Contractors and home repair pros may be second only to Santa Claus in the seasonality of their businesses! Luckily for contractors, if not for Santa, there are ways to lessen the impact of seasonal slowdowns.
So, what are the secrets to smoothing out the seasonal dips and valleys? Like many things in business, the answers come as a combination of both working a little harder and working a little smarter.
So, to begin with, here are a few hard-working tips…
Work Old Leads
A slow season is a great time to think about working old leads. Are there inquiries that didn’t result in appointments? Are there appointments that were canceled and never rescheduled? There are always a portion of customer “No’s” that really meant “Not now.” You might be surprise at what a follow-up call, email or postcard can stir up.
Get A Grip on Social Media
A slow time might also be a great time to work on your social media calendar. (You can learn more about the benefits of a social media calendar in this blog). While marketing on social media may not take a lot of hard cash, it does take time. Make an investment of some slow-time hours to lay a foundation for the next year of social media domination.
Deepen Customer Relationships
Past customers are a good place to look for new jobs. Are there maintenance or inspection service you could provide? If not, what about asking customers for online reviews or new referrals? The effort you put in to rekindle relationships during a slow period, could make your productive season even more profitable.
Now let’s look at some “smart-working” tips …
Update Your Website
Technology changes quickly and so does the way homeowners interact with the web. Is your site up to date? Are you employing all the lead-generation tools that make sense for your business? Even a good site can use an occasional tune-up to update photos, out-of-date information and internal links.
Diversify Your Services
HVAC pros have built-in service transitions from season to season. And many of our friends in the landscaping business have mastered the art of moving earth in the summer and moving snow in the winter. But this kind of seasonal shift in services or products offered can work for other contractors as well. Think about the skills and tools you have available and be creative in how you could apply them to other homeowner needs. A new product or service could help smooth the peaks and valleys of seasonal business.
Build Your Brand Equity
“Brand equity” is just a fancy way of saying that customers have reasons to prefer you over your competition. A slow period is a great time to shift your advertising message to focus less on asking for an immediate lead and more on what makes your business special. Maintain a consistent advertising presence and build potential customers’ recognition of your brand. This will keep some leads flowing during “slow” times and position to be even more successful when peak season hits.
Extend Your Season
So, maintaining a consistent advertising helps you build your brand. With the right messages, it can also help you extend your busy season. Consider changing up TV and radio messaging before and after your peak months with commercials that pull leads forward and extend them back to smooth out your peak workload. Offer incentives to “get ready” for seasonal changes. Promote the “last chance” to get needed work done before the end of the season.
Regardless of your season situation, you’ll find that consistent advertising presence will build your business more over the long-term than “going dark” for the slow periods. We’ve seen both techniques used and can attest to the better growth trend for companies that stay consistent.
By working a little harder and a little smarter, you can make sure your year-over-year growth becomes something to be proud of, no matter what the seasonal dips and valleys might be.