Season's greetings! Christmas is a time to rest, a time to spend with our family and, of course, it’s a peak selling season, too. People are out on a spending spree, buying, traveling and enjoying this wonderful period of the year. In case you are somehow into the trade business offering or using fleet services, your business will (hopefully) be affected too. But, how can you make the most out of this great opportunity?
We have prepared a few words of advice to help you - as an outline of things you need to keep in mind - that will guide your steps. But first let’s make a few things clear.
What type of fleet services do you offer?
No matter what kind of fleet services your business offers or uses, your company’s needs will almost invariably be increased during this period. Take deliveries for example; everyone is out buying and sending out gifts for friends and family. They might indulge in a little self-treatment, as well. Then there is car rental services. People need just the right vehicle to visit family and relatives a couple of states away; and some of them may be in need of your services. Vehicles used to transfer equipment or personnel is another case. Think of those who might be interested in making some overdue house-repairs before they receive their relatives to celebrate Christmas. Great news for home repair contractors.
Of course, there may by quite a few other scenarios that match your offerings. Perhaps, pick-ups? There ought to be some benefit for your fleet in that. And the list goes on. In any case, since you are in that type of trade, market is subject to seasonal changes. And your business will be affected, too.
Well then, here’s a few tips to help you ride the wave.
Prepare your fleet services for the surge
“Christmas shopping season" starts as early as October”, according to Wikipedia’s Economics of Christmas. And if that sounds quite effusive well it’s not. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves: here’s a quick look at last year’s economic data. So, there is no doubt that there will, once again, be a massive surge in sales and in the need for services of any such type, as well. And though we’re little more than a week’s time away from Christmas there are still some things you can do to help your business benefit. You can, at least, keep a note of our advice for the future. (Christmas keeps coming round every year 😊 and that’s great).
Extra opportunities mean extra needs
Here you are, ready for Christmas and ready to grab the brass ring. And in case you are not that confident, we have gathered a few suggestions that will help you get prepared regarding any increased needs in vehicles, drivers, personnel and supplies. That is, along with a few additional tips you can take into consideration, to help you make the most out of this season. So, let’s get started:
Drivers and personnel
- Shift leaves: Encourage your drivers to shift their vacation time, if that’s possible, so that you are able to serve your customers better.
- Reward your personnel in advance: Give out bonuses, nurture your personnel and help them give their best, during this demanding period. That’s true for all of your employees; and much more so for your drivers, in a way, to leverage driver retention.
- Get extra personnel, if needed: You may need extra drivers or other administrative roles for a while. For example, you may need to consider some extra seasonal personnel to handle those increased phone calls or serve more customers, if that is part of your business.
Have your fleet of vehicles ready:
First of all, you need to make sure that all vehicles are proactively well cared for. There’s nothing worse than unexpected breakdowns. Letting down your existing customers because one (or some) of your vehicles was pulled out of service, is the last thing you want for Christmas. And, of course, falling short in serving new customers is definitely a recipe for disaster. Fleet maintenance should be of top priority for your business throughout the year; more so during this particular season.
There’s no erase and rewind, and you know it really well. New customers who might come to you during these days, will probably come and stay. In case there are extra needs you are not able to accommodate with your existing fleet services, such as additional deliveries or anything else, you may need to think of leasing as a contingency plan, to cover for the difference. Besides, this may also be an opportunity to set the grounds for cooperation with other professionals of the trade.
Buying new vehicles:
Last minute decisions regarding vehicle purchases, such as adding one or two vehicles to the lot, is usually not a wise tactic. Alternatively, we suggest that you try and balance things out, see if these choices you’re about to make during this “increased-demand” season also hide some kind of benefit for you in the long run. You may find it’s good enough a timing to find ways to grow your business altogether. Keeping one of the vehicles you have leased for that period may be an opportunity rethink any further expansion of your business. We’ve talked about this time and again in our blog. You can get started with some tips to grow your business.
Products and services
Plan your product supplies and prepare your fleet services accordingly. More specifically, you should plan ahead any extra demands for inbound freight/goods for sale. You can use data from the latest fiscal year to try and predict, if possible, how things are going to flow this year. In any case, you need to be well-prepared so that small rises or dips in workload won’t affect your business. Keep in mind, it’s better to be prepared than sorry.
- Promote your services: This holiday period is a great opportunity for business, but consider your competitors who are also out there with their eyes peeled for opportunities. Marketing is your ally in piercing through the noise in trying to keep a step ahead of competition.
- Beware of weather conditions: Take any weather changes into consideration. Winter is winter and, in some areas, it may be too harsh. Make sure you have a fresh batch of snow chains on standby for all your vehicles. And help your drivers prioritize safe driving during winter, as well.
- Traffic issues: Once everyone is out buying, having fun and driving around, there will definitely be traffic issues for your drivers to face, if they’re moving within the city. Make a plan, if possible, to help your drivers avoid congested areas during peak hours and choose alternative, more convenient routes.
When Christmas is “not your favorite period”
Though Christmas opens up a shopping season for the majority of businesses, this may not be true for what your business offers. In that case, you and your drivers can simply enjoy holidays and recharge your batteries. Your fleet services can get back on track, fully refreshed, once the spending splurge gracefully ends. And Merry Christmas!