Winter is here.
The winter season is known to be the slowest time of the year for most businesses, especially in construction. Fewer daylight hours, icy weather and temperature, and an increase in the travel volume can lead to a significant shift in project management for construction.
Changing seasons makes it even more challenging to survive in an already competitive environment. However, the winter months need not feel like a death sentence on the productivity of your business. There are a handful of things you can stay winning even in the slow season. After all, managing construction is about making the best of the present situation and generating solutions even in the most unfavorable times.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Focus on the Administrative Side of Your Business
It’s not always exciting to pay attention to the paperwork and documentation side of things when rushing from one construction job site to the next during peak season. Now that everything slows down, it’s also the best time to flow down focus on the administrative side of your business.
Get to your office, get behind your desk, and start evaluating all the aspects that keep your business running. Below are some of the points that you might consider looking into:
- Organize your construction inventory list
- Look over your tools and equipment and do preventive maintenance
- Reconnect with former colleagues and clients
- Research on the new and fresh trends in the construction industry
- Tweak your estimating and bid proposal factors
- Enhance your branding and marketing strategies
Most importantly, improve how you conduct your business overall. Evaluate and refine your company’s current processes. Figure out what specific areas are your weakest and expand your expenses. Dig into them. Question all the assumptions you had and ask why you should continue your existing process and whether it should change or remain.
2. Update your Business Registration or License (if needed)
As a construction company, you have government responsibilities that you have to keep track of. Are your construction business registration or license up to date? Do you need to update it soon? The law does not just require proper business certification; you can also use it as a competitive advantage over your competitors. Letting your clients know that your registration and licenses are up to date establishes trust, credibility, and confidence, which can win more business on your end.
Since each state has licensing and registration policies, take time to research the requirements and make sure to follow them.
3. Sort You Company’s Finances in Order
Winter is also a perfect time to refocus on some of the nuts and bolts of your business that may have been overlooked during the peak seasons. Discuss with your accountant to make sure you make the most of the available deductions and get all the receipts and other paperwork prepared for tax season.
Some of the points that you can get organized during this time that concerns the general finance of your company are the following:
- Lending out resources
- Recruiting new talents
- Adopting fresh technologies
- Exploring different revenue streams
- Settling your overall budget
In a nutshell, take advantage of the slow season as much as you can so that when the warmer season comes, you’ll be ready to hammer away.
4. Figure Our Your Technology Needs
High-tech construction tools, from simple drones and robotics to complex virtual reality and Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, is taking a more prominent role in the world of construction, and that only accelerates in the years ahead.
Now is the time to consider these questions: Would adopting new applications and technology help your construction company be more productive and efficient in the coming year? For instance, could a construction scheduling software improve collaboration between the office and the job site teams? Would construction management software cut down man-hours needed to keep ongoing projects on track?
Any technology that can make the construction processes more transparent also establishes credibility with your client and helps your team close more jobs by showcasing what the final product can look like.
Talk to your construction team about which tech tools could make their work easier, automated, and more enjoyable in the year ahead. Connect with your stakeholders and ask which applications can improve your communication to oversee the projects better.
5. Expand Your Network and Visit Trade Events
Construction trade shows and events are a great place to network with other professionals, learn new skills, and bring in new clients for your own company, but you indeed didn’t have the time to travel to them during the busy season. Take advantage of the slower months and use the opportunity to build your company on a professional and more wide-range level.
Whether you’re an attendee or an exhibitor, trade conferences and shows are perfect opportunities to gather leads, learn up-to-date on industry trends, and show you new ideas to increase profits and cut down costs.
Spend some time to research local and nationwide construction trade shows scheduled. Apart from the great networking and learning opportunity these events pose, it’s also a great way to check out what your competition is up to — which can ultimately give you a leg-up during the following peak season.
6. Re-assess the Insurance Coverage of Your Company
For construction companies, most insurances are either of the two- required or advisable. Some of the insurances your company possesses are the following:
- Commercial general liability insurance
- Automobile insurance
- Worker’s compensation insurance
- Umbrella liability insurance
- Professional liability insurance
During this slow season, consider making an appointment with your insurance agent to conduct an annual review of the insurance coverage, or even get those you don’t have yet. Discuss any changes to your company insurance plans for the coming year, and identify which adjustment you should make to your policies to protect your company better. You might also want to conduct benchmarking to check the comparison and know that you are getting the best price for the insurance coverage you need.
7. Refine Your Marketing Strategies
In the height of busy construction seasons, you may not have the time to build your presence either in the traditional or technological sense. However, you have all the time to be able to improve upon your strategy during winter.
Technological aspects such as social media, online advertising, and reviews require constant upkeep and regular updates. These will help reach potential clients and build your overall presence in the construction field. One way to engage more project owners would be to offer off-season specials and discounts. Clients quickly act on limited-time sales and offers, so it is best to take advantage of the circumstance.
Moreover, marketing tools also give general contractors and subcontractors a chance to broaden their knowledge and reach. Tools and software that tracks product popularity and engagement will help you know which particular services to offer and when is the best time to do so. Don’t forget about your company website, too. Your website is the base point where all your online traffic should lead. Make sure it’s user-friendly and up to date so that potential leads can find you easily.
Lastly, remember to not only focus on getting new clients; you must reconnect with your old clients as well. Find out how they felt about your company’s ability to meet their needs. Introduce yourself to clients you have never worked for, and re-introduce yourself to old ones. Organize an open house event complete with a training session or two. Ask if they have any plans for construction work in the upcoming year.
Note: A bit of personal touch goes a long way in the construction industry as it is a bit rare.
Running a Construction Company During Winter
The construction business can indeed have its ups and downs, mainly if you live in places with extreme winter weather. However, that doesn’t signify that you can’t still work hard to boost your profitability, even during slow times.
Even if you won’t be taking on big and new projects during the off-season, it doesn’t imply that you need to sit on your hands and do nothing until it passes. There is plenty of work left for you to do during the slow months, so make sure to use these extra times to look over your administrative aspects and your construction crew management. Use the downtime to plan, optimize your processes to get everything ready for peak season.
Additionally, make sure that you and your construction team are prepared for the harsh weather conditions that may occur, from extreme cold to wild blizzards and everything in between. You don’t need to shut down your construction business during the off-season — shift your priorities, and you and your team would be just fine.
Because, as we all know, the winter won’t last forever.