How Painting Contractors Can Book Work Through Winter
Contractor, schedule, winter.
Three tough words to put together, even I had a problem there.
Let’s talk about contractors scheduling winter work.
We’re busy all summer when the weather’s nice, but as we go into the winter we kind of fall off a little bit.
And with some of us, it’s a guess of where the work is coming from after that.
I’m going to help you find work, I’m going to tell you where we find our work on the toughest weeks of winter, as well as how to get customers to remember you and to drum up some business with past customers.
I’m Ron Ramsden, I’m a DYB coach, and I’m also a contractor here in northern Massachusetts.
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So you know we have some pretty hot hitting winters.
Years and years ago, I never knew what was going to happen during the winter.
I just hoped the phone would ring.
Our past customers kept us a little busy, but we did have those dead weeks that ate into our savings pretty fast.
So I want to share with you a way of staying in touch with your customers, and also drumming up some of the business from your past customers, that’s worked for us of course.
No. 1: The Facebook page
You need to have a business Facebook page.
If you have one, you should be posting on it!
I know you’re going to hate to hear this but, every single day, put something on there, every single day.
How do you do that?
- Take pictures while you’re at a job
- Interview a store employee
- Feature one of the jobs you’re working on
Schedule it out, sit down once a week for a half an hour to forty-five minutes.
Put it in your calendar and schedule your job post’s for the rest of the week, this will keep you relevant in people’s minds!
1.9 billion people are on Facebook on a monthly basis, and it’s free!
Years ago you’d have to pay to have an ad in the Yellow Pages.
A little effort and Facebook goes a long way.
No. 2: Think of the people you’ve done work for in the past few years that have been great customers to work for, but maybe you haven’t heard from much lately.
Give them a call, just let them know their warranty is about to end: “I just want to come back and take a walk around, just to make sure there’s no settling cracks, no drips, or to check if anything needs to be touched up.”
Offer the two hours of free touch up’s if you’re a painter.
I’ll just do that walk around, and of course, they want to see you.
Who’s going to say no to a free walk around from a contractor?
A lot of times with us, they’ll say “While you’re here I’m thinking of…” and then you can start that conversation and follow-up, actually write a proposal.
A recap of number two:
- Stay in touch with them
- Send them a note card saying “We’re sorry we haven’t been in touch, but we’re here if you need us.” also put your business card in there, and write out the address with blue ink.
Sign everything in blue ink, we’ll get into that on another post.
Nobody sends handwritten cards anymore, they’re going to open that up and that might just trigger something that they need right away.
If not right then, maybe down the road.
If you’ve tried those things and they’re not working then haven’t done enough of it.
You need to stay top of mind with your customers, and of course, networking is a great way.
It takes a little time to build up networking, but if you have that customer base behind you of all of your past customers, touch base with these people.
It’s worked for us, and it keeps working, and working, and working, you’ll find that they want to remember you!
Now, where do we find the work on tough weeks up ahead?
Thanksgiving week, the week before Christmas, and the weekend between Christmas and New Years.
For us, those are usually very tough weeks, but not anymore.
I’m going to give you a few places we find work every single year.
In fact, last year, after completing some of the work, they said: “Pencil us in for next year.”
This was a Montessori school system.
They’re not regulated by regular school systems of our bid processes.
People pay a premium to send their kids to the Montessori School.
These schools want to keep these places up.
Offer a free site inspection, touch base with someone, tell them you have those open weeks.
A lot of times that turns into pretty large jobs for us.
There may be some renovations they might have three months into the school year.
They may need some things changed, some things moved, painted, replacing ceiling tiles, moving a wall, whatever it may be.
Also, dance studios.
You might say: “I don’t do dance studio’s, they’re huge, all these little kids running around there all year long, they ruin the place!”
Dance studios, every Christmas week, the week before Christmas and Christmas week, they’re closed.
The teachers have their Christmas party, they lock their door, they go on a cruise.
We go in and we do fluff and buffs, we move railings we have mirrors and doors changed out.
This is a great place to be in touch with.
Build a good relationship with them, they’re always sprucing the place up.
The third place that we’ve found that really worked is medical offices.
Not your common doctor, because they’re busy during that time, as all they’re kids aren’t in school.
Any doctor’s office that gets inspected by the state once a year.
For us, it’s been great, when there’s laser in cataract.
They bring a lot of people through those doors, everyone, in wheelchairs, assisted living brings busloads of people in.
They’re pulling a lot of people through those facilities, and they want those to be really nice.
It’s a great great time to do renovations.
That Christmas week also, what we call fluffing buffs: just go through the place and clean it up really nice.
Thirdly, kidney dialysis centers.
The dialysis center (usually they don’t just have one center) whoever owns them, owns five more in the area.
And this means they’re not saying it’s a slower time, but they’re thinking about how everybody is coming back from vacation.
They’re looking to schedule and they might not be scheduling at those times, but they’re scheduling in the winter to repaint and renovate anything that needs to be done.
So we have…
- Dialysis centers
- Dance studios
- Laser and cataract studio, also laser cataract office
- Montessori school systems
For the Montessori Schools, we do the inside obviously in the winter, and exterior and additional interior renovations and painting in the summer.
I’m Ron Ramsden, just trying to help keep your winter busy.
I’m a DYB coach, and I’m also a contractor here in northern Massachusetts,
take care and stay busy.