10 tips for maximizing construction slow time


  • With the shift to cold weather, slower months are coming for many construction companies.
  • Maximizing construction slow time has many benefits.
  • Take advantage of the lull, and tackle important tasks like updating licenses and insurance.

With the fall and winter season looming, slower times in the construction industry are about to come. Now is a good time to plan for the lull, so that you can maximize the slower days ahead.

Here are 10 ways to make the most of your slower season so you can get ahead of your competition and bring in even more work next year.

1. Check on and update licenses and registration.

If you’ve been putting off ensuring that all of your licenses are up-to-date, now’s the ideal time to do that. Even if licenses aren’t due yet, you can start the necessary paperwork. This way you’ll be prepared when the deadline nears. Don’t forget to check if there are any certifications that require attention for you or employees.

2. Focus on service work.

David Glover is president of GLO Electric. He’s found that his service division gets him through the slow months.

“Service work is generally consistent and can keep your employees busy and producing between large contracts or slow times,” says Glover. “Service jobs like preventative maintenance, responding to emergencies, infrastructure upgrades, and modernization all keep existing buildings running. I’ve even found that service work has been more profitable than traditional construction.”

3. Inventory and maintain equipment.

Own a forklift that hasn’t been serviced in a while? Now’s a great time to inventory and inspect all of your equipment and have heavy equipment serviced. The better you maintain expensive machinery, the longer it’ll last. Also, consider if you need any new equipment.

4. Review insurance coverage.

Chances are you have a variety of insurance policies, including commercial general liability, professional liability, auto, and workers compensation. Now is an ideal time to have your insurance agent do a review of all of your policies. See where you may be over-insured and could save some money. Even more importantly, find out whether there are gaps that need to be filled with additional coverage.

5. Examine financial records.

If you’ve been going nonstop during the busy season, there’s a good chance you haven’t been able to sit down and examine your finances properly. Or perhaps you have a great accountant, but haven’t had a chance to meet. Take advantage of the lull and do some number crunching.

6. Set goals for next year.

Now is a good time to do some strategic planning and goal-setting. What sales numbers would you like to reach next year? What small steps do you need to take? Specific and measurable goals for the upcoming months will help you reach your desired projections next year.

7. Focus on marketing.

For Lewis Builders, which does work along the Central Coast of California, mild winter weather and continuous marketing means the company doesn’t have much downtime.

“We ensure that marketing is happening year-round,” says Tammy Lewis, chief administrative officer for the company, which has just won five design/build awards and is booked for the next 12–15 months. “For instance, we’ll rewrite our marketing message to keep it fresh and update website photos and content.”

8. Consider technological needs.

The construction industry is changing at rapid speed technologically. Look into how your company could benefit by adopting various high-tech devices and programs. For instance, there are new virtual reality apps that can help prevent falls on the job site. Is your computer system well protected? Or maybe it’s time to reduce man hours by adopting time-tracking software.

9. Research and vet potential employees.

Do you need more employees to meet your sales and income goals next year? Use the slower weeks or months to create well-thought-out job descriptions. Then get the word out about the type of employees you’re seeking.

10. Take some time off.

You’ve worked hard all year, so it’s okay to take a break. Studies show that vacations can make you even more productive. Encourage your staff to also take advantage of their accrued vacation time.

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