Keep Busy When Business Gets Slow

Keep Busy When Business Gets Slow
During your slow season, take time to repair restrooms and do vehicle maintenance.

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During the fast-paced summer months there often isn’t time to catch your breath. But what about the slow winter months when snow can reach the rooftops in some locations? How do you keep your workers busy? 

In the snow-rich region of Breckenridge, Colo., 80 miles west of Denver, yearly snowfall totals average 300 inches (25 feet). And it’s not uncommon to have 44 inches fall in a single week. 

That makes for good powder on the nearby slopes and good business for brothers Bill and Chris Tatro, owners of Snowbridge Inc., and their 11 full-time and one part-time employees. 

“Honestly, we haven’t been getting a lot of slack time in the last year or two,” Bill says of the resort community of 4,564 residents that can swell to 35,000 during the peak tourist season. “When we do it’s weather related, like today or the last couple of days,” he says of the 22 inches that had fallen in the past 48 hours. “It’s been snowing pretty bad, but we’ve had jobs to get to. So we haven’t had a lot of downtime.” 

The Roto-Rooter franchise provides residential and commercial sewer and septic services, including septic installation, grease and sand trap pumping, water line thawing and trenchless pipe repair. 

Here are five suggestions to beat cold-weather downtime in your business: 

1. Maintain equipment

“When we have downtime, we try to take care of our vehicles; make sure the maintenance is up to date,” says Bill.

It’s also a good time to repair restrooms and inventory chemicals for the busy season. 

2. Training/education

Bill says slow months provide time for worker training and education. “Most of my guys go through the NAWT septic inspection class, but unfortunately, that’s usually not during the slow time,” he says. “We just send guys whenever it’s offered.” 

3. Prospect for new customers

Slow times also can be an opportunity to prospect for jobs or make new contacts. “We’re really busy through the late summer into the fall. We’ve been busy the last six months or so,” Bill says. “Traditionally, if we have a slower time it would be from February to May.” 

Hotels and resorts begin to shut down the end of April and call on Snowbridge to clean sewer lines, pump grease traps and sand traps. “We clean their main sewer lines and jet them,” he says. “That usually is what gets us started in spring.” 

Snowbridge traditionally has a busy year thawing frozen pipes, but heavy snowfall and a warmer-than-usual winter has helped insulate the ground from penetrating cold. 

4. Attend the Pumper & Cleaner Expo

The relatively slow month of February also is a good time to take in a trade show. Bill makes a point of attending the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International in Indianapolis, Ind., held this year from February 24-27. “We’ll be there,” he says. “We’ve got all of our plans. We just got done with the hotel so we’re good to go.” 

5. Take a vacation

Hey, even hard-working pumpers and PROs deserve a little downtime and a chance to recharge. Step out of the septic hauler and restroom rig to relax and enjoy some warm weather and a cold drink. 


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