and sometimes we need extra mental help
There’s no shame in getting professional mental help, if you feel like you are unable to keep up with the fast pace that is required to run a fence company. Many of us can turn to unhealthy habits to cope with the stress and constant go-go-go that is found in our industry, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you don’t know where to start, SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. You can reach them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Running a fence company is a lot of work and is very rewarding, but it’s important to keep a work life balance so you don’t burn yourself out. Hopefully these tips have been helpful as you explore ways to improve your business and quality of life!