Attitude towards professionalism in the snow business, and attitude towards having total control of the growth of our business are intertwined. One introspective question often asked at this time of year (after the season is essentially over) is “how can we make a profit at this type work”? Other observations made by some often include: “Snow work is blood money”, “it’s a pain in the butt to do this work”, or “it’s hard work for the money we generate”, and “my guys want to just stay home in winter anyway, so why bother”.
Often, it’s just a matter of attitude.
Think about it a minute. Isn’t attitude just a matter of how we think about anything we do or say? If you address your marriage with the right attitude, things often go well. If you approach your employees with the proper internal motivation (and a positive attitude) they will generally work harder and be more productive. If you approach the landscape maintenance, tree care, or chemical lawn care portion of your business in the right manner, it becomes your ‘core business’.
Can you imagine treating this core business portion as if it could not ever be profitable, and was just something that “had to be done” instead of what you needed to do to be able to support your family? The same thing occurs in the snow business. I would submit that attitude has everything to do with success. It’s the underlying foundation of every successful entrepreneur. Contractors (who treat the snow business as a profit center) generally report gross profit margins in the 55% to 65% range. Even now – in these difficult economic times. A few exceed 80% - I know…… some of them are my clients. Deicing profit margins often top 70% amongst those that view this as a profit center. I know contractors who have NET margins exceeding 35% - and doing – literally – millions in gross sales.
These contractors are convinced that they can make a profit at snow work, and they do.
Those who are convinced that they cannot, usually do not.
If you want to “think you can” then it is imperative to bring a businesslike attitude to the snow side of your business if you’re going to have any chance at being successful. One of the biggest problems with those of us in the snow business is that we don’t have enough respect for ourselves and the service we provide. So, that is job one. Self - respect.
Make no mistake – it takes work. Hard work. Reviewing last winters numbers cannot and should not – wait until October. It’s too late to make changes at that point. Reviewing this past winter season should happen NOW. Strategic planning for those who are serious about turning a viable profit in the snow and ice management business starts TODAY, not next July. If you’re going to be professional – then act like a professional. You run a business. So – then run it like a business. And, “BUSINESS” is not a part time - 6 months a year undertaking. It’s an “all the time” undertaking. This means year round. ALL year round.
If you think you are, or you think you are not – you’re right.