What do you do to prepare your budgets, inventory and staff for the next year?
The main thing I do to prepare is clean up my storage unit and then negotiate with the supply houses. Other than that, we are always budgeting, running profit and loss statements and monitoring pools monthly to ensure they are profitable through chemical-use reports.
Preparing for next year always seems like a daunting task, but every year, we end up going about our business and planning as the year progresses … then magically the following year is already upon us. It is crazy how fast time flies and how some things worked out and some did not. I like taking those experiences and applying them to the daily, monthly and yearly management of our business. The supply chain issues over the past couple of years have emphasized planning and budgeting accordingly. (This is a great thing, by the way.) Run a report near the end of the season and find out how much stuff you bought. If you know you are going to use X amount of chemicals and/or X number of filters, pumps, heaters, etc., you can plan accordingly. This will save you money in the long run. You can negotiate better pricing and terms that result in more profit. This also ensures there is an allocation for chemicals and equipment to you for the following year. Your distributor appreciates it as well because this allows them to prepare. If you can store the items in a storage unit or a building you already have, see if the savings you get from buying better can pay for the storage. We also like to ensure our pools have proper chemical levels going into the colder months. Develop a plan of action or standard operating procedure to ensure you are not causing damage to the surface and equipment during the winter. If you manage and check the weekly chemical readings from various pools, you will see patterns. If there is something different in a pattern it will require attention — maybe the pool has a leak, or the service technician is not following the standard operating procedure, or there is something not being accounted for in a specific pool (think pool party, swimming lessons or doggy daycare).