Chances are, unless your area is dealing with a major onslaught of winter storms (and some are) this is an ideal time to complete a little planning for 2013 in your business. Yes, there are the holidays and all the year-end stuff, but if you don't do some planning now you may not get to it at all. So, where do you start?
HVAC contractor Butch Welsch suggests starting with this year's results. Compare your 2012 budget numbers with the real numbers he says, making note of the areas that you know need improving in the upcoming year as well as strategies that were successful for you in 2012. Then he reviews his monthly sales leads and sales from 2012 and compares them with previous years, while reviewing monthly temperatures for those years to the current year to see what impact they may have had on sales. For this information, he notes you can go to www.weatherunderground.com, enter your ZIP code, go to history, and then monthly to find information to help your planning process. From there you can begin to make estimates of monthly sales for the upcoming year.
There are 3 areas where a contractor can improve their profit margins: by increasing sales, by achieving higher gross margins or by reducing overhead expenses. You must determine how your business can do this for the upcoming year, laying out specific strategies and tactics for each. For example, one way to increase gross margins if you are currently utilizing time and material pricing is to implement flat rate pricing. Since this strategy can begin to make an immediate difference, you would want to plan for its implementation as early in the New Year as possible. You can start with a call to Callahan Roach for additional consultation to see if this is right for your business.
You can then begin the New Year with the confidence of knowing your business is operating by plan and not by whim.