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How stressful is it for a man ....


angellight

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My husband has been laid-off since November.. Unemployment was not enough for us to survive on since he worked off the books some of last year. We have a decent size mortgage and a few bills but we have over 16000 in savings to hold us over…My husband is really talented, plumbing, electrical ,carpentry, roofing, fencing, building, remodeling, welding, auto repair…every job he gets people are like why do you work for someone else? You cold make a killing with your own business… I have been telling him for at least 10 years….Soooo we finally decided to just start working for ourselves..

 

Bought a van, signs for the truck, mobile welding equipment, generator, extra tools and spent like 3600 in advertising for the year.. Auto repair, mobile welding, home repair…He is doing pretty good so far and once the new phone books come out it should really take off. Even in this economy..Already everything bought has been paid for…so what is the problem you ask??

 

Lately he is like a loose cannon…(like two weeks) I never know what is gonna set him off…We usually have a really good relationship.. The other day I actually got out of our truck and took a cab home cuz he was driving like an a##hole and being so argumentative..One day he's fine the next he's a complete jerk and I'm sleeping on the couch (my choice cuz Im so irritated)

 

I keep wanting to just take off to see my family for a few days, but he can’t run a business.. Great at the work part but knows nothing about advertising, making appointments ( he would overlap them and overbook them forget ) Getting info from customers etc. So I kind of would be shooting myself in the foot… WHAT GIVES HERE…You would think he would be happy….How stressful is it for a man to be laid-off and start a new business.... Anybody????

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As a biz owner, I can tell you it's very stressful. The weight of that responsibility, keeping $ coming in, keeping customers happy....you know what's involved, and it's very taxing.

Could you hire someone, maybe PT, to lighten the load on him?

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As a biz owner, I can tell you it's very stressful. The weight of that responsibility, keeping $ coming in, keeping customers happy....you know what's involved, and it's very taxing.

Could you hire someone, maybe PT, to lighten the load on him?

 

 

Eventually we do plan on hiring people but right now Im doing the books, the advertising, phone answering, appointments, pretty much managing and playing secretary...and I even go with him on some of the jobs to help out (like hold cabinets while he installs, run for parts etc)....All he has to do is give estimates and do the work.. Im like "what is your problem" it just causes an argument....

 

i mean there was about a week where there were no calls but he has about 1200 in profit scheduled next week... and that is only 2 days of work...

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Owning a business is extremely stressful especially during the early stages. He's betting his family's future that he will be successful. Do you not realize how scary that is? To know that if you fail, your family's future will be in jeopardy. Considering he only worked 2 out of the 10 days, I completely understand his fear. So basically he made $600 per week before expenses. What if during the next 2 weeks he only gets 1 job scheduled? Will he be able to cover his expenses and provide for the family without dipping further into the savings? It's amazing how fast savings can go when your expenses are more than what you bring home. It doesn't take long for it to dwindle.

 

As far as being upset since you can't take a week off to go see family, in all honesty you should have known from the beginning that wouldn't be an option until you hired someone to help out. You said yourself your husband could not handle it, so basically if you leave, the business has to shut down for that week. It's hard to make any money when you're not open.

 

I think you need to be a bit more tolerant of your husband and really think about what it means to be a business owner. It requires a lot of sacrifices, especially in the beginning.

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No you misunderstand,, I am not upset about seeing my family,,he is driving me crazy with his mood swings and I feel like we need to get away from each other for a couple days to cool down but I it not feasable...The only reason I want to get away is to give him some space.. He worked more than 2 days out of 10 he worked most of the week but there was a week were there were no new calls. He still had work set up in advance...It seems like I am somehow responsible or at least the one he is directing his anger or maybe fear towards

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Well, I don't know that I have any concrete advice, but there were two things that came to mind as I read your post: 1. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. 2. Not every couple can work together. (My dad used to say, "I got married for better or worse....but not for lunch." He & my mom worked together for a while -- he was a doctor, she ran the office....and neither one of them seemed to like that arrangement much.)

