Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Would you close your newsagency to take a break?

Mark Fletcher
August 15th, 2014 · 7 Comments

smallbusinessbreakA small business music and DVD store near where I live closed for ten days in March so the owner could take a break, his first in ten years. I like the notice the posted on the door to the shop in advance of the break.

I figured newsagents who run a single person business don’t have the opportunity to close like this given the nature of what we sell. A newsagent I was talking with during the week did close recently for a break. They had worked every day for five years straight and had a family wedding to attend. So they closed and crossed their fingers that suppliers would not penalise them.

The high cost of labour compared to other first world countries is a factor that results in plenty of newsagents running single person operations. An adult costs upwards of $21.00 an hour here with a three hour minimum. In the US, adults in department stores are plaid around $7.00 an hour with no minimum. Plus they can be sacked on the spot. There is no point in complaining about the cost of labour as many newsagents went into business knowing the figures.

How do you handle taking a break from your business? that’s the key question I;d like to ask with this post. I know some newsagents who take four to six weeks a year without fail while others are lucky to get a break every few years. Would you close your shop to take a break?

8 likes

Category: Newsagency management

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carol // Aug 15, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Its almost impossible. We can’t afford to bring in a relieving Newsagent. I tried to make arrangements for both of us to be away for a few days while Ian had an operations but staff all had other commitments. We got close to closing for Sunday, Monday that week but ending up changing surgery dates. In remote areas the hospital is a days travel away. I have just been talking to Biz Broker this morning and told him I have had too long in prison and I just want out.

    3 likes

  • 2 Shayne // Aug 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    As Carol said it really is impossible. Apart from the contractual implications we are under, there are other newsagencies around the corner which would be happy to take our customers if we shut the door for whatever reason. I’m sure many of them would not return once we opened again.

    If we want a couple of days off we just have to bear the enormous wages bill.

    2 likes

  • 3 jenny // Aug 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Impossible for us as we have subs and home delivery plus our shop is in a centre but wow what a relaxing holiday it would be if we could close!

    The newsagent up the road from us now closes for 4 or 5 days over Xmas and we pick up extra business during this time.
    We do get complaints from a couple of his customers who hate having to come to “The Mall” but I don’t think it harms him long term as a lot of our locals shop at both our shops, plus we are in totally different retail locations.
    Its a husband and wife team and they work 7 days so I think its great that they can take a break.

    3 likes

  • 4 Chris // Aug 15, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    This is a hard business to be in as most are run by Husband/Wife teams. I am lucky in that I have 2 business partners so we take between 4 to 8 weeks each a year (pending how tired we are). You need to get a work/life balance or you will start to hate your business when in fact you should love it. I use holidays as a reason to push myself hard with the business as I know I will have a break in say 6 weeks time. Carol’s position would suck as that would be highly stressful, I hope you have luck selling your business if that’s what you want.

    1 likes

  • 5 David // Aug 15, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    We have always (11 years) taken the 4 days off over Easter. (only lose 1/2 day as we only trade 5 1/2 days per week) Our customers refer to this as our yearly holiday and in the main get their purchases sorted out around this. We do see a slight downturn in the next few Saturdays as I assume our customers “try” out our opposition but I think I could count on my fingers and toes the customers we have “lost” because of this. Even though it is only 4 days, spending time with the kids and the overall break is great and refreshing.

    3 likes

  • 6 Brendan // Aug 15, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Over 30 years of owning firstly LPO’s and now a newsagency we have never closed for holidays. The LPO had better hours and gave us all public holidays off but good staff are essential in having a real break. Our current staff are great and allow us worry free breaks when we can afford them. Still too infrequent but we are working on that.

    0 likes

  • 7 Mark Fletcher // Aug 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    I guess the thing is we choose to be in business and need to embrace all that comes with it. It helps when you love what you do and within work (business) can be refreshment.

    2 likes

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