You’ll hear many business owners complain about Monday mornings because it seems like anything that can go wrong usually does. Someone calls in sick. A client was missed on Saturday and is venting to you about it. An oil spot develops under a truck that was sitting idle all weekend. There are 40 voice messages on the office phone, and 10 of them are from Mrs. Johnson who thinks the sock lint on her floor is mouse droppings.
My wife sarcastically told me years ago she hates 5 p.m. She calls that the bewitching hour. Caleb would finish his homework and hang out in the kitchen, bemoaning his fate that he was going to die of hunger. Trey would be getting out of swim practice and immediately come home and pick on his brother. I would come home from work and wonder why dinner wasn’t ready. Many nights she would have a bottle of wine in one hand and a spatula to hit us with in the other hand.
For most companies, Mondays suck. But I dread Friday afternoons — specifically, the witching hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Let me take you through a recent one:
- 4:00… The phone rings. Mr. Smith, a Realtor, is on line two. He forgot to set up a pest inspection for a VA (veterans) loan, and they are closing at 5 p.m. this very afternoon. The property is in Ingleside. The neighborhood is just 10 minutes away, so that’s not so bad. I get his credit card info and email address.
- 4:02… I call my Ingleside-area tech to give him the info and he freaks out. His son has a wrestling tournament this afternoon! I remind him to fill out a time-off request form next time. I move on to the next tech.
- 4:03… Technician “B” needs the overtime and gladly accepts the extra work.
- 4:04… I call Smith back, who sheepishly tells me that the buyers already hired another company. I ask him what price they quoted them. He tells me he’ll call me right back.
- 4:05… I no sooner hang up with Smith when Mrs. Frankfurter calls on my office phone demanding to know why she hasn’t received her receipt for her rodent inspection. She’s trying to sell her home and she needs it for the closing, which is on Monday. My cell phone starts ringing. I put Frankfurter on hold and grab my cell phone. It’s one of my techs asking about his sales from last week. I tell him I’ll call him back. I go back to Frankfurter and tell her I need to investigate her account. She demands that I call her back immediately. Click.
- 4:10… While I’m hunting down Frankfurter’s info, I get a text from a client who processes sugar and other granules. He says a major bottling company wants our information updated before it makes its next visit and audit. “No problem,” I say. “What is the issue, and when do you need it?” He tells me they want to know the life expectancy of our fly light bulbs. Specifically, the monthly deterioration. “Okaaaay. When do they need this?” Next week. Perfect! I tell him I’ll call my supplier and get the information for him by Tuesday.
- 4:12… Smith calls me back and says the other company is going to inspect the home for $150. I tell him we’ll do it for $125. He’s excited, but says he has to run it past the client.
- 4:15… Still nothing on Frankfurter. The programmer tells me there is an ant initial on line 2. I take it. This turns out to be a 12-minute phone call.
- 4:27… Still nothing on Frankfurter. Now I have three people hunting down info on this person. No paperwork, no recollection by the techs or programmers, and nothing in the computer. Before I can call her to ask her what dates she thinks we were at the home, my cell phone rings again. A daycare center we service can’t find the “black book” we put together for them and the Department of Public Health. In it is a copy of our license, safety data sheets, insurance, sanitation reports, etc. I ask why they need it at 4:30 on a Friday. Well, the Department of Public Health is coming out on Tuesday, of course. I tell her it will be $45 for a new book, but I’ll hand-deliver it Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.
- 4:33… Technician “B” arrives back at the office and wants to know about his Ingleside inspection.
- 4:34… Smith calls me back and says he trumped his clients. He is going to use Schopen Pest Solutions for $125. I get the info and run Tech B back out the door.
- 4:45… Heather Gooch from PMP magazine wants a headshot of my wife…I’ll do it in the morning.
- 4:46… My accountant calls to set up a meeting for next week.
- 4:47… I call Frankfurter to let her know I can’t find any information on this particular home and she says, “Oh, I found the paperwork. It was with a different company. I called you by mistake.” Click. No apology, no awkward giggle. Just click.
- 4:50… A bar we service in the Lake Geneva area has a dead rat stuck on a glue board and they want to know what to do with it. I feel like telling them to mail it to Frankfurter, but instead I tell them to put it in a garbage bag and I’ll swing by Monday and inspect the property for any other signs of rats.
- 4:55… I get an email from Home Advisor that a potential client has a spider problem. I call them up.
- 5:00… The programmer says good night.
- 5:02… The phone is ringing again. I feel like letting it go to voicemail, but I can’t do it. Good thing I answer — it’s Tech B. He can’t find the house for the inspection. I jump on Google Maps and get him there.
Schopen is owner and founder of Schopen Pest Solutions, McHenry, Ill. You can email him at email@example.com or reach him via Twitter: @schopenpest; Instagram: @peteschopen; or Facebook: Schopen Pest Solutions, Inc.