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Freeing Up Your Time – A Staffing Solution

by Ron Roberts

Do you know what every small business owner struggles with? Time.
Time to work on the business. Time to spend on tasks that make money. Time to meet with valued customers. Here's how to free up more of it.

Ron Roberts Allow me to share with you the not-so-obvious cause of almost every small business owner's lack of time. Perhaps it will convince you to stop procrastinating and address the problem head on.

The solution is not a mystery. I'm willing to bet you already know it. You're probably even committed to fixing the problem. You just haven't fixed it yet.

The problem is one or more of your employees.

One or more is stealing one of your most valuable personal and company resources, YOUR PERSONAL TIME. One or more is preventing you from working on your business. From getting more sales. From spending more face time with your best customers and most promising prospects.

The fact of the matter is that for every minute you spend doing something an employee can and should be doing is a minute you are not out making money.

You know that, right? It's probably what keeps you up at night.

In your heart you know you need to replace this employee(s). However when it comes time to take action you get nervous over all the things that could go wrong.

You worry that the person you hire could be worse than the person you have; good employees will leave because you ran off their friend; disruption to your current projects; loss of sales leads; theft; sabotage; or that you may lose a valued personal relationship with them.

These are natural worries and natural feelings. Every owner we've visited with has expressed these very same worries when faced with the situation. Some took action. Many didn't.

Everyone who stuck with it until they found the right person was supremely thankful they did. They discovered that:

  • Running a business can be rather fun.
  • Good employees hate working with bad employees.
  • Projects go much smoother and more profitably when everyone in the field and front office is blocking and tackling properly.
  • Customers are drawn to professional salespeople and well-run suppliers.
  • Bottom lines mysteriously grow by leaps and bounds.

Upon fixing the problem(s) you will shocked to discover the vast amount of time you'd been losing and the stress you'd been suffering due to you're doing someone else's work.

An important point of our advice not to overlook is that we are not advocating adding more headcount. That would be applying a band aid. That would be transferring the problem to another one of your employees, which translates into a great way to run off a good employee. No, we're advocating replacing the under-performing employee with a high performance employee.

You may have to pay a little more but wouldn't it be worth it? What is your time worth? How much is your current employee truly costing you when you add your cost per hour to their hourly cost or salary? It's probably pretty staggering. For that matter, it's probably even worth paying the fee for a recruiting service.

There's no question that if you hire the right person the first go around, odds are you will save money by running the recruiting and selection process yourself. However, be honest with yourself. What's your batting average? How often do you find and hire a high-performing employee? 50% of the time? 15% of the time? It certainly isn't 100% of the time or you wouldn't be needing to replace someone.

Additionally, by outsourcing the search it's much easier to keep it a secret. Recruiting on the sly eliminates several of the worries that can be caused by the current position holder finding out that he or she is headed out the door. You will perceive a recruiter's fee to be steep; however, their hit rate should approach 100%. You should also receive an implied warranty that they will run the next search for free if their recommended candidate doesn't live up to expectations.

Allow me to share a few of stories with you as examples.

A contractor we've worked was putting in enormous hours straightening out messes his office manager made and handling unending field worker complaints. He finally had enough, canned his office manager, and replaced her with a hard working, professional lady with significant experience.

Within weeks the owner discovered more critical information was suddenly available to him. The field's complaints about payroll and other problems dried up. Then, he replaced his lead operations man with someone who really took the bull by the horns. No more off-hour employee phone calls. Far fewer field errors.

The owner suddenly gained almost 50% of his time back, which he invested in estimating and sales calls. Revenue jumped by 50%. The bottom line looked amazing. Two simple personnel switches and the chains holding the company back have been broken.

How about a reverse story? What happens when you lose a great employee, one that turns out to have been the glue that held everything together?

A contractor had been run for years by the owner's aunt. Although she was the office manager by title, she literally ran the place... and quite profitably at that. The owner traveled over six months a year. He was an absentee owner. Then his aunt decided to retire. The owner had to come back in-house to run the business and find a new office manager. Frankly nobody could have replaced his aunt. However, the office manager selected didn't even provide average performance. The company started to struggle. Last we heard they were barely hanging on.

That's the difference one employee can make. Don't tolerate that in your business. Don't shoot for decent employees. Shoot for superstars. They make all the difference in the world.

In closing, we try and follow three sets of rules, our wives', the Ten Commandments, and "The 10 Biggest Mistakes Contractors Make." Let us help you master your business. Help is just a phone call away!

Until next time, best of luck with your business!

Ron Roberts,
The Contractor's Business Coach

More information about Ron Roberts' and the contractor coaching company he and partner, Guy Gruenberg, operate together, may be found on his website Ron may be reached via email sent to

If you have new information to provide on this topic, let us know and we can add it in as an addendum to this article.

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