When business is good, you don’t want to think about times when it might not be as good. First of all, you’re too busy to think about such things. You’re juggling deadlines, construction teams and trying to keep the day-to-day operations afloat. Who has time to worry about when business gets slow?
Well, you need to make the time, because even the most successful contractors can find themselves suffering from a lack of work. And when you’re scrambling to find work, it’s much more comfortable (and less ulcer-inducing) to do it if you’re not worried about immediate cash flow. So, while the living is easy and business is booming, take some time to plan and prepare. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself later.
Decide Who’s Essential and Who’s Not
When times get tough, sometimes you have to let people go. Knowing who’s worth keeping and who you can lose is a vital part of the process. Choosing who you’d keep and who you’d let go depends on the services you plan to keep or drop, so we’ll revisit this later, but for now, determine who you could lay off if it came down to that.
Choose Your Niche
Offering everything when business is booming is fine, but it’s never a bad idea to make your name as the go-to for a certain product or service. If the economy slows it’s the contractors who are known for a specific specialty that are often still working. So, while you’re landing jobs of all sorts, let it also be known that you’re also more than adept at a specific thing, flooring, lighting, whatever it happens to be. And whatever you choose, make sure your employees who work on these projects are the ones you keep during a layoff.
Save for the Lean Times
We could have made this the number one thing to do, but honestly, it’s common sense so it just needs to be on the list. You should have six months’ worth of expenses in the bank. At least. This, combined with cutting back on staff and working your niche should help you weather any economic slump.
What Else Do You Do?
Contractors often wear more than one hard hat. Is there another occupation that you can work with while you wait for contracting work to come back? Could you teach vocational courses at the high school or tech college? Do you make and sell furniture or other home decor? How about a blog or YouTube channel teaching tips and tricks for DIYers? Or it could be something completely unrelated to contracting or construction. Having more than one revenue stream that can keep you personally afloat as well as help out the contracting business is never a bad thing.
Streamline Your Business
You want to run your business in a manner that’s as cost-effective as possible. If there’s software that will cut time off a job, use it. If you need to upgrade your equipment so jobs go more smoothly, upgrade while the money is flowing. There’s nothing worse than trying to complete a job with machines that are constantly malfunctioning. It costs you time and money, neither of which you can afford to waste when work is slow.
How do you usually handle things when work gets slow?