How to Take Advantage of Construction’s Slow Season

Construction contractor standing outdoors during winter contemplating his upcoming slow work season.

Daylight saving is over, and darkness comes early this time of year. Combine that diminished sunshine with the coming snow, ice, and frigid temperatures and it’s clear––a slowdown in construction business is just a natural part of the seasonal shift. From spring to fall you’re busy handling projects and fulfilling contracts. Now is the time to rest, recoup, and plan for the future. Here’s how you can make the slow season a major boone for next year’s growth.

Evaluate Your Workforce

Whether you’re running a new business or you’re old hat, it can be a challenge to survive the uncertainty that comes with the slow season. That said, these few months of downtime will pass faster than you might imagine. One great way to spend the coming weeks is to look ahead to scheduled projects and assess whether you’ll need additional employees to fill skill or labor gaps. If you’re coming up short, then it’s best not to wait until the last minute, once many skilled workers have already been snapped up by other contractors. Plan ahead now so that spring projects go off without a hitch. Spare yourself major headaches down the road and ensure that once work is up to full speed, you’ll have the staff needed to stay on schedule.

Educate Yourself

It seems like every year, new technology emerges that changes the face of so many jobs out there. And construction is no different. Clients may have heard of some of these advancements, so to build their confidence and reinforce your expert status you’ll want to be sure that if questions arise, you can confidently answer them. Just think of the expanded opportunities for business growth that could come with a little investment of time and attention. Those two commodities are hard to come by most of the year. So now, when you likely have more of both, why not dedicate some of your resources to learning about the latest and greatest tech that’s available in your field. Whether that means attending webinars, chatting with colleagues, or doing some in-depth reading, education is always worth the time.

Build In Diversification

Depending on your business model, the downtime that winter brings could be intentional. But if you’d prefer to be busy this time of year, then diversifying your focus is key. Instead of outdoor projects, focus on promoting interior renovations, like kitchen and bathroom remodels, flooring replacement, and insulation overhauls. These projects don’t require long stretches of sunny skies and are a great way to add to your arsenal of skills and marketable service offerings.

Get To Marketing

Now that you actually have time to take a breather, check out your website and your social channels and ask yourself a few questions:

  • If you weren’t you, would you be impressed or likely to call for more information?
  • Does your website work well on mobile devices?
  • Is your site easy to navigate?
  • Are your social media accounts up-to-date and offering relevant information to followers?

These questions are key, but they’re also assuming that you have a website and are using social media to promote your business. If you haven’t yet made that leap, then winter downtime is the ideal time to work on your digital presence. Check out your competitors and see what they’re doing. Find a style you like and get to work with an expert to bring your digital offerings up to snuff. It could be that one of those staff members you’re planning to hire is someone to handle all things tech. But regardless of whether you handle this in house or partner with a pro, it will be a great feeling to start the year with a shiny, new, digital platform.

It’s also a peak time to work on advertising your business. Folks will be spending months on end staring at their old interiors and dreaming about spending next summer in their updated outdoor living spaces. Capitalize on that natural phenomenon and provide the little push that they need to make their dreams a reality in the coming year. Online advertising can be tricky though, and it’s often best to work with a professional so that any money invested isn’t a waste.

Excavator clearing snow from a road.

Embrace the Unconventional

Excavation and landscape contractors often own trucks and other heavy equipment that can work just as well to spread salt or clear ice and snow as they do to move gravel and soil. This could be a great seasonal side hustle to keep your business going through lean times. If the idea of tackling another business venture is too much for you to even think about, don’t stress! There's often an opportunity to get gigs through your local city or county agency that is responsible for keeping roads clear. Give them a call and chat them up to see if your hard-earned equipment can pull double duty during the slow season.

Focus on Finances

Money is probably on your mind as the slow season begins. Take advantage of that natural worry and turn it into the motivation you need to assess your business’s financial situation. Talk with your accountant, or if you handle the books in house, spend some quality time with your financial records. Get papers, documents, and receipts in order so that once business starts up in earnest and tax season comes, you won’t need to stress or rush. It’s also a great time to make sure that your business is set up to receive any discounts or deductions that you’re entitled to. Oftentimes you can reach out to your respective trade organization with questions.

Do you offer health or life insurance to employees? Downtime could give you an opportunity to review your options and finetune offerings, or establish a program if you don’t already have one. And if your business has grown substantially and you’re looking forward to further expansion next year, take the time now to get any permits, licenses, or other certifications in order.

Slow Down to Speed Up

When next year’s flurry of new projects begin, you’ll want to be able to hit the ground running, knowing that you’ve done all you can to ensure success. Here at Contractors by Zinc we’re right there with you, working hard to cover bases and facilitate growth. So get to planning and make sure you’re dreaming big––our safety net is here to take out the worry. Get in touch with our dedicated team during the slow season to make sure your insurance policy will keep you protected and ready for whatever the new year brings. With all these strategies in place, you’ll be ready to hammer away at anything that comes your way. Here’s to your rest, growth, and continued success!

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  • Josh Freet

    ZINC's Contractor Insurance Expert

    Josh Freet, ZINC's contractor insurance expert

      440-671-3001

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