By Gregg Hicks, Vice President of Modernize.com
During the off-season, your business leads can remain strong. Through a recent homeowner survey, we find that 55 percent of homeowners will begin or continue home improvement projects this 2021 winter season. As a home improvement professional, learning how to capture off-season business opportunities can help you grow your business.
It can be challenging for businesses to strategize new and creative marketing tactics during the off-season. During this time, your goal is to bring in enough leads so you can fill your schedule without overbooking the crew. Consider these tips if you are looking for ways to improve your business during the off-season.
Tip #1 - Create Scalable Systems
Throughout most of the year, home improvement professionals are working steadily to keep up with demand. In the off-season, when project inquiries often slow, this is a great opportunity to evaluate new, scalable systems to assist with the year ahead. You can address any points that might be affecting productivity or effectiveness, such as improved systems for bookkeeping, client outreach, social media posting, and more. The right systems can keep you ahead of the competition, ensuring your business maintains an edge in the industry.
Tip #2 - Upgrade Your Online Presence
While an old website is better than no website, it is essential to prioritize your branding online. The winter off-season presents the perfect chance to turn your attention to your digital presence.
Take time to ensure your logo, contact information, hours, and pictures are updated on your website and social media. Updating your website improves search engine optimization (SEO), website usability, and most of all, sets a great first impression for first-time visitors.
If you do not yet have an online presence, now is the time to get started. You do not have to learn web design. There are simple drag and drop programs, like Wix, that are incredibly easy-to-use. For websites that require more advance designs, you can always find a professional web design firm or freelancer.
Tip #3 - Training and Certifications
The off-season also presents a great opportunity to learn a new skill or offer a new service. The winter season can be a great time to focus on the certifications on your to-do list. You can seek professional training, such as an LEED certification, or you can gain additional qualifications for your specific industry, such as EPA certifications, or a CMKBD (certified master kitchen and bath designer).
Research the current trends in the industry to see if any new certifications are available and valuable to your trade. A little bit of work right now can give you additional credentials and expertise to offer all year long.
Tip #4 - Evaluate Your Technology
Since the pandemic, many businesses have transitioned to using technology to aid in running their business. It is vital that you evaluate the technological platforms you are using. The goal is to make sure that the platforms you use are user-friendly for both you and your homeowners. Your tools should ultimately help you deliver a great experience.
Through our homeowner surveys, we have learned that the majority of homeowners would prefer to communicate with their contractor through text message. Texting is a powerful and efficient tool to use when communicating with homeowners. Calling automation platforms, like Dialpad and RingCentral, can also offer unique benefits when talking with homeowners. Using digital communication platforms allows you to build a homeowner relationship, just as you would if you were in-person. One of the more critical necessities when working with digital mediums is to make sure that you can effectively and efficiently close deals. Platforms like DocuSign and Leap are efficient tools to create instant contracts for homeowners to sign. The more comfortable a platform is to use, the happier your homeowners may be.
Tip #5 - Evaluate Your Marketing ROI
Business expenses can quickly add up, which is why it is important to evaluate your spending. Do not let seemingly small costs cut into your profit margins, such as office supplies, unnecessary equipment, recurring payments, and credit card interests costs. Instead, use this winter season to compare business spending and income, and find opportunities to boost your cash flow.
Make sure every expenditure is delivering a measurable return. Look for solutions that provide a clear cause-and-effect. For example, when you spend money on marketing, you should be able to see a return on investment in the form of more customers— which leads to higher profits.
If you find unnecessary costs without a measurable ROI, cut those expenses.
Tip #6 - Weathering the Off-Season
One of the best off-season business opportunities for contractors is to revitalize your current list of leads. Invest time and effort into communication with people who previously expressed interest in your services. Even if the original point of contact happened weeks or months prior, the homeowner might be ready to move forward on an HVAC, kitchen, or bathroom project in the winter months.
Based on our recent eBook, “Weathering the Off-Season,” one of the best and most reliable ways to warm up old leads is to get creative with your newsletters and emails. Share seasonal tips that can help a homeowner feel prepared for the winter ahead. This can be content featured on your website, or resources from partners you trust, like Modernize.
Leveraging Off-Season to Grow Your Business
The off-season provides an ideal opportunity to get ahead of any projects that have fallen to the backburner. Taking advantage of the colder months can get you ahead, so you are better prepared to grow your business all year long. These tips for contractors and remodelers can help you get started—then you can personalize your efforts to focus on your business's unique needs.
Gregg Hicks, Vice President of Modernize.com, is a home improvement expert with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. He has provided home improvement advice on local television, and radio programs and has worked closely with contractors on a variety of projects. Hicks is knowledgeable about a wide range of home services trades including, window replacement, HVAC, roofing, solar power, kitchen and bath remodeling, siding, flooring and more.