I have heard some comments from residential service contractors about their dissatisfaction with the ?slow season?. When I was a contractor, we never lacked for work for our core crew during the off-season for decks. We always found something to do, and we did "off-price" work during the off-season.

There are a lot of things each of you can do to keep cash running through your businesses during the slower months. The objective is to smooth out the demand and maximize your profit.

1. Offer an Off-Season Sale, where people who hire you during slow months pay a little less. I met with a contractor last week who gives two estimates to every customer ? a price for doing the work during the spring and summer or a lower price for doing the work during slower months (as long as they give him a deposit during his busy time). He lets the customer decide how much they want to pay.

2. Offer Maintenance services. We offered maintenance pricing for our existing deck customers during the fall and winter. We sent out post cards and frequently had a good number of jobs come our way in September, November, and January. If you live up north, think about filling the slow days from August through to the first freeze with maintenance jobs.

3. Offer seasonal services. You can glean gutters and blow leaves right up to the holidays. You can shovel snow and hang holiday decorations and break ice dams during the real cold months. You can offer lawn seeding or fertilization services, you can clean outdoor furniture, and you can de-ice drives. There is no time where the people who hire service contractors don?t need some service. Just because you consider yourself a deck restoration professional is no reason to be idle for several months every year. You just need to re-think what your company is capable of doing.