The term “business hours” refers to the “open” and “closed” schedule that every business decides upon for its operations. Small and large businesses adhere to a wide range of business hours, depending on many factors, including target customer expectations and demands, technology, and seasonal fluctuations in business. One relatively recent development in this realm has been the dramatic growth of businesses that have expanded their hours of operations in recognition of most developed countries round-the-clock economy. 

A growing number of business owners have recognized that the traditional eight -or 10-hour workday and the five-day business week have become remnants of the past. The marketplace have shifted to what some observers  call ’24-x-7’ – a milieu in which early mornings, evenings, nights, and weekends are regarded as seamless phases of a new, never-ending business stretch. The around – the- clock economy now influences nearly every type and size of business. It has provided a launching point for some trailblazing entrepreneurs, tempting opportunistic owners of existing companies, and forcing still other small business owners to adapt – or lose ground. 

Principal Determinants of Business Hours

Business owners and consultants point to several factors that are particularly important in determining what hours a business establishment will keep. Perhaps the single greatest consideration is the market or audience that the business is trying to reach. A night club that targets young, single professionals in search of after- work socialization opportunities, for example, is likely to maintain hours that are quite different than those established by a bakery that specializes in doughnuts, bagels, and other traditional breakfast fare.  Similarly, companies that are primarily involved in providing goods or services to other firms will almost certainly establish hours that are most conducive to meeting those needs without inconveniencing their clients. But there are many factors at work as well, including the following.

Non-Traditional Lifestyles – Increasing numbers of customers, and especially retail customers, keep non-traditional work hours themselves.  Some work overtime, while others are employed on part-time basis or work two to even three jobs to support their families. These potential customers will likely be lost to stores that do not keep extended hours. Moreover, some customers simply prefer to shop late at night to avoid long checkout lines and hassles associated with busy aisle ways and parking lots.

Seasonal Considerations – Some businesses are highly seasonal in nature. Retail establishments based in regions that are highly dependent on tourists, for example, often scale back their hours (or even close entirely) during off-season.

Technology – The emergence of social media and other trappings of modern business world has accelerated the pace of the entire commercial environment around the world, in part because they have made it so easy for people and business to communicate with one another, no matter the time of day.

Competitive Pressure – Analysts point out that simple economics have played a large part in the surge for expanded business hours for many companies. The ceaseless search for efficiencies and the high cost for adding capacity are compelling many companies to squeeze more out of existing facilities by adding second and third shifts.

Members of the business community agree that for many companies, hours of operation are likely to continue to expand, as demand for convenience on the part of both individual and corporate customers do not appear likely abate any time  soon.  But small business owners should make sure that they lay the appropriate groundwork for an expansion of operating hours before committing to it. Thorny issues will almost inevitably crop up, whether they take the form of logistical worries about restocking shelves in the presence of customers or difficulties in finding employees to work that fledging second shift. But the business owner who takes the time to study these issues in advance will be much better equipped to handle them in an effective fashion than the owner who tackles each issue as it rears its head.


If you find this article useful, please share and subscribe to our newsletter.