Digital tradie


5th March, 2020

The rise of the digital tradie

With more than 250,000 residential trade businesses in Australia, it’s surprising to find that some tradies are behind the eight ball when it comes to technology.

Successful tradies need to be on top of not only their trade but invoicing, quoting, marketing, banking, scheduling and payrolls. And, it’s online tools like hipages and MYOB that make it possible.

hipages researched the residential trade industry and their uptake of technology, finding those that are taking advantage of online platforms are leading the way.

The days of tradies equipped with a mobile phone, shoebox of receipts and a diary are behind us. The digital tradie is moving into a more productive and streamlined era.

READ: Invoice vs receipt: Key differences and FAQ

How savvy tradies are benefiting from technology

Beyond the smartphone, more and more tradies are entering the digital economy and are benefiting from online accounting, cloud computing, data analytics and workplace management software.

Technology helps businesses better manage their payrolls, staff rosters and timesheets. This is driving a shift away from tradie stereotypes to one that portrays them as more connected, digitally savvy business owners.

The digital tradie or business owner is accessing activities like banking, buying and selling, and accessing education or entertainment using the internet and connected devices.

READ: Building the trades business of the future? Start here

Aussies need their tradies to be connected

According to LEK research*, three-quarters of Aussie homes will call a tradie within one year. In dollar terms, that’s a whopping $73 billion. But, how they find them is changing.

RESOURCE: Your guide to cash flow management

While older Australians still rely on word of mouth, younger generations are turning to third-party digital platforms to find their tradie.

But, what hasn’t changed is the power of recommendations. Aussies still prefer to hire a tradie with positive reviews, whether online or through a trusted friend.

Tradie pain points solved by technology

On average, tradies spend five hours a week looking for jobs, making admin another burden. One in four tradies turned down jobs in the past twelve months due to spending time in the office. Working on quotes, invoices and chasing money all takes time. On average, hipages research found the loss adds up to $120,000 over a year.

By embracing technology, tradies have found their costs have reduced and productivity increased. Additionally, tech can also reduce common client frustrations. Reliability was a major frustration, 48 percent of customers reported. Paying with cash and changes in the initial quote also frustrated clients.

READ: A trades business website to help you grow

hipages found that seven out of ten tradies agreed that technology saves them time by helping with scheduling, invoicing, and reducing travel time between jobs.

Using online platforms to save money, time and streamline processes

While concentrating on their craft, no tradie can additionally be expected to have a great working knowledge of marketing, accounting, admin and payroll. That’s why online platforms are proving so popular, as they help small business owners streamline their business, increasing their reputation and professionalism.

With a job posted every 26 seconds on hipages, technology is helping connect consumers and tradies with tradie ratings and recommendations visible. For tradies, marketing, advertising and quoting are all streamlined and time wasted is reduced.

Once they land the jobs, MYOB can track invoices and receipts, so the paper trail can’t get lost along the way. For those invoices that need chasing, MYOB will send an automatic reminder after seven days.

MYOB can save business owners time, reduce error and greatly help with forecasting and budgeting. The shoebox of receipts is becoming a thing of the past.

Both hipages and MYOB can be used on the go. The tech saves time as both tools work at a push of a button and make admin easy. Customers are moving towards digital services too.

More than a third of tradies that were surveyed agreed that their jobs come more from online services than only five years ago.

The digital economy may seem like a huge mountain to climb, but those that embrace technology are leaving their competitors behind.

*About the EY Sweeney Research

EY Sweeney assisted in a joint project with hipages to conduct trade and consumer research to provide an overview of the residential trade industry and the breadth of opportunities associated with the adoption of technology in this sector. A total of 518 consumers and 500 tradies were surveyed in June and July 2018.

LEK Research

Hipages also commissioned LEK Consulting to research the size and shape of the residential trade economy and the value of the associated trade marketing vertical. LEK surveyed 395 tradespeople and 1004 consumers in Australia, as well as making use of third-party data and statistics, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and hipages internal data.