Merry Christmas. Its that time of year again. There are things to do. You need to buy your wife a present, put up the lights on the house, go see some old friends and get ready for family to come over. It’s the best time of the year. Wouldn’t it be great to have a little time off ? Maybe shut the shop down and go home for about 9 or 10 days? Well, maybe you can.
It may not be this way at your shop, but for me, the days between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2 have always been the shop’s least productive days. Sales are off.
Employees don’t want to be there. I don’t want to be there. It’s cold. The customers don’t have any money. This is a time of year when the shop never makes any real money to speak of. Some years we even lost money by staying open.
Sometimes we get locked into old habits, even when they work against us. Like taking vacations in the summer. Summer is usually the worst time for an employee of the shop to take time off because it is typically our busiest months.
Every year you schedule vacations for your employees. You have to rest your horses, but do you have to rest them when the shop is busy? I have found that most employees would choose to take their vacation time at Christmastime instead of the summertime if given the choice. I know the kids are out of school in the summer, but they are out of school at Christmas too. Why not schedule some long weekends for your employees during the busy summer months and wait until business slows down at Christmas for long vacations? It may be best for everyone.
Benefits for you 
By staggering long weekends for each employee at different times during the summer, you do not have to work a week or two at a time without key employees in the busy summer months. You will be without them just a few days at a time this way. It makes scheduling long vacations simple for you too. Everyone is off at the same time. Also, if the shop is open, you are still working. It may be light duty, but your time is taken and you do not get to totally focus on real time off. If you shut the shop down, you are off too. Truly off, with no distractions. Your employees will always remember and appreciate that your competitors were open and they were off during the time between Christmas and New Year.
Benefits for customers
Christmas vacations keep us from working short handed for extended periods of time at our busiest time of year and allows us to get more vehicles delivered during our busy times. This is when turnaround time is critical to the customer. Historically, my customers have not been in a hurry to pick up their vehicle between Christmas and New Year. As a matter of fact, I am usually on the phone begging them to come and get their vehicle. Most of my customers have spent their money on Christmas and turnaround time is not important.
Benefits for employees 
Time off is invaluable to employees at this time of year. Many are far from home, and with the extra time off, they can go home for Christmas. Time off is no good without money. So, give the employees their vacation pay and their end-of-the-year bonuses and put a little Santa Claus money in their pocket at the right time.
Life is too short
Take a little time off and have some fun. Think about getting your money made for the year by Dec. 23 so you will be in a position to close for the holidays. Look at it this way. If you haven’t made your money by then, it’s probably too late anyway. Set your goals and work toward those goals all year long, then take some well earned quality time off. The shop will still be there when you get back. 
Well that’s it for me this year. I hope you have been good and Santa Claus brings you what you want for Christmas. As for me, I’m going to eat some cookies now and warm up my feet. Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine.