It happens every year. You get stacked up with fencing orders in the spring, summer and early fall. And then, they stop. The phone stops ringing. Your employees get restless. You start worrying about the bottom line.
However, fencing does not have to be a seasonal business. You can get orders in the winter; you just need to get a bit more creative about getting them.
Here are nine ways to let the colder weather work for your fencing business.
1. Turn cold into a plus
Advertise the winter season as an advantage to your customers. Here are some of the advantages of installing a fence in the colder months:
When demand is down, your customers have more scheduling opportunities. You have more appointments from which they can choose, and they don’t have to wait as long to get their new fence.
Installing a fence in the winter is often easier on your customers’ landscaping since much of it is in a dormant phase. Perennials are safely underground and protected from installers’ footsteps. Roses and other bushes can be trimmed back in the winter with little to no damage. If home or business owners desire new grass or plants along the fence, they will have plenty of time to get them well established before the stress of summer heat.
The new fence will be up and ready when outdoor activities beckon. No break in their routine is needed when they want to be outside enjoying spring and summer.
A new fence allows pets and children to get safely outside to play when they are feeling house-bound by cold temperatures.
Fences installed in the winter help add privacy, beauty and security to home and business properties when trees are bare.
Old wood fences can become unsightly and even dangerous in the winter as severe weather can cause them further damage. A new fence gives property owners valuable peace of mind in the cold weather months.
Another way to ride out the winter slow-down is by branching out. For example, many fencing companies find they can keep the revenue flowing by beefing up the repair side of the company during the cold weather. Promote free inspections and free estimates as a winter special.
Other ideas are to offer holiday lights and decoration installation and take-down services, window cleaning, fallen limb and debris clean-up, carpet cleaning and snow removal. Are there seasonal products, such as firewood or wood pellets, you could sell this time of year?
3. Offer incentives
Seasonal discounts are a time-honored way to attract new accounts. Another option is to offer free outdoor-oriented products, such as a smoker grill or patio furniture, with the winter purchase of a certain amount of fencing. Be sure to tie in these promotions with strict deadlines for payment and installation.
Or what about partnering with your local credit union to provide zero percent interest for 12 months with the purchase of a new fence in the winter?
4. Push winter installations
Educate your customers with targeted marketing and promotion. Many home and business owners don’t think it is possible to install a fence in the winter. The reality is that your team usually can follow the weather forecast to work around severe temperatures or storms.
Update your website, social media and emails to keep customers and potential customers informed on what they can expect during the cold weather.
If you’ve been putting off starting a Facebook page for your business, winter is the time to get it up and running. Winter also might be the right time to try radio or TV spots to plug your winter sales.
6. Attend home shows
Participate in local or regional home shows. The winter is a great time to make new contacts by showcasing your fencing products at home shows. While many folks will be “thinking spring,” be sure to let them know you can install year-round weather permitting.
7. Partner with contractors
Get to know the building contractors who work during the winter in your community. Those homes and businesses that are under construction now will need fences. Wouldn’t you like it to be your company installing them?
8. Follow up
Follow up on leads from your busy season. During the warm weather months, you often have too many balls in the air to have enough time to follow up on leads. Now every job counts, so make those calls and visits.
9. Launch a referral program
Offer an incentive such as a discount on new fencing or on repairs to any homeowner who brings you a new sale. This campaign is an excellent way to check in with past customers who may be in need of your fencing services again themselves.
It’s a natural part of the fencing business that things will slow down in the winter. That’s nothing new. What can be new is what you do about it. Don’t let your business come to a standstill. By following these tips, you can keep your fencing business going strong all year.