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Become a Sustainable Tradesperson: Attract Clients, Save Money, Boost Reputation
Kelly Ohlmus

Become a Sustainable Tradesperson: Attract Clients, Save Money, Boost Reputation

Learn how sustainability attracts more clients, boosts your reputation, and saves you money. Practical tips for tradespeople to go green and grow their business.

Picture this: You're attracting more clients than ever, your business has a reputation as a leader in your field, and you're seriously cutting costs in the process – all while taking steps to protect the environment.

This isn't some unrealistic dream; it's what sustainable practices can bring to your trade business.  

More and more consumers care about the environmental impact of the companies they work with, and that includes tradespeople.  Let's dive into how sustainability can be your secret weapon for success in a rapidly changing industry where sustainable materials and methods are the key to staying competitive.


Sustainability IS Profitability

Customer Demand: Studies show that a significant percentage of homeowners actively seek out environmentally conscious contractors. By embracing sustainability, and understanding new materials and techniques, you're opening doors to a whole new market segment.

Reputation and Referrals: A commitment to sustainability makes you stand out, positioning you as a leader at the forefront of industry standards. Happy clients will recommend a business that aligns with their values. This leads to priceless, organic growth.

Lower Operating Costs: Think beyond the initial investment in energy-efficient tools or a hybrid work van. These choices translate to lower fuel bills, reduced material waste, and long-term savings that seriously boost your profitability.


Practical Steps for Sustainable Trade Practices

  • 3 Focus Areas

Material Choices: Do your research and get familiar with innovative options like bioplastics, hempcrete, recycled steel, and low-carbon concrete. These offer environmental advantages without sacrificing performance. 

Waste Reduction: Implement on-site recycling, explore creative ways to upcycle leftover materials, and choose suppliers that minimise packaging waste. This aligns with the circular economy model gaining traction in the industry.

Energy Efficiency: Invest in top-rated tools, consider fuel-efficient vehicles, and even optimise your office or with energy-saving practices. Align with best practice green building standards like BREEAM or LEED.


  • Start Small

Focus on Procurement: Commit to researching one sustainable alternative for a material you buy frequently. Even if you don't switch immediately, understanding the options is a great first step.

Waste Audit: Dedicate one day to closely track the waste generated on a job site. Identify areas where you could reduce, reuse, or recycle materials more efficiently.

Office Optimisation: Assess how energy-efficient your office or workspace is. Look into simple changes like smart power strips to reduce standby power consumption, or switching to digital invoicing and documentation.

Client Communication: Include a brief section on your website, Onlinetradesmen profile, or in your job quotes outlining your commitment to sustainability. This sparks awareness even if a client isn't specifically seeking eco-friendly services.


  • Do your research

Trade-Specific Suppliers: Check with Builder's Providers and suppliers you already work with. Many are expanding their inventory with sustainable options. Ask them for recommendations or a catalogue of their "green" materials. 

Irish Green Building Council (IGBC): While not a supplier directory itself, the IGBC website is a valuable resource. For example, The Construction Materials Exchange platform is an option to exchange or trade excess materials helping you transition to the circular economy.


Marketing Your Eco-Commitment

It's Not Bragging, It's Branding: Proudly highlight your green initiatives on your website, social media, and even printed materials.

The Power of Case Studies: Did you transform a kitchen using reclaimed wood? Document the process! Before/after photos and brief descriptions of sustainable projects are powerful marketing tools. 

Partner with Like-Minded Businesses: Collaborate with suppliers specialising in sustainable materials or other environmentally-focused businesses on promotions or events. This demonstrates your commitment on a wider scale.


Did you transform a space using sustainable materials? Document the process! Before/after photos and brief descriptions of sustainable projects are powerful marketing tools. As an OnlineTradesmen member, you can get your best projects featured in front of over 2M homeowners and businesses across our platforms.  Join today and make your work shine!


The Future is Green – Get Ahead of the Curve

Government Incentives/Regulations: Stay up-to-date on tax breaks or grants for eco-friendly upgrades, and be aware of changing building codes that might emphasise sustainability. This makes you adaptable and an asset to your clients.

Upskilling for Success: The construction industry is rapidly evolving, and sustainable skills are in high demand. Explore training programs focused on green construction, energy efficiency, and the use of sustainable materials. Resources like ETB's Construction Careers platform are a fantastic place to discover training options that fit your goals.

Competitive Advantage: By being a sustainability leader today, you're future-proofing your business, and outpacing competitors who will have to play catch-up.

Being a sustainable tradesperson isn't about sacrificing profit; it's about embracing innovation, making savvy choices for your business, your clients, and our world.

This week, commit to researching one eco-friendly alternative to a material you commonly use.  Small steps lead to big changes!

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