15 Ways to Keep Busy During Winter Downtime

15 Ways to Keep Busy During Winter Downtime

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For a lot of PROs, the winter is the off-season. Maybe you have a winter festival or two, and then you can finally take that vacation. But in areas of the country where winter is long, you may run out of tasks to keep the crew busy. 

Here’s a list of things to check off before spring rolls around. They may not all be fun, but you’ll be glad to have things in order once business picks up again.

1. Go through your tax-exempt certificates, and make sure every customer who didn’t pay tax has one on file. 

2. Clean out old files. Get rid of what you don't need, and update any missing information.

3. Do a thorough inventory of all your equipment, restrooms included. Do you need to replace some restrooms? Do you need to order more sinks? Do an inventory of remaining deodorizer and cleaning chemicals to see if you need to change your orders for the upcoming season. 

4. Take the time to recondition all your restrooms. It’s not a glamorous job, but when you can refurbish some instead of buying new, you’ll save money — and spend less time making repairs in between rentals this summer. Here’s how to do it. 

5. How do your trucks look? Regular maintenance checks should always be on the schedule, but now is the time to really evaluate how your fleet is operating and where you may need to upgrade or make repairs. If you don’t have an equipment replacement schedule, it’s a good time to create one. 

6. Make time to sit down with each employee to review job performance. Acknowledge and appreciate the hard work they did last year, and talk about what can be improved going forward. Start a formal review process if you don’t have one in place. Everyone appreciates feedback on their performance, and it gives you a chance to outline your expectations for the future. 

Remember that meetings with employees are most valuable if the discussion goes both ways. Ask workers to assess how you and your managers have done over the past year. Encourage them to tell you what changes should be considered to help them become more productive. 

7. Work on customer relations and retention. If you had big client or event contracts last summer that you’re hoping to renew, make a call now. Plan a meeting to review the service you provided and prepare notes on what could be improved. Even if you can’t lock down a contract now, you will be top of mind when that customer is picking up the phone in a few months. 

8. Once you’ve talked with customers about their future needs, get a head start on the busy season by placing your orders for deodorizers and paper products. 

9. It’s no one’s favorite thing to do, but when the phone isn’t ringing, it’s time to call out. Cold calling takes practice, but make a list of contacts, industries you want to break into, etc., and pick up the phone. These tips will help get you started

10. During the summer, how your office looks is the last thing on your mind. But you spend a lot of time there, and it should be comfortable and promote productivity. Give it a coat of paint, and get new desk chairs and some better lighting. Throw out that terrible old filing cabinet, and invest in quality storage items that aren’t an eyesore. Hide your cords, maybe hang some art and add some guest seating. Even if customers don’t usually see your office, it should be a place that represents your business and makes you feel motivated and productive. 

11. Once your office is in shape, evaluate whether it’s time to upgrade your technology or get better office software. Now’s the time to get new computers, get new accounting or routing software, or implement any new systems you’ve been thinking about. When things are running a little slower, it’s easier to make the switch — especially if it means your systems will be down for a day or — and any learning curves are more easily overcome when things aren’t frantic. 

12. If you’ve been meaning to update your website or post more on your business Facebook page or blog, now is the time. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t in last year’s marketing strategy. Write up some blog and social media posts and save or schedule them for when you’ll be too busy. Update your voicemail message. Order new marketing materials. Finally start that YouTube channel — it’s an important marketing tool and creating video is not as difficult as you might think. (Check out A Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing.) 

13. Review and update your employee handbook, job descriptions, your list of interview questions or anything else that you will need when you hire new employees this spring. Prepare notes for safety meetings, create a training manual, and meet with employees who help train newcomers to get everyone on the same page about your training process and expectations.

14. Your phone may not be ringing this time of year, but winter events are becoming more popular in a lot of areas, and there are opportunities out there if you know where to look. Here are 6 Ways to Find Winter Events to Fill Restroom Rental Gaps

15. Last but not least, schedule a vacation — or at least a few days off. It’s important to take some time away to recharge. You’ll come back with renewed energy and focus to tackle whatever the busy season throws at you. 

What other tasks do you do this time of year? Let us know in the comments.


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