The Labor Day Milepost

Some contractors approach Labor Day as an opportunity to take a break and give their employees and equipment a breather before the stretch run through October and up to Thanksgiving (the general target of most contractors in the Midwest and northern climates to end their season). Other contractors take an entirely different approach, looking at the three-day weekend as a chance to tackle the toughest jobs – the unusually large jobs, the jobs where traffic control is a nightmare most of the year, or the hard-to-schedule properties – to knock them out so they can get on to other jobs as they push through to the end of the season. Both approaches have their value and their proponents – but the approach to this holiday weekend isn’t as important as what can happen from now on. That’s because while most of the country is looking forward to Labor Day as the last vacation weekend of the summer, paving and pavement maintenance contractors, no matter how they take advantage of Labor Day, are looking ahead to the profit push for the rest of this year. The date varies from contractor to contractor, of course, but most contractors indicate their break-even point for the year is behind them at this point of the season. (You do know when you’ve earned enough to pay for running your business, don’t you?) So whatever work you can bring in from now until the weather cools is (almost) pure profit, sending black dollars heading straight to the bottom line. So now is the time to make the push that can make or break your year, and the more you can produce now, the bigger bow you can tie around your year-end financials. So good luck if you’re working the weekend, and good luck if you’re not. Either way the next 90 days will largely determine how profitable your season will have been. As for me, Labor Day marks the start of a stretch run that lasts through National Pavement Expo. So I’m taking the weekend off!