What's a 1 person shop do for extended leave


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 13, 2002
Fingerlakes Region of NYS
I am in a quandry.

I will have to be out (and I mean OUT) of the loop for a couple of weeks in the not too distant future... with some recuperation time that may allow me back to the store but unable to do any demanding (or even not-so-demanding) physical stuff....

I am thinking at this point of just notifying customers of this extended closure and being closed rather than trying to have someone in the store to do a 'halfway' job of it... and how much will it cost me to take a couple of weeks to train someone (and pay them) and then have them available to take in the work versus the loss of business of just being closed.

The sales end of it is what needs to keep rolling, since I do have available outsourcing for the workshop part of the business if needed.

Input and options welcome...


If you let your regular customers know that you'll be closed a couple of weeks, most will work around that without problems.
Hang a sign on your door about closing and "Sorry for any inconvenience".

You'll have little loss of income.
It's one of the prices for a one-person shop
Roz, as Randy said, it's part of the price you pay for having a one-person shop.

It's also the price your customers pay for the privilege of always working with the boss, the owner, the Big Kahuna.

I'm not joking. Fortunately for you and me, many framing customers will cheerfully trade the convenience of a shop that's open 84 hours per week for one where they know they're always going to be working with someone who has been in framing for more than a month and will be there next year and the year after.

If they sometimes come to the door and see a "Gone Fishing" sign, most of them are not going to go ballistic.

For your own sanity, you're going to eventually have to close the joint down at regular intervals 'cause you WANT to.

Try to get as caught up as possible and get the stuff out of there before you close. That might mean spending some time making deliveries. This last one was the first Xmas Eve in the history of my shop that I didn't have to make deliveries to make sure everyone had everything before I shut down for 13 DAYS.

And when people bring in work just before you close, be sure and let them know - before you even look at frames - that there's going to be a delay.
I thought the same thing. This is one of the type of situations I was thinking about.
I think Randy and Ron are completely correct.When you are doing GOOD work our clientel will gladly wait for your return. (Not that I'm trying to stop you from asking Pam).
We used to ,at first, have Maries mother sit at the shop when we went to trade shows,Only to find she would tell them to return when we came back since she couldn't answer their questions. Then,when we stopped this, we'd try to keep the time at the shows to a minimum iin fear that there wouldn't be any customers wheen we returned.Tehn we'd put a sign on the door and take would ever it took saying "we were learning how to do their work better' and they still understood.
Then recently ,after all those personal problems we experienced we decide to take an 11 day Cruise. So we once again put a sign on the door and off we wen't,even after being out for various medical reasons.Guess what The clientel came in to find out how we enjoyed the cruise and we haven't noticed the difference. this is in spite of our fears ,and a competitor that advertisese "FAST RELIABLE" service as a slam against our haveing to close when the unexpected happens.
So I'll bet you could easily do the same ,or you could invite Pam over. However I can't help but wonder if Pam meant to TRAVEL to freelance and how she'd cover the exspense? But I'll bet she's worth what ever the cost might be.
You are all great!!

Ron, Thank you. Your input is exactly how I feel about my business.... and we do have that price to "pay" for being in our own business!!

And if a customer isn't understanding - for whatever the reason - then they are going to be upset over lesser issues!!

And, Pamela - too bad you are 5+ hours away!!

I have already had someone call me and ask about my upcoming leave... oh boy, the grumble is like a grapevine.... oh boy!!

Thanks, again,

we'd put a sign on the door and take would ever it took saying "we were learning how to do their work better'
When I went to the Decor Expo in Atlanta, the sign in my door said, "Gone to a trade show to learn how to better separate you from your money."

People seemed to appreciate the candor - at least the ones that I saw after I returned.
Oh, and don't forget to tidy up before you leave so you won't have a mess to deal with when you return. If I want to go to Atlanta in the fall, I need to start tidying up right now!

Roz, sometimes it's less stressfull to just lock it up and know it'll be exactly the same when you return, rather than leave someone else in charge and not be sure what you'll find.

This is not a reflection on Pamela. She could run my shop any time, put there aren't many Pamelas around.
If you wanted to be able to keep in touch with any calling customers (besides the sign on the door) you could have your phone forwarded to your home or just check your messages regularly. This way you could talk to your customers (if you would be able to do this during your recuperation) and assure them you'll be back soon to handle their work.
I am a one woman show too and found that when I'm gone if I check my messages and give people a call back (the joy of free long distance on my cell phone) and explain why I'm gone etc, they are almost always understanding and have no problem waiting.

Good luck, and happy mending!
The other thing you can put on your door is a sign that offers a 10% discount for them if they come back when you reopen. The new ones will wait for you to come back rather than going to someone else. The repeat ones will always come back but it's nice to get a bonus for sticking with you as well. I'm usually swamped the first day back from any of my vacations and alot of them are the newbies.
Originally posted by framah:
The other thing you can put on your door is a sign that offers a 10% discount for them if they come back when you reopen.
I like that. How about sticking a card holder on the door with business cards that say "Sorry I missed you, bring this card in for a 10% discount"? You can count the cards to see how many people you missed and how many came back.

This summer a shop down the road from me asked me to do any framing that their semi-new hire got in while the owners were on a 2 week vacation overseas (no way they could cancel when their full time employee quit at the last minute). They told me it was not worth having the store open as most of the customers that came in said they would rather wait for the owner to come back anyway. I did very little framing and what I did was sold before the owners left. I think the employee sold 2 small jobs in the 2 weeks. The moral of the story is: Just close the store!

PS; The new hire decided that if she was working as a store manager (for the 2 weeks) she deserved more money. She no longer works there. What an attitude....

i am encountering the same problem starting the end of the month. Being greedy I found a client willing to sit the store so i can at least get the items in, in exchange for some framing it is not the ideal solution but it will enable me to stay open and not turn anyone away. It may be a viable answer for you too.

I do plan on being in the shop quite allot just cozying up in my big chair not working. Don't count your family out for help either. I have found anyone in the shop is better then a locked door and a we are closed sign.

Jill Hennes CPF
Omro Gallery

I closed the store for 3 weeks for vacation between xmas and 1/15 - put a sign on the door, pleasantly thanking them for their business and hoping they were willing to wait for our quality work when we returned. I had people come in the first day I opened back up and said "I saw you were closed, so here I am" - your loyal customers will wait, and most won't be bothered by a delay of a short period of time. If they are, do you want them for a customer??

my 2 cents

rested and relaxed from 3 weeks in sunny florida!!