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Well, I don't know that I have any concrete advice, but there were two things that came to mind as I read your post: 1. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. 2. Not every couple can work together. (My dad used to say, "I got married for better or worse....but not for lunch." He & my mom worked together for a while -- he was a doctor, she ran the office....and neither one of them seemed to like that arrangement much.)

 

 

Maybe, that scares me a little since I was asking myself if running a business was too much for him and maybe he wasn't cut out for it... then I am also leaning towards the fear part too. He did turn down a really good job since they took 3 months to call him and we had already spent about six thousand starting the business...

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Any job where you are dealing directly with the public/customers without the screen of being an employee with a specific job description is absolutely brutal (as you know), will escalate stress dramatically, and can take some time to adjust. People in our day are always angling to take advantage and treating the people whom they hire inconsiderately, sometimes without realizing it. It takes huge determination not to let this color your relationships with loved ones also in the business. You have to take a firm stand that you are not a punching bag, and that you should face the challenges of working with customers together as a team.

 

Another stress factor is working with loved ones. We all have our little pet peeves about the people we are closest to, and this becomes magnified in a working relationship. You are likely both rubbing each other the wrong way. It's natural. It takes flexibility and consideration to work with loved ones, and you have to have boundaries such that one party never feels like a mere employee or disrespected.

 

Sit down and make an agreement that the forces put in play in your business are not to carry over into your personal relationship, though this is easier said than done.

 

Avoid as much business talk when not working as possible.

 

Huge congratulations on getting a business up and running. Once it is established and through the worry phase, it can really bring you closer together and help you achieve your dreams.

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My folks run there on business and i see it first hand they are always stressed and worried, and having to deal with other people (the workers) mistakes. Getting a phone call saying something is wrong or something wasn't done right will wreck my moms weekend.

 

So hes really over stressed and i couldn't blame him its just harder for him to keep controll and he takes it out on everyone which sadly means you for the most part. The stress for my folks has come to the point where my moms feels over worked has hard time sleeping and is always takign meds which i think are making it worse. And my dad is starting to go bald, and no one in his family side has ever been bald and uptill about a year or so ago he use to have a head full of hair, but i guess 10yrs of dealing with people will do that to you.

 

Its kinda the same story with my parents my mom does most if not all of the paper work and my dad does most of the harder longer work that takes more time a paties.

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Here are some other possibilities to work towards:

 

1. The customer is not always right, in fact, these days, the customer is usually wrong or sometimes blatantly dishonest. This is especially true in service businesses. Accommodate and value your customers, but have a line in your mind that if they cross it, fire them. Read books like Guerrilla Marketing and strive to always have a flow of incoming work, such that you can cherry pick and deal with those you like who are pleasant to deal with. It's hard when starting off not to take everything that walks in the door, but over time, if your marketing is good, you can be selective in whom you work for.

 

2. Keep a healthy work/life balance. Block time that is "away from work time" and talking about or dealing with work issues is forbidden. Reward each other during this time for the hard work and goals reached in the business. Set a weekly goal, and if it's met, enjoy some type of reward together that is not business related.

 

3. Have each others' backs at all times. Protect each others' time and feelings. Always be on the lookout to make each others' work and life easier, never to shift blame or work to the other person.

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Thank you all so much, I will try your suggestions...If anybody else has any experience or advice I would definitely appreciate it....No sense starting a business if it is going to ruin our relationship...I do remember him telling me in the beginning that he never started a business before because he was nervous that it wouldnt work out..Actually we kind of had an argument last night and I told him, I know you have the talent and capabilities to do this, but I am starting to wonder if you have the drive or personality for it.. He kind of got a little huffy with a customer and I told him you cant do that...If a customer is difficult you make things right then don't deal with them next time...We will simply tell them you are too booked right now and it would be better to find another contractor or mechanic...This customer made him drive 30 miles to her truck, wait two hours for a tow to our place, he took it apart for a diagnosis told her the bad news, (she needed a new motor the rods or something were bent and it was not going to run much longer) and then she made him put it back together so she could come and pick it up and drive it home without getting the work done..All for 75.00, he was like I cant believe I just wasted all that time for that.. I really lost money on that she took up a day and 1/2 for nothing...I agree with him (he was right about her being en extremely difficult customer) but we are going to have to figure out rules for customers as we go along...He cant get angry at the people.. live and learn...when we give a free estimate from now on if we have to go them there will be a charge that will be deducted from the bill upon the completion of the work..Seriously by the end of the argument I was throwing things in a duffle bag telling him, I will not allow you to take out your frustrations on me.. We had a little talk this morning before he left for an all day job and we will talk later...

