Okay. Straight and to the point this month. Here are five recurring topics/questions/challenges you’ve talked about this offseason and some insight and solutions to guide you.
1. Low-snow/Low-event Winter 2017-18
This by far the No. 1 topic keeping you up at night. See this month’s cover story, which is chock full of insight on how to get through the down times. My best advice: Don’t idle. Dedicate a good portion of that time reflecting on your business practices. Crack open the books and review the numbers. Cut the fat.
2. the labor issue
More specifically, the generation gaps that exist in our workforce. From the seasoned, old-dog vets to the entitled and moody millennials, we need to get along. Sorry, but the truth is we need new management styles to meet the demands of today’s labor force. Today’s youth are notorious for breaking paradigms, a fact anyone born before 1985 can’t seem to grasp. Millennials are multitaskers who bore easily. They need constant feedback and recognition. They desire a balanced lifestyle and aren’t interested in 50- to 60-hour work weeks or, for that matter, making money. Most will not hesitate to leave a good-paying job for one that offers a flexible schedule, greater appreciation, and is more aligned with their goals and values. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, but it’s a dose of open mindedness we’re all going to have to take if we expect to work together, least alone survive.
3. “Technology scares me.”
Then find another line of work because the snow and ice management industry is tech savvy and successful contractors find ways to exploit it to better their bottom lines. Invest in a tech consultant who can help align your web presence with your work crews and your clients. Expense a drone and a GoPro and nominate an outside-the-box thinker on your staff as your new eyes in the sky to develop ways for that tech to improve your operations. Investigate (or ask a teenager) if adopting cloud-based business tools can streamline your operations.
Accept the cold, hard facts that bogus slip-and-fall claims are not going away any time soon. As a result, you need to be prepared. Make sure your documentation procedures are up to snuff and your people are trained on data collection best practices and accuracy. Also, incorporate No. 3 into this strategy. Lastly, get your people certified (ASCA-C) and start the ISO 9001/SN 9001 certification process.
5. Make a difference
Get involved and join the ASCA. This is me shilling for the association. If you want something planted to grow, then you must get your hands dirty. In a nutshell, from its mission statement and four-pillar foundation, the ASCA is focused 100 percent on the needs of the snow contractor community and bettering the industry. From the halls of Congress to your hometowns, ASCA has your back. All it asks in return is your support and participation. Think about it and take an active part in developing solutions.