3 Simple Steps To Being a Better Tradie!
Posted by Tony Ozanne at March 7th, 2014
So, you’re a Tradie- awesome, I love your work!
Whether you are a builder, electrician, plumber, plasterer or another trade, in the majority of cases you are pretty good at what you do (you wouldn’t be doing it otherwise would you?). But how would you like to be even better and develop some points of difference over the ‘noise’ that is out there in your competitive space? You would, also awesome!
Let me give you three simple tips that can make your business even better and allow you to maximise your earnings for yourself.
1.Don’t attempt to do everything yourself – get help!
I’ve seen this too many times with trade based businesses, you work all day on site, then you come home knackered and just wanting to relax and have a beer or catch up with friends and family BUT you haven’t done your invoicing, payroll, B.A.S, Super, ordering, update your website, posted the latest job photos and comments to social media etc.
Look at it this way. What is your hourly rate you charge out at? Lets say it is $150 per hour (and maybe it should be or higher if it isn’t but that’s another topic). Now make a list of all the things you currently do for your business, then determine how much time you spend on doing them (in hours). Are each of these tasks worth you at your current hourly rate to complete? I’ll bet they aren’t, in other words would you pay someone that rate for the amount of time you take to complete them?. If it isn’t, then outsource the task to someone who charges less, and in most cases, due to this being their area of expertise, they will do it quicker than you as well.
Let’s have look in more detail.
Assume you manage all your own books. You probably spend 4-5 hours a week easily (probably more) entering, invoicing and running payroll, doing bank transfers etc. That’s $600-750 of your time! A Bookkeeper can cost anywhere from $40-90 per hour on average but lets say $70 for the exercise, this means if your outsource this activity alone it will cost you $280-350 for the same time, but probably less as it wont take them 4-5 hours to do. And the bonus is, you have now claimed back all that time each week!
I encourage you to look at all the tasks you do, and complete the same activity with your costing for your time and see what time and money you can save!
2. Collect your money upfront – You aren’t a bank!
When it comes to getting your hard earnt money, trade based businesses are often used as the bad example even though the progressive ones are getting much better. Everyone has the classic story of the tradie who turned up, did the job and said the bill would be posted, but it never arrived- great for the customer, not so good for your cash flow!
Given technology and back end business management software systems it is now much easier to collect money on site, or even before starting work. Establish what your policy is for commencing works (especially is large jobs) as you need to mitigate your risk by securing a commencement deposit before any work is done or implement payment on completion and on site via EFTPOS, PayPal via iPhone, Cash etc. Gone are the days where you should be telling the customer they will get a bill in the mail and payment will be due in 30 days! The added bonus of this is that it will more than likely reduce the administration work for you later as well (or for your bookkeeper you have engaged).
I have recently had the need for a few trades at my own home and had an oven repairer who, after finishing the work pulled out his notebook, connected to his Wi-Fi, asked for my email and how I was paying, swiped my card on his mobile EFTPOS, and bang, there was the receipt and a thank you note in my inbox before he left! I have also had another one who fixed an issue very promptly and efficiently about 9 months ago and I haven’t received any bill even though I have asked about half a dozen times! Which business would you sooner be?
3. Automate where you can – It saves your time, which you can use for making more money!
As I mentioned earlier, innovation and technology has made business automation much more accessible and affordable. Look at your business and see what processes are repetitive and can possibly be automated and find a system for them.
There are countless areas of opportunity here, such as quoting proposal software like Quote Roller, Time booking systems for clients to self book and you get an email into your inbox and calendar like Time Trade, CRM systems to manage the full data and contact details of client interactions, mailing systems to track and communicate to your clients for building on repeat business, electronic links to suppliers ordering systems, payment systems, invoicing and collections systems either via your accounting software or other tool, the list goes on. The key message is that you can run your business more efficiently by adding some technology and automation, so why not do it?
These are just three simple areas that could have a profound impact not only on your businesses efficiency and profitability, but also your time- either for creating more income, or for having a better work-life balance. If you are unsure what areas of opportunity exist to automate, or improve some of your business processes then get some more expert advice (such as a coach) or ask your trades mates who may in fact have some of these already in place. There is no shame in seeking help from others, and in fact those that do seek the guidance of others are usually the most successful. As much as we think we know everything – we don’t!
To find out how to Automate your business, grab my FREE Automation Cheat Sheet here
Best of luck!
‘more than a Business Coach’