How to Manage Summer Demand – Stock Up Your Inventory for Pool Season
Here in the Midwest, the year is divided up into two categories as far as the weather is concerned – warm season and cold season. During the late spring, through the summer, and into the fall, the Midwest enjoys warm temperatures that make for great swimming conditions. Of course, once winter arrives, those pools get covered up and put on pause until things warm up again next year.
As a pool maintenance business, you feel this seasonality acutely. During the winter, you’ll be searching for projects to take on just to keep some type of revenue coming in the door. Then, as spring and summer move in, you’ll be absolutely slammed with work and will struggle to keep up. Knowing that summer demand is coming, let’s go over some tips for how you can prepare your inventory and be ready to serve your customers promptly when they call.
There is no substitute for getting your orders in early to make sure you have everything you need when things start to get busy. Especially now, with supply chain disruptions becoming more and more common, you want to make sure your order gets in near the front of the line so unwanted surprises don’t disrupt your business later on. Not only will ordering early help you beat the rush and make sure your inventory arrives on time, but it will also take this task off your plate so you can focus on marketing efforts and on serving customers when warmer weather arrives.
The good thing about ordering early in the year is that you should have time to sit down and carefully work out the details of what you need to stock up on for the coming season. After all, the winter is the quietest time for pool businesses in the Midwest, so your schedule isn’t crammed full of appointments and obligations like it is in the middle of summer. Don’t let this free time go to waste – work on your order list as soon as possible so you can get it in and stock up ahead of the competition.
Secure a Storage Location
Depending on the size of the business you run, and how many supplies you need to order to load up your inventory, storage may be a challenge. This is something you want to address before ordering, rather than trying to figure out where everything is going to go once it arrives. A rented storage unit may be required if you run your business out of your home and don’t want to fill up your own garage with inventory for your pool company.
One thing to keep in mind here is the safety of storing pool chemicals. You’ll want to make sure you are on the right side of the law when it comes to storing these kinds of materials, and you might not be allowed to store them in an average rented space. Look around your area for possible spaces you can rent that serve commercial customers, as they may be more able to accommodate your need to store these kinds of supplies.
Consult Your Records
Knowing what to order at the start of the pool season can be a challenge, but your best bet is to look toward the past to make accurate predictions about the future. In other words, get started by looking at how much inventory you went through last year to serve your list of customers. Do you expect that list to grow in the coming summer, or stay about the same? If you are hopeful to grow your customer list by 10%, for example, you can easily use last year’s order as a starting point and then pad it slightly to account for the growth you hope to achieve.
Aside from the matter of ordering the right amount of supplies, another benefit of looking back through your records from last year is to spot opportunities that you may have missed. For example, if you see that you serviced one customer a few times but never sold that customer an add-on service that many other customers purchased, you can make a point to offer that extra service to that customer in the coming year. It can be hard to spot these kinds of upsell opportunities in the middle of a busy summer, so going through everything when you have a chance to take a deep breath in the winter months is a good strategy.
Using trends to accurately order inventory will require you to go back through more than one year of data on your business. It would be ideal if you have logged some basic statistics about supply usage into a spreadsheet, so you can easily sort it and move it around to undercover informative trends. The kinds of trends you are looking for here are patterns in inventory usage that would lead you to make informed predictions about what to expect in the upcoming summer.
For example, if your use of a certain part has been trending down for the last few years, you can probably expect that trend to continue – or, at least, not reverse and go in the other direction. Alternatively, if you have been using more and more of a given pool chemical in recent times, that trend line may guide you toward ordering more than normal for the upcoming season, so you aren’t caught with a low supply when you need it most. Gathering up data from the last few years of work – if your business goes back that far – can be a powerful way to order just the right inventory for what is to come.
A strong summer is essential for every pool maintenance company in the Midwest. You don’t want to be caught off guard without what you need to serve your customers, so stock up strategically in advance and jump into action as soon as your customers need service. Thanks for stopping by and we wish you well this summer!