If you own a boating business, it can be a challenge to keep things up and running during the winter months, but it does not have to be. There are ways you can keep your business afloat all year round. There are about 87 million people in the United States that are recreational boaters. The opportunity to enjoy robust revenue streams is there; you just need to tap into it. Learn more about how you can attract customers to your boat shop in the winter months.
Added Value Services
One of the key ways to draw customers to your boat shop in the winter is to add some added-value services to your menu of services. For example, most boats on the water — about 95% — are less than 26 feet in length and are brought to the water by a trailer. Consider selling used trailers that have been refurbished at a cut-rate discount price, but only in the winter.
Adding special winter service at a discount will keep your current customers coming in during the winter months and add some new customers to your roster. Some other added-value services you can consider are:
- Re-upholstery service. Boat seats are notorious for not holding up well. Connect with an upholstery company and consider offering the service through your shop. This will provide a valuable service that will keep people connected to your shop during the winter.
- Boat storage. Consider offering a space to store boats for the winter.
- Service specials that are only good during the winter months.
There are plenty of ways you can provide your customer base with added value that will encourage visits during the winter months. Sometimes you must think outside the box. Get innovative and think about what you would want to find in a boat shop in the winter.
Use the Down Time Wisely
Boating is a seasonal business without a doubt, but that means that you will have plenty of downtime that you can put to good use. While you are in your off-season, spend some time working on your online business presence.
Shore up your social media presence by getting people excited about the upcoming season. Share valuable information about boating online, such as how over 86% of steel is usually recycled and how customers can purchase boats made out of recycled materials such as steel. This type of information can open up an entire conversation about how to pick the best boat for anyone’s lifestyle.
Focus your energy on connecting with other small business owners that are in the same boat because they are seasonal shops as well. Put your heads together and discuss ways you can increase interest during the off-season as a group.
Ask Customers What They Want
One of the best ways to drum up business is to ask customers what services they want from your business; then, consider providing those services. A short survey of your current customers can give you a great deal of insight.
You can use your email list or social media to ask what customers think your business is missing. Then, use that information to tweak your service offerings to meet their needs. Boating aficionados do not disappear in the winter; they get off the water and spend the winter months dreaming about when they can get back on the water. You can help them to stay focused and keep dreaming during the winter months by offering the services they would like.
Have a Plan
The time to put the wheels in motion to ensure you keep attracting customers in the winter is during the height of the season. Plans for your off-season should be in place when you are flush with customers during your in-season period. Having a plan in place for the winter season during the summer rush will give you the opportunity to tell your customers about all the great deals and services they should not miss out on in the winter.
You can keep your shop busy year-round with a little ingenuity. Try some of the things you learned here and watch how your business grows.
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn’t lost in a book or writing, she’s busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.