In most parts of the country, as the temperature drops, paver installation opportunities diminish. Some contractors turn to paver maintenance programs for supplemental income, but once the needle gets below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, cleaning, sealing, and sanding pavers are no longer an option either. Successful contractors know that this is the time to take stock and focus on ways to improve business in the future.

Invest in Yourself

While equipment is not in use, take this time to do regular maintenance to make sure that everything is in perfect working order for the upcoming busy season. This is also an excellent time to look for continuing education opportunities. Get certified in another installation technique, take a sales or marketing class, or find a one-day seminar on time management. Look for any opportunity that can potentially help you grow, both as an installer and as a business person. If you are not already a Belgard Authorized Contractor, now is the time to begin the process and gain access to a number of business-building tools and programs.

Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan

If you are not already on social media, you are missing a tremendous amount of consumer networking opportunities. Venues like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram allow you to post samples of your work that can be shared and re-shared, expanding your reach exponentially. Before-and-after transformations, in particular, tend to generate a lot of interest. Another idea is to use your smart phone to record short testimonials from happy customers on how much they love their new outdoor living spaces. These videos can be easily uploaded to most social media sites. Be sure and get each homeowner's permission in writing before uploading a testimonial video.

Networking, Networking, Networking

Canvass neighborhoods, looking for new home construction in progress. Visit these sites and introduce yourself to the builder or foreman. Many hardscape projects are won by being in the right place at the right time. Another idea is to call your Belgard representative and set up a date to go on a sales blitz to visit custom homebuliders either on job sites or at their offices. Your Belgard rep can help you both answer builder questions and put together packets of leave-behind marketing materials. Be sure to bring a notebook, which will help you make a psychological connection with each builder by listening attentively and taking notes. Also remember to follow up in a timely manner with a thank you email or additional information, if requested.

Guerrilla Consumer Marketing

Talk to your Belgard Rep about consumer marketing pieces like doorhangers and postcards from the Belgard Virtual Agency. Target specific neighborhoods that are more likely to install hardscapes. Don't waste your time trying to convince reluctant homeowners that they can afford hardscapes. Fish where the fish are already biting. Also, look into Belgard programs that can help sell or increase the scope of a project, like the Belgard Design Studio and Belgard Preferred Payment financing.

Strategic Home Show Marketing

In some areas of the country, there seems to be a home show every other weekend this time of year in some nearby town or another. Pick the show or shows that will give you the most bang for your marketing buck and reach the caliber of homeowners that would most likely be interested in hardscapes. People go to these shows looking for ideas on how to improve their homes. Help them visualize the possibilities with eye-catching displays of beautiful outdoor living areas. Mount a large television to run a slide show of quality photographs of your own projects, mixed with professional images from the Belgard Media Room. Also, talk to your Belgard rep about display materials for your booth.