The National : OCTNOVDEC2017 DRYCLEANER
sustain themselves. And that means that they need full-time hours, year ‘round. I understand that, but I cannot endorse it because of the side effects. Let me explain. First of all, production employees work in an environment that means, by definition, that their total hours worked should fluctuate commensurate with the workload. That’s what a variable expense is. A production employee works until there is no more to produce. This happens in a service business and especially in this one. In a manufacturing business, Freddie can produce to his heart’s content. He can out- produce his peers two-to- one or more. In the drycleaning business, we aren’t making pants or shirts, we are merely working on the ones brought to us. And when there ain’t no more, there ain’t no more. Period. Regardless of what I write here, some of you will vehemently disagree. You will insist that your employees need to work 40 hours. That is your prerogative. But be aware of a couple of important points. First, you are making less money than you should be making. In fact, you may be losing money on the “Easy Payment Plan.” You make expensive payments that you can’t afford to your employees every payday. Secondly, this whole fiasco is in-bred. It is woven into the culture of your own business model. Reversing it is a challenge. If you could do it all over again, maybe you would say, “Sorry, Betty the shirt presser, shirts are down 20% this week and so are your hours! Sucks to be me AND you!” (Or perhaps a more diplomatic variation that relates, in effect, the same thing.) You don’t fear that Betty will quit and go to work elsewhere because you know that everyone else is down. They’re cutting hours too, not hiring. With this corporate culture in place, when you do hire anyone, you always tell them that their hours are variable. You never say that you will “guarantee” anyone 40 hours because you know that you will live to regret those words during lean times. You may think that I am dreaming. I’m not. In fact, there is a group of you saying to yourself, “Hey Don, what’s so profound about that? We have always done that.” Really. But for another group of you, your payroll is the same when you do 3000 shirts and 3000 drycleaning pieces as when you do 5000 shirts and 18 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2017 l Registered Insurance Broker l Qualified Practising Insurance Broker l Member of the National Insurance Brokers Association Suite 702, 251 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction. 2022. We offer in-depth knowledge of the Australian insurance industry and extensive experience of the insurance needs of business. Effective risk management and asset protection are crucial to the survival of your business. For a competitive quotation and report on YOUR particular insurance requirements, please, contact Geoff Cartwright today. Tel.: (02) 9387 6677 Fax.: (02) 9387 7272 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cartwrightinsurance.com.au “CARTWRIGHT's” have been arranging insurance for drycleaners and allied traders since 1972.
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