Regardless of where you live in the U.S., Old Man Winter can be challenging for those who make their living in the green industry, but there are services you can offer to keep your revenue stream from freezing.
Our Winter Checklist was created to help keep your employees on the job and to help you generate revenue in both cold and warm winter climates. Here are some ideas for services to consider offering customers to help speed up your slow season:
1. Holiday Lighting Installs, Takedowns and Storage
Mid- to late November or early December isn’t too late to offer holiday lighting installs to existing customers or to chat up potential customers, especially if their unlit homes or businesses are in areas that are ablaze with lights. Installing a simple display this year can lead to larger displays in the coming years, and it will ensure takedown revenue after the holidays.
If your customers purchase the lighting and greenery that you incorporate into their new displays, offer to store their items for a small monthly fee. The service can be a win-win: Customers don’t have to find a place for bulky items in their garage or shed, and you can keep everything organized and easily accessible for next year’s install. For more information on the benefits of offering holiday lighting as a service, visit our blog, Generate Winter Revenue with Holiday Lighting.
Don’t forget to pitch the benefits of upgrading your customers’ landscape lighting with color-changing LED fixtures that can increase their every-day enjoyment of outdoor spaces and make their homes ready for other holidays throughout the year.
Bonus opportunity: If you have customers who are planning holiday parties, wow them by offering to help them prepare for the event. Pathway lighting and maintenance, turf and landscape preparation, even outdoor table and décor setup and teardown are services that can help your customers up their party game, and help you keep lighting, landscape and service technicians working. You never know until you ask.
2. Go Beyond the Typical Winter Services in Your Market
Whether you’re in a cold or warm climate, there are add-on services that can boost your business in winter months. Depending on your market, consider pitching:
- Upgrading to smart irrigation controllers. These devices can help your customers save water and lower their bills, manage their irrigation systems through easy-to-use apps and shut off watering automatically based on weather conditions. Smart controllers allow users to see how much water has been used and to adjust usage as needed. Smart controllers also can connect to smart home products like Amazon’s Alexa, further increasing convenience for the customer. Those who don’t want to manage their systems themselves can share access to their app with you, so you can do it for them. For more on the benefits of smart irrigation products and how to sell them to your clients, check out our 3 Tips for Selling Smart Irrigation to Your Clients blog.
- Protecting pipes and performing repairs. Cold-climate contractors typically complete winterization services by December. While frozen pipes don’t regularly occur in warmer climates, extreme weather can wreak havoc in those areas. When back-to-back winter storms Uri and Viola hit the U.S. in February 2021, record-breaking low temperatures left millions in the South, particularly Texas, without electricity and heat, as well as without running water due to frozen and burst pipes. Warm-climate contractors can help their customers weather similar events by following forecasts and making sure their homes and businesses are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Here are three selling points that may come in handy when pitching winterization services.
- De-icing and snow removal. While many crews in colder regions are on standby to remove ice and snow from customers’ walkways, driveways and parking lots, those in warmer climates should keep these services on their radar, too. Read our blog on anti-icing, de-icing and snow removal to learn more about those services, and contact your local Ewing representative to discuss your best product options.
- Paver maintenance. Chances are, you’ve completed patio installations for several customers over the past couple of years, or you have clients with existing patios that could use sprucing up. Maintenance and restoration—from removing debris and adding sealants to resetting sunken pavers and adding joint sand—are both services to consider offering in some markets to keep your crews working and to generate additional winter revenue. Visit our Boost Paver Profits with Maintenance Contracts blog for ideas and to determine whether it’s worth making the pitch.
3. Sound System Installs and Upgrades
In warmer climates, installing and or/upgrading sound systems present additional business opportunities.
Once you’ve identified which customers are right for outdoor sound, arrange to perform a sound demonstration to showcase how it can enhance their outdoor living space. Contact the professionals at your local Ewing branch to request a sound demo and for assistance on the job.
Once you’ve booked the job, follow these tips for a successful install.
4. Get a Head Start on Spring
While many homeowners ignore lawn maintenance until the last winter frost, and it’s too early to prepare and plant or to install irrigation systems, there are services that can be performed in winter that will help you get a head start on spring. Consider pitching:
- Pruning dormant ornamental grasses and roses. Both cold- and warm-season ornamental grasses and dormant roses begin to break dormancy in late winter, making it the perfect time to remove remove dead or injured plant material. You will need twine, wire or bungee cords, pruning shears or larger pruners for both jobs, as well as sturdy work gloves to protect your hands from thorns. Power shears also are an option, but they are more unpredictable and could cause severe injury if not properly used.
To prune dormant grasses, follow these steps:
- Tie the grass into a bundle using the material of your choice approximately 4 feet from the ground
- Cut the grass at either 1 to 2 feet from the base, depending on the size of the grass and the amount of new green growth that may be present
- Remove the debris
To prune dormant roses, specifically the Knock Out® and shrub varieties, follow these steps:
- Wipe pruning shear blades with disinfectant (repeat before pruning each shrub) to prevent possible spread and contamination of disease
- Use shears to cut the shrubs 1 or 2 feet from the base of the plant, depending on its size. Cuts should be made at an angle, preferably just below any buds that are present
- Remove any crossed branches or oddly shaped shoots
- Remove the debris
New growth will begin once the weather warms up, and your customers will enjoy fuller, healthier grasses and roses for the year.
Winter season also is a great time to work on perfecting your pitches, designing spring and summer projects, and catching up on education. You can Lean on Us for help with all of those. Drop by your local branch today for more information, peruse Ewing Education classes and webinars or browse our blogs and YouTube videos for topics that interest you.