7 Ways to Get Ahead in the Upcoming Slow Winter Months
By Alex Goode
The winter months between January and March tend to slow down business for landscaping and lawn care professionals. However, a slower season can be fruitful and productive when planned out correctly.
If you’re worried about the upcoming winter months or want to have a plan in place to make the most out of your time, here are seven things you can do to get ahead and prepare for a successful 2022.
1. Look for ways to boost efficiency
If you anticipate some downtime, take advantage of it by looking for things your business can improve. Look through your reviews, and pinpoint a few issues brought up by past customers or send out a survey to ask for feedback.
If customers have had issues getting in touch with you or you’ve had internal communication barriers, this is the perfect time to make some changes. You may find that there are business processes you can automate such as your bookings, client communications, or invoicing to help avoid some of these issues in the future.
It’s also a good opportunity to check your website for any old information that needs to be updated, broken images and links, and content that needs to be refreshed.
2. Advertise your winter and holiday services
Fortunately, if you don’t live in a heavy snow area, there’s still a lot of work needed to keep yards tidy. However, if you do service an area with much colder winter temperatures, be sure to remind clients about any seasonal services you offer. Be proactive with your client communications and send out emails or texts, or post your winter and holiday services on your social media channels.
Set up a few local ads for services that you know will be in demand in your area. Services you can add or remind customers about include:
Tree trimming and transplanting
Christmas lights installations and decor
Aerating and fertilizing
Remind customers about any winter prep they can do on their end as well, such as storing any outdoor furniture and occasionally moving any pots they have on their decks to avoid stains and damage.
3. Send reminders for spring
On the same note of being proactive, you know that prepping for the warmer spring months is key to maintaining a healthy yard. Remind your clients of the importance of yard and patio care after winter.
Your messages can include reminders about:
Leaf raking and debris removal
Gutter clean up
Deck cleaning and sealing
Testing soil for nutrients
Irrigation system inspections
Even if you don’t offer certain services, sending your customers helpful tips and tricks will help keep your business top of mind.
4. Offer future promotions
Guarantee more business by offering deals that can be used in the future. For example, any client who books a Christmas lights installation gets a 15% discount on their first spring lawn care starting on March 1.
An alternative promotion that can also help get you new clients early next year is to offer a referral discount or deal. For example, any booking made from a referral in the winter months gets a free spring flower bed for both the referrer and the new customer.
5. Build out your marketing strategy
Make use of your channels to keep in touch with your customers. As a small business owner, constantly communicating with your clients through various channels and touchpoints can be challenging.
Use this time of the year to schedule a few email campaigns, check for content you can repurpose on your social media accounts, create copy for future ads, and plan out a general marketing strategy for the new year.
Part of your plan should also include sending an end-of-the-year thank you message and reflection to your customers. Sending out a thank you email or postcard is a great way to show your customers that you value their business and further develop your relationships.
6. Hire and train
Since spring is the busiest time of the year for landscapers, preparing for that uptick in business during the winter months can help you keep up with demand. Consider hiring and training a second set of hands to help out once business picks up again.
If you’ve decided to put new processes in place or adopt new technology, block some time to train your employees. This can help you answer any questions well in advance and avoid miscommunications once they’ve been implemented.
Now would also be a good time to ask your employees for feedback. Getting feedback from employees who are constantly onsite and communicating with clients can inspire new solutions and ideas.
7. Reflect and plan ahead
Lastly, take this time to evaluate, reflect, and plan for the new year. Check if the services you offered this past year still make sense for your business. Maybe there is a service you offer or a piece of equipment you own that didn’t contribute to your bottom line.
Re-evaluate your offerings and equipment and conduct a break-even analysis for each. This can help you determine what makes sense for you to keep in your business and any pivots you can make the following year.
Alex Goode is the CEO and founder of GoSite, an all-in-one platform for small businesses. Since 2018, he has grown GoSite into one of the fastest-growing companies in the San Diego area and nation, expanded the team to 250, grown the customer base to over 10,000 small businesses, and raised more than $60M in venture funding.