Make Summertime The Right Time

By Tony Shepley

We work in a cyclical business that has its ups and downs due to the seasons and weather, but there is a puzzling difference between the Cape & Islands and the rest of New England. In our market, construction slows down during the summer, which is counter-intuitive because summer has some of the best weather of the year. In most other markets, contractors keep busy right through the summer months. Perhaps a hot August day isn’t exactly the ideal weather for spending time on a hot roof, but the summer months provide a tremendous opportunity for planning, component assembly, excavation, and preparing for the fall rush.

Typically, our area’s busiest months are March, April, and May with most of the industry in a mad dash to meet the first seasonal deadline, Memorial Day. Then we get ready for round two and the next deadline of July 4th. With the kids are out of school and in the pool, we should all take a breath and recharge. Next on the schedule come vacations or stay-cations, along with the beginning of the relative industry lull of July, August, and September. Following this period, construction starts cranking up in earnest from October through December as contractors try to get things closed in and beat the bad weather. To some extent, the summer lull is brought on by homeowners not wanting work going on around or next to their house. To another extent, construction may be limited by increased traffic brought on by summer tourism. I think we can make the case that the summer months often present a missed opportunity. Subs are more available in August and September than they will be later in the fall. Rather than waiting until October 1st to pull the trigger on projects, how can we coach our clients to take advantage of the summer months to get all the planning, product selection, permitting, and preparation done so that September 3rd becomes a new start date instead of October 1st? Imagine getting a 30 day jump on your competition. Imagine not trying to compress the majority of our construction efforts into 6, 7, or 8 months of the year, by stretching the season. This would be a bit like the IRS spreading tax payments through the year by assigning payment due dates for us based on the last number of our Social Security number, rather than squeezing us all into April 15th! What a load off you and your accountant that could be! We can only imagine the error rate caused by having every return filed on the same date!

What happens to the plumber or electrician who is trying to quote the job at the same time they’re quoting 6 others? I say the best way to stay at the head of the line is to make sure we arrive early! If you’re pulling the trigger on your project in July, you have the built in head start that others will envy…from behind you. Well begun is often half done!

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