Written by: Holly Welles, The Estate Update
Published: March 3, 2020
If you're just starting your contracting business, the off-season may seem intimidating. Though sales tend to spike in summer and spring, don't let winter or fall slow you down. You can take advantage of this time. Locations with harsh winters may not be safe for contracting. Other locations have more moderate temperatures year-round. Either way, the off-season provides your business with several unique opportunities that you might not have been aware of.
How to Make the Most of the Contracting Off-Season
If you anticipate business will slow in the winter, this is a good opportunity to focus on your marketing. In the height of busy seasons, you may not have the time to build your presence. However, you'll be able to improve upon your strategy in winter.
Things like online advertising, social media, and reviews all require upkeep. These will help reach customers and build your overall presence in the industry. One way to engage more people would be to offer off-season specials. Customers are quick to act on limited-time offers or sales.
Marketing tools also let contractors broaden their reach and knowledge. Technology that tracks product popularity will help you know which items or services to offer and when. Don't forget about your website, too. Your site is the base where all online traffic should lead. Make sure it's up to date and user-friendly, so potential leads can find you easily.
Contracting requires the right kind of weather. In winter, snow and ice lead to a decrease in business. However, you can capitalize on that. After all, this precipitation requires removal. Pay attention to customer needs that come with different seasons, and use them to your business's advantage.
Additionally, you won't necessarily have to invest in new equipment. If you maintain your machinery for new seasons, you can often repurpose it for snow removal. Changing the tread of equipment tracks or tires, minding warm-up times, and practicing preventative maintenance can help prolong the lives of skid steers, plows, and other industry staples against icy surfaces and low temperatures.
Outdoor work isn't the only option, though. Indoor jobs are just as necessary and frequent, especially in the winter. Expanding your services for things like repairs or installations indoors can help generate revenue during the off-season.
Whether it's with customers, clients, or other businesses, networking is critical for contractors building a company. Attending trade shows can introduce you to new people and opportunities. Tradeshows are events where manufacturers unveil or display their new products. You can invest in these items after seeing how they operate or meet with the manufacturers. Not only will you find new chances for business, but you can also learn from other companies and their business models.
For instance, sustainable building is becoming more popular. You can learn how other contracting companies incorporate this into their presentations and business models. From there, you can set up meetings to solidify connections. Don't underestimate the power of networking.
Planning for the Future
The off-season makes for a perfect time to get behind the desk and review your business. What's working? What needs improvement? How can you take it to the next level? Review everything that goes into and comes out of the company. Compare and analyze your profits versus expenses. How can you reduce any losses? From there, you can create a budget for the upcoming year. By understanding what areas need more or less money, you can readjust your financing.
Scheduling can make a difference, too. Recognize your resources and what your business can handle. Try to get the best idea you can of what the upcoming year will look like. The off-season also allows you time to review employee productivity. Do you need more workers for certain jobs? Is everyone utilizing their skills and specialties? You can allot time for training new employees or retraining current ones, too. These responsibilities are more behind the scenes, but they're necessary for solidifying your company's foundation.
Though summer may bring in the most profit, smart contractors use winter to think of ways to take the business to the next level. Growing your company during peak times isn't always possible, so be sure to use winter to your advantage. Your business will thrive with a healthy balance of hands-on and behind-the-scenes work. Prioritizing the order of these steps is your best place to start.