The Irish Business and Employer Confederation (IBEC) has slashed its growth forecast for the Irish economy from 6.1% to 4.3%, along with the Economic Pulse index (which tracks business and consumer sentiment) has also fallen by 3 points - to 81 in April for a second month.
As energy price inflation, the war in Ukraine and ongoing global supply chain challenges continue to slow the economy, households are getting cagier about spending.
What does a slow down mean for Irish Trade Pros?
With rising prices and reduced purchasing power, home improvement activity will slow down, with many homeowners deciding to delay or shelve projects.
While the pool of work in the coming months will become smaller, the good news is that reputable tradespeople will always be in demand. And those tradespeople who know how to attract new customers and manage their business well will continue to grow.
Tradespeople Powering for Growth
Onlinetradesmen has been promoting qualified tradespeople since 2005, so we know how members continue to succeed regardless of the economy's performance. Here we share how they do it and how you can also navigate a slow down successfully.
Get a Business Website
Since the pandemic, Irish consumers rushed to online services. Now 68%* are doing more online shopping than before the pandemic.
With more buying decisions happening online, a business website offers a better return on investment than any other form of advertising.
All your marketing efforts should sprout from and lead to your website. It should be the first place where potential customers interact with you and learn about your business.
The good news is that creating a website is now an easy process and does not need to cost a fortune.
Onlinetradesmen offers a website builder tool with all membership plans. Plus, if you need help along the way, we also have services to help build and improve the quality and quantity of website traffic to your site.
Secure a Pipeline of Work
Critical to growing your business during a slowdown is finding job leads and building a pipeline of work while also choosing the jobs suitable for your business.
As we advertise on Google and other search engines when property owners search online for local tradespeople, we connect them with qualified trade professionals.
However, not all customers who contact you will be at the same stage of the decision-making process to hire. Some homeowners might be ready to hire, but others may only be at a research stage of their home improvement journey.
When property owners post a job to the Onlinetradesmen service, they are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible, including a start date and status in the decision-making process, i.e., budgeting, just looking or ready to hire.
As thousands of jobs get posted to our service every month, Onlinetradesmen members can scroll through a range of jobs posted via job categories and location - with the opportunity to win larger jobs, including fitting in smaller jobs around bigger projects.
Get Ratings & Referrals
Providing as much information about yourself, your service, and a competitive quote is all about making a good first impression and winning work.
However, reviews and ratings are also vital to generating new and returning business.
Although word-of-mouth is still important, many homeowners will now comfortably use online reviews when deciding to hire.
Successful members of our service have all basis covered in the referral game, including a professional website, a highly rated online profile, plus a good reputation.
A highly viewed online profile will show off the quality of work with photos, descriptions, and qualifications, plus plenty of 5-star ratings and reviews.
Onlinetradesmen makes it easy for our members to get reviews and ratings from homeowners who use our site. We also invest in search engine optimisation, so when homeowners are looking for trade services online, our member’s profile pages and ratings appear higher in search than other small business websites.
Read ‘5 Tips for Tradesmen & Builders to Get Online Ratings" to find out more.
During this inflationary period, self-employed and small business profit margins get hit hard by rising costs.
Therefore, trade pros need to make the most of trade discounts, get the best price on business expenses like insurance and reduce travel costs.
Tradespeople can save money by eliminating travel time for site visits when quoting for jobs using their phone, tablet or PC. Using technology to reduce presales expenses will save hundreds of euros on van and fuel costs and ensure more time on the tools.
Onlinetradesmen members get access to a club discount scheme which saves money on hardware, consumables, materials, tools, insurance, petrol and more. Plus, homeowners who post jobs can also request a meeting with trade members using our Video Site Survey platform. Setting up a site meeting can be facilitated anywhere, eliminating travel time, and saving money on travel costs.
Training & Development
Energy inflation combined with the release of new retrofit grants means that home energy efficiency projects like roof insulation, electric car charging points, and heat pumps will continue to rise in demand.
With technology driving advances in construction and energy-efficient home improvements, you will never go wrong with further education to enhance your skills, reduce reliance on external subcontractors or offer customers a more comprehensive service.
The Irish government is ramping up training provisions in retrofitting skills for energy efficiency, alongside upskilling, re-skilling and apprenticeship supports.
For businesses considering taking on an apprentice - a new employer grant sees an annual payment to employers of €2000 per apprentice per year and a €2,666 bursary for minority gender apprentices, effective from 01 January 2022.
Onlinetradesmen members get access to e-learning & exclusive online content along with a thriving community of like-minded trade professionals.
Protect Your Earnings
Keeping on top of cash flow and having cash flow processes in place, is important for self-employed trade professionals, especially as many must buy materials, tools, etc. upfront to get the job done.
Keeping cash flow steady will help keep you afloat but a blow for your business if you find it difficult to get clients to pay!
Read ‘Cash Flow Hacks for Tradespeople to find out more.
TradeyPay Escrow from Onlinetradesmen removes the uncertainty and hassle of collecting payments for your business - ensuring tradespeople get paid in full and on-time as agreed. TradeyPay Escrow is FREE for all Onlinetradesmen members, with transaction fees borne only by the customer.
Whether it’s building a pipeline of work, profiling your business online, saving money or removing payment headaches - thousands of qualified Trade Pros already enjoy great membership value while growing their businesses. Read their testimonials here.
*KPMG Irish Consumer Trends Post Covid