Shaking the Winter BluesDecember 20th, 2023 by Matthew Darienzo
In the early years of my auto tinting days, my wife would tell me I was always complaining. In the summertime, we were always so busy that I would complain I couldn’t get all the work done. In the winter, I would complain business was so slow that I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it. It was either a feast or a famine. But, as they said in The Godfather, “This is the life we have chosen.” 😂
The good news is that with the addition of paint protection film and ceramic coatings on the auto side, and security films and graphics on the flat glass side, the revenue swings have not been as dramatic as they once were. That said, many shops will still face a slower period. Do you staff up knowing that your labor will be high but that you’ll also need the extra help around the corner when the hotter months arrive, or do you hold off? These are important decisions that each shop should carefully consider.
If you are a growing company, adding good people to the team regardless of the season is always the right decision. If you are thinking long-term and have the cash to float higher expenses related to slower revenue months, it might be smart to make that investment. On the other hand, if your margins are tight, you might have to wait. There is a fine line here, but in the end, the financial health of the business through slow times is the most important.
Use these slower times to negotiate with vendors or suppliers and do a deep dive into where you can save. COVID was a great reminder of that, and although it was a difficult time, it forced many businesses to dig deep into their financials and rein in wasteful spending. Understanding your gross profit margins for your products and labor is a great place to start. Saving on labor is difficult because those are the guys and gals that make it happen, but product waste is something you can control and an area you can focus on.
Whether it’s an annual or economic slow-down, planning for slow times is always a good thing to practice that will help keep your business on the right track throughout the years. Business is a marathon, not a sprint, and those who have that approach will always come out ahead.