It doesn’t matter when you’re reading this, another busy season is always right around the corner. Those who get ahead of the game today can look forward to big gains as business starts to pick up, while those who don’t will most likely find themselves in the same place—or worse—this time next year. Here are a few items to guide you through your preparations and help you make the most of this brief break in the action.
You already know the drill here, but we might as well cover all the bases. Before you get into the thick of it, it’s always a good idea to make sure your equipment is properly cleaned and maintained, and all your vehicles are in tip-top shape. After all, equipment failures, vehicle breakdowns, and supply shortages are the last things you need when things get busy. This is especially true for smaller operations that may rely on a couple vehicles and a handful of gear.
Now that you finally have a little bit of downtime, why not take a stab at learning some new methods or introducing some new products? Likewise, it can’t hurt to run your team through a refresher course and some basic crosstraining. A key point here is to make sure your staff knows how to take advantage of any upsell opportunities that may present themselves. And if you’ve just implemented new software, make sure everyone knows how to get the most out of the new system.
Think about your last busy season. What were your biggest frustrations? If you haven’t already addressed them, you can bet they’ll come back to haunt you again this time around. Go over your billing process and tighten the screws if needed. Identify what your call backs were for, and which technicians were responsible. Make sure they get the training they need to do better going forward. Also, don’t just dwell on the bad stuff. Think about where you saw your biggest wins and areas of growth so you can put more time and effort into them this time around.
Take a look at last year’s numbers and try to project what kind of growth you’ll hit in the months ahead. Then, evaluate whether you have what you need to handle that new business. While you do this, don’t forget about the last-minute, emergency calls that you know will be coming your way. Can your team handle the additional work, or will it push them over the edge? If you have any concerns, it may be time to hire more people. This is also a good time to talk to your software provider and see how they can add efficiencies to your operation.
Just because your services will soon be in high demand, doesn’t mean you should neglect your marketing efforts. You know the game. Stick to the basics, keep things hyper-local, and look for opportunities to become a household name in the communities you serve. For example, is your name on the back of that Little League jersey? Beat your competition to the punch and put out some early bird promos to try and get ahead of the curve. Also, if you’ve been on the fence about implementing a new marketing tool, perhaps now is a good time to give it a shot.
Be realistic. Did your software help you achieve those big wins last year, or did you succeed despite the workarounds and clunkiness? If it’s not working for you now, things are only going to get worse as business picks up, and you can’t afford for it to break down on you when you need it the most. If you’ve had enough, and are looking to make a move, you’ll need to do it fast. You don’t want to be stuck in implementation or run into training issues while business is booming. Look for an easy-to-use system with a simple implementation process and plenty of training. If you haven’t already considered FieldRoutes, give us a call. You’ll be glad you did.
Ben Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Say what you will, but the guy knew what he was talking about. By working through the items listed here, you and your team will be ready to handle any challenges your next busy season throws at you.
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