One of the trickiest parts of owning your own business is having to roll with the tides of the trade. For contractors, this means that some parts of the year will be extraordinarily busy, while others will seem too quiet. While slow periods can be stressful in terms of generating new leads and making money, they provide the perfect opportunity for home improvement professionals to catch up on administrative jobs and prepare for the busier months to come. If you’re hitting a slow season with your contracting business this winter, we’ve come up with three great ways to get ahead while you have the chance.
Update your branding
First, you’ll want to take a look at your current advertisements and marketing materials. Whether you own a fledgling business or have an established brand that has been around for years, it’s a crucial step if you want to stay relevant and current with your competitors.
While business is slow, take the time to review your current sales strategies and tweak anything that may not be quite right. This can include anything from changing your color scheme or tagline to overhauling your brand as a whole. This slow period is the perfect time to research and trial any changes you’ve been considering.
After you’ve implemented these changes, make sure to update your online portfolios and social media accounts with your latest projects, price lists, and logos. This is especially important for businesses in the digital age, where references and leads come mostly from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as websites and Internet search engines.
Set your business up for success
Although you probably spend the majority of your work time on site, it’s essential that you keep the office side of your home improvement business running just as smoothly as the construction side. A quiet sales period will give you time to complete important administrative tasks that will set you up for success in the new year. These include:
- Professional training
- Eco-friendly training programs (such as LEED certification, US Green Building Council training programs)
- Additional qualifications (for specialist services such as roofing, HVAC, or window/door installation)
- Technical and professional certifications
- Tech updates for your office
- Install new programs (estimating software/platforms; finance, organization, and payroll apps) and operating systems
- Test and upgrade hardware (computers, printers/copiers, other devices)
- Think about the future
- Combine the time you spend on branding/marketing with some thought about where you want your business to go and how you want to get there
- Step-by-step strategies to help your business grow
- Include lead generation strategies that help connect you with your ideal customer and find leads that are perfect for your business.
By taking the time to clean up your office—both literally and figuratively—and focus on your professional goals now, you’ll give yourself time to focus on the day-to-day running of your business once things pick back up after the holidays.
Boost sales with promotions and referral schemes
Once you’ve caught up on all your branding, administration, and ongoing professional training, you can turn your attention to boosting sales while business is slow. Here are two of the best ways to draw in new clients during a slow winter season:
- Seasonal discounts and promos
- One-off sales to bring in new leads
- Deals for clients who book during the holidays (link to and advertise with Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year sales)
- Promotions for seasonal home improvement services (such as weatherstripping, winterizing the home, insulation, HVAC servicing and repairs in the winter months)
- Referral schemes
- For past clients – get in touch with a friendly holiday email, then mention that clients can get a certain percentage off services if they refer a friend
By posting exclusive sales, promotions, and referral schemes for new and existing leads, you can increase seasonal trade and stay connected to your clients by encouraging them to use your services time and again. As we all know, consumers love feeling like they’ve scored a great deal, so special deals like these are especially beneficial to businesses over the festive season.
A lull in business doesn’t have to be a bad thing—in fact, we’ve shown that slow trading periods can actually be beneficial for your home improvement company. While your schedule is free, you can take the time to reevaluate your business plan, update your brand, and find ways to boost sales in order to have a profitable year ahead. Here’s to a productive and successful new year!
Do you have any tips for getting ahead that have worked for you in the past? Share them with us in the comments below!