April through October is the busy season for those in construction. What does that entail? It means working our crews 70-80 hours a week to get projects completed, project managers running from job to job to tie up loose ends, and hot plants pumping out hundreds (if not thousands) of tons of mix per day.
All of this activity forces contractors to narrow their focus to executing work and the daily details that go into that. Contrastingly, the slower pace of the winter months allows contractors to shift that focus to the business itself. This makes the slow season the time to strategize and make improvements.
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for contractors during the slow season to make sure you get the most out of it.
1. Attend Conferences and Trade Shows
Industry conferences and trade shows are a great way to gain valuable insight into new trends, decipher technological advances, and build relationships with current and potential clients.
Most trade organizations encourage vendors to showcase their products via equipment demonstrations, which is an excellent opportunity for manufacturers to get more eyes on their equipment while bolstering brand awareness.
An additional benefit of attending conferences is the opportunity to pick up valuable tips and advice from industry experts. Construction can be challenging, so learning best practices from industry veterans will spur innovation while improving the efficiency of your team.
There are hundreds of construction-focused conferences and trade shows being presented across the world each year. Ensure your team makes the most of the construction slow season by participating in one (if not multiple) trade shows annually.
2. Invest in Personal and Professional Development
Participating in professional development opportunities is a necessity for those in construction who are looking to further their career. Additionally, it gives your employees the tools and resources they need to be more resourceful and offer better support to your clients and customers.
With continual changes to specifications and material requirements, it is imperative to stay up to date and knowledgeable on all industry guidelines. Contact your local Department of Transportation (DOT) materials engineer or state Association of General Contractors (AGC) to learn more about courses or training going on in your area.
As much value as professional development opportunities offer, it is crucial to look at personal development opportunities for your team as well. Workshops and training focused on stress management, emotional intelligence, and developing a growth mindset will undoubtedly increase the competencies of your employees. The resulting benefits include improved collaboration amongst team members as well as a positive shift in the culture of the entire organization. In some cases, personal development opportunities are more beneficial for the organization than professional development activities.
3. Evaluate Marketing & Sales Strategies
During the chaos of the construction season, it is easy to overlook activities on the sales and marketing side. After all, if you are busy, the process must be working. During the slower months of construction, however, it is essential to review your sales and marketing processes to understand what techniques are working, while shifting course for those that are not.
Organizations invest a lot of time and money toward the sales and marketing initiatives of the business, making it imperative to understand the metrics of those activities.
Your marketing & sales evaluation should identify:
- Sales techniques producing the highest ROI
- Marketing strategy producing the highest ROI
- Industry trends
- Initiatives to increase brand authority
- Who are the current industry experts, and what sales or marketing strategies are they implementing
- Support sources (website or social pages) updates
With most construction projects bid during the winter and spring months, it is critical to evaluate sales and marketing processes before your sales teams get pulled into working on Requests for Proposals (RFP).
Ultimately, the best practices for contractors are to focus on learning, whether that be learning more about the industry, products or services, or your people. Best practices do not have to be expensive, time-consuming, or cumbersome. Instead, embrace an approach that places value on providing products or services more efficiently and effectively to your customers while creating a positive impact within the construction industry. That is a strategy that rarely fails.