There’s nothing more exciting than taking charge of your career and starting your own trade business. You get control over the jobs you take, the people you work with, and the wages you’re paid. You’ve also likely worked as a tradie for years, so doing a great job and making clients happy should come easy.
However, mastering your trade doesn’t instantly guarantee business success. Much like new construction projects, you need to set a strong foundation for your business. Here’s what you have to do.
Formulate a detailed business plan
A carefully considered plan gives you a clear image of the company you want to establish. It even lets you anticipate challenges and determine what you need to meet your goals and outperform competitors. There are seven elements that must go into a business plan:
- Executive summary -a brief overview of your business plan, complete with general company details, mission statements, and services offered
- Summary of services – highlights the unique services you provide, their benefits to customers, the associated costs, and net revenue expected from a sale
- Market analysis – research on industry trends, customer demographics, and competitor performance
- Organisational structure – outlines the company’s internal framework, owner information, management team responsibilities, and description of departments
- Marketing and sales strategy – an explanation of how you’ll promote your business, acquire new clients, and increase sales
- Funding and projections – how much money you need to grow your business and a financial forecast for the next 5–10 years.
Keep in mind that you may need to hire trade business consultants for certain aspects of the plan. This is especially the case when it comes to finance and marketing. An expert perspective can help you set a reasonable budget and sustainably turn a profit with each job. Plus, they may have insights on the latest market trends, so you can update your service offerings and win more clients.
Understand your legal requirements
Tradies must have certain licenses and permits to run a business in Australia. A construction business, for example, needs a license for high-risk work and a building industry licence, among others. Note that licence and permit requirements will vary from state to state and the nature of your work. To find out which ones apply to you, go to the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website.
In addition to licenses, you must have a clear grasp of the health and safety regulations governing your sector. Visit the Safe Work Australia website to ensure you’re up to date with the latest legal obligations.
Get the right tools
Never go to a job site without high-quality equipment. Evaluate your services and think about what tools you’ll need to do each job well. A universal toolbox should have a flat- and Phillips-head screwdriver, pliers, claw hammer, tape measure, level, torch, electric drill, and hacksaw. Also, take note of any special equipment requirements like refrigerant scales and bulldozers.
From there, consider your payment options. Universal tools are generally affordable enough that you can buy new ones off the rack. Expensive specialist tools, on the other hand, may need to be purchased secondhand or leased. If you’re a small business, take advantage of the instant asset write-off and claim a deduction for recently purchased equipment. Short-term loans are another option to finance your purchases, so there’s no excuse to be under-equipped for a job.
Insure your business
Regardless of your trade, it’s important you’re covered by the right insurance plans. For starters, you need public liability insurance to cover compensation for any bodily harm and property damage you may have caused to a third party. Workers’ compensation is required to pay for tradies who suffered a physical injury in the workplace. Other vital insurance plans include commercial motor, equipment, and income protection.
Develop a strong recruitment strategy
Skilled workers are the foundation of a successful business, but acquiring them can be a challenging task. One surefire way to find new talent is by posting job ads on popular recruitment sites like SEEK and Gumtree. You can also outsource work to subcontractors during busy periods to manage increased workloads.
Then, make sure your recruitment message resonates with potential workers. Does your company provide enough incentives and support to attract and retain skilled workers? Recent surveys found that boosting compensation, improving benefits, and providing training opportunities are keys to recruitment.
Streamline work with technology
Embracing advanced technology can set the tone for your company’s performance. For instance, cloud-based accounting platforms like Xero, QuickBooks, or MYOB Online make it easy to manage your books. Tradies can use these apps to generate and track invoices, offer various payment options, and create detailed expense reports.
The most important piece of tech every trade business must-have, however, is job management software like WorkBuddy. The platform is designed to help tradies schedule jobs, quote and bill projects, track expenses, and complete quality checks. It even has a centralised operational dashboard where you can monitor job progress and manage tasks. All this enables you to produce high-quality work and make clients happy.
Don’t underestimate the work that goes into setting up a trade business. It requires meticulous preparation, well-executed strategies, and first-rate tools. Install WorkBuddy today and build a foundation for your business that’s built to last. Contact us or book a free demo to learn more.