Rain? Snow? How Will You Know?

Is it going to rain? Will it Snow? …When?

Few questions can have as much impact on your outdoor service jobs. So it’s no surprise that many service industry pros seem obsessed with the weather.

Yes, knowing the weather can save you time and trouble, but how much attention you pay to it is entirely up to you. And we see our customers approach this question in many different ways.

We see at least 5 types of Weather Watchers among our Customers

The “I don’t have time to care” guy – Working in a constant state of overload, this guy can’t afford to plan ahead for the weather. He just has to put his crew(s) out to do whatever work they can in the conditions that come about. He knows this can be inefficient, but for whatever reason, his only solution is to go 100% all of the time. If he gets rained out, he’ll deal with it then, but until the sky opens up, it’s go time. He doesn’t allow himself the time to think about the weather because he needs to pull out every working hour he can from each crewmember.

The “Old-Schooler” – Using methods that were tried and true when his father was born, this guy reads the weather forecast in the local paper in the morning and makes plans accordingly. Because the paper was written 12 hours before it arrived on his doorstep, he doesn’t get the most precise or up-to-date information, but it lets him plan effectively in many situations.

The “Cable Guy” – Dutifully watches the TV in the morning to see the local forecast and may even build part of his routine, so he can catch local on the 8s. He plans things accordingly and has a good feel for how the day’s weather will play out, especially in the morning.

The “SmartPhone Specialist” – Has figured out that the native apps on his iPhone, Android or Windows Phone give him better and more up to date info than he can get from the newspaper, Radio or TV, and it’s right there in the palm of his hand, all day long. He uses these apps, which give him content from sources like Accuweather or The Weather Channel, and he has updated data in the palm of his hand.

The “True Fanatic” – This used to be the realm of eccentrics with home barometers and wind veins. But, enabled by technology, there’s a new breed of weather fanatic out there, and he has huge amounts of data at his disposal. In addition to apps native or downloaded to his mobile device, the modern fanatic can draw upon all kinds of websites that tell him all he needs to know in real-time. He may check multiple sites for different reasons or to get different opinions. He sees knowing the weather as an important strategic tool that helps him be efficient and uses technology to build an advantage. But he must strike a balance and be careful not to go beyond what is useful and productive for his business.

5 Tips To Try

We know we don’t stack up to the true fanatics in knowledge and expertise, but we do know a couple of weather tools worth trying. If you’re looking to up your game, here are 5 to try:

  1. NOAA’s hydrologic prediction service (Will it rain?)
  2. Intellicast’s interactive weather map (A broad view)
  3. Weather Underground, with its vast network of observation points (a Granular view)
  4. NOAA’s graphical forecast site (Easy to understand at a glance)
  5. The Weather Channel’s online presence and Accuweather (Mirror your cable TV and phone apps)

In addition to these 5 national and global tools, check out the website of your go-to local television station. They might have even better coverage of local events than the national sites do.

So whether you’re hoping that snowstorm dumps dollars for your snow removal business, or you’re waiting to see if your crews can work a full day before the rain, you have lots of options and an interface to suit every taste. Just don’t get carried away.

Try these out and see if one works for you, or let us know your “Go-To” weather source in the comments!

The Go iLawn / Go iPave team

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