When Work Is S-L-O-W

when work is s-l-o-w

What do you do when work is s-l-o-w? Outside forces and new changes can impact the flow of work for your business. Here are some tips to keep active and positive when work is not as easy to come by. 

Before I became a plumber, I used to be a telemarketer. I took the role seriously because I had a quota of appointments I had to set each week. Being a perfectionist, if I didn’t get my quota, it would affect my sleep because I’d be worried I’d lose my job.

Most weeks I would meet my quota, and other weeks I wouldn’t. The times I didn’t meet my quota weren’t because of lack of trying. I’d make the same calls and still get a different result.

In the end, my boss explained that he knew I was putting in the effort and not to worry about it. My quota was really just an aim and not necessarily a performance assessment.

Fast forward to my current customer service role and there are quotas I need to meet in order to be successful in my job. Meeting these is not only important for my confidence in doing my job, it’s mandatory to maintain it.

In the building and trade industry, KPI’s are important to ensure the success of the business and all it’s employees.

If you don’t win a job, it’s just not yourself who loses out, it has a ripple effect within the company and those other business who rely on it.

The pressure to win jobs when pricing is SO tight is ridiculous but if you don’t win work, you don’t make money and when you don’t make money – you know how the sequence ends!

What to do when work is S-L-O-W?

DON’T go below cost

If a client has been given a price which is below your costs, abandon the project. Don’t bother trying to negotiate. Explain why your price is the way it is. Encourage the client to check the wording on their quote. Has anything been missed from the other submission/s?

Don’t give up

Remember every ‘no’ from a client is closer to your next ‘yes’! If the no’s are constant, review what’s happening and is it time to pivot? What can you do differently which adds value to the customer’s needs?

Lower business costs

Look at overheads and reduce. Do you really need to lease an office building? How much admin staff is necessary for the work coming in? Can you outsource some admin tasks to another business rather than hiring an employee? Make a habit to get the best prices on supplies to build profit.

Reach out to existing clients

Approach all old clients and consultants to find out what work they have available? Are there any tenders you could have the opportunity to quote on?

Upskill and branch out

Make a note of any trends in the workplace which you can upskill in and provide a solution to. If blocked drains have become a big issue, can you invest in the latest equipment to tap into that client base? What is a service people can’t find?

Attend networking events

Building your network has the potential to bring in new opportunities for quoting and building relationships. Word of mouth is not just beneficial for customers, it’s also advantageous in the workforce with likeminded business owners.


For me, this would be the first step in this list of suggestions, but I can’t make the assumption everyone believes like I do.

However, when I am faced with a deficit or a need to build income, I pray for the right opportunities to come my way. God is a provider and I’m always amazed at the way he brings people into my path at the right time. I can’t count how many times a prayer has been answered from simply asking for His intervention.

1 Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’

It’s my hope when work is slow, you are able to see it as a season.