Sometimes our clients can make us feel that we are abandoning them when we take a vacation or even a day off! However, I can guarantee that most of them feel they have every right to some time off when they need it or want it. It is good to have a plan and/or method of making things work for you AND the client.
There is really no need to discuss your personal plans with your client unless you already know they would be reasonable about it. (To read about the nitty-gritty of making it work for you, see my previous blog post.) If you are trying to schedule future appointments without telling the client you will be on vacation, try saying something like these things: (You will notice they are all truthful but do not reveal your life to them.)
‘I don’t have anything available until the 10th. Can I schedule the work for that day?’
‘It looks like the Tuesday you requested is booked but I can schedule you for the following Tuesday. Is that helpful?’
‘I will be ordering some parts and then be out to fix it on the 8th. Is that a good day?’
‘I will be out of town for a few days; I can take care of that the week of the 12th.’
‘Let’s meet on the 9th; that will give you ample time to look at the contract.’
‘My first appointment is the 3rd; will that work for you?’
‘I don’t have anything available for that week but I could put you in for the 16th. Will that work with your schedule?’
‘I would like to handle your job myself – I can put you on my calendar for Friday the 10th. Will that be good for you?’
‘I will take a look at the project and get back to you to discuss details. Let’s meet in two weeks.’
No matter how you say it, the client needs to feel that you want to take care of their need and that you are doing it as quickly as possible. All of us would like to have things fall into place the day we call but few of us have needs that are truly that urgent. Occasionally you may lose a piece of business because you have taken some time off but you need to let that go! That can happen even if you are working with your nose to the grindstone. If you are busy and can’t accommodate a customer’s need, they will have to go elsewhere. Don’t be intimidated by the possibility of that happening if you take some time off. It will be worth it in the long run.