By Rob Huffman, C&S Property Services, Baltimore, Maryland
As the weather gets colder, many contractors see it as the end of their money-making season. This can be a stressful time with limited work and scrambling to adjust the budget to accommodate the winter months.
With proper planning and focus, the winter months can actually prove productive for you and your business while allowing some much needed down time to rejuvenate for the upcoming spring season. I have put together some suggestions and practices I have implemented to thrive in the winter months.
• Realize that at the end of the year businesses still have money to spend, and many companies will determine what contractors they are going to enlist for the upcoming year. This is a good time to call on potential commercial clients to bid on current projects and projects for the upcoming year.
• Secure monthly contracts that will keep you working all year. Concrete can be cleaned year round and as long as temperatures are above 35 degrees you can run a power washer. Although it is possible to power wash in colder temperatures, the safest scenario is to clean at temperatures above 35 degrees.
• If you know temperatures will go below freezing the night before your planned work take time to prepare. First use a broom to push puddle water off of surfaces. Second use salt to treat any areas you service that may create ice. As a professional contractor, it is your responsibility to make sure you leave the site safe. After all, the last thing you need is a call from a client claiming someone fell as a result of ice left on a surface you serviced.
• When the weather doesn’t permit power washing invest in your equipment by winterizing to ensure your machines are up and running when you need them. This is also a good time to focus on marketing and your business plan. Make solicitation lists and send holiday cards to current clients with well wishes for the New Year. Prepare a mailing with addresses and postage so that it is ready to drop when the time is right. If you do residential business you can offer an early booking discount to clients who need house washes and other services to encourage them to book now for the spring season.
• Be diversified in the services you can offer customers. Adding services that are weather related can keep you working year around. Look for alternative services to power washing income that compliment your current services and book of business.
• Wrap up the books for the year. Organize receipts, update current client lists for solicitation, finalize accounts payable and receivable, and set yourself up for a productive new year with a clean work space.
• Take time for yourself and family to relax and rejuvenate for the upcoming year. Sadly, burn out is common in our industry and it is imperative to have downtime. Spend time with the kids, celebrate the holidays, take up a non-business related hobby, and stay positive. Soon will you will have plenty of work and find yourself longing for time to recuperate.
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