Charlie Mullins OBE and founder of Pimlico PlumbersChristmas is getting closer. Whether you love it or loathe it, for a small business owner, it’s a golden opportunity to reel in new custom. Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers, shares his thoughts on how to use the holiday season to your advantage and avoid end up looking like a Christmas turkey!

When I started out as a self-employed plumber I had a simple plan, which was to base my business on not doing all of the things that seemed to antagonise people about my fellow tradesmen. This didn’t seem to be anything approaching genius to me, more like common sense, but it proved to be a winning strategy, especially at Christmas.

All I did was turn up to work on time, when I said I would; finish the job before running off to another customer; charge a fair and transparent hourly rate, be clean, tidy and respectful of people’s property, and perhaps above all else, be available when people needed my services, not just when it suited me.

We’ve all heard friends and family moaning about the builder, plumber, electrician, who for most of the year, when it suits them, is your best friend in the world. But all of a sudden, when there’s a bit of Christmas cheer (and beer to be drunk), you can’t seem to get them to answer the phone.

To be honest, you don’t have to be a particularly skilled business person to win a customer in this type of ‘open goal’ situation. All you need to do is be there, and get the job done, and you’re the bloke that saved Christmas. And guess what? Next time that customer needs your service, who are they going to call? Not the company that took the money all year, and then when it really counted was nowhere to be found, that’s for sure!

I’m not suggesting that you should offer any less of a service over the festive period, but it’s a stressful time for people. So what I am saying is that if you save a family’s bacon (or Turkey dinner) at this time of the year, you’re going to be written into folk law, and the other crowd are about as popular as your great Uncle, who always eats too many Brussels sprouts!  And if your customer happens to be a business that needs to be open over a holiday period, and most likely is relying on doing some bumper business, then the money spent on your service is small beer compared to what they stand to lose, should they not be able to open.

And if you’re going to get serious about rounding up a few new customers at Christmas I would strongly recommend you make it part of your seasonal business plan to advertise your intended presence well in advance. Make sure people know that you are the ‘go to’ company over the Christmas period; get the marketing right, and like me, you will soon have a reputation for being available, anytime. It took me a number of years, but nowadays, when somebody says, ‘OMG it’s Christmas, and the boiler’s packed up!’ or ‘The Christmas dinner is half cooked and the electricity has gone off!’ friends will chime in with “Call Pimlico Plumbers, they work at Christmas!”

KashFlow is easy to use bookkeeping and payroll software that can help streamline your work processes freeing up more time for you to bring in new clients and keep your business competitive. To find out how we can help claw back more time for your business whilst helping you profit in the process, just call the KashFlow Onboarding Team on 0344 815 5779  for a quick 1-2-1 demonstration of the software.