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Was starting this business his idea or your idea? Perhaps he doesn't really want to be his own boss. Starting your own business usually means massively long hours and a few years of not even breaking even...

 

I would tell him if he doesn't want to do this, then perhaps he could still continue looking for work for someone else, while doing this until he finds a regular job. That may take the pressure off him to know it is only for as long as it takes to find a job he is more suited for. Most people really aren't cut out to be their own boss for a variety of reasons, which is why 3 out of 4 new businesses fail within the first few years.

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Was starting this business his idea or your idea? Perhaps he doesn't really want to be his own boss. Starting your own business usually means massively long hours and a few years of not even breaking even...

 

I would tell him if he doesn't want to do this, then perhaps he could still continue looking for work for someone else, while doing this until he finds a regular job. That may take the pressure off him to know it is only for as long as it takes to find a job he is more suited for. Most people really aren't cut out to be their own boss for a variety of reasons, which is why 3 out of 4 new businesses fail within the first few years.

 

 

My suggestion for the last like 8 years.. his (and Mine) decision to finally go for it...he is just a really gregarious person, very friendly but sometimes a little too outspoken..He purposely turned down the job after thinking about it for 3 or 4 days..Saying to me we have to at least try this...If it doesn't work out I can always go back to construction...I think we just need to talk more and work out the bugs (like how the free estimates thing) and I will deal with the customers when they are difficult since I am a little more tactful....This particular business doen't have huge overhead since he has thousands of dollars worth of tools and he is just so damn talented...Remodeled our whole house beautifully...

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Re: 'free estimates', the best way to handle that is to take a look, but don't invest a lot of effort in it... Tell the lady, it could be X in which case it would be $X, or if i get in there and it's Y it will be $Y. So he does enough investigation to make a good guesstimate of the several different things it might be, then a cost for each (and an obligation to pay depending on whatever it turns out to be).

 

If she's not willing to go ahead based on that, then she never would have gone ahead anyway. If she demands a more detailed or specific estimate, then tell her the charge is $150 or $200 to take the engine apart to look. The 'free' estimate is just an estimate, not a guaranteed price. If the lady wants a guaranteed price and there is a lot of work just to do the estimate, then she gets charged for the time spent doing the detailed investigation work.

 

He should also tell customers who want an estimate they have to tow it to his place first (i.e., he shouldn't drive out and hold her hand while she waits for a tow, or agree to fix it on the fly on the side of the highway). Most repair people don't offer estimates on the side of the road or drive out to meet the person somewhere and bring the car back... she pays for the tow, then you do the estimate and she comes and gets it if she doesn't like the estimate.

 

Weed out the 'bad' customers this way.

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Re: 'free estimates', the best way to handle that is to take a look, but don't invest a lot of effort in it... Tell the lady, it could be X in which case it would be $X, or if i get in there and it's Y it will be $Y. So he does enough investigation to make a good guesstimate of the several different things it might be, then a cost for each (and an obligation to pay depending on whatever it turns out to be).

 

If she's not willing to go ahead based on that, then she never would have gone ahead anyway. If she demands a more detailed or specific estimate, then tell her the charge is $150 or $200 to take the engine apart to look.

 

Weed out the 'bad' customers this way.

 

You are SOOOOOO right that is basically how it went,, could be this or that, will cost from this to that...We messed up on the taking it apart for her for 75and then not having conditions after it was done..

