When you’re searching for a business idea, you’ll spend a lot of time thinking about what constitutes a modern business. Businesses come in all shapes, sizes, and types.

However, even within this variation, it’s easy to expect a few factors that apply across the board. One of the main uniting factors that most of us would expect all businesses to have is their periods of operation— in other words, we’d expect a business to be open throughout the year. This, however, is not always the case; some businesses are only open for three or six months per year. These businesses are, unsurprisingly, known as seasonal businesses.

Do you find the idea of running a seasonal business tempting? If so, then here’s a starter guide to what these businesses can entail…

What kind of businesses tend to be seasonal?

Businesses that offer goods or products that are only required during certain parts of the year are perfect candidates. For example, in winter:

  • Christmas decoration businesses
  • Ski resorts and winter holiday providers

And in summer:

  • Kids activity groups for summer vacation time
  • Gardening and landscaping services

What are the advantages of seasonal businesses?

First and foremost, seasonal businesses can be rather lucrative if done well.  When a product or service is only available for a few months of the year, businesses tend to be able to charge a premium for that service. If you are looking for a business with an excellent profit margin, then seasonal businesses tend to deliver well in this regard.

The flexibility of seasonal businesses can also be hugely beneficial. Though seasonal businesses will usually operate year-round in some regards (more on this below), the schedule is generally more flexible during the off-season months. This can be beneficial for entrepreneurs with young children and other commitments.

Finally, weather management is a fantastic advantage for seasonal businesses. Many standard businesses find themselves surprised by severe weather fluctuations and issues, but seasonal businesses know what to expect during their select months of operation. A hotel that only opens during the skiing season knows they need to head to to protect their pipes from freezing and to keep a stock of de-icing fluid. Meanwhile, a kids’ summer club knows they need to buy plenty of sunblock and to head to for ideas on how to keep kids cool during the hottest months of the year.

The specialization their seasonal nature affords them ensures that these businesses are not surprised by unforeseen weather events; as they only operate in certain weather conditions, they tend to have the management of those conditions down to a T.

What are the disadvantages of a seasonal business?

Seasonal businesses do not have a huge number of disadvantages that are unique to this type of business only, but the one issue they do have is a pretty huge one: the lack of a reliable income. Seasonal businesses deliver income in fits and starts, as opposed to a steady income throughout the year. As a result, your financial management will have to be perfect so you can survive the fallow periods when the income stream slows to a trickle.

What do seasonal business owners do during their off-season?

Seasonal businesses will always have an aspect of their operation that goes on throughout the year. For example, a Christmas tree business will spend nine months of the year growing trees and planning advertising. So even when it may be the off season, there’s still plenty going on!

In conclusion

Seasonal businesses can be incredibly lucrative, but they also involve an element of unpredictability that many business owners struggle with. If you think you could handle the changeable nature of life as a seasonal business owner, then this type of enterprise could be the perfect choice for you.