With thousands of constructions, home improvement and maintenance jobs posted each month on the Onlinetradesmen service, members nationwide have never been busier.
As a good tradesperson or trade professional, you are probably the same. You are busy - but are you working smarter?
The key to greater productivity is to work smarter - not harder. Working smarter also saves precious energy for the things that matter.
Read on for tips to working smarter and 12 questions to get you on a smarter working path in 2022.
Work On Your Terms
During the last recession, many tradespeople took on jobs that differed from their ideal job type to make ends meet.
We have seen builders who would prefer home extension jobs forced to take on small property maintenance gigs or heating contractors who wanted to focus on boiler installations drop down to boiler servicing to pay their bills.
You get the idea - it may even describe yourself at some point.
We have also seen trade pros and builders quote for work that involved hours of travel each week, builders from Wexford working in Dublin, carpenters working in Cork City travelling from Tipperary each day.
Big money spent on fuel, high costs with not a lot of profit at the end. Certainly, not a lot of time is left to spend on the things or with the people that matter, and not the most profitable use of time when other jobs are waiting to be completed.
That kind of practice might be just about viable in a recession when you're looking to get by, but it's not something any savvy tradesperson should be doing in today's environment. It can translate into thousands of euros in lost profits every year.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. What many tradespeople, doing odd jobs in far-flung far places tend not to realise, is the opportunity costs this kind of behaviour creates.
Being a smart tradesperson means taking advantage of the current increase in demand for your services on your terms.
Find Work in Locations that Support Referral Business
For any good trade professional or builder, reputation and word-of-mouth referrals are key to business success.
When demand for work slows down again – which, due to the cyclical nature of the Irish economy, is likely - reputation can often be what gets a good tradesperson through a downturn.
So, ask yourself… does taking on work you don't want to do, in locations you don't want to work in, contribute in any meaningful way to your reputation?
What kind of repeat business or referrals can a builder from Wexford doing property maintenance work in Dublin expect to get? And is referral business so far away, profitable anyway?
Build Online Credibility
Now consider this. If we offered you a magic telephone that generated enquiries for the type of work you wanted, even when you were asleep, would you turn it away?
The answer must be NO. But even still this is what thousands of Irish tradespeople are doing daily by not having a website.
Having a website is important because it helps to establish credibility. Plus, when combined with online ratings, it becomes very easy for new customers to find you.
Don't take our word for it – the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) have published studies that show tradesmen with a website earn up to €26,000 more per year. Can you afford to turn this away?
Get Paid On-Time & In Full
One of the biggest headaches or potential concerns for trade professionals is not getting paid in full for work delivered. It could be that the amount owed for a job is unpaid due to an unresolved issue or dispute. Or the job is finished, but the customer doesn’t have the funds to pay.
A recent UK report revealed that small business spends a total of 56.4 million hours looking for overdue payment, most of which is done in personal and family time. Does this sound familiar?
Cashflow is the lifeblood of any trade pros business, so if you are experiencing jobs where you are not getting paid 100% of the money owed, you know the challenges this presents and the stress caused.
Embracing an escrow payment service can help you overcome the many issues around getting paid. Working with an escrow account allows you to start a job with the confidence that money has been allocated to you for work you take on and money will be released on time and in full once you complete the job as agreed - no more discounts, write-offs or debt chasing.
A small exercise for you to consider...
As a tradesperson trying to manage a profitable business, it can be difficult to see the wood from the trees.
Sometimes it helps to take a step back and ask the hard questions.
To help get you started, the following questions are designed to help you understand if you are working as smart as you can be.
- What is your ideal job type - by category, by value?
- Over the last 12 months, what % of jobs have matched this ideal?
- How many of these jobs do you need to meet next year’s earning goal?
- What do you need to do NOW to reach that number of jobs?
- How many hours are you spending in the van each week?
- What would you do if you got more of that time back?
- How much are you spending on fuel each month/year?
- How much time are you spending chasing overdue payments
- Do you have control over your cash flow?
- How many projects have you not been paid in full?
- Do you have a website for your business?
- What kind of online reputation does your business have today?
The answers you provide will allow you to create a blueprint to work smarter and achieve your goals this year. Specifically, they will also show you some of the damaging gaps in your current work practices and allow you to address them. Good luck!
We can help...
At Onlinetradesmen our service is designed to help qualified tradesmen and builders work smarter by delivering real benefits including reduced travel, increased earnings & finding more time doing the things you love. We do this by providing the following:
- Local and relevant job leads that match your 'ideal' job preferences
- A full business website that you control
- Build your online reputation with validated online customer ratings plus a rating badge to help you promote your profile.
- Direct online sales enquiries
- 3 cents off petrol/diesel with Circle K
- Discounts on Tools, Insurance and more
- TradeyPay Escrow Service
- Member-Member Networking
- An online business support account
If you are a qualified tradesman you can contact our membership team today and see how we can help your business here.