In the early days of American business, the thought of staying open 24 hours a day was usually relegated to cafes, motels, and convenience stores so truckers and nighttime business travelers could be accommodated. And while those are still going to this day, other businesses you wouldn’t expect have gone into 24-hour operation mode. All of them did their homework on finding out whether there was a real demand for the all-night services they provide. Yes, before you snicker at that, consider there’s times of emergency in the business world that go beyond illegally hooking up with someone walking the streets.
It’s not easy having a business that runs 24 hours for the obvious extra operating expense. That’s why you need to carefully study how operating around the clock would really benefit you in making a profit. You may find out that profits could fluctuate, which could place you in the same risky territory as 24-hour restaurants.
Checking Out Your Competitors
Not everyone loves checking out their competitors, but you ultimately have to when making crucial business decisions. See if your competitors are also using a 24-hour plan and find out what they’re doing to make it so successful. Remember, this also includes online businesses. Many online businesses operate around the clock, or at least in the shipping and customer service departments. When it comes to all-night jobs, working in warehouse-like settings is far from new. It’s more rare to see clerks working into the a.m. hours at brick and mortar stores.
Using Consultants from Your Industry
Conferring with business consultants for your industry can also be a valuable tool because they know what’s truly going on in the field. They can tell you how well the 24-hour service idea is working in your industry and whether it really has a future. If you have a unique business with no precedent to go on, a business consultant is still worth your while since your business will still connect to a similar business field you can use as a guide.
Figuring What the Expenses Will Be
Your estimated overhead should give you a good idea of whether operating 24 hours is a good idea. Calculating the expenses you think you’ll have is also going to give you a rough estimation on the realities of how much money you have to throw out to keep things operating optimally. Depending on what your business is, your electricity bill will be one of the biggest factors. Particularly during winter months, you’ll have to provide heat for employees, and that can add up to extreme expense.
Setting salary rates, security systems, and even a security guard might be too much to handle. Or, it could be just right if you have a very limited staff during the night. The important thing is that you know exactly what the demand is going to be and how much estimated revenue you’ll be taking in to justify the overhead.
Finding the Right Customers and Employees
Sometimes questionnaires are the best way to determine what kind of customers you might attract in the middle of the night. By sending questionnaires out to your customer base, you’ll probably get some surprising answers on what business services people would want in the a.m. hours. In many scenarios, it may be emergencies, which may mean being on call if your business is run out of your home. The latter usually involves plumbers, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to that.
For employees, finding people willing to work the graveyard shift can be equally challenging. You may not be hiring them for their personalities unless they’ll be dealing with customers face to face. Even then, it’s sometimes hard to find quality people willing to work those hours, unless they’re desperate for work. In many cases, you might want to look into hiring college students are used to staying up late and may need a temporary job to help pay for their college expenses.