Tips for Tradie Small Business Owners


Many tradies aspire to start their own small business once they have the necessary skills and contact base behind them. It means they can set their own hours, pick the jobs they prefer, and work in a way that suits their personal style. It also presents the opportunity to make considerable profits if you’re good at what you do and getting your name out there.

However, there are numerous challenges and struggles involved that many tradies aren’t aware of prior to starting up their own business. Unless you’ve completed a training program that included skills on how to effectively manage a small business, most builders don’t have the business knowledge to unlock the full earning potential of their service.

Time management

When a tradie first establishes their own business, they generally don’t have the resources to hire too many employees or subcontractors. This means they’re forced to do all of the work themselves until they find their feet and are able to expand their team. Some prefer to work solo and never hire additional workers. This decision is entirely up to the builder, but it’s essential that they consider how their time is being spent.

One of the biggest business mistakes tradies make is trying to tackle everything themselves and spreading their time too thin. If you’re trying to do the labour, organise invoices, blueprints, draw up plans, order supplies and arrange quotes and manage your accounts all by yourself, then you’re bound to make mistakes or cut corners.

How to refine your small business

  • Invest in a quality website: in today’s day and age, if you don’t have a website, then you’re losing business to those who do. Word of mouth isn’t enough anymore and if you expect to stand out from the crowds, then you’re going to need to embrace the digital world. This means actively replying to online enquiries, providing photographic evidence of previous work and thoroughly explaining your services.
  • Hire a reliable accountant: handling your own finances to save money is a logical idea, but your time will be better spent focusing on the jobs themselves. Not only that, but an experienced accountant will know how to organise your accounts efficiently and accurately, ensuring you’re all squared away come tax time.
  • Get builders insurance: this isn’t optional, being a registered builder means you must be covered by the right insurance or risk being fined. This is especially true for tradie business owners. Depending on your setup, you may need coverage for public liability, workers’ compensation, vehicle and tools as well as personal accidents and illness.
  • Establishing a point of difference: why should customers choose you? Sure, you’re great at what you do, but that’s what every builder and trade practitioner says. What makes you better than them? Whether it be always cleaning up after you leave, working on jobs at flexible times or on weekends, providing quotes within 24 hours, or always calling 30 minutes before arrival. Whatever point of difference you pride yourself on, make sure you promote this to your clients on your website, advertisements and social media page.
  • Get social: speaking of social media, if you don’t already have a page dedicated to your business, you should get one. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to connect with a broader target audience and build brand awareness/positive referrals.

Construction supervisor

Utilise tradie apps to streamline your day-to-day operations

One interesting tip you may not be aware of is taking advantage of the many tradie apps available, which can make your life considerably easier. Imagine being able to access blueprints, task managers, share plans with your team, record quotes and change orders all in the palm of your hand. These apps are designed to make typically tedious and time consuming tasks efficient and hassle-free, meaning you have more time to focus on the projects themselves.

An example of one such app is Bridge, an innovative mobile based tool to help tradie business owners keep track of projects and monitor their status, along with a suite of other features. By taking your business online, this app allows you to store everything you need to know about your client’s jobs, invoicing, quotes and payment tracking in the one convenient place. This will give tradies the extra time they need to focus on expanding their business and growing their team.

Apps such as Bridge aim to streamline a tradie’s business by eliminating the piles of paperwork common with running a small business. This in turn allows them to be more effective with their time, and provide their customers a much better experience.

Most tradies use a plethora of devices, files, excel spreadsheets, physical calendars, ratty paper notes and email to manage site visits, quoting, invoicing and customer service. Apps like Bridge however, make quoting, invoicing and tracking payments much more straightforward.

  • Dashboard overview
  • All your jobs in one place
  • Generate professional quotes on the spot.
  • Receive important customer notifications
  • Everything is backed up on Bridge, never lose job notes, quotes or contacts again.