COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way Australians work and interact, but it has also posed a serious challenge for the construction industry. During the outbreak, many homeowners cancelled building and renovation projects because they were unable to work and bring money in. This meant that construction companies suffered heavy losses and saw their profits dry up over several months.
In response to the economic downturn, the Federal Government invested $688 million in a new HomeBuilder stimulus package. The package grants eligible Australians up to $25,000 to build new homes or renovate their properties. With these cash grants, the government intends to boost the construction industry and get tradies back to work.
Who is eligible for the HomeBuilder program?
It’s important to note that only certain people can apply for the HomeBuilder stimulus package. To qualify, individuals need to be earning less than $125,000 a year based on their 2018/19 tax return or later. Meanwhile, couples must be earning under $200,000 to be eligible. Those seeking to build or renovate homes for investment purposes are ineligible for the incentive.
What’s more, applicants can’t just use cash grants to pay off small building projects and additions to property like swimming pools and garages. The Federal Government states that applicants must use the stimulus payments to build a new residence that’s valued up to $750,000 (including land). The payments are also available to homeowners planning to make substantial renovations worth between $150,000 and $750,000. However, existing properties must be valued at less than $1.5 million before the renovation.
Australians have until December 31, 2020 to apply for the stimulus package, and construction work must begin within three months of the contract date.
What does the stimulus package mean for tradies?
While the HomeBuilder programme helps homeowners, it’s primarily designed to support millions of tradies who struggled amidst heavy COVID-19 lockdowns. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, building approvals fell by 4% in March, 1.8% in April, and 16.4% in May.
By offering cash grants on a deadline, prospective and existing homeowners will likely be incentivised to contract construction workers as soon as possible. It also means that 400,000 tradies who were at risk of losing their jobs due to record high cancellations may be busy with work again. The Federal and NSW Government are also contributing an additional $3.5 billion to the Western Sydney Airport metro project, which is expected to create 14,000 new jobs. Plus, with early 2020 home buyer incentives like the Commonwealth’s First Home Loan Deposit scheme, there are even more job opportunities available.
With stimulus packages and government support on the table, tradies can comfortably maintain their cash flow and keep paying the bills. This is especially helpful since new dwelling commencements have been declining since 2017 — a trend further exacerbated by the pandemic. Overall, the HomeBuilder stimulus package gives tradies a moment of relief during the harsh economic downturn.
How can tradies manage their jobs efficiently?
As more Australians are incentivised to purchase or renovate a home, trades businesses must be prepared for a wave of service requests. This doesn’t just involve hiring more workers and subcontractors, but it’s also about optimising processes with new tools and strategies.
Utilising job management platforms make it easy to process work orders, monitor everyone’s availability, and dispatch the right tradie for the job. The best apps even account for the distance between job sites and find optimal routes so tradies can arrive on time.
Another key strategy is to streamline quoting and invoicing. When done manually, these administrative tasks waste time that can be better spent serving clients. Luckily, there are plenty of apps available that automate job pricing, invoicing, and accounting, allowing tradies to focus on what’s important.
Finally, businesses should consider breaking down large projects into checklists. This helps tradies keep tasks in perspective and enables business owners to track job progress. Job management platforms like WorkBuddy also come with compliance features so that managers can design official construction Safe Work Method Statement checklists. Incorporating these safety checklists into workflows dramatically reduces the risk of hazards and injuries that often delay projects, cause employee burnout, and increase costs.
Trades businesses have a tough road ahead when it comes to recovering from the major setbacks created by COVID-19 pandemic. However, keeping up with industry developments and implementing the right solutions will help tradies pull ahead.
If your trades business is looking for a more efficient and safe way to work, WorkBuddy is the solution you need. From job scheduling and invoicing to project management and job safety and compliance, we provide the tools that will help you succeed. Request a free demo today to learn more about how WorkBuddy’s can optimise your operations.