It's time to get ready for the 2017 paving season. We have five tips for you to start your season of right.
- Set Goals
Each year you need to dust off your strategic plan and spend some serious time assessing where you are, per your plan, and whether you are prepared for the oncoming season.
It’s a good idea to take a look back at your plan from last spring and see if you accomplished those goals. If yes, great! Set new, higher standards. If you didn’t reach your goals, now is a good time to think about why and make a plan to prevent those barriers from stopping your growth this season.
Successful contractors complete their strategic thinking time well before their employees begin the season. Make your updates and revisions and focus on what you want to accomplish.
- Take Stock
Before a season starts is when you need to assess labor, equipment and vendors as they are the three primary direct costs on every job. Mid-season is not a good time to realize you need to make a serious change.
So before the season starts and you bring guys back, take an honest assessment of your employees. Do you have workers who need to be educated on new skills? Is it time to promote one of your crew members to a full crew foreman this year? Is this the workforce you feel confident with?
In regards to equipment, answer these questions: What shape is your equipment in? What preventive maintenance plan do you have, in writing? What pieces of equipment would you be wise to rent/lease versus purchase depending on the type of year you're expecting?
As for material vendors, answer these questions: Are you satisfied with your material vendors? Have you negotiated the best purchase options for the year?
- Spring Cleaning
Now is the time to start fresh! You may not realize it, but dirty tools and equipment actually invite employees to mishandle them.
Sharpen or replace blades and drill bits, replace loose or taped-up electrical cords and wires, and apply the same detail to your yard by improving your signage, outlining parking spots for specific equipment and vehicles, parking your vehicles heading "out," and creating a "one-way" driving path.
Steam clean equipment, repaint vehicles and make sure your company name and contact info are easy to see from a drive-by marketing respect.
- Conduct Spring Training and Set Goals
One to two weeks before you plan to open the season, bring in your senior leadership and have them clean up, straighten up, paint and organize all the items mentioned previously.
It’s a good time to revisit the "basics of construction" with your leaders. These are things that can always be improved and leaders should never feel they know everything about. Review customer satisfaction, the critical components of safety "to, on, and from the job," talk through every work process you have to ensure quality is part of each step and have a healthy discussion on how to lead the workforce.
Two to three days before the season begins, bring in the rest of your workers and conduct mini-training sessions on everything you want to see at peak performance this season. You and your leaders can head up training sessions, demonstrations on safety procedures and techniques, proper management of tools and equipment, the professional methods and manners when interacting with customers and so on.
- Increase Marketing & Get Ready to WORK
In general, you and your sales team should have been selling through the off-season, but it's important to increase your prospecting and customer contact in the beginning of the season. Regardless of your work backlog, it is good to double-up on your marketing and selling efforts since many clients will subconsciously consider spring a time to get things cleaned, remodeled and ready for the long months ahead.
For customers you have penciled into your schedule, call them to remind them of upcoming project dates. In some cases you may need to visit them to review contracts and bids and update each other on any needs that may have arisen over the winter.
Spring is all about renewal. Use this time for review, refreshment and re-commitment to your construction company.
Have a great season!