For season construction companies, getting equipment ready and employees prepared has most likely already begun. For the year-around contractor, there is still something extra special about “spring training.”
Maybe it’s our love for sports but most contractors admit that getting prepared for the season is something that must be done.
So, if “spring training” is in the air at your company, here are some pre-season tips that might assist your efforts to be better this season than you were last.
1. Determine what your “brand” is and educate your workforce
What does your company represent to existing clients and what do you want to represent to new customers? Determining your brand means making sure that the attitude you want held, how you want to treat customers and your commitment to excellence is defined, communicated and monitored.
2. Engage Workers to Inventory Equipment, Tools and supplies
If you are a seasonal contractor, bring in all or some of your hired folks and have them actually go through inspecting, counting, maintaining, cleaning up, greasing etc. anything that is in the yard or shop. This provides a nice excuse for a teambuilding experience and it educates your workers to the inventory you have and the status for each item.
Many contractors will maintain a skeleton crew to perform this work, but bringing in your other workers, just prior to starting your season, gives everyone a chance to see what you have in inventory.
3. Organize, identify, label and prioritize your vehicles, equipment and tools
As you acquire the equipment, tools and materials for your season, making your yard and shop look like a Home Depot or Lowes, take a tip from those big box stores and organize your operation. Labeling holding areas or where to park trailers, skid steers, etc. is the first step toward an organized start.
Additionally, start using some signage in your yards that clearly identifies what is to be parked or stored where. You might even try to incorporate a “one-way” traffic flow in your yard to reduce the possible wrecks and fender benders that can happen when traffic is going in both directions. Your insurance carrier will love you for this last idea.
4. Provide hands-on training for technique and skill improvement
Don’t wait till the season actually starts to train or retrain those workers who need some extra learning. Every process you expect your crews to execute requires at the very least a “walk through” to show them how it’s done. Even better is to actually put some real tools and equipment in their hands for them to relearn how to perform their work in a quality fashion.
5. Educate on teamwork, safety and work processes
What do you expect from your workers in how they go about fulfilling the work you will be selling? Do you want your crews to practice good teamwork? Do you want your workers to be safe in their work habits and process efforts? Do you want your workers to practice your work processes…not the processes they learned at other companies?
Of course the answer to each of the questions just raised is “Yes”! However, as many contractors are discovering, assuming your workforce already possesses the skills and knowledge they will need this season is assuming too much.
It’s up to you as the business owner to provide some education for your workers, teaching them what you want to see practiced and then engaging them to discuss their ideas, challenges, and doubts.
You want it? You must preach it, teach it and coach it!
Hey, have some fun this spring. Set out formally what you want to accomplish this year and document a plan to execute all that is most important to you. If you don’t, you are sure to encourage your workers to do whatever they want to do!
*This article was originally published in 2016 and republished in 2019.