Building Season is Here - But Are You Ready For it?
You and your business may have had a long, cold winter, but the busy spring and summer building months are now upon us!
Before you launch headfirst into a slew of scheduled projects, now is the time to give your business a little TLC - and make sure you’re ready for the full months ahead.
As you assess whether you’re armed and ready for a packed schedule, you’ll want to take a look at your marketing, business tools, your team’s readiness, and your job timelines.
A little extra preparation on the front end can save you tons of time and money when you’re in full swing with work.
Remember to stay open-minded, and be willing to invest in your business and your team. Creative solutions and well-timed investments can go a long way in retaining workers and clients.
Here are 7 ways to prepare yourself for Building Season.
1. Stay Up to Date with Licensing
If you’re a licensed contractor in the state of Michigan, you’re probably aware of all the requirements necessary to get and keep your builder's license. There’s the 60-hour class to learn about how to run a successful contracting business, as well as the license exam. On top of that, you must complete 3 hours of continuing education each year, as well as learn OSHA regulations, code changes, and business law changes in the state of Michigan.
Before the busy season starts, now is the time to ensure that you’re up to date on all licensing and continuing education requirements.
If you have valuable employees who are qualified candidates for their own licenses, you may want to consider investing in their education to help you expand your business moving forward.
2. Keep Your Website Updated
As tedious as updating your website may be, it is often a client’s first impression of you and your business - so it needs to shine. Not only does it need an updated design and be easily readable on a variety of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), but all of the information contained on the site must be up-to-date and relevant.
If that sounds like a lot of work, it can be! But the payoff can be huge - lending credibility to your work through customer testimonials and photographs or videos of recently completed projects. Don’t skimp when it comes to your website.
3. Prep Your Gear
Is all of your equipment accounted for and in good working order? Do you need to purchase any new tools? Now is the time to make purchases and familiarize yourself with any new machinery. Also, be sure to perform any regularly scheduled maintenance or cleanings that can prevent costly delays down the road.
4. Create a Marketing Plan
Now is the time to create both online and offline marketing plans that keep you in touch with your current clients while also growing your customer base.
Online, you can research everywhere that your business is mentioned (such as Yelp, Google, and Angie’s List), and see how your brand is being perceived on sites that you don’t control. You can update your website and reach out to satisfied customers for positive reviews. You may want to start up a Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram account for your business, as well as begin an email marketing campaign or monthly email newsletter.
Offline, make a plan for signage, mailers, truck wraps, and uniforms. Business cards and tri-fold brochures are also representations of your business. Even the physical condition of your work vehicles speaks to the health of your business! Pay attention to the elements that need refreshing or reworking, and keep all of your marketing elements consistent in theme and color.
5. Focus on Your Team
Your team is the glue that holds your business together. If you need to hire anyone new, do so early! The best candidates will be scooped up before the season begins. For your veteran workers, check-in and confirm that morale is high. If you need to invest in some team-building exercises or a company party, do so before the schedule fills up.
This is also the time to ensure that everyone on your team is familiar with company expectations, new equipment, and any new policies or laws. Creating an employee handbook may be a valuable use of your time.
6. Set Your Schedule
Even if you have a few very large projects on the horizon, staying organized and creating detailed timelines can help you to recognize gaps in your schedule, and also save you money on cost overruns.
Be sure that you are staffed up for each project in the pipeline, and reach out to clients for all of the necessary information prior to getting started to avoid delays.
When you see a gap in your schedule, work to fill it with smaller-scale projects. The more organized you are, the more money you can make.
7. Stay Focused
When you’re busy with constant projects, it can be easy to lose sight of marketing efforts and even the current state of the project at hand. Staying focused is critical to maximizing profits, and to creating future opportunities.
Make sure that you are still building new relationships, which can pay off when the slow season starts again.
Keep up your marketing efforts, so that future clients are still being reached, both online and offline. Even a small investment of time each day can pay off in the long run.
Stay focused on current projects - are your deadlines being met? How is the actual total cost compared to the projected cost? The best way to gain new clients is to keep current clients happy, and you won’t be able to move on to a new project until the current one is complete - so don’t take your eyes away from the work at hand.
Summer building season can be profitable enough to sustain your business all year - be sure you’re ready for all of the challenges coming your way. If you invest time, effort, and money into your business, your team, and your marketing, you’ll watch that investment pay off in the form of great personal and professional success!