Don’t get complacent during your winter downtime — start preparing now so you’re ready when the busy season hits
The long months of winter are still upon us, but it’s time to start getting ready for another busy season. If you are located in a northern state, you know that when the snow starts to melt, business starts to heat up. You want to be ready for it and there is no better time than right now.
Like most seasonal businesses, you will probably need to increase your current staff. At the end of every season, there are drivers that you have to let go. There just isn’t enough work in the wintertime to keep them. If you are lucky, you can hire those same drivers back in the spring.
If you aren’t that lucky, you need to find some new technicians. It is important to start early. Let’s be honest, it’s likely that every new hire isn’t going to be a success and you will need to try a couple different people. We place job ads in January and hopefully will have some new employees by the beginning of February. This gives us time to train these new technicians. And if those hires aren’t a good match, we still have time to find someone else to do the job.
New technicians are paired with veteran drivers. They spend two to three weeks driving a route with a veteran. This allows them to learn how to properly service a toilet, the locations of the toilets and everything else that a driver is expected to know and do.
With new employees and the changes in temperature, hopefully this means an increase in work. So you need to make sure your equipment is ready to go. Take stock of what is in your yard. Can you repair your broken equipment? Do you need to order some more equipment? The upcoming WWETT Show is a great time to order more equipment. You can see what each manufacturer is offering and if you order enough, you can probably get some really great deals on your purchases.
Either way, it is best to start your season knowing exactly what you have. Have your employees take a really good inventory of everything. How many standard units do you have? What about handicap units or holding tanks? How do your trucks look? Do they need any repairs?
Get all of this written down and then sit down with your staff and plan out the next couple months. Right now, the managers of each of our yards is doing an inventory and organizing the yards by type of units. My mechanic is slowly working through all of our trucks starting with the biggest repairs first. My trailer technicians have a long list of repairs, from repainting stairs to rebuilding a whole trailer. All of this work takes a lot of time but it is important that it gets done and it is completed properly.
My season is just six to eight weeks away, depending on Mother Nature. I want to be ready when the phone starts to ring off the hook.
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.