From workshops to procurement, keep the business running strong during the quieter months
Winter is tough on everyone, whether you’re in Canada or Westeros. For those in the construction industry, winter means unforgiving weather, shorter daylight hours and a host of other natural challenges, like frost to frozen concrete, to work with and around.
If previous winters have given you the cold shoulder, remember that even in dreams, you can’t fall forever. Connecting with new prospects, sourcing for future projects and learning about your business by using tools already available to you may be just the fuel your business needs through the cold months.
1. DIY workshops
With Christmas and year-end holidays competing for resources, it’s understandable why most are not willing to part with their time or money in the name of renovation during the winter months. But rolling up their sleeves to put some elbow grease into a quick DIY home improvement project? That’s a different story.
Browse through any how-to or knowledge platforms, and you’ll find every question imaginable from first-time and seasoned DIY homeowners. And who better than you to make sure they do it right?
An in-person connection will never be obsolete in construction. Organizing workshops is the perfect way to nurture that relationship while introducing your services to new faces and being top of mind should they decide to take the renovation plunge.
2. Procurement at a discount, and to your advantage
It’s tempting to offer your services at a discounted price during the slow months. To that, we submit this paper clip bookmark from Tiffany & Co. as food for thought. Currently on back order, buyers can get one in silver for a crisp $225 or one in gold for $2,050. The lesson: You decide your worth.
In a recent TSheets survey on the steel and aluminum tariffs, construction businesses say they’re considering utilizing cheaper materials and completing more work in less time as workarounds, though neither sounds palatable.
You may see many of your suppliers are already marking down prices to boost sales during the offseason. Use this to your advantage to get the same quality in a greater quantity. Work with your procurement team and clients to purchase and store what is needed for upcoming projects to set everyone up for success.
3. Work with your accountant
To limit your accountant to taxes alone is like taking only a single bite at a buffet. The resource is there, but it’s not being optimized. Your accountant can help with everything from capital investment to job costing, securing bank loans to identifying and segregating direct and indirect costs.
Michelle Berg-Wotton runs Livingstone Landscaping in Brandon, Manitoba. Her crew is sometimes stretched across 300 kilometres in any given direction. Tracking time using paper timesheets soon became overwhelming and cumbersome.
So Michelle’s accountant suggested TSheets since the mobile app allows employees to clock in and out directly from their smartphones. Integrating TSheets with QuickBooks, the payroll solution they were already using, also meant a smooth transition from timesheets to payslips in a few quick clicks.
“I’ve been able to quantify time saved on the human resources side as well as the man-hours saved that were being billed to the company,” Michelle says, “and it adds up to $40,000 to $50,000 a year.”
The cold wind will blow, and the snow will fall every winter, no matter how much one may dread it. Armed with the right business plan and perfect execution, you may find yourself looking forward to it.
How are you staying busy this winter? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts and comments below!