The busiest season for general contractors, including remodeling contractors, is between spring and fall when the weather is nicer, the days are longer, and homeowners are more motivated to tackle remodeling or renovation projects they have been holding off.  During the busy season, contractors are preoccupied with managing and executing projects as everyone from the project managers and work crews to the office employees are focused almost entirely on the projects at hand.

The busy season for contractors usually ends in November as the holiday season and winter weather approach.  Project work essentially comes to a halt, giving contractors a lot of time to focus on other aspects of their business.  However, if you do not have a plan in place to maintain focus and stay productive, it will be a long, slow winter.

At NAPCO, we understand all too well how the slow season can drag on if you do not have a plan in place to stay focused and productive.  In this guide, we discuss the various aspects of your business that you can focus on to not only stay productive, but also improve your business and get ready for the next busy season.

Great Time for Training

The winter season is the ideal time for contractors to review their processes and the duties of their work crews and ensure that employees catch up on training.  Employees can complete yearly training to stay up to date on any changes when it comes to material requirements and procedures, and you can also train them to use new products, equipment, or procedures.

Sonic Strip paint stripper

NAPCO trainee practices using Sonic Strip during training class

During the slow season, invest in the development of your employees with training sessions and workshops.  Double check the guidelines of your industry and ensure that all of your employees are up to date on the latest developments.  If you want to implement new methods into your procedures, training your employees in these new procedures will help get them ready for the next busy season.  You can find relevant training and courses for your employees by contacting your state Association of General Contractors (AGC).  Other contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers like NAPCO also offer training for additional skills such as tile and bathtub refinishing.

Training employees during the slow season will not only prepare them for the next busy season, but also contribute to their professional development and morale, which will result in higher quality work.

Evaluate and Add New Business Offers

While there is a pause in new projects, take the time to evaluate the services you offer and consider adding new services.  For example, a home remodeling contractor may add cabinet, countertop, and tile floor refinishing services to attract more business in addition to those who want a full kitchen or bathroom remodel.

Refinishing Profits Chart - bathroom and kitchen

Identifying and adding new business offers will expand the scope of your services which can lead to increased revenue.  Determining which new business offers to add during the slow season gives you an opportunity to train employees on the new services.

Evaluate and Change Product Suppliers

All contractors rely on suppliers to get the tools, equipment, cleaning and refinishing products, and materials needed to complete their projects.  During the offseason, evaluate the products and equipment your company is using and do some research into the products and equipment offered by other suppliers.  You may find that a different supplier offers better quality products or find ways to save costs by switching to a supplier that charges less for products and equipment of the same quality.

NAPCO’s Trade-Up program

If you want to switch to new bathtub refinishing products, NAPCO offers inventory trade up in which we will buy your entire refinishing supply inventory one for one and replace it with NAPCO bathtub refinishing products.

Research Marketing Opportunities

During the busy season, contractors devote their time and resources to customer service and completing projects which leaves little time to focus on marketing.  The early offseason is the best time to evaluate your current marketing strategies and research new opportunities to improve your marketing before requests for new projects start coming in during the winter and spring.

Taking the following actions can help contractors improve marketing strategies and generate more leads for the following busy season:

  • Evaluate your online presence: When homeowners or business owners need the services of a contractor, the first thing they do is search for the services they need online. Your business must have a good online presence to capitalize on relevant search traffic in your service areas.  You should first update and optimize your Google Business Profile to ensure that your contact information is accurate.  You should also ensure that there is consistent branding on your social media profiles and post to them regularly to engage your followers.

Evaluate your online presence

  • Evaluate website: Your website is often your introduction to potential clients. Evaluate your website to make sure it is user-friendly with fast loading times, easy to use navigation, and clear calls to action (CTAs) including contact information and forms.  You can work with a web design professional if your website needs an overhaul.
  • SEO marketing: It is not enough to have a good website; your website must be easily found through relevant searches. Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing is a strategy in which your website is optimized to be visible in relevant local searches by adding valuable content and keywords to the website pages and blogs.  Bringing in more relevant search traffic will generate more quality leads which can increase conversion rates.
  • Research industry trends and experts: Your marketing message should incorporate the latest trends in your industry to help establish your business as a trusted authority. Make sure you research and stay up to date on the latest trends and look into the marketing strategies and messaging of other leading authorities in your industry.
  • Evaluate sales techniques: Getting good leads is only half the battle, your sales team must follow up with each lead and close the sale. The offseason is a great time to evaluate your sales techniques over the past year and identify what has been successful and what is not working as well.  Less successful strategies can be eliminated while you expand on the sales techniques that have been working.  You can also have your sales team complete training to learn new sales techniques.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing is a highly effective strategy for contractors to connect to current and potential clients. Contractors should send one high-quality newsletter each month that reinforces your offerings and core principles to your target audience.  There are many email marketing tools available that include templates and scheduling capabilities to make putting together and sending a newsletter quick and efficient.  If possible, plan to send monthly newsletters year-round, not just during the slow season.

Build and Strengthen Professional Relationships

business communication

It is highly beneficial for contractors of all types to build professional relationships with past customers, insurance companies, and other contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.  Continuing relationships with past customers can turn them into repeat customers and make them more likely to refer your business to others.  You can keep in touch with past customers through email newsletters and even conduct quick phone surveys to follow up on the work you finished for them and tell them about new services or offers for repeat customers.

Building professional relationships with local insurance agents is also a good idea as they can be an excellent source of high-quality leads.  It is common for insurance agencies to be involved with construction or restoration projects and developing professional relationships with them will help build trust and get more referrals.  Include insurance agents on the mailing list for your email newsletter and evaluate your process to ensure that you provide clear communication and thorough documentation when working with insurance agents.

It also helps to build relationships with other contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.  Many contractors rely on subcontractors and suppliers to complete projects and having a strong professional relationship with them will help ensure that your projects are done as efficiently as possible.  Having a strong relationship with other contractors can lead to referrals as they may recommend your business if a potential customer comes to them for services that you offer but they may not.  You can also return the favor by sending other contractors referrals for services that you do not provide.

Kitchen and Bathroom Refinishing Products from NAPCO

Contractors do not have to dread the slowdown of the winter season.  Instead, treat the offseason as an opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business such as training, marketing, improving methods and offerings, and strengthening professional relationships.  Focusing on these activities will help you stay productive during the winter and put your business in the best position to grow and thrive in the next busy season.

One thing contractors should never have to worry about is the reliability of their suppliers and the quality of their products and equipment.  At NAPCO, we supply high quality bathtub, cabinet, countertop, and tile flooring refinishing products and equipment for contractors who provide bathtub and kitchen refinishing services.  Our refinishing and coating products are the best in the industry, and we also offer training classes on how to use our products and equipment effectively.

You can call NAPCO at (800) 888-1081 to learn more about our bathtub and kitchen refinishing products and equipment.