Finding Additional Revenue Streams in the Off-Season

Business owners sometimes don't get a lot of sleep. They are constantly thinking about and analyzing their business. Are the customers satisfied? Are my employees happy? Do I have the resources and assets to keep up with my competitors? What more can I do with what I have? 

Tree care company owners are no exception. Yet many have figured out a way to capitalize on their existing personnel and equipment to increase both revenue and profit. They aren't letting the traditional off-season get in their way. They are seizing new opportunities. 

Since we're in the middle of winter, we'd like to share some ideas for new off-season revenue streams for you and your employees. 

'Tis the Season
Even though the winter holidays have passed, it's not late to start planning for next year. These suggestions could keep your employees and customers engaged and your accountant very merry. 

Residential Outdoor Decorating. Many homeowners are getting more elaborate in their holiday lighting and decorating. In many cases, the terrain, roof pitch and extreme heights make it hard for them to install holiday lights. This is a potential new opportunity for you to utilize your equipment and aerial work skills to start an additional revenue stream. 

Packaged Holiday Decorating. Some tree care companies have gotten involved with franchise companies that specialize in packaged holiday decorating. These opportunities present less risk when entering this business segment because there is a proven template to follow.

Storage. For this kind of work, revenues peak during the install and takedown of decorations (November through January). Look at the possibility of providing storage for your customers' seasonal decorations during non-peak months. 

Snow removal. Successful businesses always look for ways to provide a value-add to their customer base. Offering snow removal can be a relatively low-cost investment and add significant income during the wintertime. And think about the additional benefits that come with it:
Employee Morale. More available work hours means improved morale for your employees. Your crews could be kept busy by doing contract snow removal.
Customer Care/Engagement. Your customers can see that you're always looking out for their needs, even in areas where it might not be obvious to them.
Community Goodwill. By clearing snow in parking lots and side streets, you not only are creating goodwill, you have an opportunity to expand your brand and increase business opportunities.

Renting Operated Equipment
If you can serve the needs of a customer who neither owns nor knows how to operate heavy equipment, you provide a service that most existing rental companies can't accommodate. Your value add here is that you deliver not only the machine but an operator who can carry out the work. 

Lifts / Boom Trucks. Private and commercial facilities. Churches. Local school systems. These establishments need parking lot lights changed and their buildings cleaned. You have the ability to provide a turnkey service with your trained operator and equipment on an hourly retainer or project base. The opportunities are enormous!

Loaders. As your sales team looks at potential jobs and making sales calls, have them keep their eyes peeled for other work in the area. Chances are they'll see a homeowner who is in the middle of a landscape or remodeling project. These are opportunities for your skid steer or front-end loader. Is the homeowner self-performing landscape work?  Are they doing a remodeling project and need dirt relocated?

Hauling. Hauling debris complements the loader work mentioned above. Not all homeowners have the ability to haul away debris or materials that result from landscaping or renovation projects. You, however, most likely have this capability. Let it work for you. 

Keeping In Shape
People who collect vintage cars know one thing: if you leave them in the garage for five years, the cars will look good but won't run so well. You have to take them out for an occasional spin to add to their longevity. 

The same thing is true of your equipment. Using them in the off-season will help with maintenance and allow them to stay lubricated. There's one additional benefit: it will allow you to identify any mechanical issues before the season peaks. 

One Last Thing
You may have noticed employees are a big theme of this article. They are an important part of this discussion because additional revenues streams keep them busy in the off-season. It allows them to put food on their tables, be engaged at work and limit their need to look for work elsewhere. From a business owner's perspective, keeping employees working minimizes the need to find and train new ones and keeps you focused on developing new business. 

Brainstorm with your team, and together you can grow your revenue and profits with new business and improved long-term relationships.