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As a solo operation how do you manage your time for sales leads? I am curious how most of you do it. And I am in search of NEW ways of managing this time consuming but, needed task. Do you schedule time off at the end of the day to visit potential clients who want an estimate? Do you schedule off certain days of the week dedicated to estimates? Do you just let the "chip fall were they do" and "wing it" and make the time when you just can? How are most of you solo operators making this task happen. As a side note….to the bigger outfits who employ a sales force…do you regret it on any level. Do you find yourself cleaning up a salesman's mess when he/she has made promises that you were not aware of?
 

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Right now we are a crew of 3 and we find time when ever to go look. Weather it's during the day or after our day is over really depends on when the HO is home. We run into a bunch of 2nd and 3rd shift people who need painting done. So we get there as soon as we can.
 

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My estimate visits would depend more on the potential customer's available time, than mine.

I rarely made an appointment for after work as I was tired, cranky, and prolly stank. And since most folks weren't ready for a visit at 6:00 - 6:30 in the morning, many of my estimates would be done on the weekend.

When I was able to schedule correctly, I would have a day during the week between jobs which was allocated to estimates, paper work, etc. IMO, this is what solo's should do. But it don't always turn out that way.
 

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As a solo operator I try and schedule appointments either first thing in the morning or after 4 pm. It really kills my day if I have to meet someone in the middle of my work day. I find most people will choose one or the other. But I will meet at other times during the week if that's the only time that works for the potential customer.
 

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I guess it depends on the project size and type of calls and customers you get. Myself...a OMS, I book large projects, average of 2-4 weeks, get superb calls, customers, turn down most because I'm booked out too far in advance.

So realistically, I only look at nice, big local projects. Maybe one every couple weeks, on the weekend when I'm relaxed, and actually like looking at future work. My close ratio is insane, so its usually not a wasted trip.
 

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I talk with the customer on the phone, get to know 'em a bit...shoot the breeze with them...you know? Then, based on what they told me about their project, I basically tell them (now that we're friends) that, like anything else, you get what you pay for and I'm not low bidder....I'm correct job do'er. This does a few things....1) weeds out the people trying to get something for nothing (you don't want these people, trust me), puts in their head that 2) I'm a straight shooter (VERY IMPORTANT), 3) that I'm probably awesome at what I do, thus probably pretty busy, so....4) "Let me check my schedule" (shuffling papers around) puts me in the driver's seat. "Early morning or late afternoon works day after next. Does that work for you?" Always day after next, unless its Thurs or Fri. Then it's Mon. It's like calling a girl you dig....you're available but not too available. Works every time. Then show up, be cool, do good work and collect your skrilla. :thumbup: Just plan your sched around the fact that you've got a few hrs/week (say 7) to do bids, buy materials, do your books, etc. either right before you go to work or right after. Then hustle on your jobs the other 33 hrs (no sitting) and you're good.
 

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I talk with the customer on the phone, get to know 'em a bit...shoot the breeze with them...you know? Then, based on what they told me about their project, I basically tell them (now that we're friends) that, like anything else, you get what you pay for and I'm not low bidder....I'm correct job do'er. This does a few things....1) weeds out the people trying to get something for nothing (you don't want these people, trust me), puts in their head that 2) I'm a straight shooter (VERY IMPORTANT), 3) that I'm probably awesome at what I do, thus probably pretty busy, so....4) "Let me check my schedule" (shuffling papers around) puts me in the driver's seat. "Early morning or late afternoon works day after next. Does that work for you?" Always day after next, unless its Thurs or Fri. Then it's Mon. It's like calling a girl you dig....you're available but not too available. Works every time. Then show up, be cool, do good work and collect your skrilla. :thumbup: Just plan your sched around the fact that you've got a few hrs/week (say 7) to do bids, buy materials, do your books, etc. either right before you go to work or right after. Then hustle on your jobs the other 33 hrs (no sitting) and you're good.
so, you only work a 40 hour week? must be nice
 

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I talk with the customer on the phone, get to know 'em a bit...shoot the breeze with them...you know? Then, based on what they told me about their project, I basically tell them (now that we're friends) that, like anything else, you get what you pay for and I'm not low bidder....I'm correct job do'er. This does a few things....1) weeds out the people trying to get something for nothing (you don't want these people, trust me), puts in their head that 2) I'm a straight shooter (VERY IMPORTANT), 3) that I'm probably awesome at what I do, thus probably pretty busy, so....4) "Let me check my schedule" (shuffling papers around) puts me in the driver's seat. "Early morning or late afternoon works day after next. Does that work for you?" Always day after next, unless its Thurs or Fri. Then it's Mon. It's like calling a girl you dig....you're available but not too available. Works every time. Then show up, be cool, do good work and collect your skrilla. :thumbup: Just plan your sched around the fact that you've got a few hrs/week (say 7) to do bids, buy materials, do your books, etc. either right before you go to work or right after. Then hustle on your jobs the other 33 hrs (no sitting) and you're good.
Thats actually some pretty sound advice.
 

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Yes, I rarely work more than 40 hrs/wk....usually a bit less. That's part of why I got into this biz....to work to live, not live to work. No other country in the world works the amt of hrs that we as Americans do....yet there are many countries that are "happier" overall. Makes me think we are missing the boat as far as work/life balance. Besides, when I know I'm not going to be working too many hrs, it makes me more efficient, jobs look better and customers know the easy-going me...leading to happier customers.
 
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