If you have a particular skill as a tradesperson, then there are plenty of opportunities ahead of you. No matter what happens to the economy, or how wealthy your local area is, people will always need tradespeople. Boilers break down, pipes leak, and electrical equipment fails – and they always will. There’s money to be made, too – as long as you have the right skills, and can build up a great reputation.
However, to become a real success in your trade, you’ll need to take things much further. So, if you want to earn serious money from your trade, read on. We’re going to take a look at some of the skills you need to learn. And, we’ll investigate how to grow your business from a one-man band to a fully-fledged organisation. Let’s get started right away with some of the basics.
Lose the self-employed tag
OK, so as an independent or employed tradesperson, you will be able to build up a good level of income – but it won’t make you rich. Why? There are only so many hours of the day, and your hourly rate is somewhat restricted to market forces. People won’t pay you £100 an hour if they can get the same service for £35 from someone else. And, if you are working for yourself, you won’t be able to concentrate entirely on your money making activities. There will be bills to chase, quotes to write, marketing to get out there, and a lot more besides. This will trim down the amount of high paying work you can do by a significant amount. Of course, this can be a lifestyle choice, and many tradespeople are happy enough to eat what they do. But, if you want more, you have to look at other options. Growth should be the first thing on your mind, and starting a company rather than staying self-employed is just about the best option for you.
Develop your business skills
So, if you want true success and more money as a tradesperson, you have to develop your business skills. You have the technical skills, but now there is another side to your business that you need to improve if you want to progress. The first step is to get more comfortable with big numbers. Write down your expectations, and how you want your lifestyle to change. Look at how much you need to earn to achieve that lifestyle – it’s the first step towards making it happen. Next, you will need to use your industry knowledge to establish all your costs. How much will it cost to hire people? Will you need to ramp up your marketing? Also, think about how much money they will generate for you, and how many people it will take for you to scale up to the numbers you need.
Invest in people
Next, it’s time to start hiring people to work for you. As a skilled tradesperson yourself, you’ll know what you are looking for. Apprenticeship schemes can be a good starting point towards growth. Plus, you will find that they can often lead to a loyal and dedicated workforce. Take things slowly, though. You can’t expect to hire a significant number of tradespeople on full-time contracts if they have no work to do. It can be a slow process, but slow and steady is a far less risky way of approaching hiring than the alternative. Be good to your people, too. Successful companies pay fair. They also offer plenty of in-work benefits to their staff, including training opportunities. If you want growth, then these are the people that you will be relying on when it comes to getting the work done. If you look after them, they will represent your company in a much better light.
Invest in systems
The next step is to develop your organisational skills. You will need a way of working that involves accuracy, excellent planning, and lots of forward thinking. If you start to lose your grip on your job schedule, things can turn messy, fast. You will begin to double book jobs and workers, and your customers won’t be impressed. So, take a look around and see what you can find – there are plenty of systems and tools out there that can help your organisational efforts. Have a browse for service management software that can help you get a grip on your company activities. Find the right package for your firm, and you will find it easier to track orders, late payments, and worker’s productivity.
Find a niche
Also, think about developing your business into a niche area. For example, let’s say you are a tiler and have been doing up bathrooms and kitchens for all and sundry. You might do large homes, small apartments, and all kinds of different households with different incomes. But, there may be more money in other areas. You could look at importing natural stone tiles and focus on a wealthier market, for example. Similarly, if you are an electrician, you could stop doing the home callouts, and move towards large-scale commercial work. The jobs tend to be longer, need more workers, and pay a lot better. Finding a niche that you can serve can help you stand out a lot more as a company, and it gives your marketing message a lot more impetus.
Use your profits wisely
Finally, once you start making more money, what are you going to do with it? You won’t become a millionaire unless you start ramping up your volume of production. So, until you get to a point where the lifestyle you wanted is in sight, keep reinvesting those profits into growth. Pump money into your marketing to get a bigger reach, and hire people to fulfill all your orders in a timely fashion. Scaling up can seem risky, and to some extent, it is. But, with the right people and tools in place – along with the right work ethic – there’s no reason your aims can’t be achieved.
Good luck with growing your trades company – why not let us know how you get on?