Tradies: what you need to know about going out on your own

Going out on your own as a tradie is an exciting time, but there can be pitfalls if you’re not careful.

While you’re getting your new business going, it’s important to put plans in place to manage your schedule and finances, to give your business the best chance to grow.

Here are some simple ways to make sure you’re ready to roll:

Get smart at scheduling

Once one appointment runs over, before you know it, you’re running behind all day.

When you’re building your daily schedule make sure that you give yourself buffer time between your appointments- figure out your travel time between sites using Google Maps, and then add some extra time to allow for anything unexpected.

While you’re setting up, your business diary doesn’t need to be anything fancy or complicated.

If using pen and paper works for you, stick with it. Just make sure that you’re logging your hours on each job consistently in one place, in a way that makes sense.

Once you begin employing subbies, or have a bigger team, you might consider switching to a software-based system to record appointments and track hours.

Plan for the busy periods

The old saying is that it never rains but it pours, and when you run your own business you’ll understand this!

When you’re snowed under, one option is bringing on some crew on a temporary basis. Subbies for Hire is a website where you can search for sub-contractors to help out.

If you’re looking for more of an extra pair of hands than someone with specialist skills, Airtasker is a good option, as you can post general tasks for people to bid on.

The other alternative is to recognise your limitations, and to make a decision not to over commit.

While you’re building your business, and your reputation, it’s very important to only take on clients you know you can deliver a great experience to.

If the timing isn’t right, it might be better to recommend a mate’s company.

Keep a close eye on the bottom line

Starting a new business is a great time to get your money systems right.

While you’re in the startup phase, chances are you’ll be spending the majority of your time on site and with your customers, rather than in your office.

This is the perfect time to find an accountant or bookkeeper to look after your business as it grows, and choose some software that you’ll both be comfortable using.

Get into the habit of sending invoices on time, whether you’re taking a deposit before a job begins, or sending a final invoice for a job well done.

A swift invoice, with clear terms of payment, is one way to get paid faster, and keep your business moving.

Take a step back

Experienced small business owners know that the time you spend working ‘on’ your business is just as important as the time you spend working ‘in’ the business.

As a tradie, you’re likely to be a task-oriented worker, so it’s important get into the habit of scheduling regular time to look at the big picture.

Are you on track to meet the goals you have for your business? What could you do differently? What are you enjoying?

You’ll find that you don’t just get extra satisfaction from your business when you adopt this approach, but you’ll also have a more effective business.

Being your own boss is a great thing, and it’s even more enjoyable when things are running smoothly.

Setting yourself up for success isn’t complicated, it’s about taking a little time to adopt systems and business habits that will develop with your company.