Tips From the ABC Supply Pro Council
The start of the year is the perfect opportunity to look ahead and prepare for any anticipated challenges and opportunities. As 2019 kicks off, we asked the ABC Supply Pro Council for its advice on how contractors can prepare for 2019 and make it their best year yet.
1. Educate and Train Yourself and Your Crew
The slower offseason is a perfect time to focus on training and education. Making sure you are knowledgeable on all the latest trends, product developments and techniques will help strengthen your business and your ability to work with clients. Read trade publications, attend meetings or conferences for industry associations and participate in online or in-person training events. Make an offseason education plan to stay on top of your professional development and ensure that you’re taking advantage of all the education opportunities you can.
2. Recruit People to Build Your Team
We know that construction labor shortages, combined with the backlog of project work that many of you have right now, will continue to be one of your biggest challenges heading into 2019. And according to Associated Builders and Contractors, it’s going to continue to be tough as the construction industry looks to add up to 500,000 jobs in 2019.
Do your best to get ahead of your hiring needs now by investing time to add new people to your team. If you’re looking for more ways to recruit people, consider appealing to new groups, like millennials. Millennials make up a major part of the workforce—in fact, by 2025, they’re expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce. To recruit them to your crew, highlight the long-term benefits and opportunities for growth that you can offer them.
While it’s important to find new people to hire, keeping people on your crew is just as important. Use the beginning of the year to talk to each member of your team and find out what they’re looking to get out of their job in the next year. Maybe they want to learn a new skill or take on additional responsibilities. Make it clear that you care about their career because team members who feel engaged will be more likely to stick around.
3. Evaluate Your Supplier and Other Partners
Working with a building materials supplier that delivers the right materials, on time, will always be essential, but there is more to consider when choosing a supplier partner. The Pro Council believes that exceptional customer service should be a top priority. Great service can take many forms, from the industry expertise of your supplier’s associates to the value-added services they offer to make your job easier.
At ABC Supply, we offer a delivery promise, so that you can be assured your order won’t arrive late or incomplete. We even offer value-added services that help contractors promote their businesses, such as website and logo design or the ability to order stationery, door hangers, target mail pieces, and apparel with your company name and logo on them. A low price is nice in the moment, but consistently great customer service will make a difference in the long run.
4. Maintain Customer Relationships
Take advantage of the slower months to spend some time investing in customer relationships. Reach out to past customers to check in on how they’re liking their new roof, for example. Turn them into repeat customers by letting them know of other services you offer—you’ll be top of mind if they need any of those services in 2019 and beyond.
If customers haven’t left you an online review, ask if they’d be willing to write one. Maintaining strong relationships with your customers can help lead to more business, as they’ll be more likely to remember you when thinking of new projects in 2019 and in the years to come.
In addition to maintaining relationships with customers, the Pro Council recommends taking advantage of any extra time at the beginning of the year to spend time with friends and family.
To further prepare for 2019, check out the ABC Supply blog for more tips from the Pro Council and advice on conquering business challenges.
The ABC Supply Pro Council consists of experienced associates from across the U.S. Its aim is to provide contractors nationwide with industry advice and insights to help them seize opportunities and overcome challenges they face as they manage successful businesses. Contractors can visit ABC Supply's blog for additional tips and resources from the Pro Council.