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How do you all plan your workloads?

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  • How do you all plan your workloads?

    I'm trying to organise my working days a bit better (not hard to improve on my normal, as in general chaos reigns supreme in my life ) and am wondering how you all plan your work.

    I use a paper diary at present for daily tasks (writing it up as I finish the night before) and adding appointments as they're made. I open a project file for each new job, with a unique project number and a worksheet with the client's info and job info on it and this goes in a clear plastic folder on the top tray of a tray system, with finished job files going into a ring binder. If the job's on that top tray then work is required, and I have a note of what exactly I need to do in my diary.

    This system was based on the system I set up at my old work, where we were working on computers doing autocad graphics and production files for mass production. I'm not entirely sure it's working as I'd like for my dressmaking and softfurnishings business and would love to hear how everyone else works, particularly those of you who've been in business a long time and have found the perfect system.


  • #2
    Re: How do you all plan your workloads?

    Hi Lois,

    I am currently changing over to use the sage instant accounting system as I find to be easier in complete package form. I run the same system as my bookeeper so things are kept quite neat and tidy. I'm muddling through it and its taking time to set up but when its set up it will run like clockwork(I hope)

    Sage instant accounts

    I have been using a system whereby I have an enquires book ( to jot down the important details of enquires (instead of on a post it note , then not knowing where I have stuck it !) and a paper diary system for appointments . Once appointments are made each client gets a project/estimate sheet. Account number and a breakdown sheet are then given once deposits are received.

    Project/estimate document is the details of the customer , name address email contact details, measurements and a photograph of the window, details of the window treatment , fabric samples numbers etc

    The breakdown sheet contains customer account numbers , suppliers details & invoice numbers, and banking/deposit dates and amounts, extras, final balances and profit/wages after deductions are noted. It does keep thing in order and is easier or my bookeeper to keep tabs on whos invoice is relevant to which customer by referrring to the account breakdown.

    So each customer has a file containing the estimate sheet details, copy of the original estimate, deposit confirmation( which is attached to the estimate and signed by the client),/ receipt and outstanding balance, a sample of the fabric to be used and an account breakdown sheet.

    Sounds alot but it works for me as all the details are in one file and placed in working/ makeup order

    The working order is based on date of order/deposit and is placed in a file system.

    I hope that helps Lois!


    • #3
      Re: How do you all plan your workloads?

      My system's quite similar to you Lois.

      I have a folder on my desk which is my Bible. It has 3 sections - info I refer to frequently, quotes sent out and job sheets for orders to be completed. When I get an order, I allocate a job number, add a job sheet to the quote + attach any backup calculations and it moves to the "to be done" section. I have a list of jobs in numerical order in the front of the quotes & the orders sections so I can tick them off as the quotes are accepted or as I complete them (which feels good) and helps me find old jobs.

      I also have a diary planner sheet in my bible which all my orders are written on so I know what job I should be working on, when it's to be done by and when a customer asks when I can do a new job, I can see at a glance when I can do it.

      Completed job sheets with all the backup go in a separate file & copies of my invoices and receipts for expenses have their own files too. My business isn't big enough to need to run an accounting package so I use excel spreadsheets. Details of all my income & expenses are in a spreadsheet (I have a separate file for each tax year). I update the file when orders are received so I know what my income will be, when costs are incurred etc so come the end of the tax year the finances are all done

      Hope that helps Lois.


      • #4
        Re: How do you all plan your workloads?

        When I go to do a quote, I use a clipboard and keep the forms on that. I use QuickBooks to make an estimate. After a couple of weeks, I transfer the forms to a general quotes folder. If the customer then goes ahead (and sometimes they can take quite a while), I put the paperwork back on a clipboard - one for each customer. That way, I find, all the paperwork is together, and is easy to find in the workroom. I can also attach swatches easily. When the job is finished, the paperwork is filed in the completed jobs folder.

        I use QuickBooks for the business, and find it great for things like VAT returns and tracking customers payments.

        Kind regards
        Pen Harrison
        Colly Brook Fine Furnishings


        • #5
          Re: How do you all plan your workloads?

          Thanks - all fascinating to me. I'm definitely going to have a good old think, based on what you've told me, and see if I can come up with a more efficient system for myself. I'm about 70% there I reckon, so the thinking cap will go on this weekend. Thanks all!


          • #6
            Re: How do you all plan your workloads?

            I use the diary on outlook for all my appointments and try to put in as much info about the customers etc as poss. I also use the contacts file on outlook to arange all clients, supplier, subcontractors details.

            I don't use Sage at all. I felt its too complex a system for me - I am very small, not VAT reg

            I do all my estimates on excell convert to a word doc then pdf which gets e mailed to customer. This gets converted into a firm quotation when we are further down the line then I convert into an invoice. There not usually much paper involved except at the outset when I meet the customer, take notes measurements when I make the goods. Using the computer means I have everything to hand as long as I am near the PC. If you have a blackberry you can have it all on there. Not quite at that point yet.

            Not quite sure how that measures up with everyone else but it cuts down on paperwork which I invariably lose!!
            Karen Rhodes
            Karen Rhodes Design
            Pole Design