THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS

7 productive things to do during tax season—that aren’t taxes

by Brian Sodoma

It can be a time-consuming slog to finalize taxes this time of year, but it’s also a great time to reflect on operations, marketing and other things that can make the coming year a success—and make next tax season a breeze. Here are seven things to do during tax season that don’t involve answering to the IRS:

1.) Review labor costs, employee records

While you’re knee-deep in financials, it’s a great time to review bookkeeping you’ve deferred and set up processes to keep items organized throughout the year, says Josh Brill, director of business development for Knowify, a project management software for contractors.

“It’s a good time to review projects, labor, inventory, employee records,” Brill said. “If you work with part-time or seasonal employees, for example, it’s tougher to keep track of those records, such as their payment and hours, on a project-to-project basis. Set up a system to track these things on a case-by-case basis, so you can keep an active record throughout the year.”

2.) Evaluate profitability

Tax season is also that time of year when contractors learn, sometimes painfully, whether their business was really profitable or not, Brill said. Evaluate which types of projects actually made money and which ones didn’t, then look at why, he added. This evaluation may help you shift strategy to find more profitable work in the future.

3.) Earn business through customer follow-ups

It’s also important to move marketing into high gear in the spring. Logan Shinholser of Full Sail Marketing, an agency that works exclusively with contractors on digital and other marketing strategies, encourages painters to follow up with those winter interior-job customers to see if they will also be needing exterior work done.

“They already know, like and trust you, so the hard part is done,” he said. “It can cost, on average, five times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.”

4.)Invest in video

While the marketing bug is buzzing, Shinholser advises painting professionals to create video to use on their website and in social media. Video helps you earn customer trust and adds credibility, the marketing pro said, and it’s simply “the best way to stand out among your competition,” he added.

5.) Prepare to hire for the busy months

Tax season is a good time to prepare to hire for those traditionally busy months, say August through October for painting pros in four-season climates. Hiring for the busy months today allows for onboarding before things get hectic, said Art Snarzyk, owner of InnerView Advisors, which works with contractors on hiring and retention.

6.) Consider adding an assistant

It’s also a good time to consider adding that administrative assistant position you’ve been putting off all winter long, Snarzyk added. That position can help you get estimates out faster and take away office work to free you up for valuable face-time with customers and prospects.

7.) Remember safety

As crews transition from winter interior work to exteriors, you may want to consider gathering safety documents and meeting with crews to talk about safety outdoors, Snarzyk added.

“They’ve been inside all winter. It’s time to talk about working on ladders, heat stroke … all those things you’ll be too busy to address during the busy season,” he said.

Find more articles on business advice for painting professionals at inpaintmag.com

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