Dual Seasonal Businesses Offer Key Benefits, Revenue Growth Year-Round
Extending your seasonal franchise’s business can generate full-time revenue and long-lasting customers, ensuring each season is a fruitful one.
For franchisees with businesses that primarily operate and peak throughout the summer or winter, extending your franchise’s service offerings for the counter-season can be extremely beneficial for increasing revenue streams and transitioning your off season into another profitable quarter. Investing in an add-on franchise can be advantageous as business owners can offer timely services to boost revenue in real time and meanwhile use that time to work on growth plans for the counter-seasonal business in its off season.
The key to identifying a suitable second product or service is to leverage skills that have already been developed. For instance, it would be smart for someone who offers pool heater repair throughout the summer to additionally offer heater and furnace repair come winter. Some other viable examples of add-on seasonal services include roofing, lawn care, landscaping and pool maintenance for summer and snow removal, Halloween costumes and decorations, Christmas tree sales, and holiday lighting and decorating services for winter.
Once a suitable add-on service is established, there are several key benefits that dual seasonal franchisees can enjoy while running two businesses, including the following.
- Offering diverse services. One of the main benefits of investing in an add-on seasonal franchise is the opportunity to offer diverse services to clientele based on the time of year and climate. Offering ongoing services throughout the year not only helps to generate a consistent cash flow, but also helps to maintain a strong clientele, as well as attract potential new customers. This puts business owners in the position to be considered a one-stop shop and expert for all services in the respective field.
- Preserving staff. Rather than having to deal with the hassle of hiring, terminating, and training employees each season, operating dual businesses for both winter and summer allows franchisees to maintain a full staff year-round. Plus, it also provides franchisees with the opportunity to annually assess employee performance and decide whom to keep on board for the following seasonal rush.
- Planning for growth. While one seasonal business is in its off season, franchisees that offer counter-seasonal services are able to remain profitable while leveraging that time to outline their other business’ growth plans. Seasonal businesses differ from traditional businesses as they only have about four to five months to generate revenue, while most companies have the full 12 months. Therefore, the best way to plan for continuous profits is to plan far ahead, leading up to each business’ seasonal peak.
- Promoting both businesses. Running businesses for counter-seasons allows franchisees to use similar assets to capitalize on the changing climate and ultimately use each business to promote the other. In relation to the example mentioned regarding a summer pool heater repairman also working as a winter furnace repairman, franchisees with two seasonal businesses can leverage their established client base to promote their corresponding services. They can do so by offering discounts for the counter-business while focusing on the current services. This is beneficial for both the franchisee and his clients as it distinguishes the franchisee as a local expert on all issues relating to respective services, while it also continues their client relationships and boosts revenue. While working with the same client base, as well as potentially new clients, franchisees can take advantage of the opportunity and use these connections to offer deals for next season’s business.
After reveling in the many advantages of operating counter-cycling businesses, there are various aspects for franchisees to consider in regard to upkeep and staying ahead of the game, including the following tips:
- Think ahead. While operating one business in its peak season, franchisees should begin to assess their other business’s needs and set goals and profit targets for the next season. This may include calculating the ideal numbers of clients to retain, adjusting the training process, determining appropriate marketing tactics, updating or maintaining equipment, planning how to differentiate the product or service in the market, building a mailing list and setting the appropriate cost for your product or service in relation to last year’s seasonal profits and the current state of the economy.
- Allocate management. It is a good idea for franchisees to hire a manager for each seasonal business to ease the pressure of handling all of the operations and strategies independently. As franchisees must think ahead toward the following seasonal-business’s impending peak, someone on staff will need to keep his mind on the current business at hand. Rather than juggling multiple businesses at once, it is smart to identify a key staff person for each season so franchisees do not feel the need to micromanage and thus, feel overworked and burned out.
- Pursue opportunities year-round. Although many businesses such as landscaping and pool maintenance may typically be considered summer businesses, for states that do not experience snow, they can quickly become year-round businesses with financial fluctuations. Likewise, some services that are more common for winter can offer services that extend into the spring, summer and fall months as well. For instance, while Christmas Decor − a holiday lighting and decorating franchise − primarily provides home decorating services around the winter holiday season, the franchise also offers lighting designs for other festive occasions such as New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, as well as designs to match a family’s favorite sports team or the local high school’s colors. Remember to keep this in mind during a business’s off season and make sure to never lose sight of potential business opportunities that may arise.
The most important thing for seasonal franchisees to remember is to have patience. Merely investing in added services is not enough to sustain a steady income. Offering new services that may initially be unfamiliar to you can take an abundance of time and energy in regard to planning and budgeting, especially when transitioning from running a six-month business to providing services year-round.
It can take several years to build a returning client base and in the peak of each business’ season, franchisees can expect to work 80-hour weeks. To be successful, franchisees need to be extremely dedicated in the new seasonal business’ initial stages, even when revenue is not actively being generated. Once all of the details are handled, extending your seasonal franchise’s business can generate fulltime revenue and long-lasting customers, ensuring each season is a fruitful one.
Brandon Stephens is president of Christmas Decor, a holiday lighting and decorating company that operates in more than 375 markets in 48 states and Canada. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.