Making a list & checking it twice
How to manage the pre-Christmas madness

27 November 2019

There’s no getting away from it. Christmas is coming – and fast. It’s dark, it’s cold and your customers are getting more impatient than your kids. But push on through and there’s a few days of novelty-jumper-wearing, face-stuffing, cracker-pulling family time on the other side. And we’ve got a few no-nonsense ideas to help you get there in one piece…

Battling through the pre-Christmas chaos means being realistic, getting organised, looking ahead and rounding up all the little helpers you can get. Ready? Let’s do this.

If there’s one thing you can bet your Christmas pudding on, it’s that from now until C-day, it’s going to be busy. If you’re working on a big project, you can bet your customer wants it wrapped up ready for the relatives to arrive. And if your phone’s ringing round the clock, it’s because all those little jobs people have been putting off suddenly feel super urgent with Christmas in sight.

So there’s a rush on. Which is great, if you can keep up. But the days are short, the ground is hard, the light’s awful and you’re freezing your boots off. Not exactly ideal conditions for the busiest time of the year. So what can you do to survive the chaos, keep your customers happy and get to Christmas dinner without going crackers?

1. Write that list

Ok, we’re not talking about that list. It’s good to know you need a novelty phone case and that Strictly DVD, but there’s a different kind of list that might just bring you even more happiness. 

When it’s dark too early and the rain’s lashing down, grab a cuppa and take the opportunity to get organised. List out everything that’s on your plate and be realistic about the time and resources you’ve got to get it done. Get an overview of the time left before Christmas, and put everything into a schedule so you can see the space you’ve got (and the space you haven’t). 

If you fancy taking it for a spin, we’ve added a whole load more bells and whistles to the scheduling tool in YourTradebase. But whatever tool you use, plan out what you can get done, day by day. It’s the only way to see what you’re up against.

2. Make like Santa

We’ve talked a lot over the last few months about recognising which customers are worth fighting for, and which you’d be better off without. Well, it’s almost Christmas, so make like Santa, put those customer-grading skills to the test and draw up your very own naughty or nice list. 

Now more than ever, you need to show your best customers you can get the job done – and push those nightmare customers way down your priority list. So be picky, look after the people who look after you and go spread some festive joy. You can tap into templates like our weekly email update to keep your best customers up to speed with what’s happening, when.

3. Deck the site

It’s not a great time of the year to be working outside, and the shorter days make it harder to meet those deadlines. So get some help – and light up your site. Those multi-coloured fairy lights from the attic probably won’t cut it, so hire some heavy-duty lighting, short term, and squeeze a load more hours into the next few weeks.

4. Call in some little helpers

If it’s good enough for Santa, it’s good enough for you, so round up some little helpers and put them to work (pointy ears and stripy tights optional). 

Extra hands on deck will help you get all those jobs finished faster, so call around and see who’s available – even if it’s just for the straightforward stuff that’s slowing you down. Everyone needs a bit of extra money at this time of year, so there’s bound to be someone willing to help. You can even add the whole team to YourTradebase, helping you keep everyone on track, every day.

5. Get cosy in the van

Remember our van time blog? Even though you’re rushed off your feet now, January could easily be deathly, so don’t ignore that paperwork pile. Grab five minutes in the van and smash through those quotes, invoices and admin jobs that’ll make sure you’ve still got a decent workload (and a healthy cashflow) the other side of Christmas.

YourTradebase has great templates and price lists that help you tackle your To Do list super fast. But tap into whatever tools make your life easier – and take five to ease that mental load.

6. Spread some joy

Even if you’re feeling stressed and you’ve got to turn down work, keep things friendly and get back to people quickly. A fast, polite ‘no’ might mean a customer you can’t help now comes back later, recommends you to a friend, or finds they can wait till January after all.

It’s also a great time of year to show your favourite customers how much you value their business with a bit of a Christmas present. A bottle of wine here and a box of chocolates there won’t break the bank, but it’ll be a surprise they remember – and it’ll make a great impression. 

Even simpler, send a quick Christmas message in YourTradebase. We’ve set up a template so you can send it to a whole bunch of people, in seconds. After all, it’s the little things that make a difference – and fill your New Year diary with lots of great new projects.

So, start making that list, mapping out that schedule, calling in that help and knocking out those New Year quotes. Look after your best customers, lean on YourTradebase and have yourself a very merry Christmas. After all that graft, you’ve earned it. 🎄

By Dean Taylor

Back in 2010, Dean's building business was growing. He was doing great work, making people happy and enjoying being his own boss – but he was worn out. Not by the graft, but by the piles of paperwork taking up every evening. So, he got together with his cousin Adam, a web developer, and came up with a simple way to solve the problem – and help a whole load of other tradespeople too. They called it YourTradebase. Try it for yourself with a free 14 day trial. No strings. No credit card needed.

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