On a Thursday the twins have football training and I always give their friend a lift home after the session. This week I asked him why he didn’t have his scooter with him as he always has it usually. He made me smile when he said he wouldn’t be bringing it anymore as he was preparing for snow! I asked him how he knew it was going to snow and he said I don’t but I want to be prepared as last year we all got caught out by the snow! Great thinking for a 12 year old eh?! but it got me thinking… with Christmas literally weeks away the next thing we need to start thinking about is preparing our business for the cold weather that is predicted after Christmas. So what do we need to do?
1. Prepare your vehicles – When was the last time you checked your tyres? Having good grip is essential when the roads freeze over. Do you know how much charge is left in your battery? A sudden drop in temperature is all it takes to suddenly drain your battery completely and of course its bound to be just as you are setting off to set up a big job! Make sure your fan is working to clear those frozen windscreens as quickly as possible on frozen mornings and stop you fogging up! When the really adverse weather hits and the land is smothered in that white stuff make sure you have a tank full of petrol and an emergency essentials pack in the boot with shovels, blankets, in-car phone chargers and even flasks of soup in case you get stranded somewhere! If you are travelling any sort of distance then it is a great idea to ring the venue and just check out what the weather conditions are like there before heading out blindly.
2. Prepare your property – Whether working from home or a retail premises make sure your customers can easily get from their car to your property to collect their balloons to reduce the risk of slipping and injury.
3. Prepare your customers – collecting balloons from you in the freezing cold brings a whole host of things to consider. Helium balloons are really affected by the cold. You only have to walk out the front door with them and you can feel them shrivelling up immediately. Explain to customers that balloons should never be left in the car whilst they nip to pick the cake up or until little Johnny has gone to bed. Neither should they be left in a cold garage/shed/conservatory! Whilst they can have the heater on in the car on the way to pick them up they shouldn’t have it roasting hot and they shouldn’t put the balloons in the footwell where the heat is billowing out. When they get home its also important to avoid draughts and not put them right next to the radiator. Educate your customers through social media prior to collection but you can also give them balloon care cards like the one we have here for you to download. Click on the link and get an easy 4 to a page download for you to print and use.
4. Prepare on site! Where possible you are much better to prepare helium balloons at the venue than try and transport them in the cold. Where this isn’t possible then try and keep journey times to a minimum and warm your vehicle slightly before putting the balloons in. Usually then helium balloons will self inflate again when they get back to the warm but be prepared with spare stock in case this does not happen. Air filled designs are slightly less susceptible to the cold but foils will still go soft in the cold and will need to be allowed to settle in a warm room before being handled if part of a bigger design.
5. Prepare your extreme weather policies What clause do you have in your terms and conditions for exceptional weather making it dangerous to travel? In my business I have the following clause:
○ In severe weather conditions e.g. snow or ice, Sonia’s Balloons will endeavour to travel to your venue providing public highways and the route to your venue are safe to drive on. If such conditions prevents Sonia’s Balloons from travelling to your venue then hire and set up would be postponed until the hirer has re scheduled for another date. Please ensure that you are fully insured for such events as Sonia’s Balloons are not and cannot be held responsible.
You will want to consult with your legal adviser as to what you should put in your policy. When taking bookings for times of year where they may be affected by the cold weather it is worth explaining any cold weather clauses you have in your business so customers understand what will happen if you are unable to get to the venue.
Do you have anymore top tips for preparing for the usual mayhem caused by the white stuff in the UK?
If so I would love to hear them so we can share with more business and keep balloon business flying through the anticipated cold spell!
Until next time – Stay awesome!
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