American Express Open Forum Quotes Us in Construction Article

Construction: How to Turn Bad Weather Into Good Opportunities

Feb 10, 2012 Since many construction projects are weather dependent, many contractors find themselves with idle time on rain or snow days. Some contractors spend the inside time catching up on paperwork, while others will use the bad weather to take some downtime. However, there are other ways you can use your inside days to help grow your business. Follow Up with Past Clients and Meet New Ones Bad weather days are an ideal time to focus on marketing and generating new business. One strategy is to check in with past clients or other contacts to see if they are ready to move forward on projects they have mentioned to you in the past. Bill Leys, owner of The Deck Expert, uses bad weather days to follow up with clients who have had their deck patched to see if they want the deck repaired correctly. “It often works, and even just the follow up can result in a referral to a neighbor or friend,” Leys said. Making new contacts is another productive use of bad weather days. Many contractors find that visiting businesses that are expanding or renovating is a great way to make new contacts. Meeting with real estate agents and mortgage brokers to help establish a mutual beneficiary relationship can also help generate future business. Online and Content Marketing Being known as an expert in your field is a great way to get your name out and build a strong reputation. Find blogs in your field and ask if you can guest blog on a topic you are knowledgeable about. Contact local magazines and volunteer to write an informative article on your field, such as clearing simple drain clogs and repairs that can make homes more energy efficient. Leys gets online in bad weather to help generate future business and get his name out. “Rain, however, is why we get business from the many leaks that occur. So I take to the Internet posting and tweeting on clearing decks of debris, what to check for and offering free inspections,” said Leys. Another productive task for rainy days is networking on LinkedIn. Connect with past customers and ask for recommendations. Make connections with local business people, customers and other people in the construction industry. If there is a particular business or Realtor you would like to work with, look on LinkedIn to see if you have any common connections and ask for an introduction. Look Toward the Future Instead of paying bills and other administrative tasks, take some time to analyze the trends of your business. Are you currently seeing a rise in specific types of jobs? Are certain projects yielding you higher profit margins because your material costs have decreased in those areas? Are you currently utilizing your workers in the best way? After looking at each area of your business for patterns and trends, determine any adjustments that you need to make going forward. While looking at your numbers, take some time to see if you are on track for your business goals for the year. If you are falling behind then analyze where you can make changes. Set higher goals if the year is turning out better than expected. If you have not set specific goals this year, determine specific and measurable goals for your business. Business owners often find that putting their goals in writing is a very effective step. Save Inside Construction Work for Rainy Days Many contractors find that an effective strategy is to plan jobs so they do the work requiring their crew to be outside on the good weather days.Then they have inside work on the days when the weather does not cooperate. This is an especially effective strategy if you are working in a cold-weather climate or during a rainy season when the odds of encountering bad weather are high. Jamie Bean, owner of Bean Builders, Inc., uses this strategy to help keep his jobs on schedule. “I have my framing crew save building stairways or non structural walls for rainy or snowy days. Plumbers would save rough-ins and get the sewer and water line trenches dug during fair weather days,” Bean said. By taking time before bad weather hits to come up with a plan, you will be more likely to use bad weather days to create good opportunities. Time spent furthering your business day will keep you busy for many sunny days to come. Jennifer Gregory is a journalist with over 17 years professional writing experience. Jennifer blogs via