Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham takes the helm again without any co-captain to steer the SS Daily Solutions through the rugged storms of float industry questions.
Today he answers a question about when the best time of year to open your float center. The important thing to remember is that, whenever you choose, you should plan for even earlier, as float centers are more likely to get delayed in construction.
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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: All right. Hello, once again. My name is Graham and I am the only one here. Start to get a little stir crazy after a while when you’re the only one in the studio answering questions about float tanks. I don’t know if that’s a documented neurosis or something, but it should be. Anyway, we have another question today for me from you and it is, “is there a best time of year to open up a float tank center, either a best season or a best month?”
Yeah, I think there is, I think there is a pretty acceptably good time of year in general to open up. We, when we were opening Float On, we actually opened October 17, and I think that that’s pretty darn near perfect, and we just kind of lucked into it. That wasn’t pre-planning on our part or anything like that. But especially for here in Portland, but largely everywhere, you’ll see a general attendance dip in the summer, universally referred to as the summer slump. And even in places that are kind of hot year round, you’ll see a little bit of a dip, especially in June and again in September, maybe not as much during the main hot months of the summer. But for places that have hard winters or just long winters, when it starts to get sunny outside, attendance in flat tank centers just kind of naturally drops off. I think a lot of people want to be outside on trails or out on lakes or rivers or oceans and not in a building in a room in a box inside their own head, literally the most inside that you could possibly be.
So summer tends to be a big drop off, and similarly and very predictably winter and specifically December is a really strong time of year. So December, for a lot of the float tank centers that I talk to tends to double their general sales for a month. And certainly the case with Float On. And that’s pretty much all in gift cards. So we’ll do the normal volume of sales in a month just in gift cards in December in addition to all the other floats that we’re running. So December is always just a huge month for us. So, that kind of sets the parameters for what we’re looking for for an open date is stay the heck away from the harsh summer months.
Our first summer felt like the first winter over here from the Pilgrims. Just like, man, if we can survive this first harsh summer, we’ll make it through. So, yeah, avoid the harsh summer and open in time to take advantage of the kind of influx of December gift card sales. So, yeah, for us here in Portland, the kind of summer heat winds down late September going into October, and of course December is always in December, so opening some time in that October/November range, at least for the Portland area is ideal. And for most places, too, sometime in there. September, October, November, I would say that’s really the best time of year to open if you can.
And the problem with that that we keep seeing is that construction tends to run over when you’re opening a float tank center. So if your goal is to open in October/November, it’s just a really common story for the contractors run late, they miss an inspection, whatever happened and now that October/November opening got pushed back to December/January, which then got pushed back to January/February, and all of the sudden you’re opening in the beginning of the new year. You’ve kind of missed some of the winter sales and now it’s the longest time period that you’ll have between when you open and the next December will roll around. So as far as actually opening your doors and doing business, certainly getting open October/November is the ideal, but nowadays, I kind of recommend people plan on opening for more like maybe June/July, and when things almost inevitable do run long, you kind of accidentally end up opening in the best time of year anyway. And if you open during the light times of month, treat it like a soft opening. You might not bring in as much immediate revenue as if you had opened straight on the ground running right into the fall months, but again, way better to kind of plan on opening a little earlier in the summer months, and then stagger your way into December, then planning on opening close to December and missing it altogether.
I think, I was just trying to think if there was anything else. I think that’s pretty much all I have to say about the best time of year to open. Def let me know if the trend is different where you are. Certainly places that have hotter summers or hotter winters in addition to hot summers tend to see less of that summer dip, but almost everywhere that I talk to, there still seems to be some kind of decline that happens especially around June and September, so if you can avoid that, all the better.
And yeah, if I’m totally wrong, go to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and let me know all about how things work differently where you are and we will talk to you tomorrow, hopefully with Ashkahn hot in tow. All right, is that even an expression? Hot in tow? I started saying that and I was like, I don’t even know if that’s a thing. Obviously I need Ashkahn around, it will be good having him back and good having you back listening to us tomorrow. All right. All right. For reals this time. Bye everyone.
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