By Bob Cooper
There is no easy answer to this question, but here at Elite we can give you some points that you need to consider. We realize that you are paying rent, insurance, etc. on a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year basis, so many will argue that you should be open on Saturdays since you’re already incurring many of the fixed expenses. Some will also argue that if you are closed on Saturdays, then stranded customers, or those who can’t make it in during the week, will wind up at your competitors’ shops. Obviously there is truth to that argument as well. But before you make a decision to open up your shop on Saturdays, or to continue to remain open on Saturdays, here are five considerations that should not be overlooked…
#1. Run the numbers and pay close attention to the details. By being open on Saturdays you’ll more than likely incur the added cost of overtime, which will escalate your operating expense, as well as the expenses that are based on payroll, such as insurance. The bottom line is that you’ll need to come to a conclusion as to exactly how much you’ll need to generate in Saturday sales (closed RO’s) to make it a worthwhile endeavor for your business. Also, in running these numbers to determine whether being open on Saturdays will be profitable for your shop, you need to make sure that when you forecast your necessary Saturday sales you’re not counting work that you would have otherwise performed during the week.
#2. The consideration that is most commonly overlooked (but that can cost you a fortune) is the cost of employee morale. If you plan on having your techs and service advisors put in the extra day, there will be a hefty price that you will ultimately have to pay. You may very well experience lower productivity Monday through Friday, a decrease in the quality of customer service, or an increase in employee turnover, just to name a few. We realize that some of you may be telling yourselves that you have some young, motivated guys and gals who would love to be open on Saturdays so they can earn a higher income, but you’ll more than likely find that the excitement wanes over a short period of time. Opening your doors on Saturdays may be great for short-term performance, but odds are, it will not be the best choice when it comes to long-term business building.
#3. Whatever you do, don’t ask your customers if they would like to see you open on Saturdays! Far too many shop owners place value on these opinions when the overwhelming majority of them will naturally say “yes” since it’s to their benefit, and there is absolutely no downside for them.
#4. Take Saturdays for a “test drive”. If you feel being open on Saturdays is something you just can’t pass up, then before you tell the world, you should have a skeleton staff work on Saturdays for 90 days and then measure the results. During this test drive, make certain that your entire staff understands that the Monday through Friday goals will still need to be reached, and that Saturday is not to be used as an optional “bring it in for service” day for your existing customers who contact your shop during the week. Otherwise, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. To accurately measure the profitability of being open on Saturdays, they should be reserved for incoming Saturday calls and walk-ins.
#5. Lastly, consider this: If your intent is to drop as much money onto the bottom line as quickly as possible, then opening on Saturdays may very well be a good decision for you. And if that is the case, you may want to consider being open on Sundays and holidays, too, because the same financial logic prevails. On the other hand, if your interest is in building a profitable, successful business that will grow in value over the long-term, and in creating a great environment for your employees to call their home away from home, then closing on Saturdays, and losing some potential sales along the way, will more than likely be the right choice for you.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.