Running a trade business can be tough. There are many advantages to being your own boss and calling the shots. But, there are also overheads and business expenses to keep on top of to ensure your business runs smoothly. Ensuring that you’re marketing your tradie business, quoting competitively, invoicing on time, staying on top of the books and have the right gear are just some of the many things you’ll want to actively manage, and that’s before you even pick up the tools.
At Hirepool, we’ve been working with tradies for over 60 years, so we know a thing or two about what it takes to run a trade business. Because we believe in working smarter (not harder) our team have compiled 5 quick tips for spending smarter in your trade business.
This one is a tip for young players and a good reminder for experienced tradies. Your time is money when you’re charging by the hour. While no job ever goes perfectly to plan, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by making sure you sight the job in person and spend a little extra time working out what may slow down or derail a project. If appropriate, communicate these to the client. It’s a great way to build trust and they’ll likely thank you for making a contingency plan rather than taking the ‘she’ll be right’ approach, only to be surprised later.
Underestimating both the time it will take you to do the job, the actual cost per hour per employee and the cost of materials are just some of the ways you might be under-quoting for jobs. Even ‘un-billable time’ - the hours spent not on the actual job itself but in onsite meetings, health and safety briefings or waiting for weather to clear or materials to arrive are a cost to your business. Understanding how many hours a job actually takes and pricing and quoting accurately could help you significantly increase your profits.
It might seem obvious, but investing in quality gear for your business is one of the ways that you can actually save money over time. More expensive gear will likely last longer and be more reliable when you’re on the job, so if you’re just starting out, it’s wise to invest in the best quality gear you can afford at the time.
Look out for sales and hold out for retail holidays if you can. Always shop around for the best price and take advantage of trade discounts.
Make sure that you take care of your gear too! Keep your tools and equipment clean and your trade vehicle organised to save on maintenance and repair costs and improve your efficiency.
While this isn’t true for all tools in your collection, it could be worth considering for bigger pieces of equipment or gear you don’t use frequently. Hire gear from Hirepool is top of the line, professional standard gear.
While you may be able to buy a cheap piece of kit that may cost you not much more than a day's hire, professional-grade hire gear will typically deliver a much better user experience and finish.
Hire gear is regularly maintained so it’s always in good working order when you need it. You can save on the high upfront purchase cost for gear that’s likely to take up precious space in your work vehicle gathering dust.
Access to affordable gear hire might mean that you can advertise and take on a border range of jobs, while keeping your costs low. Build the cost of hire into your quote and get the job done smarter and faster, without compromising on the quality. Plus at Hirepool you can easily book gear online and pick it up on the way to the job or have it delivered to site so you can spend more time actually getting the job done.
How will people hear about your business? For most tradespeople, word of mouth and referrals are the most powerful forms of advertising. If this is the case for you, make sure this is prioritised in your marketing plan.
Collect and use testimonials and endorsements, and make sure to take or request images of the work you have completed. Consider setting up a referral discount for new clients so they feel good recommending you to their friends and family.
Take advantage of free and cost-effective online marketing channels. Promote yourself and your business on social media channels like Facebook (pages, groups and marketplace) and Instagram to get in front of new clients. Set up and regularly update your Google My Business listing to help local clients find you easily. It’s free to do so and can really help people in your local area get in touch with you quickly.
Be wary of over-investing in traditional media like newspapers or branded apparel. While this still has a place in your marketing strategy, you want to be selective and look at the marketing efforts that are likely to generate the right kinds of jobs for your biz. Try local listing sites like builderscrack.co.nz and Neighbourly instead.
If you got into a trade, chances are you wanted a hands-on, practical profession instead of an office job. If being on the tools is how you make money, then it’s wise to spend your time doing that and outsource some of your accounting and invoicing.
Employ an accountant or invest in easy accounting software to help you stay on top of bills and invoices on time. If managing the paperwork isn’t your strong suit, employing someone else to help with this rather than spending hours muddling through yourself might be more cost-effective. After all, your time might be better spent meeting clients to scope new projects and actually getting the job done.
There are also a handful of tax breaks and government help you may be eligible for if you are a sole trader. Know what these are and how to take advantage of them to save a bit of extra cash.
Hirepool is here to help with your trade business. Come and see the team to hire all gear you need to get your trade job done smarter. Book gear easily online now or call into your local Hirepool branch to chat about if a trade account is right for your business.