Preparing For WinterWritten by Joe Hardee
Most the time when we hear people talk about winter preparations, we think of things like equipment storage, maintenance, and freeze protection. While these are very important factors to consider I want to talk about another part of winter, the slowdown.
Most of you up until the cold months hit have been staying busy, sometimes even working six or seven days a week. As business owners, we know that is a good thing. The problem is family and personal relationships tend to suffer. Now that a slowdown is coming it is time to mend those fences and rebuild the things that really are important like family and friendships. Keep in mind over the last few months you have been distant so it might take a little work on your part to let the people close to you know you want to be involved. Things like family dinners, vacations, movie nights, and even a game or two can be a great start.
Another problem is dealing with your crew during the slow season. You invested a lot of time into training them and now that it is slowing down you do not want to lose them. Preparation for dealing with the crew should start in the busy season. Have frank discussions with them about what the winter is going to bring. By having this communication, it keeps the news from being a surprise when they go from working all week to just one or two days. Encourage them to save money in preparation of the slow season. Another thing is if you can afford it, set up a separate savings that you can use to keep the employees a check coming in during the slow down. All you need to do is put a couple of dollars away each week and you will have the money in the winter to pay for the guys to help you do maintenance on the equipment and around the shop. It is a win for everyone this way.