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He should also tell customers who want an estimate they have to tow it to his place first (i.e., he shouldn't drive out and hold her hand while she waits for a tow, or agree to fix it on the fly on the side of the highway). Most repair people don't offer estimates on the side of the road or drive out to meet the person somewhere and bring the car back... she pays for the tow, then you do the estimate and she comes and gets it if she doesn't like the estimate.

 

Weed out the 'bad' customers this way.

 

Part of the business is mobile repairs.. it is his ace in the hole, but pulling motors cannot be done in someones driveway...He can fix brakes, starters mufflers etc on your driveway but not pull a motor...She just could not understand this...Believe me there were warning signs...We just got caught off guard...

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Oh, i didn't mean don't do driveway repairs... i just meant don't get involved in wasting time rescuing people on the side of the road.. that's the towing services job.

 

once it is back in her driveway, then he could do the estimate.

 

We will do things differently from here on in...Yeah the estimate was given in her driveway...Then it was towed to us because the motor was knocking and he told her I would not drive that....he took it apart with her calling every 1/2 hour driving him and me crazy...Maam he cannot tell you for sure until he gets in there, well its been an hour he must know something,, No, not yet he needs to remove the top of the engine.......Then she said that was too much, called a bunch of other mechanics who told her the same thing after hearing the diagnosis...bla bla bla it was just such a waste..

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Sit down and define "free estimate" in writing, together with making a definitive list of services, prices and policies. Stick to this with little variance without sacrificing flexibility and customer service. Easier said than done, but having it in writing will defuse lots of stressful situations. Blocking time and defining services is your friend.

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Sit down and define "free estimate" in writing, together with making a definitive list of services, prices and policies. Stick to this with little variance without sacrificing flexibility and customer service. Easier said than done, but having it in writing will defuse lots of stressful situations. Blocking time and defining services is your friend.

 

Definitely,,, I think we need to sit down and define a LOT of things....lol..

 

 

We should have known...Another (part time) mechanic actually called us and asked if we could take a customer of his cause he didn't have the time or tools to do big jobs and his fencing job was picking up...(yeah right,, he probably knew how difficult she was so he pawned her off on us)

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Definitely,,, I think we need to sit down and define a LOT of things....lol..

 

Yeah, it's amazing what people will try to get away with.

 

I do freelance voice work...and I routinely have to define what a "page" of copy is (8.5x11 paper, 12 point type, 1.5 line spacing, 1" margins top, bottom & both sides...) otherwise, I'll get people who'll send me their copy single space, edge-to-edge, top-to-bottom in 8point (or smaller) type so they can cram 2 or 3 readable pages onto one page.

 

It's better if I define it up front. If they think I'm being b****y by doing that, they shouldn't hire me.

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Yeah, it's amazing what people will try to get away with.

 

I do freelance voice work...and I routinely have to define what a "page" of copy is (8.5x11 paper, 12 point type, 1.5 line spacing, 1" margins top, bottom & both sides...) otherwise, I'll get people who'll send me their copy single space, edge-to-edge, top-to-bottom in 8point (or smaller) type so they can cram 2 or 3 readable pages onto one page.

 

It's better if I define it up front. If they think I'm being b****y by doing that, they shouldn't hire me.

 

 

I hear you,,,He was so mad...I am NOT putting this back together for the original $75...Joe, you HAVE to give it back to her in the same condition you received it....we will just be clearer next time...Word of mouth is sooo important, you don't need her going around bath mouthing you...just put it back together and it will be a lesson learned...so he did...but guess who got the fuzzy end of the lolipop later....

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If a similar situation arises again, offer to come and help him. He won't take you up on it, but will appreciate the gesture. Remember to always be building a team mentality.

 

 

I am going with him tomorrow to help install cabinets, countertop, sink and dishwasher... I will hold the cabinets in place while he bolts them down...(not much help but anything is better than nothing I guess) Afterwards, I am taking your advice and we are going to have a nice dinner somewhere together and a couple cocktails to wind down and spend some quality time together....Maybe LOBSTER mmmmmmmmm

 

now I think that I will go and unpack that duffle bag...lol

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