Tips and Tools to Better Manage Seasonal Employment

Build Your Business
Author: Michael Russo | February 10, 2021

Managing seasonal employment is a balancing act for most roofing contractors. Getting that balance wrong during your peak season can hurt your wallet from a labor perspective.

A construction crew walks across a jobsite with cranes in the background
It's important to remember that seasonal employees' input and hard work is just as valuable as your full-time roofers'.

Ensuring you have the optimum staff available, with the right skills at the right time, can be daunting. Luckily, strategies and tools are available that can do everything from assigning employees to jobsites to organizing paychecks.

Often, this is where technology comes in. However, software offerings like When to Work or Salesforce are merely tools, not complete solutions to seasonal employment challenges by themselves. It's also important to note that technology expenses are not a one-time investment. In reality, technology functions more like a vehicle expense: Just like a truck wearing out or needing a new transmission, you'll have to update your software every few years. Some programs offer updates for free, while others do not, so be sure to do your research upfront.

Before looking for a solution, contractors should first take a hard look at their operations and ask themselves: "How can we manage seasonal employment better?" Take the time to understand your business processes before trying to fix them — technology can't solve a bad workflow.

Using Online Management Systems and Scheduling Software

Scheduling software is one tool small business owners are using to manage seasonal employees. Some contractors may feel the easiest solution is to simply create an Excel spreadsheet for seasonal employees. Update it every week, print it out, hang it up and voila!

However, a dedicated scheduling software program offers additional features that are key to managing seasonal employees, such as:

  • Notifications that remind employees it's time to get to work.
  • Notifications that tell employees there's a new schedule.
  • Real-time updates that show shift changes or cancellations.

Scheduling everyone in the same system creates a written record of employee activity that may come in handy later if the business is ever audited. In the future, if anyone needs to know who worked on a certain day, for a certain shift, you won't have to rifle through handmade schedules or digital records to get an answer.

In general, the more bells and whistles the software company puts into the system, the more complex and expensive it will be. Decide what data you need to manage seasonal employees, and look at the program's features accordingly.

Rather than hunting all over the internet looking for workforce management software, use a site like GetApp that shares user reviews of various software packages.

Increasing Office Efficiency

One important goal is to increase your office efficiency so that when seasonal employees swell the ranks, it doesn't create any undue strain on you or your administrative staff. Technology can help alleviate this problem.

Online programs for eliminating administrative tasks generally come in two categories: sharp-edged tools that focus on one business aspect like scheduling or payroll, or more comprehensive packages that offer wide-ranging capabilities.

In the latter category, one e-commerce platform that is designed specifically for roofing companies is Beacon Pro+. This program includes automated workflow for ordering roofing materials, live pricing, delivery tracking, a connection to the JobNimbus project management platform and much more. Simplifying recurring tasks, like ordering materials, can give you more time to work directly with your employees and clients.

Improving Office-to-Field Communications

No matter how sophisticated computer systems and office practices are, fieldwork is what contractors sell, and it's where profit battles are won and lost. The bigger the business becomes, the harder it is to avoid office-field communication gaps, especially when using seasonal employees.

For these reasons, pre-job meetings become even more important to institute expectations from seasonal employees, gauge their thinking and attitude and establish production milestones. Be mindful not to treat your seasonal workers like "temps": Their input and hard work is just as valuable as your full-time roofers'. With these interpersonal tips and some smart tech solutions, seasonal employment challenges can turn into opportunities when you're looking for full-time qualified labor down the road.

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