Don't you love it when it hardly seems like you were away? On my first two days back I took a few weeks worth of bookings, and at this point am booked out until the second week of November.
Some people express surprise at this, but it works like this. On a very good week I charge out 30 hours, but on average it's 23 or so. The other 20 odd hours get lost in admin, organisation, parts sourcing, talking, etc. So I don't need a huge amount of work to keep busy. And I find many of my jobs expand from what they were booked in for to what I end up doing, requiring me to not overbook myself (which I am very good at) and allow time for the always expected unexpected.
Some people ask when I'm going to employ someone else, but I have never intended to do that. Before I opened for business I spoke to quite a few people doing the same thing as me, and many who had employed staff at times said they'd not do it again, for a variety of reasons. Employing staff brings much more to the table. Instead of 25 hours of bookings a week I'd need 40 for the employed person plus 15 to 20 for me, so I'd need to find more work. Also that person costs much more than just the wage they get paid - insurance, workcare, etc. And I'd no longer have total control for what was done or said.
As much as I didn't think I'd use the word, the main reason for me is control. It just occured to me that I'm going to be sounding like a control freak (didn't think I was). Frankly, I'm typing as I think and this post has taken on a bit of a life of its own since I started, but you get that. I was intending to have something about 848/1098/1198 Ducati Performance air filters. I'll do another post on that. Maybe I just need to do some writing other than the invoice stories. I enjoy being responsible for them too. It would sometimes amaze me at how a well intentioned service manager could misinterpret what was written on a job card and write something on an invoice that was totally incorrect simply because they had misunderstood (or couldn't read!) what was written. I'm really starting to ramble now, better get back on track.
Perhaps it's more correct to say that I'm enjoying not being responsible for other people. As a service manager in particular I found myself sometimes frustrated at the role I had to play between technician and customer. Now I'm responsible for all the work, all the talk (and the mistakes) and everything else that comes out of Brad The Bike Boy. That's the part that I like. It's not that I had serious issues with anything that happened at my previous employer, but most people know what it's like to have to sort out a mess of someone else's making while still meeting customer expectations and without upsetting any of the parties involved or making anyone look bad.
Of course I'm talking to myself more than before, but fortunately I don't find myself too bad a company.