Four Mistakes that Contractors Make When Preparing for Slow Season

Matthew Gillman

Updated: October 4, 2018
Construction loans
For a contracting business, it’s easy to get caught up in the busy season. It’s easy to get carried away by the natural spike in leads, sales, and overall work during the summer months. By fall, as business starts to slow down, and again, it’s hard to not feel burned out. While contractor loans may help, many may feel down and lose hope. Because of this, a tired and worn out business owner might forget to plan for the slow season.

What you do when business slows down will determine your success when the busy times come back around. We want to help you put a plan in place to prevent burnout and carry the momentum from your busy summer all the way through the slow season.

The fact of the matter is, when business slows down, it slows down for your competition as well. While there is no easy solution, we are going to give you some tips. Most importantly, we’ll discuss four common mistakes contractors make when preparing for the slow season. By avoiding these mistakes and increasing your planning before the slow season, you can prevent one from ever starting.

Slowing Down Marketing Efforts

It might seem like common sense to decrease spending on marketing when business is slowing down naturally. Less jobs means less customers, right? Wrong. Slow season is when many future buyers begin planning their projects. Regardless of the season, your customers are using the Internet every day. Whether browsing different companies, reading reviews, or getting estimates and quotes, your potential clients are on the web, and so you should be too.

With the state of technology today, there are limitless marketing tools you can use to get your name onto your future clients’ screens. The slow season is a perfect time to check out and maybe even invest in low-cost marketing through social media websites or blog-type sites. The contractors who take advantage of these tools are the ones who come out of slow season full force with a filled schedule. Smart ones also sees the benefit of applying for contractor loans to make these strategies happen.

Utilize the slow season by expanding, rather than reducing your marketing strategies and efforts. If business slows down, you have more time to reach out and make connections to future clients. Take it as an opportunity to show your clients what you have been up to. Post updates on big projects, ask customers for testimonials, as well. Clients are going to invest in companies who they believe will provide a high quality project.

Related: 9 Tips in Managing Cash Flow for Construction Projects

Mismanaging Their Team

Less jobs often means less workers. As slow season approaches, it is natural for a contracting company to reduce the size of the team, at least temporarily. This is often where contractors and other business owners make mistakes. Everybody wants a successful team, so making sure all members will still be there when business picks up again is important.

Employee off-boarding is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business. Interpersonal communication skills come in to play. Building lasting relationships is one of the most rewarding skills a contractor can pick up.

The most important aspect to managing employees during slow season lies in how well you navigate exit interviews. Holding a few as business slows down and projects conclude can teach you a lot about your staff.

Find out how they feel about the project and their work. You can also tell them you are interested in continuing the relationship for future projects. By having a positive lasting impression, and showing your team that you care about them as individuals, as well as value their ideas, you’ll have an easier time bringing a full line up for future projects.

Related: Using Business Loans to Hire More Staff

Mismanaging Existing Customers

Losing contact with existing customers can be damaging for construction companies. When business starts to slow down, use the time to reconnect with existing customers and check in with previous ones. Be sure the results are live up to their expectations. But most importantly, find out if there is more work to be done.

Customer satisfaction is important to all business. One way to satisfy customers is to make them feel like they are important. Reconnecting after a job is over shows your clients you value the relationship which increases the likelihood that your company will come to mind for future projects. Slow season is the perfect time to do this. Repeat business is vital to success for any contractor. Moreover, building strong client relationships is the best way to ensure they’ll keep coming back.

Maintaining the Status Quo by Applying for Contractor Loans

After a busy season, it is easy to stick to the status quo and keep the same game plan for future projects. As slow season approaches, it is crucial that business owners consider investing in expansion to maximize results and ensure the next busy season will be even bigger. The more you can offer to your clients, the more revenue you’ll bring in.

If slow season occurs because of weather, consider new services like interior remodeling or energy efficiency performance. Use slow business cycles as a chance to grow so that you can expand your worth for your clients. Even if it means increasing off season spending to expand capacity, think about the return when you have more to offer future projects. If you’re short on capital, contractor loans can give you the cash you need.

There are ups and downs in every realm of business. Don’t let a slow season diminish your long-term success. Use this time to put together your strategic game plan and come back with a busier season than ever before.

By putting more effort into slow season, you can put your contracting business in a better position for growth. By increasing marketing efforts, maintaining relationships with your employees and your customers, while expanding your service capacity, contractors can make sure slow doesn’t slow them down.

Matthew Gillman
Matthew Gillman is the founder and CEO of SMB Compass, a bespoke business financing company focused on providing financing and education to small businesses across the U.S. The company has provided over $250 million to more than 1,250 businesses. Coming from a family of small business owners sparked Matthew’s passion to not only become an entrepreneur, but also to work with his fellow entrepreneurs to build long-lasting relationships.

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