I had occasion last week to talk to the owner of a modular homebuilder. We were discussing the positive market outlook and the state of the residential housing industry. As you can imagine, January is a slow housing month in pretty much the entire Northern Hemisphere. That’s why I was surprised to hear that this company had just brought on a couple of additional sales representatives and had kept their model homes open through the holidays. They are staffed right now, at this coldest time of the year, seven days per week. Why this burst of activity? Because there are homes being purchased, of course.

Granted, there aren’t as many homes being sold as there will be in April, May or June. And it would be a lot easier to man a model home during those warmer months to boot. The easiest thing would be to shut down during the holidays and take a nice, long break in warmer climes. In fact, this builder reported that was exactly what his competitors had done. This left his company as the only game in town. The company estimates that several dozen people in that area will commit to buying a new home in the next couple of months. His company will capture most of these sales by, as the old saying goes, simply showing up.

It’s the same in the door and window industry. We all like to take those short weeks during the holiday and nothing would be better during this cold snap than a tropical getaway. And while it is slower this time of year, there are also people setting up window purchases for the spring. This builder offers a very modest discount during the winter months to entice people to order ahead for the spring. Then he challenges his manufacturing team to recoup as much of the discount as possible to keep the earnings on the off-season sales intact. Regardless of the approach taken, this is the time for laying the foundation for the busy season. Whether it’s a few off-season orders to maintain momentum or hiring a new sales rep so they can cut their teeth prior to the busy season, smart companies are taking proactive steps to prosper.

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